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Scotland


I am hermitting up. There are too many things I wanted to do this year that I didn’t get to do and I will be making up for it next year. The first of those things is the Monterey trip. I am going before new years, alone if I have to. I have from Christmas to New Years off so it will be happening. Only the adventurous need apply. We will not be turning back because it’s cold or you are geting little splashes of water on you.

The second thing is Scotland. This year we went to Cosamel and that was a lot of fun. Next year will be Scotland. One of the problems is I have this crazy vision of what a trip there should be like and it differs from what other people consider a vacation. I want to travel light; backpack, all items with me at all times. No suitcases full of crap. No hotel reservations. Have a long list of things we might like to visit but no set plans. Kevin is giving me lots of good advice about this. I originally wanted to go with a sleeping bag and tent but he suggested against it, saying B&B type places will work much better and are plentiful as long as you are there when school is in.

Current list of activities (will update as submissions are made):
The Broads
The B&B that my ancestors owned (Gramma gave me the details)
Islay
Edinburgh
Stonehenge and other henges
Battlefiels: Bannockburn, Stirling
Castles

Current tentative dates: May 29th – June 13th. This would require 9 days of time off if you get Memorial day off.

So, if this sounds like something you would like to do, let me know.

One of the ways I am sort of saving up for this trip is to not drink anymore until the trip. That’s pretty extreme and I am sure there will be events that will present beer to me in great quantities for free that I won’t be able to pass up but the idea is to save money by not buying beer all the time. Let’s see how that works out.

In other news, we are playing Diplomacy again. The world has no other game as serious and emotional as this game. What a thing it is.

-Aaron

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My latest obsessions

My latest obsessions include watching TV series’ that I once avoided but now seek out because I have exhausted the Netflix library. This currently includes Smallville, Hercules, Sliders, Survivor and a few other odds and ends. Ones that I have finished in this way are Always Sunny in Philadelphia, SeaQuest, 30 Rock, Big Bang Theory and a few others that I cannot remember at the moment. Fun!

Now, THIS is something that I have been obsessing over as well. Thanks to Wil Wheaton for pointing this talent out to me. She made a CD that I am probably going to buy, also I see this girl going on to do great things.

Yesterday I went sailing with my neighbors on their Catalina 30. It was great to be on a boat where I am not the one who has to pay attention. It was also neat to check out their cool boat. So much room! I think I want to move up soon.

-Aaron

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Gettin’ your cheap on!

I like to collect cool things to do in Santa Cruz. By that I mean the cool deals and cool events on certai ndays so I have a list of things I can do on a given day. I thought I would list some of them here.

Hulu’s – Friday – Sunday you can get all-you-can-drink mimosas in three different flavors for $10.

Crow’s Nest – Wednesday is all night happy hour; half price appitizers and $3 well drinks and pints. Get there early if you want a table!

Hindquarter – Monday is all-you-can-eat beef ribs. Yummy!

Buffalo Bell – $0.49 wing night on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They don’t bread their wings which I think is way better than the over-breaded wings at most other places. Some argue that without breading it doesn’t hold enough sauce and they are wrong.

Santa Cruz Gamers – Here is something you can do for free if you like board games. We are playing tonight if you would like to join us. You don’t need to bring anything, just show up at Woodstock’s Pizza at 6pm!

Costco – They certainly don’t need my endorcement but consider this: If you go there on a Saturday or Sunday you can literally eat enough samples to have lunch for free. When approaching your would be free food vendor, I suggest looking at them like you are truly interested in their product and might buy a large parcel of said product if only you could try a sample first. After your sample is in hand, nod a couple times and walk away while thinking, “Sucker…”

Also, in the course of writing this blog post, I found out about this blog that is devoted to this very subject and allows you to sort by day, type of food, etc…

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These are actual things.

I just wanted to post a few little internet tidbits, in case you were bored.

First, someone asked about the “Start to Crate” game rating system, so I dug the thing up. I mentioned I am playing DDO right now. If you were wondering, the StC rating is 0. You start the game looking at crates that you break open for things.

This Halloween I am dressing up as Dr. Horrible: The Rotund Years. To prime you for this, I would like you all to spend the 42 minutes and watch this thing because it is truly awesome. If you have not watched this thing and you ask me what I am with a blank stare, I will respond, “I am a mad scientist,” while silently judging you.

