Archive for January 2013

Quite the (Dis)honor

January 24, 2013
***I’ve been busy absorbing free radicals and raising my blood pressure at work, thereby fueling The Lazy nestled within me. Get through this review and I promise to post something self-aggrandizing or offensive soon.***

Have you ever wanted to sneak through a city populated by fascist whale killers and set right the wrongs that began when your beloved Empress was killed and you were framed for her murder? Too specific? Okay then, have you ever just wanted to play an exciting 1st person video game where you have many options for how to go about overthrowing the people that gave you the Imperial Shaft? Come along and share the guilty pleasure of being Dishonored with me.

When I asked for this game a while back, my only reason for having it on my list was that I saw a few seconds of a brief game play video in passing at a big chain store as I was shopping for other over priced items. I was smitten with what little I retained from that brief blip on my geekdar, but little did I know I was in for an eighty-hour sneakin’, sleeper-holdin’, rat-possessin’ ordeal.

This game, unlike most of its 1st-person shooter siblings, let’s you decide how much carnage you want to create, and wraps that into the end story when you finally force steaming piles of justice down the throats of the “bad” guys. Every action you take can either increase the chaos of the overall situation, or decrease it, creating the end result that the new leadership will inherit. The paths are many.

You can opt to hang your man-bag outside your trousers and flat-out end anyone who gets in your way (including noisy maids who can’t simply see that they’d be better off shutting their yappers and sleeping it off in a closet someplace); you can develop your mystic powers of blink and time-slowage and sneak through all of your objectives leaving nobody but the ultimate targets of your endeavors the wiser (quite possibly the toughest way to play); you can sneak-n-grab your way through the game, choking out unsuspecting guards, lodging industrial strength knock-out juice syringes in anyone you can’t put in a combat sleeper-hold, then hide their bodies in trash cans where they won’t be found by either their compatriots or the exceedingly voracious rat population. Heck, you can play any twisted combination of these styles in each mission.

Before I actually knew how I wanted to play, or what the heck I was actually doing, I would set off alarms and take extended dips in flesh-eating fish spawning areas to evade capture (only to suck seaweed after being nibbled to death). There were many alarmed guards who would force me to take the most honorable route and restart from before I set off their spider-sense, and not a few encounters with rocket towers I neglected to power down. Once I started to get a real feel for how I wanted to play, I began sneaking everywhere and leaving piles of snoring bodies in the dumpsters and closets everywhere I went. I’m guessing the remaining “alert” guards had a snoring filter on their hearing. There were  a few times I had no other choice (or slipped on the controller buttons during a ninja move) and sent a target to the electronic afterlife, but I always felt guilty enough to go back to a previous save and see if I could simply get them busted for dereliction of duty.

There’s a twist about midway through the game, but one you can see coming if you have the eyesight and common sense that enables you to hold a console controller in the playing out of this story. I won’t spoil it, except to ask what you would do with a badass like you if you hired yourself to bring down the illegitimate bad-guy ruling class so you could take over. You’d likely cut yourself some slack because it’s you in all the roles in my example. In the game, it isn’t as confusing as I’ve tried my best to make it here: you’re you (the electronic magic man you) and everyone else is not you. Clear? Moving on.

With all of the special powers you can develop, like blinking from point A to point B without detection, slowing time, special vision modes that not only let you see through walls, but let you see the cone of your enemies’ vision, summoning rat swarms to overwhelm your opponents, the ability to possess a rat, person or fish to perform only the most basic tasks, windy bitch-slaps and so on, you’d think this game would be a piece of cake-pie. Not even close. For some reason, some of the guards happen to notice when you drop their buddy with a well-placed night-night dart right in front of them. Oh, and they take offense at that. Weird, huh? Plus there are many potential consequences for each action you take. Possess a rat to get through a crowded checkpoint, and the guards will decide that you are one vermin too many in their plague-infested world, passing this decision on to you in the form of a boot across your spine. Just like in real life: die while possessing a rat, die for real.

