Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 2009 Book Report

A Place Beyond Courage- Elizabeth Chadwick- A story about John Marshal, who was famous for saying about his son (William Marshal), a hostage at the time, (and I paraphrase) “Go ahead and kill him. I’ve got other sons better than that one.” This book takes the stand that John wasn’t being a heartless uncaring bastard when he said that. It’s interesting, I guess, but nowhere near my favorite of her books. I tend to more like her novels whose main characters are not central historical figures.

The Time of Singing- Elizabeth Chadwick- A story about Roger Bigod, the earl of Norfolk during Henry, Richard and John’s reign. William Marshal is a minor character in this novel. I liked Roger as a character but found Ida slightly grating. I know I’ve said this before but I like her novels which feature characters who are not central historical figures. I prefer the everyman who sometimes moves in the circles of central historical figures.

Crank- Ellen Hopkins- This is a wildly creative novel. It’s a fantastic story. The breadth of young adult fiction continues to astound me.

Brimstone- Robert B. Parker- The latest in the Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch westerns. Not a bad read but not a great one either. This is a decent way to kill an afternoon (or two). Some humor, but not as much as in other Parker books. Speaking of other Parker books, the latest Spenser novel (The Professional) will be released on October 5th.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Television Week In Review (Week Ending 9/26/09)


NFL Football: Pats at Jets: Well, that sucked. And the worst part is, Heather wasn't anywhere near the house so I have to blame the loss on the Pats themselves. This must be what it feels like to be a Jets fan...At least the Red Sox won.

Emmy Awards: I usually don't watch this show, or watch much of it at any rate, but this year I had to tune in because of Neil Patrick Harris. This show rocked if only because Dr. Horrible made an appearance. Oh my God!!!!!!! Dr. Horrible!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh yeah, some other stuff happened too but I completely forgot it all when Dr. Horrible appeared. Please, please, please Joss. We need more Dr. Horrible. Anyway, fantastic show, especially for an awards show. Neil Patrick Harris (who was robbed) is such a great host.


How I Met Your Mother: This show has been much funnier. Something felt off. Probably the Robin/Barney pairing. Am hoping they regain the funny soon.

Accidentally On Purpose: Watched this because the powers that be at CBS split up the two shows I actually like to watch on Monday nights. While it wasn't great, or even really all that good, there were a couple of parts that made me laugh. Don't know what the British actress's name is, but I liked her in Extras.

Two and a Half Men: To think that Jon Cryer (no offense, Jon) beat out Neil Patrick Harris for his acting on this show is maddening. This show does make me laugh but it's just not the same quality of comedy as How I Met Your Mother.

The Big Bang Theory: The boys are back!! I was glad when everyone had shaved. The scene with Laurie Metcalf was particularly funny (the evolution vs. creationism bit) because Joe and I had literally been talking about it like an hour earlier.

Castle: Rick's back in action, trying to make Beckett stop hating him. There's a murder and they solve it. I like the chemistry between Castle and Beckett. I like the scenes between Castle and his mother and daughter. The rest isn't bad...it's just not as good as the rest. Loved the line that Hollywood had optioned Asteroids the game for a movie...Ryan Reynolds would be playing the green triangle and he's good.

House: What an amazing premiere. Seriously, I think that might be my favorite episode(s) ever. Great writing, great acting. Loved that it was House and House alone, with the exception of a brief cameo by Wilson. Loved seeing House stirring up trouble, loved seeing him slowly come to grips with everything. Andre Brauer is a fraktastic actor and I absolutely loved him in this role. Seeing Silent Girl play the cello at the end made me cry. A good start, a very good start, to the season.


Dancing With The Stars: This show is one of my guilty pleasures. Seriously. It's just good ole campy fun. Joe likes it too. Of course, I think Joe's in it more for the skimpy costumes. But I am nothing if not open minded. Anyway, this was the premiere of the female contestants. Melissa Joan Hart does not look any older than she did when she was Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Just slightly older than she did when she played Clarissa on Clarissa Explains It All (how much did I love that show as a kid?). Macy Gray was funny...don't know what she said but judging from everyone's reactions, it was priceless. Kelly Osbourne's performance made me laugh (like when she said the word that best describes her as a dance is "crap".). Mya and Joanne the swimsuit model were quite good. Speaking of the swimsuit model, I think Derek has a little crush.


So You Think You Can Dance: The audition tour was in Boston this week and I had a good laugh at Cat Deeley attempting a Boston accent. Especially the "wicked pisser" part. Too funny. Curious how the judges make their decisions. Like, the breakdancing freakazoid...sure, he had some cool moves but I fully expected them to put him through to the choreography round to see if he could do something else but they put him straight through. And yet, the crumper (krumper?) who had some sick dance skills had to do the choreography. The too tall tapper didn't get to go through and I honestly don't remember anyone else. Next week, Atlanta!

