To each his own. To me my own.

Travel

Sun day Fun day

Been a beautiful weekend so far. My brother was in town, so yesterday we went over to my Dad’s house to see him. Dad threw some steaks on the grill and we had an awesome dinner… I’d forgotten how good charcoal makes a steak taste. Huge difference.

Along the lines of food, we’re currently driving 100 miles for a BBQ dinner. Not just any BBQ dinner though, this is the place I was talking about the other day (Woodlands) that absolutely rocks. My antibiotic finally kicked in on the offending tooth, and for the first time in over a week, I’m not in any pain.

I have a great deal to be thankful for. Heck just to have the freedom, ability and resources to jump in the car and go somewhere when you want to, well that’s a huge blessing.


Brand spankin’ new week

Goodbye to the three-day weekend – but oh, how I enjoyed it’s stay! It brought much cooler temps and beautiful skies – a chance to rest as well as the opportunity to get some things done.

A day-trip to the mountains was just what the doctor ordered. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, and the crowds were even manageable. After miles of hiking on some not-so-desirable terrain, we could both probably use the care of a doctor. The statement “we’re sore” doesn’t quite describe the magnitude of the pain. Until today, I’ve never had trouble at all getting down my stairs. I had to laugh at myself this morning and hope no one was looking as I stepped sideways down the steps in an attempt to minimize the strain.

What amazed me about Sunday was the visibility factor. One worker pointed out two mountains in the distance that are ‘local’ to us – Kings Mountain and Crowders Mountain. Those mountains were now approximately 75 miles away, and we could still make out their silhouettes perfectly. Amazing!

Now if you’ll excuse me… I’m off to see how long I’m able to break the rules by donning my white threads after Labor Day.


Two of three

On the road early this morning as we decided to take a day-trip to the mountains. It’s cool out, even at 9:30am I can barely have my window cracked while going down the road. I’m loving that!! On the other hand, it’s a stark reminder that I’m in serious need of a new winter jacket.

There’s nothing like the feel of the open road ahead of you and knowing you’re getting out of town, even for a day – makes it even more special when you’re with someone you love. This morning the Carolina Blue sky is enhanced with wispy muted white ‘streaks’, almost as though an artist placed them there with a paintbrush. I see the mountains gaining clarity in the distance, and I continue to be ever-thankful for the ability to get out and move about… freely.


Rocky mountain high

What is it about the mountains? Hmmm…

Blue Ridge Mountains, Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Ever since K and I started dating, it’s kind of been our forte. For some reason we’ve just always gravitated here. I never was much of a mountain person previously – I mean, I tolerated the area, I just didn’t yearn for it. I guess I didn’t appreciate it. But now… well now, it’s different somehow…

Is it the cleaner air… the clearer views that stretch so very far… the endless abundance of trees, the greenery… the feeling that I’m on ‘top of the world’… or possibly the fact that I don’t have cellphone service…

Whatever the case, once again I yearn for it. The cooler air shall usher in endless possibilities for the area, and my mind is scrambling…


A fish named Bonnie

Oh how I’ve missed my little blog! I feel the weight of a thousand plus words just waiting to be written, though I’ll spare you that one today. It really is amazing how dependent I’ve gotten on this ‘release valve’ of mine (I love calling it that) and when I can’t write, or vent, well – it’s like a part of me is missing.

Late last week I graciously acquired a case of the intestinal flu. I have not been this sick in at least twenty years – it literally landed me on my ass. This is something that I would not wish on my very worst enemy. I was more than a little concerned over our beach trip and the fact that my boyfriend would also contract this highly contagious virus, since we’d been together for dinner just the night prior. Amazingly enough, as of right now post-weekend – he’s still virus-free. I thank the Lord for this.

So we had our little beach trip. 🙂 K called it ‘one of the most amazing times he’s ever had’ to which I have to agree. Ironically enough, his sister and her husband were also taking a trip down there, staying 2 blocks up from us! It made for double fun, we got together for a bikini lunch on the beach then had dinner later at Murrell’s Inlet, and barhopped a couple of venues there on the tiki strip.

