Operation: Jamaican Me Healthy
March 31 will mark the amazing five-year anniversary of my marriage to Anne. So in recognition of her tremendous patience, perseverance, tolerance, patience, devotion, sense of humor, patience, and ability to see the potential in others, we will be taking a celebratory trip to Jamaica.
To commemorate this momentous occasion, I’ve decided to do something extra special for Anne. That’s right, I intend to remove my shirt in public for the first time since forced to pass a mandatory swim test on my first day of college. Because I work best when instructed to follow an explicit set of rules, I enacted Operation: Jamaican Me Healthy, a ten-step plan designed to help me and others achieve the perfect beach bod.
Operation: Jamaican Me Healthy (patent pending)
Step 1: Take a photo of yourself and identify any potential areas for improvement:
Step 2: Reduce the number of meals eaten at shake shack from 5 to 3 per week.
Step 3: Increase the amount of exercise from none times per week to at least 6 times per day.
Step 4: Think of as many “Jamaican me” jokes as you can. Use them at least once per conversation. Pray that despite step 4 you still make it to that elusive five year anniversary.
Step 5: If you see, smell, hear, touch, bathe in, or otherwise come into contact with ice cream, repeat step 4.
Step 6: No alcohol except for Red Stripe and rum punch.
Step 7: Watch The Biggest Loser and Cool Runnings every week.
Step 8: At the end of each day, stand shirtless in front of the bathroom mirror and flex your muscles. If
Anne anyone knocks on the door and asks “what are you doing in there? Everything ok” respond with, “Sorry. That healthy dinner I had tonight must have ja-made my stomach upset.” Then remind yourself that “jamaican me” jokes don’t work as well in the past tense, flex three more times, flush the toilet to complete the story you were selling, and get a good night’s sleep.
Step 9: If the first eight steps are not jamaican you as ripped as you hoped to be, seek extensive lipo or other forms of plastic surgery.
Step 10: Remove your shirt, retake your photo, and witness your amazing transformation from step 1:
A Summary of my Yoga Retreat - AKA, I Joined a Cult
I’m back from the yoga retreat, and if you ever feel the need to talk to a group of menopausal women about their bowel movements and digestive health, boy have I got the place for you!
From the moment we arrived, even the bumper stickers in the parking let me know that I would fit in perfectly:
On the walk from the parking lot to the main lobby, I briefly contemplated my existence, then entered the facilities. Upon entrance, I was required to sign a waiver that either released the owners from all liability or assigned over all of my worldly possessions to my spiritual leaders. but there was no time to worry about that, I was immediately off to my room to start the relaxation. My room sort of looked like this:
I emphasize that it looked only “sort of” like this, because a) the bed wasn’t made, b) the toilet was actually located down the hall, and c) there was no chair.
After the afternoon lockdown and the “all clear” signal, I headed out to attend a “moderate” afternoon yoga class, which made the class at laughing lotus look like a testosterone festival in comparison. I was surprised to learn that when you fill a room with one hundred women doing yoga, farting was completely appropriate and perhaps even encouraged. Laughing hysterically at others when it happened was decidedly not encouraged. I found that out the hard way.
After class, I went to the cafeteria for dinner. I was repeatedly told how amazing the food would be. In fact, it was one of the primary messages of the orientation meeting that I was required to attend. Our orientation leader, a bubbly young cult member, explained the many reasons why the food was heavenly and was the best part of the retreat. I was skeptical when she explained that her friend raped the bread each night. But my mom explained that I had misheard, and that friend “reiki“-ed the bread, which is a spiritual healing technique that increases the essence of the bread, but apparently not the taste.
After dinner, I broke off into my passion-finding program. I entered the room to find shoeless women sitting peacefully in a circle around candles. I won’t lie. If I ever did join a cult, it would be pretty cool to have it be one where I got to be the masculine figurehead.
To start finding our passion, we went around the circle and shared information about ourselves. This took a long time. Having never been in a sharing circle with so many women before, I quickly learned that there were only two appropriate responses when someone was sharing: 1) a long audible breathe in through my nose, or 2) an elongated mmmmmmmm sound to acknowledge that I felt it too. After about 90 minutes of sharing, nose-breating, and mmmm-ing, we agreed to a vow of silence for the rest of the evening.
I honored that vow by watching the end of the Superbowl. Oops!
As I attempted to sleep through the wafts of pachouli oils entering my room, I woke in the middle of the night to the terrifying sight of two rows of fire burning in some pattern on the front lawn.
The cult fires haunted my dreams for the rest of the night. Luckily, I had not yet sold my possessions in furtherance of the cause, because when I woke up in the morning, I quickly realized that the “cult fires” were set in the exact same pattern as the safety lights along the staircase to the parking lot.