Dancing With The Stars Results: Love to record this show and then fast forward through all the crap parts. Though we sometimes had to go back and rewatch Samantha Harris's interviews because they're oh so often cringe worthy. Anyway, I loved the Lion King segment and the Patrick Swayze tribute (waited the whole thing for the Dirty Dancing lift. Was not disappointed.) Ashley Hamilton and Macy Gray were booted. Too bad, so sad.

Modern Family: This show cracked me up, big time. Will definitely be watching it again to see where it goes. Loved the "traditional" family's hijinks, Ed O'Neill's gruff character and the red headed gay guy (from that show "The Class" a while back...anyone else remember that show? He played the depressed guy.).

Glee: I just love this show. Rachel is getting on my nerves but DAMN, Lea Michele can sing. Jane Lynch is a comedic goddess and I loved seeing Mike O'Malley as Kurt's dad. One of my favorite lines was his: "I've known since you were three. All you wanted for your birthday was a pair of sensible heels." Too, too funny.


Vampire Diaries: So, I was planning to cut this show loose because Thursdays are just too crowded but things happened and I had to put Bones on hold, so I tuned in. Plus, the teaser said something about Stefan trying out for the football team which just amused me to no end, and so I watched. What ended up happening was probably the most entertaining episode yet. Strike the probably. It was the most entertaining episode yet. Love that the show is reinforcing the stereotype that the slutty girls get bitten by vamps. Also like Bianca's (at least I think that's her name) character and I am interested to see where that goes. I also wasn't sad with the asshat history teacher was eaten by Damon. Also missing was the too young to be an aunt Jenna. Didn't miss her either though.

Fringe: The gang stumbles across a Gollum like creature eating people (or at least killing people) underneath a Pennsylvania farm house. Olivia has developed super sonic hearing and nearly shoots Peter in the face. Meanwhile, Evil Charlie is on a mission: get Olivia to remember what happened in altera-world...or else.

Project Runway: The challenge tonight was to make a costume for a particular style movie. Nicholas won with his ice queen get up while Christopher and Epperson were close runners up. I think Epperson was robbed. I would totally wear that costume. Was also shocked that Ra'mon was booted over Louise.

The Mentalist: Started watching this show during the summer when there was nothing else going on. It's not a bad show by any means and it is, at times, rather entertaining. But it lacks the zany insanity of Psych.

The Office: Better than the season premiere.

Community: So, I have a problem watching this show. I think I've watched Joel McHale on The Soup so often I have a hard time thinking of him as anyone other than Joel McHale. It took me a while to think of David Boreanez as anyone other than Angel, but it happened eventually so there's hope for Joel yet.

Bones: This show seemed to have more rhythm that the premiere did. I've always liked Wendell the Lab Assistant so I hope the group's banding together to save his scholarship means he'll become a series regular. I mean, c'mon, even Booth likes him.

Supernatural: So, the absolute best moment was Castiel's face at the strip club. Classic. Dean and Castiel also go to Waterville. As in Maine. Which is funny because I'd seriously been wondering not too long ago why they'd never gone to Maine. Now I have to wonder why they've never gone to New Hampshire.

Grey's Anatomy: Haven't watched it yet. Maybe never will. Haven't decided yet.

FlashForward: Really want to check this show out but I haven't had time yet. Too much television, not enough hours.


Dollhouse: Haven't watched it yet (I've been busy and got a little behind on my demanding television schedule.) but Apollo from Battlestar Galactica is the guest star so I'm really looking forward to watching it.

Monk: VooDoo dolls come to town and start causing havoc. I didn't have this episode solved before the opening credits, so that was a good thing. I know they're running out of episodes so I'm waiting for Trudy's case to be brought up again.

Psych: Urkel and the kid from The Mighty Ducks guest star as Gus's college friends. It was a good episode, lots of laughs and a good mystery to boot.


Robin Hood: So, this week, the Sheriff blackmails the Abbot because the Abbot spent a decade translating the Bible into English which is a big bad no-no. So the Abbott, to protect his work, declares Robin a heretic. The gang gets themselves into trouble and Kate has to save them. Much tells Kate he has feelings for her and Kate tells him it can never happen because he's dirty and smells and is a heretic. Seems like someone is a little closed minded.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Television Week In Review (Week Ending 9/19/09)


The US Open Women's Final: Watched Kim Clijsters take on Caroline Wozniacki for the women's title. I was rooting for Kim and, thus, was pretty happy. Joe and I also decided we could start a drinking game. Take a shot every time they mentioned or alluded to Serena Williams's meltdown. You'd be pretty damn drunk by the end of it.