If you ever played the original Legend of Zelda, you will die laughing at this thing. Thanks to Jordan for pointing me to it.

Here are a few more things to tide you over until your next thing.

-Aaron

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New Horizons

Not a lot happening right now, just trying to save some money and enjoy life. My birthday has come and gone, thanks everyone who came to Red to wish me happy 34th. Thanks to Amelia for the bottle of mead, and I hear Dowdy is recording a song about me!

In other news, the infamous earl grey mead is brewing, looking forward to that. I bought a new game called Agricola and I really like it. I even bought customized pieces and a plastic tray to keep them in and make the game easier to play.

Big news, I and a few friends have gotten a little bored of WoW. When we heard that DDO had gone free-to-play we decided to give it a try. We are having a great time with this game! I am playing a rogue and they have made rogues better than any other game has to date. They are super sneaky and stabbity and there are a good third of the dungeons that can’t even be done without a rogue to disarm the VERY deadly traps. There are also many doors that cannot be found or opened without a rogue so you end up getting 20% of your loot from having a rogue in your party. You also get exp bonuses for disabling traps in each dungeon so your party gets more exp from having a rogue. In this game rather than having tank/healer/dps you actually have a four role system where you need tank/healer/dps/rogue. It sadly does not have a Mac client so I have to play it on my Windows partition but hey, it’s been worth it so far. If you want to join us, we are on the Ghallanda server (if your name is Keri, we are on the Pleasegoawayyouscarystalker server).

Winter is coming and I once again have exciting windy and rainy nights, battle with mold and mildew and the need for a reliable heater. Thanks to a wonderful gift certificate from my mom and Doug I now have a new heater and a couple of new fenders to help me weather the storm. For those brave adventurers who like fast, windy sailing, please let me know when you would like to go!

-Aaron

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Flag


The above picture is my pirate flag, MY pirate flag, designed by me and sewn together by Leanne Fredrick to fly on my boat. Nice isn’t it? I found out that Wells Fargo has a card customizing service that allows you to use an image to be printed on your ATM card. NEAT! I thought this would be the perfect picture! It was REJECTED! Why was this rejected? One of their guidelines for inappropriate images is:

Images of flags, unless it is one of the flag-related images from our photo gallery.

What flags are in their image gallery? Only the US flag. I have no idea what this policy serves. What flag could one have on their card that would offend someone? I personally think this is pure jingoist bullshit. Now I eagerly await your rebuttals in the comments section about why this policy makes sense.

-Aaron

P.S. They even anticipated me trying to upload the same photo again, the website automatically prevents it.

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Cozumel: The Ugly

And now the final chapter to the Cozumel trip.

As far as I can tell, the people in Mexico that make road signs are a bunch of pranksters. They have rarely failed at representing some sort of hazard with an image that brings to mind naughty bits. For your enjoyment, here they are:



If any of you have ever read THIS post, then I am sure you are aware of my fascination with blowholes. I will let these pictures tell the whole tale…

I went full blowhole. You never go full blowhole.

And now the grand finale. Our first night there, we admittedly drank way too much. There are some bits that Jordan and I don’t remember, but we DO remember this:

That’s all for now folks!

-Aaron

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Cozumel: The Bad

No vacation would be complete without a few mishaps. Here is the story of the bad.

On the first day I thought it would be a good idea to stick all of my cash, credit cards and ID in a ziplock bag and put it in my pocket so I could go swimming with it. Turns out, it didn’t keep the water out and it floated…. out of my pocket… far away into the wild blue ocean. It is good to travel in groups though, Jordan was able to lend me some money to hold me over for the trip. Geed news, did not lose my passport!

In the course of the trip there was a lot of swimming. This lead to some painful ear conditions that affected Jordan, Jackie and me. It didn’t feel good and there were days where some of us didn’t feel like coming out to play.

There must be something in the water down there in Mexico because we also universally developed a surprising number of gastronomical conditions. We took the liberty of naming them:

- Chum butt
- Mud slide
- Inking
- Whooosghe
- Bubble gum

Senor Frog’s: This place was freaking annoying. We went to the one before the ferry and it was somewhat annoying. The one in downtown Cozumel was outright obnoxious. We were seated and accosted by multiple clowns, head shaking shot givers, sombrero picture takers and a DJ that was yelling out things such as, “Yiy, yiy, yiy, arrriba, andele!” The menu outside had different prices than what was inside, I am sure you can tell why that is. There were more waiters than tables and our waiter was more than dismayed when we decided that one beer was enough and we wanted to leave. He took the liberty of clearing our tables and increasing the price of our beers while the clowns accused us with their eyes of killing their puppies.