While I managed to finish the final missions by stacking more napping bodies behind a boiler than should be reasonably possible, and darting everyone else, I did occasionally play into the amazing physics of this game and accidentally kill a few guards when I choked them out over a rail and watched them slide like a sock puppet over the edge to their demise. Regardless, I managed to finish the game with a low chaos rating and watched as the final cutscene played out what a darn decent human being I was for leaving such a wonderful world for the new Empress to inherit. While I may go back and play it at maximum chaos just to see how that ending differs, I’m not a fan of knifing unsuspecting guards just because I can. But, you know, violent games make violent people and all.

I honestly tried to find something bad to say about this game, but about all I could come up with was the graphics are not PC-grandiose. Do I really need to highlight how spoiled that makes me sound?

If you’re looking for a game that lets you tailor the play to your acceptable level of mayhem, while giving you abilities you forgot to list on your if I could have superpowers list, give Dishonored a try. My guess is, you’ll avoid some area of responsibility in the act of completing this thoroughly enjoyable game.


Thai for Two – part 4 (Muy Muy Samui)

January 16, 2013

***A weekend of unabashed laziness and a busy start to the work week is no excuse to not entertain people I don’t know.***

After Achebeyo and I finished battling over how much time we’d spend underwater, we decided to explore the resort and the surrounding neighborhood. The resort itself was gorgeous, even if their private beach was a bit unforgiving on unshod feet. They had several pools, two restaurants, a massage therapy clinic and much more than I’m currently able to adequately relate with my sleep-deferred memories. While we aren’t really resort-minded people, we’re definitely going back to this place in the foreseeable future, or else…you know, with the pouting and tears and stuff.

The surrounding neighborhood had a little 24/7 market where we picked up some much needed supplies (we live in the US, so that would be snacks), and a nice little open-air restaurant that served the best woon sen noodles I’ve ever had (it’s Thailand…HOME of authentic Thai food). We made it a point to go there every night for dinner, as it was a nice walk both ways.

After the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had on vacation (don’t get me started on Crete and the insanely noisy Irish tourists who all got hang-up calls from me at 6am, after they woke us up getting in at 4am), we awoke to prepare for what had been touted on the never-fallible Internet as one of the best dives I would ever have. The British ex-pat who ran our tour soon yanked (get it?) the rose-colored glasses off of our faces and informed us that during that time of the year, it was one of the worst dives we could go on in that part of the world. After losing my GoPro Hero camera and mask on the first dive, as well as having to buddy-breathe with Achebeyo on the second dive due to a faulty regulator on my rented gear, I wholeheartedly endorse this “worst” rating. Listen, can we stop talking about it? It’s making me agitated all over again. Suffice it to say that any diving we do there from now on will be with a different outfit, and likely in the Phuket region.

We set our sights on the next day’s land tour: Grandfather Rock (a decidedly phallic rock formation), a wildlife park, hand-carved statue garden on top of a mountain, and secluded waterfall with a natural rock pool big enough to jump into and splash the smiles from our fellow travelers. What? Everyone was jumping. I was just the only one doing cannonball drops.

Rock of (phallic) Ages

The best part of the day, for me, was the wildlife park. While I often go off the rails on other web sites about humans being the only species on this planet that hold other species prisoner for our own amusement, here on my site we’ll assume we don’t know that guy (it’s still wrong, but that type of tirade isn’t what I want for this blog; bash me all you want, faceless Internet personalities) and press on.

While there were many points of interest on this part of the trip, including breaking my rule of no trunk on the first date:

I trunk you too, bro…wait, are you drunk?

elephant “happy” endings:

Not me. I’m not stupid enough to put my junk in jeopardy like this.

king cobra dating advice:

Bite my lip once, shame on…me!

and prehistoric death-machine teasing:

I think I left my sock in there somewhere…

By the way, take a close look at the “wall” around the cobra love-zone. Where do you think an angry lord of the serpents goes when he’s tired of being sexually harassed in the workplace? That’s right! The audience! Thankfully, I’ve been snapped at enough by Achebeyo that I can avoid the much slower monarch of snakes.

