Finding Sunshine within the eye of Chaos

It was time to hit the pause button and catch my breath. In times of chaos, I crave the desert and the open seas; both of which, graciously, allow me to breathe and reset my inner “whatever.” My daughter and her husband have chosen to live in the desert, simply, peacefully; shunning the hectic world that surrounds them. I needed to see them, to see my grandson and to breathe in the healing air of the raw desert and smell its soothing earthy scent. Lao Tzu said “that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and with that, I’m off.

 

The Ultimate Three-Day Angkor Wat Guide — For the Love of Wanderlust

Looking for the ultimate Angkor Wat guide? Look no further, this post is full of information, guidelines, tips and photos from the Angkor Archaeological Park (commonly simplified Angkor Wat). 198 more words

via The Ultimate Three-Day Angkor Wat Guide — For the Love of Wanderlust

All Aboard! The path to the Klondike

The White Pass and Yukon Route were brutal, but, if you wanted to join the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897, it was the route you took. In 1900, train tracks were laid and gold ore began its journey to Skagway, Alaska where the ore was loaded onto ships. That train and Skagway are still active to this day.

The First Rule of Bears

Tomorrow we explore the wilds of Juneau, Alaska and I’m told there may be bears wandering around.

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My twisted little mind drifts to the story I wrote for “A Year of the Sun Flower Muse” called “Travel Safety and the First Rule of Bears.” Here is the gist of the story:

1. If pursued by a bear, you need only remember to run faster than the slowest member of your group.

   2. If you are alone, haul-ass towards the group and see #1.

My immediate problem is this: It may be just Lilly and me and she’s in pretty good shape. I was busy trying to hunt up a couple of senior citizens to join us when, as luck would have it, Lilly wrenched her back in the ship’s gym and is now all gimped up. Three thoughts: 1. Gyms are vacation buzzkills and should all be burned to the ground, 2. I am definitely faster than she is now, and 3. When she wakes up and reads this, being chased by a bear may be the least of my worries. Happy Travels! 😊

Missouri Bugs, Part II, Seriously! (Though, I may have embellished a wee bit here and there)

The cemetery Spider has told on me…

 Today, as I’m leaving a restaurant that serves delicious specialty tacos, I see another Bold Jumping Spider on the side of our truck where the cab and the bed meet. “Hey, here’s another one,” I said, “I’ll get a picture.” And as I did, I saw it’s face, its eyes, its nose; “I have seen this face before, but where?” It was the face of a man, deviously smiling and wearing a really cool pair of sunglasses.IMG_1986

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Suddenly, without warning, it jumped through the air towards me, landing on my hand. I promptly freaked the sh*! out and ass-over-tea-kettled backward. The spider then jumped from my hand back onto the side of the truck and just sat there glaring at me; daring me to again, come close and take another picture. I, with my tail firmly tucked between my legs, raced into the truck and slammed the door, whimpering like a little girl. I was beaten and the damn spider knew it.

I told Lilly to haul-ass and make sure she took a different route home; this (insert expletive here) was making it personal. I looked out at the side mirror (you know objects are larger than they may appear) and saw the little terror crawling on the side of the truck towards the cab. We’re doing 40 mph and yet, still, here he comes; the intrepid hunter.

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Stopping at the handle, he, again, stared at me as if possessing the ability of a Jedi Knight to will those of weak-mind into doing its bidding. I suddenly pulled my hand back towards my lap, which oddly, had begun reaching for the inner door latch. I realized this creature was stalking me, watching and waiting for a chance to freak me out again and claim this truck as its own. The haunting melody of Jaws began echoing in the recesses of my mind. I’m desperate, trapped. I suggested running this side of the truck against a brick wall, building, anything, just scrape it the &%#! off! I’m fighting for my life here. Slowly, it crawls up on to the window’s ledge, watching me through the glass. The face, still smiling. It appeared to be relishing the moment; toying with its human prey.

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I’m lost in awe at the size of brass balls this spider must possess. It would stop, stare and then shake its ass at me; taunting me through the window. Then at the front of the window’s ledge, it sat again, staring. Then its “face” began to shift side to side revealing its hidden incandescent fangs. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat giving a play-by-play of its little dance when Lilly, who is now completely annoyed at the folly, says, “just roll the damn window down and flick it away!” Such a bold move! I was mildly tempted, “it’s not a frickin’ Chihuahua!, I protested. It’s huge, and it might just jump into the cab and then what will we do?” “Idiot,” she replied.

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Facing emasculation, I asked Lilly to pull the truck over in a parking lot. This treacherous little monster must never know where we live or, like its vindictive cemetery cousin, it will spread the word or whatever they do, and this torturous hell will never cease.

It then began to climb up the side of the mirror and when it turned its back, I jumped out of the truck. I found a stick near a bush and bravely stood opposed, staring into one of its “only God knows how many” eyes. I thought my odds of victory were about 54/46 and valiantly lunged forward. The spider, expecting my attack, dodged and squatted as it prepared to leap and deliver its death blow, but I countered quickly and with an unexpected backhand flick and twist, knocked it off the top of the mirror and onto the ground, a single strand of its fine spider’s silk was left blowing gently in the breeze. The spider landed about two feet under the truck; broken and defeated. I tossed my stick towards the bush and raised my hand towards the heavens as I drank to my ancestors from the proverbial well of victory.