The US Open Women's Doubles Final: The Williams sisters won handily. The best moment was the post match interview when Patrick McEnroe kept trying to get Serena to talk about the now infamous profanity fest that was the semifinal. The third or fourth time he tried to get her to comment on it, the crowd booed and Venus said, "What I think they're trying to tell you, Patrick, is that they're ready to move on." Indeed.

The US Open Men's Final: Can't believe Rog flinched and flinched that badly. And swore at the chair umpire. Decorum, people, decorum! Loved John McEnroe's comment that the chair umpire couldn't talk to Roger Federer like that. Too funny. Props to Juan Martin del Potro though. Somewhere, Andy Roddick is beating his head against a wall.

Monday Night Football: Bills at Patriots: After, rescheduling a dinner with Heather (I'm sorry, Heather, but every time you come over to watch football, something terrible happens. First we lose the Superbowl to frakking Eli Manning and then Tom Brady gets taken out for the entire season. I just can't take the chance.), Joe and I settled down to watch the season opener. Holy crap, what a game. I spent a lot of time screaming at the Pats defense. I spent a lot of time screaming at the Pats offense. Then, at the end, I spent a lot of time just screaming. Jumping up and down and screaming. Then I spent some time sitting in front of the television just not breathing. Note to Bill: great job and all, but how about next week we make things a little less interesting??


Nothing interesting on so Heather and I watched Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. Again. And not only did we watch Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, we sang along with Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. We were delighted. Joe was, I suspect, slightly less so.


So You Think You Can Dance: Love, love, love this show. Last week, it was all about the tappers. Love Ryan Kasperzack and really, really want the producers to get him and that other male tapper to perform Moses Supposes because that would be frakking AWESOME. This week, everyone was in Phoenix. The show made me tear up twice before the first half hour had passed. But still, I'm all about the tappers.

Glee: How much do I love Glee? Maybe not as much as my Sharpie fine point pens, but pretty damn close. Last week, Terri discovered she wasn't pregnant but decided not to tell Will the truth because she's afraid of losing him. This week, Will told his parents Terri's pregnant and then started an acapella group with some of the guys. Joe doesn't really go for the whole singing and dancing format, but I'm loving it.


Bones: The season premiere. Last season ended with Booth in a coma after brain surgery and Brennan reading him a story she'd written where they were married and expecting and owning a bar and whatnot. This season begins with Booth being reinstated by Sweets. The episode had a weird vibe to it and not just because Cyndi Lauper played a psychic. Everyone felt off...to be expected, I suppose, because it was their first case back too. Everyone needs to find their rhythm again. A couple of laugh out loud moments.

Vampire Diaries: So I watched the pilot last week and didn't hate it so I thought I'd give it another week. I'd like to congratulate the supporting cast of Everwood on having found a new show. This week left me still feeling undecided. There are good moments and then there are Dawson's Creek moments (which is to be expected because of Kevin Williamson). Stephan so far seems to be a much better vampire than Edward Cullen. His brother Damon needs to tone down his evilness just a little before I'll find him actually scary and not just annoying. Vicki is entirely too old to be playing a high school student. The history teacher is an asshat and I think Aunt Jenna looks like she should be playing Vicki's character. Oh, and Zack called Stephan his uncle. Anyway, I'll be watching another week. Probably.

The Office: Michael starts spreading false rumors about everyone in the office. He happens to hit on a couple of true rumors and inadvertently outs Pam's pregnancy. This episode had some funny moments like when Michael asked if Pam peed on a stick and Jim said, "Yes I did. It was inconclusive." But I hope this show gets its stride back. It can be very, very funny but of late it's been more hit or miss.

Community: Joel McHale of The Soup stars in this new show about a guy who goes to community college when he gets discovered for being a fraud. He starts a study group to try and get to know this girl and ends up attracting a lot of misfits. Naturally. Anyway, the pilot wasn't brilliant or anything but I think the show has potential.

Fringe: It's baaaaaack. Olivia wasn't in much of this episode which suited me just fine because I don't really care enough about her character. Especially since she's a lead. I'm in it for Walter and Peter. The dynamic duo. Loved the scene where Walter gleefully announced he could ride with the body and Peter said, "Go ahead. Just stay out of the medication." Anyway, Olivia doesn't remember her trip to the past, there's a new sexy yet fiesty female agent on the case and Charlie Francis is the latest "Evil Francie" storyline. If you watched Alias, you'll know what that meant.

Supernatural: Last week, the devil was set free (oops!) and found a vessel. Bobby was possessed and stabbed himself to stop the demon within him from killing Dean. Castiel returned from the dead to go medieval on a whole bunch of other angels and Dean turned down life as an angel condom. And oh yeah, one more thing, Dean said he doesn't know how he'll ever trust Sam again. So this week, the boys go to Colorado to help Rufus, Ellen and Jo battle a town full of demons. Turns out it was War, as of the four horsemen of the apocalypse and he drives a sweet mustang. This was a good episode. I think I might have enjoyed it more than the opener. Anyway, it ends with Sam and Dean going their own ways. Yikes.

