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Showing posts from March, 2017

Spring Break -- The Official Pamphlet

They made a link for the Little Blue Book for the cruise, which I haven't gotten around to digitizing yet. So here's the whole schedule and all of the performers:

https://jococruise.com/uploads/2017/03/JCC2017FinalBookletCrop.pdf

So Here's The Thing -- Horizon: Zero Dawn

Since this blog is just sitting here anyway, and I play a crapton of videogames, I figure I might as well scream into the void a little about my experiences of playing videogames and what they mean to me. I've decided to call these infrequent and irregular reviews of games "So Here's The Thing", because as a white dude I'm constitutionally allowed to mansplain pretty much everything and I don't think even I could stomach a series called "Well, Actually". Expect these reviews to be highly opinionated and exceptionally biased, as is the custom of my people and by my people I mean Social Justice Warriors (or, in my case, Social Justice Bard).

The first game I'm going to talk about is the relatively-new release, Horizon: Zero Dawn, from Guerrilla Games, published by Sony Entertainment. I played it on the PS4, and put about 40 hours into it during my vacation. I'll warn you before I drop any spoilers.

Things I knew going into this game: it's …

Spring Break: The Photo Post

Here's that set of photos I promised in previous posts.

You can find pretty much all the pictures I took here:

https://goo.gl/photos/19TpVGcXatupsCJd8

I hope you enjoyed our show.

Spring Break, Day 8 and Beyond -- thoughts and take-aways

The deboarding process was exactly as efficient as the onboarding process, and we were out and off to the airport with our luggage quickly and easily, and our flight home was uneventful, and our arrival back to our home was pleasant -- it was good to see our dog again, to lay down in our bed again, to use our washer and dryer again. It was a little disappointing that there weren't any towel animals, or turn-down service, and there wasn't a 24-hour room-service line, and we had to cook our own food rather than just wander into the dining room and grab food. So, trade-offs, really.

Jean and I had several conversations, especially in the last two days of the cruise, about whether or not we would be interested in going on JoCOcho (aka JoCoCruise VIII). Our experience was a generally positive one, and I certainly had a blast, but we both recognized that, as a couple prone to introversion, we spent a bunch of time turtling up together and not giving ourselves the chance to meet new …

Spring Break, Day 7 -- Homeward Bound

Another at-sea day, which meant a ton of stuff on the schedule, most of which I simply ignored to enjoy the last day of being on a cruise ship on the water. We did manage to get up and get our coffee in time to attend Zoe Keating's Armpit Farting Colloquium, which was entirely worth it. If you get a chance, you should check out Zoe Keating's music on the Cello. And also see if you can find a video where she teaches you to make farting noises with various parts of your body that aren't usually involved in farting noises.

Since it was a Friday, for lunch Jean and I partook of a hot dog, as is the custom of our people. And while we were doing that, Jean and I played "One Deck Dungeon", which is a fun little card game which I bought specifically because all of the characters in the game are women -- heroes, villains, final bosses -- and that got the babymen het up and so I tossed some money that way to encourage the designer to keep on being awesome. It's fun, an…

Day 6: Sailing The Ocean Blue

Today was an all-at-sea day for the cruise; no port of call, no stops, just sailing (and a really nice vista in the afternoon). This turned out to be my favourite type of day on the cruise, though I entirely understand why they don't do it all the time -- the staff and performers need a break at some point! But it was gorgeous and pleasant and extremely relaxing. Which was good, because I spent most of the day feeling worn out and tired. Part of it was me getting over the sunburn / overheating, part of it was the entire week of being polite and extroverted, and part of it was honestly just missing home. The bed was comfy and the meals were great, but as Jean said, we were missing our dog and our garden and our own bed.

They switched up the schedule, so the concert for the day was in the morning; the Doubleclicks did a brilliant show with a bunch of their friends, and it was amazing. They even debuted a couple of songs off their new album, which was pretty damned cool. It was also …

Spring Break Day 5: Goodbye Loreto!

