Category Archives: travel

Camp is for Nerds! (Good Thing I Am One!)

Rather than write a summary of this past summer’s camp season at iD Tech @ University of Miami, I figured I’d just show you the best parts…

I had lightsaber battles
I danced the Time Warp (and many, many other dances)
I auditioned for The Walking Dead (okay, not really, but how cool would that have been!?)
I became the Dark Knight
…and of course The Smartest Witch of Her Age
I took pretty pictures of campus
…and lots and lots of animals
I DIDN’T get eaten by a crocodile, because I heeded this sign
I was pied for my sixth time
I was turned into a Rainbow Unicorn Centaur
And was a member of a boyband, No Direction (find our video on my Videos Page!)

And of course there were typical camp activities going on… videos made, games played (and made), lots and lots of coffee, campers taught, LOTS of dance parties (including solo ones to “Taking the Hobbits to Isengard“), and always, a ton of fun. Here’s to next summer!


100 Things That Make Me Happy

One of the many (101 to be exact) items on my 101/1001 list is to make a 100 Things That Make Me Happy list. I discovered recently that I’d started this list some time ago, but only got to the 60’s before I gave up. Upon re-reading of this original list, I decided not only would I finish it, but I would revamp it as well, adding new things and taking away the ones that didn’t seem relevant anymore (like “when a boy calls you for no reason”).

See the complete list after the jump:

Continue reading 100 Things That Make Me Happy

In Which I Realized I am Not, in Fact, Johnny Tsunami

Ouch. Oof. Urgh.

That’s what was heard coming out of my mouth every 10 feet or so Sunday, as I tumbled down the “Easy” slopes at Snowshoe.

The adventure started on Saturday, when we went to the show of a fellow snowboarder that was pushed back from a 9:30 slot to one closer to midnight, which meant we didn’t get on the road until 12:30 or so. The two hour drive toHarrisonburgwent fairly quickly, but falling asleep once there was a different story. The neighbors above were having an epic party (still going strong at 3am, when we rolled up), consisting of stomping, yelling, and the playing of music so loudly that I could sing along to all the words. When the cops were called, it only got worse, with music turned up even higher and consistent stomping over our heads. At one point they even sounded like gun shots…

Needless to say, waking up at 7am on only 2 hours of sleep was not enjoyable. Driving another couple hours in the car around twisty turns that made my stomach queasy didn’t help.

When we got up the mountain, we went to buy lift tickets, and I borrowed the student ID of the other girl with us to get the discounted rate. When the guy asked what the school was, my stuttered answer of JMU received a balk, instigating a conversation of how the cashier doesn’t like any school but his own, UNCW. The other girl immediately looked at me, as UNCW was my school as well, forcing me to cover the situation by saying I used to go there but transferred. We were thisclose to getting caught in a lie.

Then came the snowboarding. We started at the Top of the World, where there’s a Black Diamond and aGreen Circleto choose from. Naturally, I went green, as it was my first time. Holy crap, that was the longest “Bunny Slope” ever. What should have maybe taken 5-10 minutes took me almost 2 hours to finish. The boy tried to teach me and was super nice about sticking with me and my continuous falling rather than speeding off ahead and actually enjoying the slopes. I just couldn’t get it. I understood the concepts – carving around, leaning on your toes, leaning on your heels, using your back foot as a sort of guide but not like skateboarding.; but everytime I tried, I started going too fast, freaked, and fell in an attempt to slow down. That, or I went too close to the dropoff and didn’t want a repeat of the last time I went skiing… I had little kids zooming past me on ski’s, asking if I was okay as I went down for the fourth time in 20 feet, blocking the slope and struggling to swing my board around and away from the dropoff, then lug myself back up on the board.

By the time we got to the top of the ski lift (which I fell from when sliding down the little hill), I couldn’t move. My entire upper body was screaming at me, I felt nauseated, and my knees and butt were starting to bruise (currently, my entire right kneecap and part of my left are turning dark red, I have bruises on my butt and arm, and the back of my right thigh is purple and greenish), so I sent the boy off on a solo run while I found a nice place to sit to rest my weary body.

When he returned, we set off to find the rest of our party back at the Top of the World, but couldn’t figure out which way to go. Which meant we got sort of lost meandering about the trails, lugging snowboards uphill toward the peak, fighting fatigue, exhaustion, chapped lips, and nausea. When we finally reached the top, we found our party hanging out in the lodge, and the six of us made our way to another part of the mountain (Silver Creek, maybe?) where the more skilled (everyone but me) could practice their tricks. I rode another green slope, with the other girl teaching me this time, and I was actually able to make it down some of the hills without falling! Eventually, I got stuck on flatland and walked the rest of the slope, giving up for the day and letting my tired body rest from the incessant falling. As the other girl put it, I got more of a workout than the rest of the group, since I had to keep pulling myself up and recover from wiping out. Snowboarding is rough, but I definitely had fun and would go again. Next year. After some upper-body work and squats.