Project Runway: It's still a little early to be naming your favorites because are just so many designers but Qristal or however one spells her name, was someone I was not sad to see go last week. To be honest, I'm not sure why they even had her on the show to begin with. But anyway, this week, the gang had to make clothes out of newspapers. I think Irina's coat was interesting at the top and then the cuffs around the sleeves but other than that, it wasn't interesting. Certainly not interesting enough to win. Can't believe Althea (is that her name?) didn't win. Joe can't believe Kristopher didn't. Also not sorry to see Lyin' Johnny go. I miss Michael Kors and Nina Garcia but tonight's slate of guest judges (Tommy Hilfiger and Eva Longoria Parker) did yield the very funny line, "Tommy doesn't iron, honey." Hey, neither do I.


Monk: The final season. Thought last week's episode with Jay Mohr was really very good, one of the best in a long time for me. This week's mystery, I had solved early and spoiled it for Joe. Sorry, Joe, but I thought it was really, really obvious. Still, it was amusing to see Monk in the men's room. If you don't watch the show and are reading this, that probably sounds really, really strange, but if you did watch the show, you'll know what I mean.

Psych: I love this show. I love the absolute absurdity of it all. They must have so much fun on set. This week was a Bally (Baliwood?) themed episode staring the guy from Heroes and the guy from Super Troopers. Love Shawn and Lassiter trying to one-up the other. I am also wondering for how long Shawn will continue to have a girlfriend.


Robin Hood: Two episodes into the final season and I am already depressed. So not ready for this series to end. Damn you, Jonas Armstrong, for wanting to go on and do other things. Last week, Robin came back and tried to get revenge on Gisbourne for killing Marion (Stab him once for me, Robin) but realized that Gisbourne wanted to die because living with what he'd done was hell on earth, and Robin let Gisbourne live. Gisbourne's in a new broody state that's kind of interesting even if his hair is ridiculous. He realizes he hates the sheriff but sticks around anyway. This week, the sheriff gets involved in Irish politics and agrees to sell a couple of Irishmen some slaves to turn into soldiers so they can take on Prince John and stop whatever hijinks the prince of darkness is up to over there. The sheriff will then take the money he gets from the Irishmen and use it to pay Prince John the "sorry I ruined your plot to kill the king" tax that was levied upon him in the first episode. Anyway, nothing goes according to plan and Robin is taken prisoner which ultimately results in the Best. Escape. Ever. Two words: Giant Hangglider. Or is that three word? Giant Hang Glider? Whatever. We are also introduced to Kate, the traitorous strumpet who was responsible for Robin's capture. She's a new series regular. I don't like her. That is all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'd Like To Thank...

I'd like to thank Verizon Wireless for being thoughtful enough to send me a text message informing me that I'd gone over my limit on text messages. You're the best. Really.

I'd like to thank my neighbor, Marie, for taking so long in the construction of her garage (it's been more than a year, people. Seriously.), that my dogs now seem rather desensitized to all the bloody noise. Even when it's 6am. And, Marie, I don't know what you're doing on the other side of your house now, but please tell me you're not putting in a second garage, okay? Enough's enough.

I'd also like to thank my cats. Lily, for leaving a big pile of cat vomit outside the bedroom door this morning (note to self: look down before leaving bedroom in the future.) and Jenny for staging a jail break that resulted in me being dragged across the driveway by a 130 pound German Shepherd intent on having cat for breakfast. But seriously, Jenny, thanks for then running back toward the door.

And, last but not least, I'd like to thank my truly amazing brother and sister-in-law for giving me a Snuggie for my birthday this year. Those things frakking rock. Seriously, they do. I mean, I mocked and mocked and mocked the commercials and then mocked them some more but, damn, that's a great invention. Educational, too. Yesterday, I learned that one should not wear one's snuggie on the stairs, or, if one must wear one's snuggie on the stairs, one should remember to pick up the hem of one's snuggie so one does not trip and fall down the stairs while wearing one's snuggle. A valuable life lesson. Also of note: I am writing this blog while wearing my snuggie. Can't do that with some stupid blanket.

So thank you, thank you all.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tales From The Island, Day Five

Here's what happened Tuesday:

The Line Nazi may be stalking us (Of course, she may think we're stalking her.). Joe spied her walking away from our hotel and crossing the street and then disappearing behind the gas station on the corner. I've made a mental note to check the car for anything suspicious before we drive it again.

