Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Top 10 reasons a Cruise is the best vacation EVER

Just got back from vacation.  It was so good, that I had to figure out some way that I could incorporate it into a list of 10.  Since it's my blog, my editor said it was ok.  Once again, I try not to make this blog about me personally, but rather my views on things.  This entry will be both about me and my views on the subject of a cruise.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm a live and let live kind of guy.  I don't usually go out on a limb and say that something is the 'BEST'.  Even on my top 10 lists.  They are never listed in order of preference because that order will change depending on my mood and I figure nearly everyone else is about the same way.  This list will try to push you into the direction of cruising as a vacation.  I should get a kickback from the cruise industry and if nothing else from the Disney Cruise Line <-- (The happiest voyage on earth).

10.  Radio Silence - What is the point of a vacation?  It's it to 'get away from it all?'.  Of course it is.  Well when you are on a cruise ship, you have to pay extra (and by extra, they mean extra in every sense) for Internet and usually cellphone access.  I saw plenty of idiots that just couldn't leave their technology alone and they were constantly ignoring the rest and relaxation around them in favor of squeezing just a little productivity from their bothersome vacation.  People like this deserve the early grave they will likely come to because it's the only way they will get any rest.  Only within the past few years was a cruise starting to fail it's customers by allowing cellphone and internet access.  Before then you had to call the ship to shore method and it was VERY expensive.  That way you will not be tempted to leave your rest and relaxation.

9. Not as expensive as you might think - According to AAA the average vacation cost in 2007 was about 100 dollars per person per day.  Yes I know, the average person doesn't have a deal like you do because you get to stay with your aunt and you fix sandwiches for the whole trip, but if on average you spend 100 dollars a day, then 150 a day on a cruise is a pretty good deal considering they are doing all of the work for you and all you have to do is ENJOY.  It's certainly not out of reach for many that might think it is.

8.  I don't want to be busy!! -  A cruise allows you to be as busy or as lazy as you would like.  There are really very few limits as to the direction of your relaxation.  There are always movies or presentations.  Workshops abound.  Or you can take your book and sun yourself on the deck and watch the ocean go by.  The latter appears to be the activity of choice by many cruise goers.  I am partial to taking in movies and wandering around the decks aimlessly comfortable in the knowledge that I am accountable only to myself for the time I am 'wasting'

7. People are a lot more fun - Because you are on a cruise with other like minded people, you will find that making friendships is pretty easy.  After all,  nobody is placing any demands on anyone and as a result people are naturally on their best behavior.  If you travel with multiple families that is fun as well. 

6. My hotel room takes me places! - You go to sleep in America, you wake up in the Bahamas.  You go to sleep and you wake up at sea.  You go to sleep again and you wake up in Mexico.  No travel time because you don't have to drive it.  You get out of the boat and see the fun at the port and when you are tired of the fun, you go back to the boat for more fun.

5.  If mom can relax...everyone can relax.  -  This one is specific to Disney Cruise Line because It is the only boat I have experience with as far as children's programs.  But they have programs for 4 different age groups as well as infants (at an extra cost).  The programs are so engaging that many of the kids dread mom and dad coming to pick them up.  If mom can turn down her maternal instincts and let the fine Disney staff ply her kids with entertainment and fun, then mom can unwind and have some fun herself.  If mom can have fun, everyone can have fun.

4. Everyone should know what it feels like to be rich. - If they are working on the boat, they are working so you can enjoy yourself that much more.  There is a room steward that makes sure everything is made up in your room, there is a waiter and an assistant waiter there to make sure you have great flavors tripping the light fantastic off of your tongue at dinner.  There are people all over who's only wish is to entertain you and make your trip happy.  This is what rich people do.  They hire people to worry about their comfort.  It's surprisingly easy to get used to.

3.  Who's driving?  oh yeah, the captain. - I have no personal experience with this, but on some cruises there are options to have liquor included in the price of the cruise.  The Lush Boat will drive you all over the ocean in your inebriated state and the captain will continue driving.  Be careful, if you cause too much drunk trouble, they'll just chuck you over the side.

2.  Are we entertaining you enough? - I mentioned before that there is a lot of entertainment options.  On the Disney Cruise you have a theater that is running different first run movies all day.  Your room is running movies as well.  You can take classes or join in competitions, you can exercise or just sit back.  On top of all of this, there are broadway style shows to be had.  Really entertaining and very fun.  There are so many options in the way of entertainment that you are often wondering if you should skip a meal so you can participate in something else.  You can fall into the trap of being so busy that you start getting really tired on the boat.  Don't do this.  Just take in enough for your enjoyment.  Don't push yourself.  Your main goal here is to re-lax.  ahhhhhhhh.

1.  Food Glorious Food! - I save the best for last.  In this case, the food.  It is not just your cafeteria/convention food fare.  It's very near gourmet with very original recipes that are artfully put on your table for you to consume.  Not sure if you want the Chicken or the Seafood?  Take them both.  Wondering what the other deserts taste like?  Get them as well.  A cruise tradition is to offer a midnight buffet that is dedicated to just the deserts of the cruise.  If I wasn't so full of food the whole cruise I would have gone in.  I just couldn't.  Why oh why couldn't I have had that second stomach surgically installed?!