The next morning, I returned to my group session, where my leaders read us poetry and sang to us using a harmonium, which is an instrument that I had never heard before, but is great because it completely erases your brain. My brain was then filled with lots of information, most of which I don’t remember. Please do me one favor: Never ever ring a bell near me. I have no clue what will happen when I hear one, but I am certain that it is something that I never intended to do.
After erasing our brains, we did a great exercise where we wrote down lots of information about ourselves and then crafted a six word autobiography. I was the last to share, and I scratched out my initial creation and revised it based on the circumstances. My new one read:
The only one to follow instructions.
Apparently when you are in a “safe place” it’s ok to disregard the “rules” and use as many words as you want. I was outraged. OUTRAGED. And not only that, but as I was obsessively counting the number of words others were using, people were nose-breathing and mmmm-ing in support of these autobiographies that were in blatant violation of the instructions. Some people revealed such poignant information about themselves that many group members were brought to tears. Look, I’m really happy that you reached an emotional turning point in your life, but I personally found it horribly offensive that you got to use so many more words than I did.
That’s all for now. I have to spend the rest of the day gathering my belongings so I can head back up next weekend.
A preview of Siri, the new iPhone assistant
Ireland Live Blog (From America (and not live))
Back when my live blog was still live, Anne and I had just survived a terrifying clockwise journey around the Ring of Kerry and sang classic Irish ballads (James Taylor, Oasis, etc.) in the Dingle Pub. Although we’ve been home for ages now, I feel compelled to complete the live blog so future readers don’t get concerned that we perished from an apple pucker incident.
Before I get to the additional details of our travel, it’s important to note a major shift that occurred somewhere around Dingle. A small discovery led to a huge change in how we saw the country and what became important. I discovered the “miniaturize” feature on our camera and from that point forward, my sole purpose in life became finding things that would look awesome as miniatures. I no longer cared about beautiful scenery, sleepy pubs, or romantic hideaways. Unless they would look good smaller, and then I cared a lot.
In case you’re not familiar with the epicness that is miniaturization (and you’re probably not), here is a picture of a group of golfers on the 18th hole of the Old Head golf course:
And here is the same picture but with the golfers “miniaturized”:
Looking at these pictures now, on a big computer screen, I realize that the difference isn’t all that substantial. I’m not even completely certain that I correctly labeled the miniature picture. But on that little screen on the back of the camera, I would laugh and laugh and laugh every time I found something to make miniature. I’m putting words into her mouth here, but it’s fair to say that Anne hated me by this point of the trip.
I should also mention that those photos were taken after Anne arrived at the golf course. It looked beautiful and pleasant when she showed up.
When I was playing golf, it looked like this:
But back to the trip.
After leaving Dingle (!), Anne and I headed to Galway via the Conor Pass. The Conor Pass is Ireland’s highest mountain pass. In Irish, “highest” actually means “treacherous, narrow, curvy, unpassable, and with sheep-towing trucks speeding towards you.”:
Thankfully, I remained quite calm throughout:
In case you were wondering, that slick ride we were driving was a VW Golf:
Yeah, that’s right. I miniaturized it.
We barely survived Conor Pass and arrived at the most scenic overlook in Ireland. Everyone we talked to said that the view would be our the reward for surviving the treacherous driving conditions.
Here’s how it looked when we got there:
From there, it was on to Cliffs of Moher, one of the new seven wonders of the world (currently ranked 24 of 28 for the title). The cliffs are one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions. Most likely achieving this status by having a website labeling themselves as one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions.
Words cannot describe a world wonder, but if forced to try, I would say that they looked like large cliffs with tourists taking photos. If describing them to my mom, I would probably call them “breathtaking” or exhale loudly in a show of exuberance. That would make her happy.
If you have the Internet, you don’t really need to go to the Cliffs because they look exactly like they do in the pictures.
For comparison’s sake, here’s my photo:
Right after taking this picture, my focus shifted from miniaturizing things to making the same joke (admittedly a terrible terrible joke) ovher and ovher for the rest of the day. Mostly, I joked about how bohering the cliffs of Moher were and how we should pick up some souvenirs at one of the stohers. If you lowher your standards for a moment, I think you’ll appreciate the humor in it. Anne particularly disliked the jokes with the punch line, “I hardly even moher.” As in:
Anne: Do you want to go to the Cliffs of Moher today?
Rob: Mo Her? I hardly even Moher.
Well, that one doesn’t work exactly. But you get the gist.
A little known fact about the Cliffs - if you pay 3 Euro moher than the regular entry fee, you can head up to the O’Brien viewing center, which the guidebook said provided the best view of the Cliffs. We knew it would be a good view because only Americans were savvy enough to pay to see it.
Once again, we were rewarded for our reliance on the guidebook:
There are some additional details about our trip that I’d like to share. But you’ll just have to wait because I JUST discovered a new feature on the camera.
New York’s Reaction to Hurricane Irene.