Anyway, Joe and I (again) got up too late for the continental breakfast so we went to a deli off Main Street and ordered breakfast sandwiches and bagels. We ate them down at the park by the pier where we watched people take pictures of each other next to one of those cigarette disposal thingies. I don't think they knew the cigarette thingy was there. They were more focused on the lobster boats and the ocean. The cruise ship Caribbean Princess (or something like that) was in port so there were tons of tourists crawling around.

A group of them were on the Sand Beach bus. Joe and I were on the bus, intending to climb the Beehive (a 520 foot nearly vertical climb) and then take the Bowl trail to the Bowl (a picturesque mountain pond), and from there take the Bear Brook trail to the summit of Mount Champlain and then take the Beechcroft trail back down to the Sieur du Mont bus stop. All told, it's a four mile hike, covering some fairly rugged terrain. The tourists were pondering a hike from Sand Beach to Thunder Hole, about a quarter mile.

Also on the bus with us was a real life Acadia Park ranger. I forget her name but it was like Carol Ann or something. She was sweet. She and her husband used to live in Maryland but came to Bar Harbor one summer for vacation and fell in love with the area so much, they sold their house and moved here. She was taking the bus on her way to work and ended up starting work early as she answered each and every question the cruise ship people had (and they had a lot.). Then she stood up and was acting as tour guide as the bus went along (Where was she on Sunday, right?). When she finished, she sat down (right across from Joe and I) and turned her attention to us.

"Are you on the cruise ship too?" she asked.

I told her we'd been in town since Friday and had a couple days left to go. She took in our appearance and deduced we were planning a hike so she asked us where we were planning to go. I told her our route. She nodded.

"And you brought sandwiches or snacks or something, right?" she asked. "That's a long hike."

I assured her we had brought snacks. Plus, we'd just had a very late breakfast. We talked then about other hikes we'd done in the past. She kept trying to push a nice easy, forty five minute walk on us. Maybe next time.

We started the Beehive about 11:30. Just ahead of us was a man whose wife had absolutely refused to accompany him on that trail so she was going to take the Bowl trail and meet him on the other side. He was from Scarborough, not too far from where Joe grew up. Eventually, he got ahead of us though and we didn't see him again. I'm assuming he made it all right. We also passed a couple who is getting married tomorrow out on the Otter Cliffs. Fantastic location. Absolutely gorgeous. I wish them all the best.

Now, I mentioned earlier that the Beehive is a nearly vertical climb with exposed cliffs (some just wide enough for one person) and iron rungs riveted to the rocks to help you up or down (going up is much, much easier than going down.). Joe doesn't particularly enjoy these hikes. I, on the other hand, seem to love the challenge. I went first so I could tell him where to step and where to climb and so on and so forth and he kept looking up to see me jumping off a ledge or scrambling up a steep part and wondered what the hell I was doing exactly. Then he worried about being afraid of heights and how he knows it's an irrational fear.

"You're talking to the woman who is afraid of eggs," I said. "Heights is a much more rational fear than eggs."

Especially if you fell on the Beehive, it wouldn't exactly be a short or painless fall. Yikes.

Anyway, we finally made it to the top and had to stop to rest because it was so damn hot. We started down the Bowl Trail and came across a couple who also had to stop and rest because it was so damn hot.

"Does this trail go to Sand Beach?" the man asked.

"Eventually," I said.

Then I took it upon myself to tell them that should they be afraid of heights, to skip the Beehive and take the Bowl Trail back down to Sand Beach. It's just easier that way.

We reached the Bowl around 12:30 and stopped to have a snack on the rocks. I dropped from granola bar crumbs on the rocks and threw them in the water for the minnows. I know it's bad to feed the wildlife but I didn't want to waste the crumbs either. Don't know if that was good enough reason but something was going to come along and eat those crumbs so it might as well been the minnows.

They went nuts over them. They were fighting over it and stealing the crumbs from each other which was kind of funny to watch, I have to admit.

It was about quarter to one when we started the Bear Brook Trail portion of our hike. It's a 1.6 mile trip to the summit of Mount Champlain. Mount Champlain is also the home of the Precipice Trail, another rugged, iron rung and exposed cliff trail. Joe and I did that one on our very first trip to Acadia. Joe picked it, obviously not realizing what he was signing on for, and we took the back half of the Bear Brook Trail back down Champlain so he wouldn't have to go back down the Precipice.

It took about an hour to reach Champlain's summit. The falcons were out and about, flying overhead. It was really a great sight to see. The closest I'd ever come to a Peregrine (besides the Ren Faire anyway) was the summer one dive bombed the car I was riding in. My brother almost got the ultimate souvenir: a Peregrine shaped hole in his windshield. Super fun!