Saturday night, we went out to the infamous Garden City Pier (I heart this place) where in peak season, a band plays at both ends of the pier. We actually found a table at the end of the pier where the band Coldshot was playing. Keith made a dream of mine come true when he stood and held his hand out to me for our first slow-dance ever on the pier. I can honestly say I have never been more in love with him than at that very moment – and it’s that moment in time I know I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Another first happened when we were in the ocean – we were about waist-deep (chest-deep with the waves) when he noticed about 100 or so feet out a pack of dolphins gracing us with their presence. As the waves allowed, we watched them move rhythmically in and out for about 8 minutes from one side of the ocean to the other, until they finally faded from our sight. I’ve never physically been in the ocean and privy to dolphin sitings all at once, and we both felt very privileged.

I’ll even go so far as to say it was magical. But then again… so was the dance.


It’s all about US

K and I went out for Mexican last night to a fave little hangout, then touched on a few stores looking for a very particular type of lounge-chair. The chairs look something like this…

These chairs just look like us. And yes, there’s a particular reason we need want them. There will be an upcoming beach trip in our future. Not a long one, but one nonetheless. A high-rise oceanfront trip to the beach is very much mandated at this time… as well as a few slow dances on the end of a very long pier, Nights in Rodanthe style.

Our last beach trip was during New Year’s Eve 2010, which was absolutely the coolest New Year’s I’ve ever had – not to mention the most meaningful. I don’t even have words to describe the deep respect he and I have for one another – the things we’ve been through together and how we’ve chosen to deal with them have only served to make each of us a stronger and hopefully wiser individual.

The philosophical tangent is done. Suffice it to say I need a vacation. As for K? Well, put a man on a decade-plus long stretch of no vacations, and believe me when I say he’s ready too.

And I’m more than willing to help entertain. 🙂


Fear Factor

There was another shark attack on the SC coastline this past weekend involving a 13-yr old girl, and I just read of another incident yesterday with a 10-year old boy. Though both were injured, they’ll be okay. Are the attacks increasing, or is it just me?

I probably watched a total of several hours combined this weekend of Expedition Great White on Nat Geo channel. These presentations are obviously a very favorite of mine, and anytime one is on (any shark show, for that matter) it never ceases to capture my full attention. Aside from pursuing writing, it would’ve been a lifetime dream to have a career in marine biology. I simply cannot imagine the ability to do that for a living. I’d literally scrub the decks of the vessel just to be there for a couple weeks time, to have that experience. I hope to be able to go down in a cage someday… I know it’s gotta be expensive, but it’s on my bucket-list anyway.

©2010, National Geographic

This shark was successfully tagged and released on an episode of Expedition Great White. The scientists, doctors and crew are all super-intricately careful as to how this is accomplished – and the safety of the shark is of utmost importance. I felt the need to explain the purpose of this photo because it almost appears as a hunt-and-capture shot… but it’s not.

We are learning so much more about these magnificent creatures. The research being done on them now has intensified times ten. It amazes me every time I witness a twenty-foot great white be caught, exhausted, and captured temporarily on a custom platform designed specifically for it. This has enabled so many different procedures to be performed that were never before possible. The sharks are successfully released well within 20 minutes. These shows have really raised awareness of our marine life, for which I’m grateful.

My mother and I used to go way out into the ocean, floating sometimes for long periods. We never pondered the the thought of a shark, much less ever ‘worried’ about it. Now? Well, I still love and respect the ocean more than ever. But you would literally have to dope me up (very well) in order to get me to go out over my head and remain there for any length of time NOW. So what’s changed? I mean, we knew enough then – we’d even seen the movie Jaws. But we didn’t have that certain ‘fear factor’ then. I’m still not quite getting that.

There are several things you can do to help prevent a shark attack, most of which are common sense. Even with that said, sometimes common sense factors aren’t exercised. For one, don’t go out swimming around a pier. Swimming in water where all that bait is never smart, besides, you don’t want to be hooked yourself, right? Also, stay in groups whenever possible as sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual. Avoid being in the water around daybreak or twilight, because this is when sharks are most active. Never wade deep when you are bleeding. Avoid wearing shiny jewelry, since the reflected light resembles the sheen of fish scales. Lastly, avoid areas where you see diving seabirds – this generally signals a sign of bait fishes or other feeding activity.