If you made it to the end of this blog, congratulations!  you deserve a cruise.  Go on one!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Top 10 Careers I would have if I didn't have this one.

Don't get me wrong.  I love my job.  really I do.  It's just the right amount of challenge, stress and camaraderie that is what you want in a career.  But as good as your job is, don't you look back on your life and wonder...what if I had become a _________?

When my job gets tough, I certainly do think about the other careers that I wanted to get into instead of the one that chose me.  Of course there are many jobs that I thought about as a kid that I come back to in times of stress.  Without further ado, here they are.

10.  Writer - There are a lot of people that think about writing.  I must since I write this blog twice a month.  The truth is, in order to be a successful writer, you probably need to have a story to tell.  Ok, I have that.  You also need a bunch of time set aside to write said story.  Ok, I suppose I could scrape that together.  Finally, you need to have the discipline to actually write the book.  That's where I fall down.  You see, I have a couple of good story lines for books, but I just don't have the gumption to actually put pen to paper.  At this point, the only reason I would write them is for me, but at least that's something.  Also,  After sampling what passes for comedy on most of the tv stations, I've decided that I could do that well.  Of course it's easy to armchair quarterback something like a sitcom, but really some of the crap that passes for comedy these days, it's surprising we aren't all watching the test signal.

9.  Vocal Talent - Much of the money without the annoying paparazzi and all I'd have to do is talk?  wow, that sounds great.  Actually I do it now.  The problem is, the money and the consistency of work.  You see, I've found that I've grown accustomed to a regular check and as such I would not be able to sustain the life of vocal talent.  The problem is, there is no shortage of people that can read and of those people many of them have fairly pleasing voices.  This makes the supply MUCH larger than the demand and as a result, it's hard to find enough work so that you would want to actually transform it into a career.

8.  Ride operator at an amusement park - I think this one is more the job I wanted when I was 16 or so. This doesn't sound glamorous and I know I would probably get tired of it quickly, but I would love to work at Disney or the like.  'Please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times, have a good trip!' It would seem to loose it's magic after about the 500'th time or so, but I feel I could make a go of it.  Plus I might get to do the Jungle Cruise.  That is an awesome ride for the cast member!  You get to have a captive audience for 5 minutes and they really want to find you amusing.  How could it get any better?!  The down side is I probably would end up working at Lagoon.  ick.  I would rather be a state fair fried butter vendor. 

7.  Casino Dealer - Just for once, I'd like to be on the winning side of the cards.  At least if I'm losing, I'll get tipped! Imagine, you get to play a game for several hours and then you go home.  Some people get obnoxious with you, that's ok, thats what the security folks are for.  Other people try to get on your 'good side' like it mattered.  So you commiserate with the losers, congratulate the winners and keep your hands per hour number humming.

6. Candy Store owner - I would really like to own a candy store.  I like being the boss, I like candy.  How could I go wrong?  For some time I did run a candy store that consisted of a rickety cart that I loaded with different candies etc.  It used the honor system and it annoyed my co-workers, but It was cool to have and I really liked running it.  I got very good at figuring out what candy would sell and why. I don't do it anymore, but it really seems like an easy way to make money.  Location is of course the secret there.

5.  Psychic - I do this on an amateur basis, I don't believe in it, but it comes fairly easily to me.   I won't give away all the secrets but suffice it to say, people can't see into the future etc.  It's fun to do anyway though.  You get to tell people what they would like to hear and seem really mystic and stuff.  For what they accomplish, your standard psychic makes amazingly good money.  You want to have a load of fun at your next party, hire a psychic, It will be memorable. 

4.  Independent wealth - Ok I know this isn't a job, but I feel like I would really be good at being rich.  Well, actually, not really.  If I were really rich, I would very likely blow my money in some very bad directions.  Maybe it's best I'm not rich.  Rats, I just looked at my salary v.s. the world population and I AM rich.  It's not nearly as great as I thought.

3.  Entourage Hanger on - You know these guys.  They are the friends of people that have real talent that ride on their coat tails.  They have no real ambition or talent themselves other than to grease up the real guy making the money.  They hang around and get dry-cleaning and maybe play some video games or tell people they know the famous person they are hanging around with.  Pretty sweet gig.  Till the well runs dry that is.  I guess you have to know someone famous first.  I saw Charlotte Rae in an airport on my way to a flight, does that count?  She didn't think so either.

2.  Secret Agent - Bond...James Bond.  I would LOVE to be a secret agent.  Not the real kind that get deported or killed, but more like the James Bond kind that can drive any vehicle known to man.  Is as obvious as a Neon sign, and can make any bet in the Casino and it always comes up good for him.  Who wouldn't want that job?  I've heard that actual jobs in the CIA or Military Intelligence actually takes a LOT of disappointing desk work as well as some very unglamorous reporting and meetings o pleanty as well.  Sheesh, I can already get that in my current job.

1.  Radio Personality - Once again, a job that I have some familiarity with and one that pays far to little to be practical.  But it would be fun to just yammer on about what I'm thinking about to all my listeners.  As soon as I got tired of talking, I could play some more music.  Once again, this job has some problems because it's not nearly as fun is it used to be say 30 years ago or so.  Now days, it seems you say anything as a personality and your as likely to get fired just because it offended someone.

Well, these are the other jobs I probably won't have any time in the near future, but a guy can always dream, can't he?