After we rode an elephant around a large compound, we vowed never to do it again. Not only was the ride incredibly painful and awkward, the elephants all looked like they wished for a Dr. Pachyderm Kevorkian. Doesn’t make you feel very proud to be human. There was a picture of me practically laying on top of a full-grown tiger that might seem impressive if not for the obvious presence of substances that suppress the urge to maul and slowly digest greasy tourists. Still, it was worth a visit to elephant Alcatraz to say I courted contrived and controlled danger.

The rock garden was impressive, especially when you consider that these very heavy stones were hauled up the mountain one at a time by one man and his ox, back before steam-powered motor carriages were a sparkle in a Flemish man’s brain. The garden had many variations on different themes, including animals, houses, warriors and a Thai rock (no roll) band. The best pictures of that place were Achebeyo’s, and I’m too lazy to ask her for digital copies. One more reason you really need to visit the place yourself.

The following day, we arranged to rent a scooter and visit a local mall for souvenir gifts before heading to our appointment with what I can only describe as the absolute center of the serene universe: a resort spa where cameras were not allowed, and you felt like violating that rule would be like jamming an angry king cobra in your pants before landing your first commercial aircraft. Just plain wrong, in other words.

It was all outdoors, but constructed in such a way that you welcomed it. Even the men’s shower was outdoors, if properly secluded. It took me back to my nudist days, only with fewer opportunities for a bruised and battered body. We had enough time before our appointment to don their supplied sarongs, dip in the cooler outside pools before venturing into the steam heated Hobbit holes to sweat out the poisons. At one station, there was even a fruit-based body scrub that I indulged in because I knew this betrayal of manhood would never be witnessed by anyone else.

Before long, our massage therapists were ready for us, and they led us to a raised pavilion on a hill overlooking the whole compound (hello, me from earlier, showering nude outdoors!) and proceeded to provide the kind of G-rated massage that poets write epic poems about. At one point during the hour and a half session, I fell asleep to the sound of the gentle rainstorm that passed through while the birds were singing their little hearts out. If I could have applied for a job as furniture there, we wouldn’t be sharing this moment now. Stating that I will return would be like stating I’ll pass that nickle I accidentally swallowed on a dare: it will happen in time.

We spent the last day on the island being lazy and hanging out in our villa snacking on various salty goods. When it came time to leave, we had made such good friends with the staff that they actually teared up at seeing us go. While I’m rarely critical of any place we visit, it’s also rare for me to go out of my way to write glowing reviews. You know, The Lazy. The moment I had access to high-speed Internet, I was on Trip Advisor talking that place up like I owned it. We left a little piece of us there, and not just the usual skin cells and hair.

Back in Bangkok for one day before we left, we decided to keep it simple and just walk around the places we had already visited. We went back to the mall where we had the excellent meal, and even went into their basement aquarium attraction. It was interesting, if crowded. Since we were carry-on only passengers, we (she) had to limit what we (she) bought at the mall. We made it out of there with some candy and a few shirts.

The flight back to the US was long, made even longer by the impromptu, storm-dodging stay in Tokyo over night. Not the way I wanted my first trip to Japan to be, but it was better than becoming a real-life JJ Abrams story. Even that delay couldn’t dampen the post-travel, soft-fresh-cookie feeling of our Thailand visit. We agreed that we would do everything possible to make it back there in 2013. I think the amended agreement now reads, as soon as reasonably possible. Your own travel constitution should be amended to include a trip to this beautiful, friendly country. Or, you know, stay put and live vicariously through me.

