Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center

That last post updated a few days late...

So we have been aboard for 2 days and its pretty fun so far, barring some (expected?) family drama. Plenty of food, and enough pools though it has been a bit cold so far. The people aboard are a bit depressing however. Old, fat, full, and annoying! And the staff has a bit of attitude (Royal Caribbean).

Today we had a shore excursion to the Kennedy Space Center. We made port around 1pm and got the the KSC around 230. The driver took us on a bus tour of the facilities and we saw the launch pads, rocket construction facility, and a 'rocket garden' which was reminiscent of the rocket graveyard in Huntsville, Alabama. It was all pretty cool, but very rushed, as we had to be back at the bus by 6pm.  We saw an IMAX 3D presentation of hubble images which was awesome (narrated by Leo DiCaprio-coincidence?). There was also a launch simulator, but that was a bit of a fantastical family ride, and not an authentic experience as I had hoped.

Tomorrow we make port in Nassau, Bahama, and I am looking forward to cloudless sun, fine sand, and azul water.

Sorry for the rushed post...again!

Waiting to Disembark in Beyonne, NJ

So today is the day I begin my pre-journey. Yes, I will he heading down to Central America in just a few short weeks, but today I begin the family holiday adventure of a lifetime. A 7 day cruise from Jersey to Florida (and the Bahamas?) on The Explorer of the Seas, the first of the mega cruise ships holding about 5,000 passengers (I guess?) and 6,000 buffets (I hope!).

We are lovingly referring to it as "The Cruise of Doom!" This is largely because we are sailing from the deathtrap icy waters of the winter North Atlantic through Cape Hatteras and the Bermuda Triangle during the Mayan Apocalypse, with limited alcohol (and no opportunity for recreational drugs). And to top it all off this ship is classified "unsinkable"...I've heard that line before.

Best case scenario, this ship is actually some kind of secret arc for the preservation and procreation of mankind after the flood waters receed. Clearly, I just don't know because of the security clearance issues... However, looking around the waiting area in this converted hanger(?) I'm not sure that we're the best and brightest of mankind, or youngest...and certainly not the best looking:/ oh, if If Elijah Wood could see us now.

Ok, ready for fun and adventure on the high seas!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

PR 2012

So right now I am sitting on the front porch of a Thai restaurant in Aquadilla, Puerto Rico. I am eating alone tonight, and I am expecting my Thai tapas to be delicious. Or else...

Food came quick, I had sweet potato coconut soup, very tasty with a tiny chili kick. Next ill be starting on spring rolls. I'm drinking a puertorican micro brew called santo viejo...mmmm.

Spring rolls not so good, the rice paper is soggy and they are doused in cilantro. Boo. Good sipping sauce though.

Ok, let's recap my trip so far. I arrived late Monday night and my host was kind enough to pick me up from the airport at 2am. We went back to his house and crashed fairly quickly. He lives very close to the airport.

Tuesday morning we grabbed some coffee at a tiny beatles themed coffee shop (he was friendly with the owner) and my host dropped me off at a beach called Jobos on his way to work (abt 10am...). I sat on the beach for a while, watching surfers and getting good and crispy--spf 15-- and then I asked a family to watch after my stuff while I explored a rather impressive rock at the other side of the beach's cove. The rock was sharp and dangerous and huge, but when I got to the other side of the outcropping, I got an impressive view of the north side of the island. Foam exploded around me on all sides, as the sea thundered onto the rock --which I realized was actually a huge chunk of jagged exposed coral. I was glad that I brought my tevas, and terrified of making a faceplant into the deadly sundried coral.

I went back to the beach, and leaving my bag still in the care of this family (which seemed to have grown!) I took the snorkeling gear that my host had lent me and hiked to the other side of the cove where there were fewer surfers and less chance of getting beheaded.

The snorkeling was mediocre at best, but there was some basic coral and some sea urchins. I saw two hand-sized brown fish. Meanwhile, the chop was hard and keeping myself in control was a bit of a challenge. Had this not have been a protected cove (protected by that large coral outcropping) I'm sure I would have been sucked out to sea and certain doom.

I flippered back to the shore and promptly jabbed my pinkey toe on some concealed driftwood in the sand that I promptly punished with a flick out to sea.

I limped back to my towel and nursed my wound...best part about hurting yourself at the beach is the ready disinfectant. I got some refreshment from a beachside stand and tucked into my kerouac. A few hours later I was bored and got up to take a little stroll down the beach. I threw my backpack over my shoulders (note the culprit of my peculiar burn-lines) and began a short stroll which was so beautiful and deserted that it ended up lasting about 6 hours.

Walking down the beach, I clamored over rocks, coral, shells, sand fine like flour and course like kitty litter, wet alge that felt like snot, and dry alge that was like carpet after spilled soda had dried off. All the while, the clear azul water was rushing up to shore and pulling back out I to the eternity of the sea.

After I had realized the time that was passing and the need to get home before dark, I tried finding a route home that did not require any backtracking. To the right of me was infinity, and to the left was a thickly wooded ridge, unclimbable. In front of me, I could see that the sandy beach was quickly running out, about to smack into a cliff ontop of which sat the Rafeal Hernandez airport.