If you are in the ocean and spot a shark, the international hand signal for ‘shark’ is a flat hand with thumb against forehead, as in a fin. Be sure to use it if you need to – your voice alone is not much help when you’re in the ocean.

For the latest information on shark attacks, this one’s a great tool. http://www.sharkattackinfo.com/


Post Fourth

I finally got out on the water again. After three long years, to the very day… ole’ Bon was able to partake in a day at the lake.

I never will possess the ability to fully explain the depth of my love for boating. When that boat pulls away from the dock, any and all troubles are left on land – it’s the most freeing feeling ever imaginable to me. I can only assume that bikers get this same euphoric feeling while on the road, as I’ve heard it explained to me, anyway. But as for my love, my haven, it will always be the water – and this will remain so forever.

There’s something additional about the fourth of July on the lake. I’ve only had the opportunity to experience it once, that was back in 2007 in my ‘old life’. We drove a little further down to a different sandbar, one that wasn’t so centrally located in the ‘mainstream’ of things, and hung out there for a couple of hours. We had a good 40-minute drive back to the River Hills area where the fireworks were being launched, and being the lucky souls we are, actually found a empty dockside spot at the local TBones. Dinner was great, and the fireworks were amazing afterwards.

Upon leaving, thank God for all safety equipment being in check (well, almost) because before we even reached the main channel we were pulled over. Anchors and line, check… personal floatation devices, check… first aid kit, check… licenses, check… navigational lights, NOT ON. Shit. We got off with a warning though, yes sir and thank you officer.

Back to the basics today, hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday!!


Bits and Pieces

I gazed down at myself as I sat down in my car seat this morning and discovered a spider had hitched a ride down the stairs with me. Lovely. I should be used to it by now I so hate spiders.

On a brighter note, here comes our holiday finally and with it the three-day weekend. Longer for some, I know, but I’ll take the extra day and not complain a bit. I recently made a friend who frequents the lake (via boat) and she invited us out this weekend. I’m SO STOKED I couldn’t be more excited if I were going to the beach. Wellll, I might be a bit more excited about that – but this is still major to me. I haven’t had a good day out on a boat in well, I don’t count last year because the boat never even moved from it’s stationery spot. So, three years now. That’s far too long for ole’ water-Bon to be a land-lubber. Craving the ocean too, but that’s a whole other story. The lake will most definitely temporarily suffice.

So, Eclipse has come out. All of my New Moon buddies have seen it so far and are telling me it’s mega-awesome, so I can’t wait to see it. My guy said something about Monday and it probably will be less crowded that day. One friend of mine was going to see it for the second time last night. The last movie I went to see more than once was Nights in Rodanthe, which I saw 3 times at the theatre. I didn’t know it at the time, but that movie was to become a staple in my newfound single life.

I have a friend who is taking his girlfriend to the beach this weekend – and planning to ‘pop the question’ to her. From what he said, she’s wanted this for a long time, and what better time than July 4th holiday? I’m such a romantic, so I bask in stories like these. I got all sappy yesterday when I heard what he was planning, and the girls at work were laughing at me. I can only explain it by saying that I’ve never in my life had anyone who actually wanted to marry me, so I guess that’ll make a person a romantic if nothing else will. I can’t wait to hear how he did it when he gets back in town… will he propose on the pier? On the beach? Or maybe at Broadway, standing underneath the fireworks after they start… my goodness, I love that idea….

Stay tuned. 🙂


I spy… an AlpspiX

Here I go with my dreams again. I had a dream last night about extreme heights. I was ‘dangling’ from some place high above I-don’t-know-where, and alongside me was my (don’t laugh) cat… (I heard that snicker). For some reason I was more concerned with Camille’s well-being than my own, as she was more terrified than I. I’m thinking the whole thing was a direct result from that muscle-relaxer I took last night before bed.