Thai for Two – part 3 (Island of Salty Dreams)

January 11, 2013

If by now you haven’t decided to visit this beautiful country and interact with it’s friendly, helpful people (not counting the Devil’s tuk-tuk driver), perhaps I can entice you with tales of a mystical island only reachable by boat…or plane. Your choice. On this island, you’ll marvel at the swarms of scooters (which you’ll soon realize is the most effective and affordable way to get around on your own), you’ll make happy noises (hopefully with your mouth) at all of the wonderful sights to see and activities to participate in and you’ll only leave because you didn’t plan appropriately to be able to quit your job on the spot and just stay there for the rest of your life. I’m talking about Koh Samui.

These are the ones that DIDN’T have 3 or more passengers.

We made it back to our hotel from the Grand Palace with no trouble. We even knew enough about where we were going now that we didn’t need to consult our map of Bangkok and draw the helpful attention of the local population. We were 6-hr locals now. Ask us anything…anything that pertains to the 5-block radius around our hotel.

After showering for the second time that day, we ventured out to one of several malls in the local area, and one that would shame most American versions (except maybe the Mall of America, you know, that one on commercial-district steroids) and had dinner at a local Thai chain. The food was spicy enough that we were encouraged to select the mild spice. Even that was enough to set my scalp fountain to bubbling over. We headed back to the hotel to shower again and catch a few hours of sleep before our flight to Samui.

If there were any troubles on the flight from Bangkok to Samui, they didn’t generate enough angst for me to remember them and snark them up here. What I do remember is this:


You can see this massive statue from the air as you fly into the island’s airport. Again, it felt like something out of a non-crusty Harrison Ford movie. If, for some highly imaginative reason, you were stuck having to take on pilot duties over this area and didn’t know where you were going, you’d just look for the giant golden Buddha in the bay, then radio for someone to tell you how to land your first commercial aircraft. In the ensuing media circus, you couldn’t fail to mention that all was lost until Giant Golden Buddha saved the day.

While not excessively large, the island is big enough that the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel took about thirty minutes, and took us down some seedy-seeming back alley before depositing us here:

The lobby of paradise.

Once again, we were afforded the privilege of being labeled as persons of moderate spending, and upgraded to a villa for a nominal fee. When I say “villa”, I really mean, miniature private compound within the boundaries of the resort. We had a privacy wall with a locking privacy gate; we had our own private mini-pool; there was even a pond, fountain and mini-Zen garden. I made up my mind that this would be the model for my retirement compound…wherever and whenever that might be. I would have taken pictures of it, but I was so smitten, and ego-boosted, that I simply forgot to make that effort. Take my word for it: it was paradise. Actually, don’t take my word for it. Go stay at Renaissance Koh Samui and tell me I’m full of it. I’ll pretend not to notice, but you’ll have the self-righteous pleasure of trying to get my attention in a negative way.

Achebeyo and I soaked in all of the calm of this place, then began the verbal Battle of Tour Suggestions – Samui Edition. We would eventually settle on one SCUBA excursion and several shore tours. Interestingly enough, the shore tours would be the highlight of my trip, while the SCUBA trip would see me lose my GoPro Hero 1 and buddy breathe with Achebeyo because of faulty dive equipment.

Continued in Thai for Two – part 4 (Muy Muy Samui)

Thai for Two – part 2 (Grand Dehydration)

January 9, 2013

In the last installment of this tale, we had narrowly avoided being herded into a few more stores where we had no intentions of doing anything but letting the sweat freeze on our skin before venturing back to the dubious comforts of the trike and its ever-angrier driver. I’m guessing he anticipated a fight over his marked-up fee, but we were happy to leave him with the expected $20 and make our way into the ticket line for the Grand Palace. The only tip that driver got from me was WWBD (standard guilt trip, just exchange Buddha for Jesus).

A small sampling of the grand in the Grand Palace.

It should be noted that while this is a major tourist attraction, it is also an active and functioning temple compound. There were several places where you were required to remove your shoes (and hope that the hundreds of other tourists there with you had some concept of foot-hygiene ) before entering. Also, there were several places where they repeatedly insisted that you not take pictures or video. I mention “repeatedly”, because even though the Thais running the place spoke every language on the planet, some tourists chose to act like the spoken words, and multiple placards, asking that they respect the sanctity of the place by not using cameras inside were the gibbering nonsense of a space alien. Those people we’ll call stink-stains. They were legion.