By 2pm, we were on the Beechcroft Trail (1.2 miles one way). There are some nice open rock faces on this trail that were a little challenging. If you ever decide to take this trail, make sure the trail is dry because even if it's a little wet, it'll be damn near impossible to climb. This one also had some exposed cliffs and narrow cliff edge paths that thrilled Joe to no end. A half hour later, we heard some people coming up the trail. We heard them mostly because they came across a garter snake and the woman yelped. Then they asked us how far they were to the top. I stumbled across the snake on the way down and yelped myself. That was before I slipped and twisted my ankle. No harm, no foul.

We got to the Tarn (just .3 miles) and found part of it blocked off so bridge repair. On the other route, we came across two rangers doing actual bridge construction. For a moment, Joe was worried we'd have to backtrack and add even more mileage to our hike, but we were able to ford the stream and make it back just in time to catch the bus.

We had dinner at Testa's because I saw the double chocolate cake they had on the dessert menu (so, so good, by the way.). There was a very happy, drunk and rowdy group sitting at the bar, composed of both locals and tourists. One of the tourists was especially drunk and especially boisterous. He started ragging on two women at the bar for being from New Hampshire because New Hampshire's apparently too liberal and New Hampshire's ruined a bunch of stuff for the country by being liberal. The two women said they weren't liberals. I thought about interjecting that I was a New Hampshire liberal but ultimately kept my mouth shut. Then the boisterous drunk started using some language that the bartender deemed inappropriate and offensive and cut the guy off and asked him to leave. That turned into a twenty minute argument over whether the guy really had to leave. The previously rowdy bar was deathly silent then. Finally the guy gave up and left which was too bad because it was the best floor show we'd seen all week.

So after dinner, we looked at the harbor for a while and then limped back to the hotel. We had to pack everything up because tomorrow we're changing rooms. We're moving from the second floor to the third floor. Not sure what to expect. But at long as Line Nazi is elsewhere, I think we can make it work.

Tales From The Island, Day Four

What did we do yesterday?

Oh yeah. We decided to hike Pemetic Mountain (Elevation 1248 feet). We took the entirely uneventful shuttle ride (of course, after Sunday's experience, I think any shuttle ride will be uneventful.) and started from the Bubble Pond entrance around noontime. It was 1.2 miles to the summit of Pemetic Mountain. Uphill kicks my ass. It really does. I'll get to the top eventually, but it takes me a while. I am deathly slow some days. I think I was moderately slow this time.

We reached the summit at about 1:15. It's a nice view from the top. I took some nice pictures that I would post here if I knew how to post pictures in this blog (Joe keeps telling me I need to check out some other blogging thingamagig that might be more Melissa friendly than my current blog thingamagig is.) We got back down the mountain, to the Jordan Pond side of the mountain, around 2:30pm. The entire trip was 3.2 miles.

While we were waiting for the bus, we saw two Malinois coming off one of the carriage roads. Joe pretty much had to hold me back because, boy, did I want to go over there. The bus showed up though so I didn't get a chance. Then I hoped we would run into them in town but we haven't seen them yet. Dammit.

We spent the afternoon wandering around the village, killing time before dinner. We started off at the Bar Harbor Brewing Company and tasted some beers, including a Blueberry ale. We're planning to go back to get some to take home later in the week.

We went into Del Sol, a store in which all its merchandise changes color in the sun. We were sent here to buy some nail polish that is one color inside and another color in the sun. And it's changes like a light purple to red. Or a silver to red. There's a blue sparkly polish that turns green and a silver glittery polish that turns red. They're pretty neat.

After that, we went to one of the pet stores where I bought a special present for my mother and talked to the guy who worked there about how much I missed my puppies. I think Joe's getting annoyed with me for accosting everyone with a dog so I can get my dog fix.

The pet store was followed by the bookstore where we saw the Line Nazi from the movies. She works at the bookstore, but fortunately, in the hard cord Maine souvenir section where we had no need to go. I ended up buying a couple of books by a local author, Kristen Britain, who writes fantasy novels. Her first book, The Green Rider, wasn't in but they had it on order, so they're going to call me if it should come in before we have to leave on Thursday. I hope it does come in. The books look good and I like the idea of support a local fantasy writing author. Maybe someday, someone will do the same for me.

We had dinner at Miguel's, a local Mexican place we'd eaten at before. I tried to go to this bakery that sold ginormous brownies, but they were closed by the time we got there. I bought a whoopie pie at the Cottage Street Bakery instead but it was frozen, so I couldn't eat it right away.

So we went to the Criterion Theater to watch District Nine. What a freaking bizarre movie. Seriously, a strange, yet oddly compelling movie. If you don't like the sight of people being evaporated into puddles of bloody goo, then I'd recommend going to see something else.

We got back to the hotel just after 10pm. My whoopie pie was still mostly frozen but the part that wasn't frozen was just gross so I ended up throwing it out.