Employees work on the AlpspiX viewing platform at the southern Bavarian Alps mountain Alpspitze in Garmisch-Partenkirchen 29 June, 2010. Photo courtesy http://www.daylife.com

Ironically enough, I just heard about the new AlpspiX in Germany. It’s almost finished and set to open on 4 July. Suspended a whopping 1,000 meters (3300 feet) in the air high over the German Alps, the AlpspiX is a viewing platform consisting of two 24-meter long arms that cross each other to form the letter X. The ‘arms’ protrude more than 13 meters (43 feet) over an abyss at the base of the Alpspitze mountain. Each arm of the X is just 3 meters wide and formed of a grid, which will allow snow to pass through it during winter. For your enhanced viewing pleasure, each of these arms will end in a glass wall for an unobscured view. The structure was designed so that one platform slants toward ‘heaven’ while the other element descends toward the valley of ‘hell’, the Höllental.

Don’t forget to pack your nerves.

Sources: Zugspitze and DailyMail


Freak of nature

Some things in life run unbelievably short of what my mind is able to comprehend. Things. Like Tidal Waves. Mega-scrapers. Terrorism. Sharks. Adultery. A faulty sort of bend in reality is how I feel about these things. Even though life is continually reminding us of their true existence, the full perception of them never seems to develop within my brain. I think that’s why I like to write about these things, bring them to the surface. My fears.

Yeah. All of them seem to fall into that same category. My fears.

I wrote about the  Burj Dubai when it opened. It’s another massive architectural feat that I can’t read or see enough of. I’ve wanted to write something on the Skywalk since I started blogging –  but I think it must blow my mind so much more so than the average person, that I’ve just never been able to convey my thoughts into words. I’ll give it a grave attempt now.

How about this one:

Picture source: Skywalk Website (www.grandcanyonskywalk.com)

If you were presented with the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon and walk out on the glass skywalk, would you? Or should I ask, could you? Keep in mind, this ain’t no stroll across the mile-high swinging bridge, my friends.

If asked the question above I would respond quickly with a firm no. I personally would be unable to walk even one small step onto the platform. No way, no how. If I were forced, my heart would most certainly fail me then and there. This would be the ultimate test of my own fear of heights, resulting in Epic Fail.

Then again, my fear of heights surpasses that of most others. I abhor the word fear – always have. Rather, I like to think that I’m altitude-challenged. 😀

Situated on the Hualapai Indian Reservation (pronounced wä’lə-pī’), this remarkable achievement in engineering was constructed with more than a million pounds of steel beams including dampeners that minimize the structure’s vibration. It was designed to hold 72 million pounds, withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake 50 miles away, and endure winds in excess of 100 mph. The horseshoe-shaped walkway juts out about 70 feet into the canyon.

It has been estimated the walkway could carry 822 people that weigh 200 pounds each without overstress, but maximum occupancy at one time is limited to 120 people. (The question has been asked, just how comfortable would you be walking alongside 119 other people on this thing? Again, just a personal observation…)

I have to keep reminding myself these measurements are in METERS. Picture source: Skywalk Website (www.grandcanyonskywalk.com)

The Skywalk is commissioned and owned by the Hualapai Indian tribe. According to Hualapai officials, the cost of the Skywalk was $31 million. Future plans for the Grand Canyon Skywalk complex include a museum, movie theater, VIP lounge, gift shop, and several restaurants including a high-end restaurant called The Skywalk Café where visitors will be able to dine outdoors at the canyon’s rim. The Skywalk is only the cornerstone of a much larger plan by the Hualapai tribe, which it hopes will be the incentive for a 9,000-acre expansion to be called Grand Canyon West. This development would precipitate the growth of a 100-mile stretch along the canyon’s South Rim. The vast addition would include hotels, restaurants, a golf course, as well as a cable car to ferry visitors from the canyon rim to the Colorado River – an area which has been previously inaccessible. All this blows my mind… I especially cannot fathom which piece of land they might choose for a golf course.

A short doable 2 1/2 hour drive from Las Vegas, this magnificent framework promises a sure thrill for the not-so-faint-at-heart persons unlike myself. A flat rate adult admission of around $30 allows access to the Skywalk, where you may ‘hang out’ as long as you like up until closing. You know – hang around, have some casual conversation, file your nails, do a little barfing. That type of thing.