It should also be noted that Achebeyo kept insisting that we see the Emerald Buddha right away. Once we complied with both the no cameras and no shoes requirements and shuffled in to sit on the floor, we stared across the long room at the statue seated atop a gleaming construct that seemed straight out of an Indiana Jones adventure. At least, I did. When we shuffled back outside and retrieved our shoes from under the pile of footwear from people who thought there was only one square foot of room for all 1000 shoes, Achebeyo again insisted we stop messing around and go see the Emerald Buddha. Imagine her surprise to find out we just had.

The buildings were gorgeous, and the landscaping was no slouch either.

I think I had a shirt with this pattern as a toddler.

There was intricate tiling almost everywhere, making me hope no ideas for home improvement projects sprang from this visit. There was even a testament to the kind of patience and attention to detail that I can’t even begin to grasp in this sandstone sculpture of the entire palace:

No miniature shoes allowed in this sculpture.

They said it took something like 40 years to complete, and I believe I immediately suppressed my screw that gut reaction. Making sand castles is one thing when you’re at the beach with a bucket or two and plans on playing Godzilla later, but making it a lifelong career? I’m pretty sure I’d be fired after the first few days, when naps and video games would beg for front row seats in my routine.

While I could show you the million pictures I took of this place…

If that thing comes to life, I don’t want to be on its bad side.

And yet…

you’re really better off visiting yourself and experiencing the beauty and serenity (if there were no other tourists than you) of the Grand Palace. Just make sure you bring water, and plenty of it. Most of this compound is toured outside, and you will lose at least one bucket of saltwater per person.

Continued in Thai for Two – part 3 (Island of Salty Dreams)

Thai for Two – part 1 (Just Add Sweat)

January 8, 2013

***I’ve put this off long enough, so hopefully anyone (Achebeyo) who might have remembered it differently will just go with my version.***

March of last year, Achebeyo and I went on a pre-super-malaria trip to Thailand. I was planning on waiting until we went this year to write up my memories from that last trip, but it looks like Nature is giving us the double-knuckle  bird with this drug-resistant bug. I’ve got enough sweating and fatigue right here at home, thank you. Even though I’ve slept a few times since then, I suppose I could wrangle up some damp memories from our previous visit. Maybe it will help me forget that I’m slogging it out in the trenches in (insert metaphor, simile or other comparison to employment-based hell here).

As tends to happen once enough time has elapsed, and vivid dreams endured while taking over-the-counter cough(alcohol) syrup ensue, I’ve blanked out the 18+ hour flight across the globe. Any time you have to spend more than four hours in a metal room crammed to the rivets with other meatbags, there should be a complimentary and mandatory sedation service…mainly for kids, parents and anyone who feels compelled to perform drum solos with their feet on the back of your chair. Also loud-talkers. Seriously, just gas the whole plane and let us sleep in pants-messing peace. I, for one, won’t miss the fun of “choosing” the one menu item left after everyone else in front of you took the “good” option for in-flight meals, but we do have an assortment of cheeses and deli meats for $40 if you like constipation. I’m telling you, once teleportation is a safe reality…

We landed and did the dance of the carry-on-only travelers, and Achebeyo and I managed to find our pre-arranged taxi with little hassle. We had both taken varying lengths of time studying the Thai language, her enough to hold most conversations on her own, me enough to bow and say good morning, good evening, please and thank you. The niceties are important when you look like an incubating problem child. Our hotel upgraded us to persons of importance for free, based on Achebeyo’s status as “Above Moderate Spender” on their consumer watch list. Fortunately, this meant that we were at the top of the hotel and flip-flop distance from the club lounge.

Bangkok, right before I slept for 12 hours.

