Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Holiday Paddle Boarding in Color

Paddle Boarding to Cambodia: An attempt at a compilation of my kids' winter break this year.
(Or at least to Paddle Boarding to Florida, my husband was in Cambodia, but he was motorcycling rather than paddle boarding)

For those not interested in slogging through the blather below. Briefly, clockwise from top left: the possibly terrifying bee, the lead stork from "Storks," my older son's Bloodborne character, "The Messengers" from Bloodborne, an unhappy resort worker dressed as an elf, a character from the movie "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," The "Door to Hell," Peter Cushing as Gran Moff Tarkin from the original "Star Wars" and "Rogue One" riding Mike the Headless Chicken, an unidentifiable paddle boarder who might be a relative-or not, an Ewok from "Return of the Jedi" and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia from the original Star Wars movie.

And now in further detail with more blather:

This image is maybe trying to be the alternative/pop culture history of our two weeks off from school.

Perhaps I should begin with the obvious: the boys and I were fortunate enough to spend some of the break in Florida. Among the recreational options were parasailing, jet skiing and paddle boarding. Being afraid of the sails and the skis, I pushed hard for the boards. They seemed like a relatively safe option that might work for most of us.

Results were definitely mixed. But the good news is that we all survived the experience. And I had the important opportunity to teach my older son that it is not nice to laugh loudly within earshot of strangers who are falling off of their stand up paddle boards. One should only enjoy the misfortune of others silently.

While my sons are no longer overtly obsessed with Star Wars, the viewing of Rogue One at the beginning of their break and the announcement of Princess Leia's, sorry, Carrie Fisher's, death, were major events, and therefore there are Star Wars characters on the paddle boards.

The kids were fairly pleased with Rogue One overall, noting with delight the cool subvarieties of storm trooper outfits and weapons. They were not so pleased by the CGI reanimation of the youthful Princess Leia at the end, pronouncing her brief appearance as "creepy and weird."

The reanimation of Peter Cushing as Gran Moff Tarkin, the one of the primary Death Star baddies from the first Star Wars movie, seemed more successful. He was on screen several times, and I spent the movie vaguely troubled about him, as I was pretty sure Mr. Cushing was deceased. And if not, damn, he looked unbelievably good for someone who had not been a young man back in 1977.

Obviously, despite my unease, I was not paying close attention. On further reflection, of course Tarkin was a CGI product, although clearly he had much more successfully crossed the uncanny valley than the reanimation of the young Miss Fisher.

Seeing the digital recreation of characters that I first met when I was ten in the company of my sons who are close to the same age (well, 9 and 13, for a little while longer) made me both nostalgic and sad. Of course Cushing and Fisher are now both late. Cushing died back in 1994 and was not someone I thought about all that much. I found myself strangely affected by Carrie Fisher's death. I guess I had been continuing to pay attention to her, even if I wasn't following her on Twitter. And she seemed awfully young. The kids were relieved to discover that she had already filmed her scenes for the next movie. They predicted that Leia will die in some sort of spaceship explosion...but with CGI, who knows.

Also paddle boarding is one of the young lovelies from "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" which our younger son insisted that I watch with him on the flight down to Florida. While he was completely ignorant of the original Jane Austen novel, he was very taken with the idea of attractive young ladies in fancy dresses slicing up the undead. The reality is of course that the movie was a bit slow for those who missed all of the Austen references and jokes. It was herky-jerky: Masterpiece Theater interspersed with episodes of armed combat and ghoulish mayhem. But we couldn't follow much of the dialogue on the plane anyway. We had tried to get through watching it during our last airplane trip many months ago. But, much to my dismay, my son declared that it had been too long, and we had to start over again and watch the thing in its entirety. One viewing would have been more than enough for me.

On the plane ride home, we watched "Storks" which is uncreatively represented by the seagull-ressembling stork on the upper right of the drawing. As fast as I am concerned, the less said about that movie the better. But I notice that it ranks much higher on Rotten Tomatoes than "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," so perhaps I should not be too harsh.

The PS4 game "Bloodborne" dominated our trip, much as my son's avatar does the foreground of this image. His entire carry on bag was monopolized by the PS4 itself and related paraphernalia. I had originally floated the idea of traveling with the game platform back when I thought I might be taking the kids to California over the holidays to cool their heels at an alternative medical center for a couple of weeks while I tried to beat back my psoriasis through an extended of not eating.

Fortunately, that was not necessary as I had already done enough not eating at home, and we headed off for a much less alternative trip with grandparents and food. But the concept of bringing the kids' joint Christmas/Hanukkah present remained.

Once the hotel had kindly provided us with our very own supplemental hotspot, so their kids could bathe in extra electromagnetic in their bedroom, the elder boy was able to talk to and play with his New York friends online in Bloodborne.

Of course this made every other activity instantly uncompelling in comparison. Any outing, even to beach or pool, had to be forcefully parentally mandated. I was not surprised that, for my adolescent son, a dark room with virtual friends trumps outdoor sunshine and actual family every time, but it does make me tired.

I am not sure what function the toothy, top-hatted skeletal "Messengers" perform in Bloodborne, but here one of them is holding the one intact conch shell that we found on the beach.

As we were in Florida over Christmas, we were able to partake of the resort's holiday activities, which seemed to all include the wearing of red and green "elf hats." Everybody got one, or several, if necessary. And many of the resort employees were somewhat unfortunately dressed as elves from head to toe. The elf hat wearer in the drawing is only visible from the shoulders up, so we can't tell whether he is sweating in an ill fitting zip-up polyester elf costume or not.

I think we got into the topic of Mike, the very famous headless chicken because of a comment about someone running around like decapitated poultry. I suspect that the comment may have been made by an adult and aimed at a child, but I cannot remember for certain. We ended up talking for quite a while about how Mike lived without his head for almost two years. He earned his beheader a good bit of money on the sideshow circuit. It is an amusing story, if you have not already wasted enough time reading to this point.

Behind Mike is something known as "the door to hell."  I don't remember the original source of that conversation, although I do recall that we had also discussed long burning tire fires in general and the one on the Simpsons in particular. Our sons are veritable fonts of information courtesy of their YouTube viewing habits, they are well caught up on topics like "Amazing Things You Won't Believe." These videos cover topics ranging from people with bizarre medical conditions or talents, spectacular natural disasters, or people who have bathtubs or bunkbeds built to resemble famous movie characters or sets.  And an enormous flaming sinkhole in Turkmenistan that has been burning for over 40 years, apparently, as they were both quite well informed about it.

The bee is looming in the foreground because my sons have an intense irrational aversion to bees and wasps. (Sorry for outing you as bee phobes online, kids, but I am pretty sure no one but you and your grandmother has actually read this far). I am not sure how this happened. Neither of them has ever been stung. We came across a very wet and bedraggled bee on the beach in Florida. I offered the usual parental admonishment to leave it alone and it will not bother you....even more so in this case, and this particular bee was busy being soggy. I then walked away. Later, I began to suspect that something bad might have happened to this bee, perhaps involving my sons and some sand. They are not talking, particularly after I delivered a lecture about the importance of bees for pollination and the future survival of the human race.

I think that pretty much covers it.  I skipped the Ewok who is lurking on the paddle board behind Leia, but I don't thing anyone needs to read more.

Back to the napkins....

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