Huh...Monday took longer to bore you with than I thought it would. I'll have to write the Day Five entry later on. But here's a teaser for you: The Line Nazi makes another appearance.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tales of the Island, Day Three

An addendum to my last entry: The Hurt Locker is really an impressive film. There's a lot of action but I wouldn't say it had a lot in the way of plot. It's more of a character sketch and a damn powerful one at that. While in line at the theatre, we met the local Line Nazi. She's a local woman who is apparently sick to death of the tourists. She took it upon herself to herd the ten people waiting in the very small lobby to the line to get seats. She was very forceful with Joe and me and was not happy until we had taken the two steps to the left so we could stand in line. Of course, standing in the line she had designated meant we completely blocked the way of the people leaving the theatre we were waiting to enter.

Today Joe and I decided to hit the Jordan Pond loop trail. It was listed in the Acadia Weekly magazine as one of the hikes of the week (actually, the only hike of the week. Usually there's two though) and I always like the do the hikes of the week if we haven't done them already. We did part of the Jordan Pond Loop trail last summer when we looped around Eagle Lake and them summited Conners Nubble followed by North Bubble and South Bubble. We ended up on the Jordan Pond Loop trail on our way back to the Jordan Pond House to catch the bus back to the village green.

But today the plan was to complete the entire loop, a total distance of 3.25 miles. We arrived at the village green early and sat down to wait. Joe contemplated the server problem and then got irritated with me when I wrote a note about it in my notebook. Dude, you know I'm going to blog about this. That's all I have to say.

Anyway, the bus showed up and Joe and I got on. Then a lot of other people got on too. There was a cruise ship in town for the day and they were all in the village green, eager to take a tour bus around Acadia. They chose our bus because it was going places like the Bubble Pond and Jordan Pond and Seal Harbor. What they didn't really seem to realize was that it was a shuttle bus. Not a free sight seeing tour.

The reason I know this is that, once we began moving, they began complaining. There was no air conditioning. There was no bathroom. And you couldn't see anything. There was nothing but trees. Trees with lots of green leaves. The leaves hadn't even changed color, for crying out loud. And where were the moose?

That last question led to a particularly hysterical conversation that went a little something like this:

Cruise Guy 1: Where are the moose? Aren't there any moose? Mooses?

Cruise Woman 1: My daughter took a picture of one. She went to New Hampshire. And Maine. So you have to go there. (Pause) We are there.

Cruise Woman 2: Isn't there any air? I guess you have to pay for air.

Cruise Woman 1: Isn't there anything to see? I guess you get what you pay for.

The woman in the seat behind spent some time on her cell phone. The cell phone she didn't know how to use. Finally she got ahold of her daughter and talked about her granddaughter's first day of school. Good news...Gabby likes her teacher. Grandma's going to get her a tee shirt as a souvenir.

Later, I helped the cell phone woman open her window and thus the problem of no air conditioning was solved.

By this time, we were in the park and pulled into the Bubble Pond Parking lot which was the first stop on the schedule. This is where things really got fun. Because there was a gray Volkswagon sedan from Massachusetts parked in a non parking spot, which blocked the bus's path out of the parking lot.

So we sat there while the driver contemplated his options. And while we sat there, a number of cars pulled into the parking lot behind us and also sat and also waited while the driver contemplated his options.

The cruise ship passengers had several suggestions. Break the windows. Leave a note. Call the cops. Get the car towed.

I got my trusty Acadia map out so I could see if there was another way to reach the Jordan Pond Loop trail from the Bubble Pond parking lot. There was, but it was a whole lot of hiking to reach the hike we were actually striving to get and Joe was a little unsure about his hiking abilities.

After a few minutes, the cruise ship guys got off the bus and started redirecting traffic. They made cars turn around and stopped others from coming in the parking lot in the first place. Then they stood and helped guide our poor driver as he attempted to back the bus out of the curving tight fit parking lot.

The going was slow, but he made it and everyone got back on the bus. The cruise ship ladies clapped and cheered their husbands and our driver and then we were once again on our way.

A few couples got off the bus with Joe and I when we finally reached the Jordan Pond House and later, we came across one of the couples on the same hike. It was a nice hike but really, really busy. I know it being Labor Day weekend wasn't helping anything but I guess I like the less popular trails more. Less annoying groups.

Like the really big family group that was filled with giggly teenage girls with no idea of trail etiquette. Just saying.

But I think the real highlight of the trail was the bird we saw, perched on a rock just off the trail. I took a couple of pictures of him but just missed my opportunity to get a shot of him taking a big ole piss into the public drinking supply. Other brushes with nature included a garter snake slithering away from us (I managed not to scream. I suspect the other couple on that part of the trail with us had something to do with that.) and a pair of very frisky, amorous chipmunks.