Texans. Many of the people there were from Texas. With a few exceptions, they were very rude people. They must really dislike these very polite and friendly people who were waiting on them hand and foot because they made it clear that no such courtesy would be reciprocated. Sometimes it was hard to watch.

That was the story of the bad parts. One segment left to reveal, I challenge you to guess the title.

-Aaron

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Cozumel: The Good

Cozumel was awesome! This is the story of the good parts.

After a long plane trip, an expensive meal at Senor Frog’s, a ferry to the island and a cab ride to the resort, we had arrived. We got these cool little wrist bands that let us do anything we wanted for free! Of course we took full advantage of that.

Our rooms were beautiful, HUGE and the back patio lead out to a connected pool. I got to swim over to Mike and Jackie’s room to bother them into drinking with me. The pools had water slides that went straight to the main pool with the swim up bar. Guarberto “Wallace” was our bartender for the whole week, he was such a great sport.

Our favorite restaurant was Mosaic where we had a lovely waiter named Jesus. He lit our drinks on fire and we had some lovely Pad Thai. We ate there mostly but there was a buffet and a couple other restaurants that we could choose to eat at. Great food, great drinks, great times.

We also made a lot of friends with this new game we learned called Liar’s Dice. Many a late night ended with the words, “There are twenty-five dice on the table”.

At the water you are allowed to use the snorkeling gear for free so we did that. I am really impressed with my underwater camera! It took some great underwater pictures while snorkeling and never broke down. We also took a catamaran to snorkel out in the reefs. We saw turtles and lots of neat fish, and even a shipwreck marker!

The last couple of days were spent shopping and checking out the Myan ruins. There were a lot more ruins than I was expecting to see, really cool! We also went to a restaurant called Coconuts (visualize a sign with two coconuts wearing a bikini and a sombrero and having nipples). It overlooked the sea from a cliff and they had some great conch ceviche.

We took a tour of a tequila tasting room that gave some history and information about making tequila. Yummy!

That is the story of the good. There will be two more blog posts in the following days, stay tuned!

-Aaron

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Pirate Fest, the voyage home…


Pirate Fest 2009, Blow the Man Down… and we did! This was such a great success. I don’t remember ever having this much fun, great food, side-splitting moments or good friends around me ever in my years sailing the forest floors.

I want to thank Randall for being the bad guy and collecting money from everyone. For the first time ever we broke even and had enough to give a little back to those who went above and beyond. Thank you Myla for arranging for all the wood to be delivered in a most convenient and cost-effective manner. Thank you Jordan and Anna for building and delivering the chairs and swanky playboy sheets for the Black Shenanigan. Thank you Amelia for bringing that excellent homebrew, especially that mead that caused many of us memory loss on Friday night.

Thank you Chunker for bringing those awesome egg rolls. Thank you Benny for the great rum pasta salad. Thank you Greg for the awesome gumbo and congratulations to you and Maria for best outfits. I forget or do not know who brought what dishes entirely but thank you all for really beefing up on the Pirate Feast this year! Last year there were maybe half the dishes but you all really put out this time round.

Thanks Randall for bringing dice and Ivanhoe, Alan and Debbie for bringing Unspeakable Words and Monsters Menace America, Tommy for bringing Toblero, Julie for bringing Apples to Apples and anyone else who brought a game at the great risk of losing pieces to the camping gods.

Thank you Niko for bringing the wide array of weapons, explosive and sharp alike. Perhaps we could drag some more fighters up there next year for a mini pirate fighting tourney!

Chunker, James, Kevin and a few others have taken some great pictures which are currently featured on Facebook. I think you may need an account to access them but HERE is the link to Chunker’s and HERE is Kevin’s. If anyone else has a gallery URL to send to me and add to the list they will all be added to the Santa Cruz Pirate Fest website.

Thanks to everyone for being awesome about carpooling! I hope the way we did things this year was okay with everyone and if there are any comments or suggestions please feel free to email me.

Finally, thanks for being a saucy crew and taking the weekend out to hold your steins high in the air.


-Captain Groggy Swagger