Eventually the travel-coma wore off and we decided to peel ourselves off the bed to go explore the city. We cleaned up and dressed lightly but appropriately for the day. You can’t enter any of the temples in shorts, tank tops or tutus. Buddha’s not a fan of the wife-beater or crazy clown looks. Luckily, I’m as much of a fan of exposing my skin in foreign countries as I am of eating bug-riddled cow pies, so that was not an issue for me. We would get to watch later as someone actually took issue with being in a different country and having to follow local customs and courtesies. I could see getting upset if they wanted you to strip down naked in the middle of the temple courtyard and set your clothing on fire before entering, but being asked to appropriately clothe yourself before entering their sacred (and financially lucrative) places? Foreigner, please.

The moment we exited our hotel, the word “hot”, as we previously understood it, became meaningless. For someone with a high cellular respiration rate (the by-product of which is salty water), this meant at least one intentional shower per day, and several soakings in my own fluids. We opted to stick to the skywalks, trains and malls as often as possible on our initially meandering path through the city. I say initially, because the moment any of the wonderfully polite and kind Thai people saw us even glance briefly at a map or if-you-could-read-this-you’d-know-you-are-here wall charts they would go out of their way to help us find the best route to our destination. We had to suppress our travel-hardened tendency to see every offer of help as a scam or a threat and let the friendly assistance guide our obviously clueless steps. It was a bit of a paradigm shift for us, but we adapted readily; Achebeyo with the actual conversations and me with the bowing and repeated polite niceties.

After a little bit of walking, one train and one boat ride up the river…

Cool it! It’s the water-cops!

we made it to our initial destination, The Grand Palace.

It doesn’t get much more grand than this.

To get there from the dock, we had to pass through a mini-maze of outdoor stalls with food and trinkets. Since we had no intentions of being glued to a toilet this early in the trip, we opted to skip the food and took our obviously under-informed selves out into the street where our formerly shattered traveler’s defenses would have been of great assistance.

The one and only complaint I had while visiting Bangkok (apart from seeing only one of the famed Thai ladyboys, and only from a distance) was the tuk tuk (three-wheeled, open-cab motorcycle) driver who tried with all of his might to scam us. Okay, so maybe scam is a harsh term. He tried with all of his might to convince us that we needed to visit all of the stores that give him kickbacks for bringing in paying customers while waiting for the Grand Palace to open.

Apparently the Grand Palace is closed, according to conflicting stories from various (tuk tuk driver) sources, until anywhere from 11am to 1pm local time. Any number of other temples were open, including the one our driver took us to, but not the Grand Palace.

One of the conveniently open temples near the merchant district.

As we were still reveling in the rose-tinted excitement of being in a country we had never visited before, none of this registered on us until Achebeyo decided to tell our driver that we wouldn’t need to visit any more stores.

Several stops in a row had seen us walk into a blissfully air conditioned store, uncertain as to why we were there (beyond the need to take a break from steam-cleaning our skin), then rapidly return to the pit-drenching heat outside. The moment we began to ask our driver to take us back to the Grand Palace, his friendly demeanor and apparently feigned polite attitude dropped like cloudy water from my face. I opted to let the one of us who could actually speak enough of the language to be suitably indignant take charge.

Achebeyo stood firm in her insistence that we be returned to the entrance to the Grand Palace, where this mini-debacle began. After a heated exchange between the two, we were deposited at our requested destination and told that our fare would be tripled. I figured it was worth $20 US to get a brief tour of the over-priced merchant district, and a decent story to tell later.

Continued in Thai for Two – part 2 (Grand Dehydration)

Teeth Torquemada

January 3, 2013

I’m sure that, in their personal lives, dentists are warm, caring and peaceful beasts. They’d have to be to offset that whole Spanish Toothquisition thing they’ve got going on at work, right?

You’re not doing anything right with your mouthtal region! How often do you brush?

Well, I-

Silence! When was the last time you flossed?