Click for a short video that showcases the sheer height of the Grand Canyon Skywalk

Total elevation: 4825 ft. / 1471 m (estimated)

Sources: Wikipedia and Official Grand Canyon Skywalk website



Camille’s Big Adventure

I’m home now. But I have to say I have no idea what just happened theze past dayz.

I knew something waz up when Momy came in the front door yesterday and sez *aww, I got you a bunch of stuff*. She did, too – everything from snackz, new litterbox and litter, to thiz funky looking gadget I later learned I would be travelin inside of.

Momy was in the best mood yesterday. I think someone gave her a bunch of treatz or somethin. She was talking to me nonstop and lovin on me, well I didn’t mind that. That’s when my world gotz turned downside up.

I liked the gadget I later learned I’d be traveling inside of. It’s shaped like a tent – I heard Momy say this, anyway. It gotz windows on all sidez, and a soft bottom. Much better than that hard box with a little gate door she put me in the other timez. That one waz like a jail.

I even got inside the gadget on my own akord. Momy thought I looked cute and took picturez. But she waz missin the real reason I liked it… I thought it waz a gadget. You know, a toy – like my tubular thingy that lights up that Momy’s friend Keefer got me for Christmas. Well, they even pop open zactly the same! I think Momy callz it string-loaded. Anyway, I didn’t know she waz gonna zip it up on me and carry me

OUTSIDE OUTSIDE oh GOD I’M OUTSIDE  😦 😦 😦 😦

My world haz ended. I’m goin back to the pound I JUST KNOW I’M GOIN BACK TO THE POUND. I can’t hear what the Momy’s sayin because the poundin of my own heart drownz her out. Why are my meowz not loud enough to make her take me back home??

The big machine we’re riding inside of must be tranzporting us both to hell. I think Momy feels bad for me cuz she unzipt the gadget that I was traveling inside of and let me out. At first I thought it waz good to be free, until I saw all thoze bird-holderz in the sky whizzing by. Whiz, whiz, whiz… so fast… I couldn’t take it so I gotz down in the floor and cried. And cried. And cried.

Hmm, console? That thing that Momy restz her arm on while she drivez, so thatz what itz for? To console? Okays. Momy talked me into it, so I rode beside her on that as long she went slow. Nice and slow. Once she broke lawz and speeded up, those bird holderz in the sky started whizzing about again and I couldn’t take it. Back to the floor I go.

Momy places me back inside the gadget, here we goez again. She carriez me and the gadget to what iz certain to be the pound. Openz door and

WHOA I SEE A FAMILIAR FACE I know this guy

Oh itz Keefer… I know Keefer. Okay, is he in on this takin me back to the pound thing? Momy unzipt gadget, but do I dare come out?

In the dayz to follow I play with Keefer a lot. See, he getz bored eazy so I must keep him entertained. I didn’t sleep good last night. I decided to get on Keeferz bed the next dayz. Itz a big bed much bigger than Momyz. Birdz birdz birdz, everywhere – they is loud! Keefer opens blindz for me to look outside the bedroom window and chatter at them. I like this setup Keefer haz here. Unlike mine and Momyz place this one iz on the ground. I can see all creaturez up close. I can smell em, really I can.

An I can smell bacon and eggz cookin too. Score one for the Camille for gettin the human folk up and at ’em early-like. Theze humanz love bacon and eggz more that any humanz I ever did see. An, they alwayz gives me a little bit of the bacons. Wide padio door to look out of, front glass door to look out of, I believe I’ve located my kitty heaven.

I think I left no territory unchartered. Gotta go back and check though. Knowz one thing – Keefer must think I’m slow because therez two doors that are *shut*. I know whatz behind doorz – roomz. If they let me come back here again I’ll have to find out whatz in em. Kay, other than those two roomz, no territory left unchartered.

Theyz actin funny. Somethinz up. My string-loaded tunnel and toyz are up and gone. I saw Momy take my litterbox somewhere else. My food iz gone.