Day five is where it really caught up with me. We ended up sleeping in late, which meant we missed an early shore excursion, but given the rest of my day I can honestly say that it was the right decision despite the cost incurred. There were not many things on the schedule before 3 PM (our departure time from Loreto) so it was mostly wandering around and relaxing, trying to build up some energy. It was sorely needed, since I was pretty wiped out and Jean was having a skin reaction to all the sun we got; neither of us slept well, both of us were mildly grumpy because of it, and because of that we spent most of the day 'turtling up' together and not doing much of anything. Which wasn't to say that we didn't have a good time; it's hard to be unhappy on a cruise ship even if you decide to sit at the pool and drink mocktails and read a book. Or, in our case, when Jean went to do some knitting in the Craft Lounge while I went to the casino and lost at cards.

For lunch we…

Spring Break Day 4: Hello Loreto!

On Day 4, we slept in. We were gearing up for a walking tour of Loreto, a small town of about 14,000 and not a usual stop for cruise ships. Apparently it's a relatively popular destination for ex-pats from North America to find a warm summer home; about 25% of the permanent population are mostly originally from Canada and the US. The ship pulled into the harbour about 11AM, so we had plenty of time to get our coffee and pastries and a bit of fruit. Then once again to the tenders to putter to the docks, where a GIANT banner greeted the Seamonkeys off of the Westerdam specifically, which was kind of awesome.

We met Guillermo, "call me Memo", our tour guide at the dock. This time, instead of forty people on a party boat, it was fifteen people on a walking tour. Memo was exactly our speed: he talked about the history of the state of Baja California Sur (which is different from Baja California -- I imagine the fervor rivals the North/South Dakota distinction in the US), up to…

Spring Vacation: Day 3 -- Hell Is Other Tourists

Day 3 was the day we put into port at Cabo San Lucas. Jean and I had signed up through HAL to take a "historic pirate boat and whale watching sail" which sounded just my speed: maybe a short-rigged two-masted brigand, a careful slow sail out into the Sea of Cortez while the tour guide goes over the various local pirate legends and historical facts, a little bit about the Spanish / French conflict over the territories, maybe even some talk about the "Americanization" during the gold rush. Then we watch some whales and sail home. That's even what the brochure made it sound like. Maybe not for everyone, but I liked the idea, and plus, whales.

Turns out, this is not what we got.

HAL is terrific at getting people on and off the boat, especially when that requires tenders (tiny little boats that chug into port when the port isn't deep enough to allow the cruise ship to dock). Our walkthrough of the process was quick, clear, concise, and timely, and because we are…

Spring Vacation -- Day 2: Stretching My Sea Legs

Addendum for Day 1: I completely forgot that one of the first things we did was a lifeboat drill! It was oddly fun -- clear announcements from Cruise Director Erin (there can be only one) made it easy to figure out what to do, and a quick drill down some stairs and into our group let us be one of the first "complete" lifeboats, at least on the Even side. It was quick and painless and I imagine quite useful had we had any sort of emergency, which we did not.

Day 2 of JoCoCruise 2017 was an at-sea day; no port of call, just sailing. This makes it sound boring, but for my money, Sea Days are the best part of JoCoCruise -- lots of time to do lots of things and no pressure to be anywhere or see anything. Day 2 was where I managed to let go of my FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and just relax and enjoy the experience I was undergoing; there were way too many things available to do that I could never, ever do them all.

Because of the whole-boat situation, we had actual morning announcem…

What I Did On My Spring Vacation, by Jerome Comeau, Age 41. Part one -- The First Day

After talking about it for several years, last year it was announced that the Jonathan Coulton Cruise (aka JoCoCruise) was in 2017 going to be out of San Diego, and furthermore was going to be able to control the whole boat (instead of sharing the cruise ship with non-JoCo people), and Jean and I agreed that this was the year we'd go on the Cruise. So we saved up a bunch of money (Cruises are expensive, y'all), made our reservations, and on Friday March 3rd we boarded a plane to San Diego for JoCoCruise 2017.

This year was the first year that JoCo had the full boat, and it was the first year of West Coast cruising, and also the first year of returning to Holland America Lines as the Cruise Provider, so it was a year of firsts including my first-ever cruise, as well as my first JoCo cruise. Lots of the JoCo Crew have done multiple JoCo Cruises, so I was a little nervous we wouldn't know anyone, but Friday night as we wandered back into the Hotel from some last minute sundry…