Just this-

SILENCE!! Now, let me jam these miniature medieval weapons in your gums so I can tell you they’re bleeding.

Typically, nothing is ever good enough for these people. Tell them anything you want, true or fabricated to make you look like you care enough about your teeth to marry them, it doesn’t matter, you’re still guilty of crimes of the oral…hygiene. Typically.

My new dentist hasn’t started in on me with the crippling guilt and whimper-inducing stabbing yet, but I have high hopes that he’s a patient sympathizer. He’s encouraging, positive and responsive to my speculations that dentistry might be better served by finding the genetic triggers that tell our bodies to create new teeth. It’s my favorite pain stalling tactic.

Aside from the fact that one of my tires blew out at speed on the way to the appointment, I think can count today as a qualified success. It’s quite possible I stumbled upon the fabled Dental Revolution…though they do want me to return for further dental questioning.

Boredom as exercise

January 1, 2013

I’ve been getting that itchy, how long do we have to stay at Great Aunt Allergen’s house, feeling lately. You know, where you feel like your brain is screaming at you to peel your carcass off of whatever surface you’ve chosen to adhere to and do somethingANYTHING! But something definitively different than what you’ve been doing for the past few weeks. That’s how this time of year always makes me feel. And that’s why I never bother with resolutions.

If there’s one thing I’m exceptionally good at, it’s manufacturing and burdening myself with ridiculous guilt. Deep down inside, I know I’m not to blame for anything holocausty, slavery-ish or something of a people-feasting nature. That being said, it doesn’t take much for me to immediately want to apologize for being alive any time I watch some atrocity on the news or history channel. That’s exactly why I don’t need resolutions or lifestones (life milestones) to add that heavy lard frosting to my irrational guilt-cake. I’m not casting aspersions on people who function well with self-inflicted, easily modified and later rationalized goals, I’m simply saying I’ve got enough emotional flail marks on me that I don’t need documentation to support it. However, there are a few things I would like to do/encounter in the coming 12-24 months.

Tiger Beach – a stretch of fairly shallow water in the Bahamas where dive crews take you to dive with (if the name wasn’t clear enough) tigers…the underwater, razor-toothed kind. As part of my who is this guy and why should I care what he’s doing with his life campaign, I want to do my part to show that sharks are not the mindless toothy torpedoes that Hollywood (and some newer authors who haven’t figured out that the whole demon shark thing is rather played out) is striving to convince you to empty your pockets for. I figure enough people know that sandtiger sharks are fairly harmless, so it behooves me to visually document the sharks most feared by land-based bipeds. Since all of the tours I’ve looked at state that they have a 100% limb-retention record, I figure I’m as safe as any other oddly shaped non-fish around these predators.

South Africa and Great White shark diving – actually fairly self explanatory. Except for the fact that I want to take the tour where “you go in the cage; cage goes in the water; shark’s in the water…OUR shark“, then you have the option to join the guide outside the cage to truly dive with these beautiful near-dinosaurs. I’ll be surprised if Achebeyo even joins me on the boat that will take me on this adventure, but I can hope. No sense in living if it’s always 100% safe.

Travel, travel, travel – again, pretty self explanatory. I find that my story telling abilities shine the brightest when I’m completely out of my element and experiencing new worlds, willingly or less than. Having time off from work to be a potted slack-plant is fine and all, but at some point you have to scrape off the sweat pants and snack-dusted t-shirts and get back to what makes life truly worth re-living: seeing the world…or seeing places you’ve already been because you only have a few days and St. Thomas & Costa Rica are close and fairly affordable as 3-4 day weekends. Anything to put a few spikes in the flatline of the workaday world.

Write and film a project with some of the very talented people in this region – take what you will from that statement.

Reviewing what’s happened relatively recently based on a numbered day/year makes sense if you’re looking for change, or see a limited window to convince yourself that improvements are necessary or required. Me? I’m pretty happy with who I am and what I’ve done. If you know anything about me, that last statement is change enough.

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