Sunday, February 21, 2010

Apolo Ohno

Here's just a tip - maybe you knew this, maybe you didn't - but it's best not to pretend to be Apolo Ohno the first time you ever go ice skating in your life....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Flea Markets

Flea markets are so strange because they can have the most amazing things that you would never be able to find anywhere else and they also have the stupidest junk that no one would ever want to buy. We went to an indoors flea market in Dudley, MA yesterday and it, at first, seemed like it would fall into the first category of flea markets, so we were excited.

The first few tables had really cool old posters and hair combs, books, bicycles, and a lot of stuff that we really liked but not enough to actually buy. It started to go downhill when we went into this room full of boat motors that had an overwhelming gasoline smell and a little kid constantly screaming "Dad! Dad! Daaaaad! Dad! DAAAAAAAD! DAD! DAAAD! DAAAAAD!" There was then a brief interval of old-school election pins and pretty earrings and then another room full of cereal boxes and candy with the sign "These items may be damaged or outdated." This was the room of people who try to make money by buying things in bulk and then selling them individually for more money than they are worth. It was also the room of pizza-eating creepers and ladies who talked to themselves. It also started to feel like a haunted house because even though there were multiple signs that told us we were being videotaped "to prevent shoplifting", everyone seemed to think that we wanted to snatch their apple-turnovers from 1996, so they kept following us around like the people do at haunted houses when they're trying to scare you.

The wildest part of this flea market was the fact that there were three planes (one 50% off!), a helicopter, a car, taxidermied animals, and mannequins in Air-Force uniforms. It was all very "Twilight Zone"-esque, especially because despite all of the video surveillance precautions (which we highly doubt actually existed) to keep us from stealing these priceless goods, there seemed to be no one around to give us prices when we actually did want to buy something. All of the vendors seemed to be cornered in the cereal box or boat-motor room so we ended up leaving empty-handed because the stuff we wanted to buy was being sold by invisible people.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tips for a Successful Adventure

We have had our share of adventure busts - sometimes we get lost and never actually find our way to our adventure destination, sometimes we over-hype the destination, sometimes we push an adventure too hard. For every let-down, though, we've probably had 4 or 5 fun stories. We've come up with a list of things to make sure you do if you're in the mood for an adventure or two:

1. Make sure you actually want to have an adventure
This seems like it's common sense - of course you want an adventure if you're going out looking for one! But, sometimes when we get bored we think that what we really want to do is get out of the house and find some adventure! When, in reality, all we really want to do is eat ice cream and watch a "To Catch a Predator" marathon. When we have tried to force ourselves to have an adventure in the past, it never turned out well. So, make sure you're in the right mood before you leave the house.

2. Pick the right weather!
One summer, a few years ago, Caitlin and I went on a drive at least twice a week with the intent to get lost and then find out how to get home. Most of the time, we found wild places we never would have known about and had a lot of fun. During this time, the air conditioning in my car stopped working but we thought that we could just keep the windows open as we went out to lose ourselves on an 85 degree day. We ended up being miserable. Our legs stuck to the seats and we looked gross and no matter how fast I drove, we couldn't kick up enough wind to cool ourselves off. I have a rule that I don't go on the highway with my windows open (to save gas, of course) so we just drove around the hot city, next to the hot exhaust of other cars, stopping at red lights and suffocating from the lack of air. Not the best conditions for an adventure. Rain or snow is also rough because rain means that you usually have to stay in the car and snow means that you could get stuck somewhere unfamiliar.

3. Put good music on!
Neither one of us sits on a high horse named "Music" so what we mean by "good" is anything that you can sing along to. Yes, sometimes this does mean Nickelback. Any drive to find adventure can be made shorter by singing loudly and the harsh blow of an adventure bust can be lessened by some all star performances on the drive home.

4. Keep your expectations low
Unless you are expecting to visit the kookiest place on earth and find yourself at the Wilhelm Reich Museum, the chances that you will fulfill and overflow your expectations of a place are slim. The best adventures always happen when you least expect them! So, don't go to a cemetery being convinced that you'll see a ghost or to an abandoned house where you're convinced you'll meet a homeless veteran who has one eye and remembers you from a Dio concert. The best plan is to get in the car and drive. We promise you'll find something great eventually.

5. If you have a place in mind, get directions and give yourself plenty of time to get there
Even though we have rule #4, we often find ourselves getting super excited about a place we plan to go to. Usually, when our excitement is at its peak and our minds start running wild with crazy ideas, it gets really dark and we have to make the executive decision to go home before we get really lost. Or we end up driving in circles for an hour because we can't actually find where it is we want to go. The first time we actually learned from these mistakes was when we went to the Our Lady of Fatima Community Shrine. We had perfect directions and gave ourselves about 2 hours of extra daylight, just in case we screwed them up. It was probably the first time that we never got lost - it was great.

6. Take pictures!
Your memory isn't perfect so you'll want to have pictures - both to remind yourself of what it was like and to remind yourself that you were actually kooky enough to do whatever it is you did.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Every year we vacation in northern Maine - so far north that it takes about a half an hour to get to Canada and finding things to do is a challenge. At night, however, nature decides to give you a little excitement and adventure, and all you need is a car and a bright light to do it.

We're talkin' 'bout moosin'.

Once you're outside of the bright lights of town - the hardware store, the general store, and the antique store, it's pretty easy to find moose coming out of the woods at night. In order to spot them, though, you're gonna need to get yourself a handheld spotlight that you can hold out the passenger side window while someone drives you along the highway. Going slow is, of course, a necessity because hitting a moose usually works out better for the moose than the car.

Some nights can be luckier than others, and the nights when no moose can be found can get very boring very quickly. You know how you have to turn the radio off when you're focusing on something while you drive? Moosin' takes a lot of focus so the radio is never on. This means that on a slow night, you can just troll up and down the highway with your spotlight ready, in a quiet car, late at night, and start to think the whole thing is stupid after an hour.

On good nights, however, moosin' can feel like you're on an African safari. Except that you're in Maine, in your own car, on a highway. There have been times when we've seen 20 moose in one night - including cute babies, protective moms, and gigantic males. Sometimes they are eating on the side of the road or peeking through the trees. Sometimes, we've stopped to get a better look and had a moose charge at the car. When that happens, we all scream to start driving again and then laugh at how scared we got.

As ridiculous as the whole idea of "moosin'" is, seeing a huge moose at night a few minutes from where you're staying is so wild that ii makes all the ridiculousness worth it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Boxing Match!

This is one of the adventures that Caitlin and I do not agree on. She can't understand why anyone would want to be in a boxing match - especially someone like me who isn't particularly strong, athletic, agile, or any of the adjectives one usually uses when describing a boxer.

But any sport that allows you to punch frozen meat as a way to train is obviously awesome.

And, having your arm raised at the end of a match while looking at your opponent laying on the mat, your face sweaty and bloody, your body exhausted, realizing that you actually won and didn't get killed has to be one of the greatest feelings ever.

But I guess the adventure I really want to have is to WIN a boxing match, because I'm sure it's a much different feeling to lay on the mat, looking up at your opponent, and know that you're going to have a rough morning.