And Now, a Brief Recap of Our JoCo Cruise 4 Vacation

Inasmuch as this picture was taken from the top of a zipline somewhere in the Caribbean, you may assume it was in fact perfectly lovely. That’s our boat over there in the top left corner, the Independence of the Seas, which when you add up passengers and crew, has more than three times the people on it than live in my home town. It’s a little weird to think of it that way. Seriously, the thing is just ridiculously huge.

Last year Krissy and I went on the JoCo cruise and had a good enough time to do it again. This time we also brought along our daughter and our niece, the former because if we went to the Caribbean again without her, she might put us in the bad sort of nursing home decades down the line, and the latter because, we thought she might enjoy it (we were right). With the exception of the occasional performer swear word (if you worry about such things), the JoCo cruise is family and kid friendly, and the Independence also had a full slate of teen activities — enough that outside of dinner and onshore events, we hardly saw Athena at all.

I noted last year (I think) that I’m not a fan of going on cruises in a general sense, but I like the JoCo cruise specifically because so many people I know — performers and “seamonkeys” (the JoCo cruise attendees names for themselves) both — are on the boat with us. So if worse came to worst I could just chat my way across the Caribbean. Fortunately it’s never come to “worst,” but on the other hand I did spend a lot of time chatting with people, which really is one of my favorite things to do.

The good news is that the JoCo cruise does a very good job with the performers. In addition to the returning performers (JoCo himself, Paul and Storm, John Hodgman and David Rees, as well as Peter Sagal and Paul F. Tompkins from a couple cruises back), the cruise had some new and interesting performers as well, including among others Nathan Sawaya (who does amazing things with Lego, see the picture at the end of this entry), Grant Imahara, Jim Boggia, Hank Green and especially Sara Watkins, whose performance my wife was so taken with that she went up to Sara afterwards and told her she wanted to stuff her into a suitcase and take her home with us, which I assure you sounded a lot less creepy when Krissy said it than when I wrote it just now.

Me yelling at Grant Imahara during “Celebrity Artemis.” Photo by Steve Petrucelli.

In addition to just hanging around on the boat, talking to people and eating a ridiculous amount of food, I also pitched in on a couple of things. One of them was Molly Lewis’ video, which showed up here yesterday, and the other was another episode of “Celebrity Artemis,” in which I and several other nerds pilot a (simulated) starship whilst on stage, for the amusement of the seamonkeys. This year I was the science officer, on a ship also crewed by Joseph Scrimshaw, Adam Bernstein, Grant Imahara, Peter Sagal and Angela Webber of the Doubleclicks as our captain. We did very well, if “very well” is defined as “yelling at Grant for driving us into asteroids at Warp 4.” Which, for entertainment purposes, is correct. When it gets to YouTube, and it will, I’ll put it up here.

So, in all, yet another ton of fun. I remain not a fan of cruises, but definitely a fan of the JoCo Cruise. Rumor is, there might be another one next year. You should start saving your pennies now.


What I Am Giving Up For Lent

I’m not Catholic, or, really, religious in any sense at all, but I like the idea of Lent — giving up something that you like in order to reflect on the idea of sacrifice (note this is a very abbreviated version of what Lent is). A few years ago my daughter wanted to experience Lent so she and I both gave up something we liked: She the Internet and I my precious, precious Coke Zero. It was a near thing, but we both survived.

This year I’ve decided to do something Lent-ish again, and in this case, from now until Easter, I am giving up something I really like: Junk food. Which in this case I am defining as cookies, candy bars, chips — basically, if it comes in crinkly packaging and/or the primary ingredients are some combination of sugar, salt and fat, it’s off limits until Easter Sunday.

Why do this? One, because I’m currently at 180 pounds (i.e., too much for my own comfort level with my own body) and I need to lose weight, and cutting out all the crap will be useful to that end (I may also — gasp! — exercise). Two, because I’ve never gone six weeks without junk food of any sort and I’m curious to see what happens when I do. I like to think I’ll replace all that crap with, like, fruits and vegetables and such. It’s more likely I’ll just be cranky for six weeks because I can’t have my candy. We’ll see.

I’m telling you so that if any of you see me with a Snickers bar you can smack it out of my hand and berate me for it. I’ve already told Krissy not to let me slide, which I suspect means that the first thing she will do when she gets home is set a flamethrower to our pantry. Let her. Let the cleansing begin.

Farewell, candy, chips, cookies and other assorted crap. I’ll see you again on HOLY GOD APRIL 20 WHY IS IT SOOOOOO FAR WAY NOOOOOOOOO


Anyway, here we go.

Pray for me.

(P.S.: During Lent I will be taking the money I usually spend on crap and donating it to our local food bank. You know. As you do.)


Things That Pass Me By

In e-mail, an (excerpted) comment from a reader:

You didn’t have much to say about the Jonathan Ross/Hugo dust up. That’s not like you.

Well, you know. Two things: One, I had literally just gotten off a boat from a week at sea and was playing catchup on everything, including things that directly related to me, which this did not. I was also doing a lot of napping, because oddly enough, vacations can be tiring. I had barely learned about the incident, took a nap, and when I woke up it was done. So there was that.

Two: I was largely and deeply ignorant of both Mr. Ross and the context of the issue when I first heard about it, and now, several days later, am mostly still aware of all the things I don’t know about everything involving this incident. Anything I would add at this point would either a) be a rehash of things others have said better because they know more or have followed it more carefully, b) serve to expose said ignorance in one manner or another. Which will just make people cranky at me to no real purpose. Aside from a few mostly vague tweets on the topic, I’ve let this one alone.

So, in short: This was a contretemps that I was both unprepared to comment on and which largely got along without me any event. It was a thing that passed me by. I didn’t run to catch it. In the end I think Loncon3’s apology substantially covered what needed to be said, and I’m happy they offered it (note: avoid the comments there, because they’re Facebook comments, and they will just make you unhappy).

In a larger sense, I’m also at a point where if I know I don’t know what I should know about something, I’m gonna want to spend time learning more — or alternately, making the choice that this particular event can get along without me. Or, as it happened in this case, both.

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