Thursday, March 16, 2017

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 announcements (just like back in High School) at 10AM -- "Good morning, Students" followed by THE ENTIRE BOAT responding "Good morning, Principal Sabourin" loud enough that you could hear it through the cabin doors. Apparently Cruise Director Erin mentioned that our lifeboat drill was so effective and efficient that they wanted to do it again, tape it, and use it as an example of How To Do It for future cruises. Nerds: lining up and dividing into arbitrary groups since 1968.

So, instead of knocking myself out trying to squeeze in things, I decided to relax. We sat by the pool in the sun, and then for lunch had hot dogs and a shake. Jean and I got hot-stone massages; mine was from a lovely young woman with fingers like steel bars (in a good way) who massaged my wrists so well that I suddenly realized how much they had been hurting once the pain was gone. To make room for the massages, we had to skip the show, but I caught it later on the ship-board broadcast channel, and it was hilariously funny: Cameron Esposito and her wife Rhea Butcher, possibly the world's first wife-and-wife comedy duo, were the MCs for a bunch of really strange and eclectic entertainment, as well as doing their own standup sets.

Then dinner again with Al, and some more adventurous menu explorations. Principal Sabourin (Paul of Paul & Storm) had mentioned that the head chef had been encouraged to be more 'aggressive' about the food choices, as the average age of the Sea Monkeys was considerably lower then the usual audience for his menus, and he really did some great work with some of the specialty lunches and dinner menu entries. it was really nice to relax and enjoy the food with Jean.

After dinner, we headed off to what turned out to be a little lecture/colloquium on tattoos and the various cultural effects (and misapprehensions). It was really quite nice. Afterwords, we were making our way to a late show, and I spotted Rishikesh Hirway, the host of Song Exploder and the co-host of West Wing Weekly, so I gave him "the sign" and he laughed and clapped me on the shoulder and said thank you. Then we went and sat and listened to John Scalzi, Immortal Jane Austen (aka Mary Robinette Kowal), Patrick Rothfuss, and Wil Wheaton in conversation on stage, and there was a long and involved discussion on what constitutes a burrito, which by stages worked through rhetoric, prescriptivism versus descriptivism, intent versus results in philosophical argumentation, and just exactly how dirty everything sounds when you talk about puppets and puppeteering. There was no resolution on the burrito question, but it did spur a conversation the next day where we attempted to create a cladistic approach to a taxonomy of what constituted a "hat" (versus "a thing you have put on your head").

Then Jean went off to learn how to play Illimat while I went back to the room and ordered a late-night dessert, because why not? This was the first of many many times when I realized that on a cruise ship, things just happen and you give the person your room number and everything is taken care of and you never actually pay for anything. Which is INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS if you're not paying attention.

Tomorrow we would be putting into port at Cabo San Lucas, and I was to have the first really bad experience of the trip, followed by the second really bad experience, but that's all for the next entry...