Luckily, a dozen horses saddled down by fat midwesterners popped out of the forest just ahead of me. I had stumbled upon a horse trail and a guided tour to boot. I probably should have asked them for some water, as I was thirsty enough to drink the salinated poison to my right, but shame got the best if me and I didn't.

I began to climb the horse trail which didn't really seem to have that much climb about it, but at least it was headed west, which was where I needed to go eventually. After a while walking plane through the jungle, I finally came upon an intersecting jeep trail whose malaria steeped treads switched-back (switch-backed? Swatch-boke?) up the ridge. I was getting real tired and my glowing red skin was surely starting to singe the leaves I was brushing against, so I was thrilled to discover the remains of an ancient staircase leading up the remaining 100 or so feet of the ridge. I stepped lightly as the new deal concrete slabs were flaking away with vegetation splitting its way through, steadied only by the trustworthy rusted rebar.

The last few steps were more like a pullup, and as I Indiana'd my desperate hands onto sure ground, I was beyond pleased to see powerlines which I joyfully followed back to the main road and an ice cold CocaCola. Open happiness.

I walked along the main road (with which I was familiar from my drive from the airport the night before) to a supermarket (where I bought copious quantities of aloe gel and water) and back home to cold shower, hydrate, and pass out.

When my host got back, we ate dinner at a neat little place (i got chicken and red pepper soup with spinach and mushroom canneloni, warm crusty bread), and got home to crash early...ish.

Today was a whole nother story.

This morning I decided it was a good idea to try and hitchhike to Camuy where there is an underground cave system. I ended up walking for about a million hours before I realized that nobody hitches here, and nobody stops. Soo, I called it quits and turned around to head back west. My goal was to make it to Aguadilla Pueblo and check that out. Meanwhile, my crispy arms were only getting crispier and crispier. I stopped into a mcdonalds for wifi and confirmed my doubts, that I was going to die of sunpoisoning and dehydration before I ever got anywhere.

So anyway, I made it to Aguadilla Pueblo after a day of walking along the deathly hot highway, and gorged myself on corn ice cream. After that, I had enough of walking and hopped a collectivo back to the airport (ripped off, $3!) and walked from there back to my host's house where I slathered myself in aloe lotion and passed out again. I went to Thai for dinner, which is where we began, and the adventure continues. I fly home at the end of tomorrow.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

9-5, 5-9

A Thought Experiment.

The 9-5; 9-5 Scenario.

We all need about 8 hours of sleep a day. Quote whatever scientific resource you want, I don't expect that you'd encounter much resistance to that statement. But what if we didn't need to take those eight hours all at once?

Not a novel idea, I admit, but certainly one worth considering. I don't propose some extreme solution like 20 minute power naps every hour or intermittent siestas, but lets toy with the concept of 9-5.

Everyone works the same 9am-5pm grind, whether you get up a bit earlier or leave work a little later isn't really relevant. We get up too early, we commute to work. We arrive sometime in the morning and we work till sometime in the night. We go home and think about going back to work. Our lives are chained to some vision of the part we play. We sell the daytime to the gods of productivity.

Meanwhile, we fit into a few general boxes; here are two of them. The first box is for the worker who tires too all-consumingly from his work. He gets home and collapses, too fatigued to do more than eat, plug in for a bit, and then sleep restlessly in the hope of a recharge until his alarm forces him out of bed and back to work each morning. A second box is for that of the over-compensator. In this box you’ve got the guy who leaves work and goes out every night, quick to get into party mode and blast his way through his work-evenings, blowing off the steam withheld throughout the endless workday. We all pull energy from somewhere.

We’re active during work hours but generally a mess of wasted productivity for the rest of any given day. There’s 24 hours in a day, we are active from 9am-5pm and wasted from 5pm-9am. Wasted for 16 hours.

So we’ve sold out the daytime and drift through the night like zombified barbies. Consider this; we motion to live in a world where we may sell out the daytime, but we earn back the night.

In the 9-5; 9-5 scenario, the day’s schedule goes like this: 9am, wake up, go to work; 5pm, get home and into bed, go to sleep; 9pm, wake up, go out; 5am, get home and into bed; 9am, lather, rinse, repeat.

Weekends could work the same way, with 48 hours reserved for R&R at the end of every week. During this time, people would likely sleep for longer periods of time.

In the 9-5; 9-5 scenario, we are awake for 8 hours at a time, asleep for 4 hours in the interval. And the best part is, we still get 24 hours in the day, we are just active for 8 hours more of it. We have reclaimed those 8 nighttime hours. We may choose to use them to work another 8 hours, or to engage in a newfound leisure pursuit. Of course, in this scenario, all people in your culture are participants, and all the opportunities of the daytime, or perhaps more, or perhaps different, are available for your exploration after dark.

It may be the inspiration of one to use this additional 8 hours to explore a second profession/business or a time to double productivity in one particular profession/business. It may be the inspiration of another to follow a dream passion, pursuit, or hobby. Time for learning would be doubled, we would each get to know ourselves and each other better, and our people would certainly acquire new knowledge at faster rates.

It seems certain, then, that in the 9-5; 9-5 scenario, humanity will quickly surpass its own limits for wisdom and capacity for understanding forcing the collective consciousness of humanity to escape its visceral material form and ascend as one into a trans-dimensional sentience, free from the bonds of any physical existence.

So I think it would be cool to try.

J. S. Nacheman