Upon the completion of the hike, we waited again for the bus. This time, we rode with a different group of cruise ship guests and even helped them out with which bus they needed to take where.

We went to the Chinese restaurant for lunch and who should be there but the large family group with the giggly girls. Unfortunately, Joe's waitress with the nice ass was nowhere to be seen but fortunately, no children vomited in the street (last time we ate there, this little kid projectile vomited in the street right in front of the restaurant. We were sitting in a window seat and had a front row seat for the whole thing.).

So now we're just hanging out at the hotel and resting up. We're planning on going out this evening and experiencing the Bar Harbor nightlife. Wonder if the cruise ship will still be in town. Could be a lot of fun. As long as there's A/C.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Island Tales, Days One and Two

So, Joe and I are on vacation. We've gone away to Bar Harbor because well, because we adore Bar Harbor. It was just going to be for the long weekend but since the vacation Joe scheduled for May was canceled because of work, we decided to make this a full week excursion.

We arrived yesterday afternoon, later than I had originally planned because there was, naturally, a problem at the office. Something with the servers. We spent some time in the car, sitting on the Maine/New Hampshire line, while Joe talked to the guys about the server problem and what they could try to revolve it. Joe said, "Do you want me to come in?" more than once. I didn't scream. I'm nice like that. Joe's boss was also nice because he said, more than once, "No. I want you to go on vacation."

So we did.

We're staying at the Acacia House Hotel, located in the middle of Bar Harbor village. It's a cute bed and breakfast run by a cute couple, Patty and Bruce. We're saying in a room with a bathroom that's the same size, if not bigger, than the room itself. The bed is squeaky and the television is tiny. But that's all right because we didn't come to watch television. There's also a balcony off the bathroom, a good sized one that has a nice view of the hotel next to ours.

Our first hike was a very short easy one. We went on the Bar Island trail, which is only accessible during low tide. Then you can walk across the ocean floor to Bar Island where there's a short trail to some decent views of Bar Harbor village and Cadillac Mountain and such. It's the kind of hike on which one can wear sandals and not day hikers. I tried to get Joe to do funny things so I could take pictures of him but he refused. My brother, Jake, is always fun to go on trips with because together we take several funny pictures. On our way back, a New York mom stopped us and asked if we'd be willing to take a picture of her group. The reason I know she was from New York is because her son, probably ten or twelve at most, gave me a big "Oh hell no!" to me taking his picture. Why, you might ask? I originally thought it was because he didn't want his picture taken but no, that wasn't the reason at all.

My Boston Red Sox hat was.

Yep, that's right. The kid was a Yankees fan and was so violently opposed to Boston fans that he didn't even want me to touch his mother's camera.

I was nice and took off the hat and took the pictures. The second picture I took, I even said, "Everyone say Derek Jeter!" and didn't add my customary "sucks" at the end of it.

Then I told the kid how some of my best friends are Yankees fans and I still consider them my best friends. I hope it was a valuable life lesson for him.

Then we went to dinner at McKay's Public House where I was feeling adventurous and ordered a double chocolate stout beer. It was like chocolate flavored Guinness. Joe tried some and said he could really taste the chocolate. I could smell it but I didn't taste it at all. I had a nice buzz going on pretty early into my pint (Yes, it comes in pints!) which was something Joe couldn't understand until I pointed out that I weigh about as much as a thirteen year old so I can't really hold my beer as well as some. Still, it was fun.

We went back to the hotel just in time for Quiet Hours to begin (9pm to 8am...so keep the noise down!).

Today, we went on another easy hike, longer than the Bar Island Trail, but still no elevation gain or anything like that. We decided to tackle the Great Meadow Loop trail. A couple of years ago, Joe and I hiked part of the trail and spent a portion of the time walking back and forth between two signs each saying "Great Meadow Loop Trail .1 Miles" and each pointing in opposite directions. We finally figured out where to go when a local bus driver stopped, thinking we needed a ride. She pointed out the correct path. This time, we thought we had it down. And we did...for the most part. We did have a couple of "Uh...which way do we go?" moments but, nothing as bad as that first attempt. I took some pictures that I would post here if I knew how to post pictures in this blog.

Anyway, we spent the afternoon at the local library's book sale (25 cent paperbacks and 50 cent hardcovers!) where Joe found a C++ book that with which he's now enamored. We had giant ice cream cones (small, my ass!) and are now killing time before we head off to Reel Pizza to enjoy a gourmet pizza pie and a showing of The Hurt Locker. I hear it's pretty good, so I'll be sure to let you know how we like it.

Tomorrow we're going to tackle the Jordon Pond Loop trail, a 3.4 mile excursion around Jordon Pond to be followed by Chinese food at the restaurant where Joe and I ate last year and Joe thought the waitress had a (and I quote) "nice pooper."

Boy, am I proud.