By the time we left Snowshoe, WV, it was well past 7, and we had a 4 hour drive back toRichmond.  With all the winding curves taken at a slow pace and stops for gas and food, we hitHarrisonburgaround 10, andRichmondat midnight. When I stumbled in my apartment at 12:30, it took everything I had to turn on the heat, strip off my winter gear, and crawl into bed, where I could finally relax my aching limbs. Once I heard back from the tired boy, who drove the last leg of the trip, it took no time to give into the consuming exhaustion.

I’ve spent the week since recovering, unable to move my limbs. I couldn’t raise my arms above my head without agonizing pain until late yesterday, so blow-drying my hair Monday night was quite the workout and much more difficult than it should ever be. As I told the boy, it was my version of a workout (in comparison to his lifting his record-high in bench pressing that same night… ugh. Not fair. He doesn’t even have a bruise. The only snowboarding ailment he’s suffering from is peeling from sunburn, which at least I was able to avoid). Tuesday was absolute misery. I’m finally at the point now where there’s a little stiffness, but I’m close to normal again, as far as functioning of my muscles. The bruises will be around for a while, though…

Big Lights Will Inspire You

Part II

Since we spent all day Friday waiting in line for tickets and then sleeping off hangovers and sleeplessness, we planned Saturday as our “tourist” day – waking up pseudo-early and finding Carrie Bradshaw’s Greenwich Village apartment, then finding the “Love” statue, buying scarves and hats, walking down Fifth Ave and into Times Square, armed with cameras and stopping in stores along the way.

It’d been about six years since I’d last been to New York, so the paving over of Times Square was new for me… and what a good idea! Too bad TRL and it’s consistent blocking of the roads died (and with it, the last music videos of MTV), but it’s still a madhouse of people now, rather than cars.

By pure chance, we happened on the Discovery Center’s Harry Potter Exhibition and knew we had no choice but to cough up the $25. Despite the line to get in, and the overpriced photos that photoshop you in front of Hogwarts, once we entered pure joy overcame me.

The exhibit starts by walking down a hallway lined with movie posters of each Harry film, and then into a room of numerous television screens, where they play a Harry Potter tribute, with different images on alternating screens. Watching the montage of the last ten years, I jumped up and down with giddiness and couldn’t stop smiling. Next, everyone was ushered into the next room, where a witch with a Sorting Hat was waiting, and she asked for volunteers to try their luck with the Hat. Naturally, I raised my hand, but it being a “kid’s” exhibit, I was beaten out by three boys who all chose Gryffindor. Fail.

And then, a walk into the World of Harry Potter, with the Hogwarts Express steaming and props and costumes from the movie out in the open for all to see and admire. Let me tell you, I didn’t care about all the people crowding around me, I was lost in the world, and wish I could’ve spent hours there, reading and examining every little detail… but sadly, the line had to keep moving.

In the gift shop, however, I did finally buy my wand… Hermione’s (naturally), and resisted the urge to drop $200 (that I definitely don’t have) on a Gryffindor Robe and $100 on the Gryffindor sweater… one day…

And then came time to prepare for yet more waiting. We made our way back to Broadway around 9, where we staked our claim at the front of the barricades, entertaining the crowds as they slowly filled in around us… and making fun of the teenage girls who had “VIP” access inside the barricades but outside the door, who brought Hershey’s Kisses (with a note) for Dan. Gag.

We met John Larroquette and other members of the cast, and then… Daniel came out, amongst a mix of screaming and hushedly-excited girls. Autograph-hounds asked him to sign DVDs, and he ignored the item, claiming, “Not when you’re selling it, Dude.” The girl behind me complimented him, telling Dan he was awesome, and in a dreamlike state, I echoed her, hearing his bumbling thank you, and as he did so, he glanced upward and did a double-take, telling me, “Nice hat, by the way”.

The rest of the night was spent in a giddy stupor, calling everyone I know (only one person picked up, and the others told me later they were glad they didn’t) and reliving that moment. It’s become my “Happy Place” at work when Jellyfish screams an inch away from my face, and I ordered a frame for my signed Playbill.

I know he’s just an actor and not actually Harry Potter, but seeing as how the “real” Harry is a fictional character whom I have no chance of ever meeting in this world, Daniel is the closest I can come (besides maybe J.K. Rowling), and that moment will live on, next to the framed Hanson autograph and photos, my two passions hung neatly, side by side.

Like I do everytime I see Hanson live, I’ve been bitten and have already begun planning a return trip this summer.