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Early Retirement 2007: EUROPE


Just an update: I'm in Paris right now!!

And the keyboard is SO very weird; so I'm going to go before I make a bunch of typos. But if you were curious, the punctuation keys are all backwards and the "a," "q," "w," and "m" keys are all located in places that cause you to stop and think and waste valuable dinner time either concentrating about not screwing up or hitting the "Suppr" button which I can only imagine means "delete" or "backspace" or "quit screwing up!" in french.

So until later "aurevoire."

Or something that means "adios" in french.


Love Bug, No Punch Back

I've done alot of traveling for work lately, several trips to Miami and West Palm Beach. Crazy traffic conjestion. But crazier still was the newest weather phenomenon. On par with other natural disasters like blizzards, tsunamis, tornados and hurricanes, love bug swarms are taking the world by storm. Or at least I-95.

Someone once told me love bugs were a man-made experiment gone awry. That's enough to discourage cloning. These creatures are approaching the threshold of sustainable life within a species. They almost number infinity. If you sat and started counting how many exist, they would reproduce so quickly, exponentially, that tracking even their estimated number in existence would prove more difficult than tracking the estimated number of digits in pi. I think discovering the age of the universe and maybe even its location of origin would prove a simpler task.

I hear they're attracted to carbon monoxide. Maybe so. Another great job, scientists. Create something that reproduces faster than hair gel catches on fire, and then attract it to something we produce the most of. Maybe next year's federal dollars could go to finding a way to make cockroaches amphibious.

But that does explain why driving to Miami felt like a hail storm. Not quite as powerful as hail, but more clout than a rain drop. Split splat pitter pat, love bugs all around. The white truck looked like it grew a 5 o' clock shadow on the three hour drive. And the windshield looked liked someone tried to paint over a mirror. It was whiter than Tom Sawyer's picket fence. The whole truck was the Love Bugs' Battle of Antietam.

The Weather Channel should really come up with some sort of Love Bug Advisory. If they can warn of red tide and track El Nino, they can certainly track the black cloud enveloping all of Central Florida. "Now we're taking a look at the Doppler Radar. The green is rain. Yellow, severe thunderstorms. The red, hail. The black color on your screen is our newest feature. Love Bug Swarms. Partly cloudy today. 40 % chance of afternoon Love Bug Showers." Swarms of Love Bugs. Wasn't that the 11th plague?

Is there Love Bug Season? I don't remember winter being so dangerous. Do they migrate? Or do almost all die but a King and Queen Love Bug and once summer hits, they start living like their name says? And what a life. Insects whose sole purpose is to reproduce. To float around having sex, oblivious to their surroundings and any impending sense of doom. Sealing their fate and proving their love by smashing into whatever trouble their passion got them into. All in the name of love.

Or making it.

But what a way to go.


Happy Gilmore v. Bob Barker II

Adam Sandler stops by the Price is Right.

This next one was just funny.

Ladies, no lusting...


Gentlemen, Crack Those Knuckles!

I stumbled across an article this morning that while relieving many anxieties, will also leave me groveling at someone's feet for quite a long little while.

Apparently. Yes, apparently, cracking your knuckles does NOT cause arthritis. Or even encourage it. It's basically hereditary and lifestyle related. Popping your knuckles stretches out the synovial fluid, or lubrication, and air bubbles form and pop. I read this when I was in 7th grade, many moons ago, and started cracking. I've been a closet addict ever since. Yet somewhere along the way I lost faith in its health benefits and reasoned that there's no way on Earth air bubbles popping sound anything like bones cracking. It has to be the latter making the noise. When you blow bubbles from a bubbles bottle, they don't snap like fireworks when they pop.

Alas, I stand corrected. I guess popping joint bubbles is much the same as popping bubble gum bubbles. Loud, obnoxious, and so much fun. And except for the inevitable "I told you so's" I'll receive till I'm deaf, I'm very pleased by this discovery. I mean, it just feels so good. The popping. Well, and the liberty of popping and knowing I'm not snapping bones or eroding cartilage or chipping away at my youth. I'm no longer accelerating bed-riddenhood.

Now if they could just tell me that Ice Cream is good for your heart...


Lenten Season is Over

I'm a little late in this update, but nonetheless, I wanted you to know how it went.

Lent has ended. My fasting from sweets is now officially over. It really wasn't too hard. I only craved ice cream one time, at Busch Gardens when I was tired, hungry and weak. It was a good reminder of when we usually make dumb decisions though. After we're violently thrust through loops and hoops and pretzel twists like a Doberman's chew toy. It's always hard for me to exercise good judgement in those moments.

A couple of thoughts on fasting from sweets for Lent:

a. Don't do it if your birthday falls within the time frame of Lent. My birthday was March 4th. My birthday cake literally sat on the counter for a month. And yes, I know that's gross.

b. Don't do it if your mom is coming through and wants to take you to The Melting Pot, the land flowing with fondue and money. She wouldn't take me because she didn't want to tempt me. She's great.

c. You miss out on Dairy Queen's Blizzard of the Month. Now I have to be honest. After all, lying is bad. I don't typically get the Blizzard of the Month. I get a peanut butter, banana, and cocoa fudge blizzard 93% of the time I go. But when you drive past Dairy Queen everyday, and they are advertising a Kit Kat Blizzard of the Month everyday, it starts to lurch into your subconscience. Absorbs your every thought. You start getting the DT's. Sweating. Shaking. The withdrawl symptoms are exhausting.

d. You get to try ABSOLUTELY ZERO new "Limited Edition" flavors of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. I walked down the Ice Cream aisle in Walmart the other day. I think there were at least 3 or 4 new flavors. Grr.

e. If you need a sugar rush, or even just a boost, you have to use fruit. That's not any way to live. I want to know that at any point, bored or dozing, I can down a couple of Pixie Sticks as Pick-me-ups and twitch through the rest of my day. Instead, I found my tough days tougher; trudging through, I actually had to eat more, to boost my metabolism. Weird. And good, I guess.
f. Stands for no frappachinos.

g. No Dunkin' Donuts. I did crave those. The chocolate glazed kind. Not the white donuts with chocolate icing on top. The chocolate donuts with white glaze. Yeah, I'm craving one now. Thanks.

h. No wedding cake or fondue fountains at your friends' weddings. That was tricky too. Easter Eve and all I could think was "If Coach would've waited ONE MORE FREAKING DAY to get married, I could SWIM in that fondue fountain." I guess the world doesn't revolve around me.

i. No Andes mints from olive garden. That's almost worth making an exception to the fast. At least that's what your friends want when they're all chocolatey-minty fresh and you're all garlicy stale.

j. Lastly, a positive note on fasting from sweets. It's nice to exercise discipline. I lost 10 pounds. Partly the no sweets--I guess I was downing quite a bit of junk food--but also the discipline crept over into portion control and not eating late. It really wasn't that bad. For a couple of days after Easter, when I still hadn't eaten junk, I contemplated trying it for the rest of the year or until next Fat Tuesday.

Until thoughts of sugar plums danced in my head.