But then, to my amazement, the wretched creature arose and began crawling towards me. “What is this dark magic you possess?” I exclaimed. I reached for my stick; it was too far away. This spider was bent on hellish destruction; a killer of men, and as I backed away, it continued to advance towards me. But, like a seasoned chess-master, I sorta-patiently waited and as he was blinded by rage, into my trap, he crawled. I squealed for Lilly to “hit the gas!” The wheels of the truck spun and though he tried to escape, it was too late, and they plowed his plotting, stalking, conniving, evil ass over where he then became one with the tire. I remained vigilant for a minute or two, expecting the monster to rise again, like a phoenix from the ashes, and strike me swiftly from behind. Finally, certain that evil had been truly vanquished, I climbed back into the cab and departed the glorious battlefield; victorious.

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The Business of Fun is quite the Funny Business.

A trip to Disney World is an all out assault on your eyes and ears. The place is mindbogglingly busy and none of your senses are spared. It’s loud everywhere, all the time. Your eyes are quickly overwhelmed by the spinning, twirling and flashing of everything that can be spun, twirled or flashed. Even in the restroom, its chaos.

About 3 hours in, a headache ensued and I needed ibuprofen. Now, if I wanted glass slippers or a hat with ears, no problem, but something for a headache; not a pill to be found. I’d have better luck finding Bigfoot hiding in the bushes. I finally found a Disney employee who knew “the secret.”

She said that “certain” stores had ibuprofen secured in a drawer behind the counter, but you had to ask for it. “Is there a special password?” I asked. “No, just start asking different store clerks.” As I staggered into the third store, the clerk immediately “knew” what I wanted. “They come in a 2-pack,” she said, “and they’re expensive,” she warned.

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Desperate times, desperate measures. I coughed up the dough; $2.49 for two pills. She then opened a small cabinet behind the counter and handed them to me. “Yesterday was a big day for this stuff!” she said, smiling.  I scowled at her.  She looked at the door; another sensory-overload victim had just wandered in.

After gobbling up the pills, I started doing the math. I wanted to translate the weight of the two pills into a form that I could use to see how it would compare with other products. OCD and I then went for a long walk crunching numbers. By my calculations: It takes ~101 tablets to equal 31 grams, which, by the way, is also a Troy ounce. ~90 tablets equals a regular ounce (28 grams). Which means that to buy a regular ounce of Advil at Disney World would cost me $112.05 or for a Troy ounce (precious metals are weighed using the Troy ounce) it would be $126.99. (Yes, I was bored and Yes, I had too much time on my hands!)

Anyways, buying two Ibuprofen pills at Disney World works out to ~$112.05 an ounce and ~$126.99 for a Troy ounce or ~$4.01 a gram and ~$4.09 a gram (Troy), respectively.  Who cares, Right? Well, I do and here’s why.

  1.  Wal-Mart: 100 Advil Tabs $7.97. That’s ~.28 cents a gram.
  2.  Excellent Russian Beluga Caviar, $90.00 per ounce or ~$3.21 a gram.
  3.  .999 Pure Silver bars, $15-ish a Troy ounce or ~$.49 cents a gram.
  4. Marijuana, $112.00 an ounce in many large cities, globally or ~$4.00 a gram.
  5. Fresh Burgundy Black Truffles, $44.00 an ounce or ~$1.58 a gram.

For around the same price of Disney’s Ibuprofen, I could buy either: ~1400 Advil pills at Wal-Mart, one ounce of a Fancy Russian Beluga Caviar and still have enough money left to buy a barf bag, 8 bars of  shiny .999 Silver or an ounce of an incredible Burgundy Black fresh-picked Truffle.

Who’s the thinker now! I’ve peeked behind the curtain and I’ve seen Disney’s “real” profit center. Now I’m quite certain that they’re secretly in the Ibuprofen business and that the Mouse-thing, well, is just a rouse to lure you into the park to buy their Advil.

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re not using Points and Miles, you really should be!

Ritz-Carlton, Marana Az. (Tucson)

Booked a room for 3 nights using 70,000 Marriott Points and a free night certificate. This place is a bargain at 35k points per night! The value of the Points and free night certificate is ~$945.

I checked the non-Points value to make sure that using points gives the better value…

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Looks Good. ~$945 in Points to get $1249.74 in value. If you have the Amex Spg Luxury Card, you’re automatically Gold with Marriott. If you travel or spend enough, you can become Platinum. Either way, when you check in, you’re eligible for an Upgrade. I checked in and was upgraded.

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~$945 in Points/free night certificate and now $3833.99 in value! Wow!

How did I earn the points? Spg Luxury card with 75,000 point sign up bonus. $450 year fee. WAIT! You get $300 of that back as a credit to pay a Marriott Hotel charge(s) and $250 of it back for airline incidentals (fly Delta and use it for gift cards to help pay for your flight). You also get a free night certificate and Marriott Gold status. Do the Math!

Apply for an American Express Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you’re approved! http://refer.amex.us/MICHAmOzEI?xl=cp33