OH GOD SHEZ TAKIN ME BACK TO THE POUND AGAIN. I MUST RUN NOW.

They’ll never find me under here. Specially under a bed thiz big. I’ll just stay here for now.

Hmm Keefer’s gotz my favorite mouse in the world. He’s in there in the big room rattling it, he knowz better than that. That’s MY toy. I must go correct him

SCOOP oh I shoulda known it waz a trick you tricksterz

Back inside the gadget.

I cried the whole way home again. Momy, that speeder – shez not ‘sposed to go that fast it’s just dangerouz. Some humanz never learns. Whiz whiz whiz, my headz spinnin. My throat’s gettin sore from cryin.

I can’t believe it, I’m home. This iz home again, how did it happen? How many dayz have happened? Ten? I’m tired. And hungry. And I really need to take a crap.

And I need sleep.

Therez no place like home. Umm, I hope Momy takez me with her next week too….


More waves…

I’m guessing I need to take on a little lighter note after yesterdays blog. I’ve had more than a couple people ask me ‘who were you writing about?’ It’s natural curiosity to question the identity of the Village Idiot, or perhaps if my overly-detailed description is even authentic. Well, it’s authentic all right. Furthermore, I have personally lived this certain hell of knowing such a person. Of course, the individual shall remain nameless. Those of you who are close to me already know of the person I wrote about. Realistically speaking, it’s possible that we all know someone of this very nature.

A lot of people probably think I’m obsessed with the sea and waves, as much as I’ve talked about it in the past. Well, maybe I am. To me it’s intriguing, mesmerizing. It is also ever-demanding of our respect. Being face to face with a huge tidal wave is a continuing dream I’ve had my entire life, and I’ve written about on a couple of occasions.

And dreams always seem to come to pass – in some way, shape or form.

For years now I’ve thought that maybe, just maybe, someday I’d like to take a cruise. Just to see what all the fuss is about. Well, this just puts a whole different spin on the term cruising.

How about being out to sea on a cruise ship, and a massive set of waves pound the bow busting out 5 large windows in a public area – killing 2 people and injuring 14? A passenger said there were three ‘abnormally high’ waves that hit, with the second and third being the largest. The waves were 33 feet (10 meters) high and flooded cabins and busted windows and frames in a restaurant. My God, that’s just the thing nightmares are made of.

This was a 12-day cruise that traveled from Barcelona, Spain to Genoa, Italy. It occurred approximately 24 miles off the coast of Cabo de San Sebastian near the Spanish town of Palafrugell. Of the two who were killed, one was German and the other Italian. It’s indicated the weather was the cause of the waves, as the wind was reported to be 45 mph.

I do adore the ocean. But I do believe I’ll rethink the whole cruise idea. Just put my ass on a plane and land me somewhere near the clear blue water for a week. I’ll find my way to the ocean. And I’ll be just as happy, thanks.


Warm wishings

I want to go fishing soon. I love to fish despite the fact I don’t eat seafood and I’m a Pisces. My Dad and I used to go quite often – and although it’s been a long time, I haven’t forgotten the complacency it brings. And I throw ’em back, by the way.

I thought about this one morning while getting ready for work. If you could have a ‘fishing date’ with any one person in the world, famous or not – who would it be? The answers varied at my work…. the one holding most notoriety being Angelina Jolie. 🙂

My pick? Toby Keith. To which someone immediately replied, ‘but he’s married’. Oh, that’s not it – I wouldn’t have chosen him with that mindset. It’s just to me, Toby Keith represents someone who’s a) in whole, all-American and b) safe, funny, and able to fend off a bear attack. LMAO. Seriously, I just think he’d be a lot of fun. Plus, I’d ask that he bring his guitar for some singing entertainment when it came time to rest the poles.

Fishing. Okay, this Spring thing really is starting to get to me. I need it here and I need it here fast. But, I must bide my time.

On another note, North Carolina’s own Ghosttown in the Sky in Maggie Valley, NC has filed Chapter 11. As recently as 2 years ago, the legendary amusement park situated on top of a mountain paid a contractor to rebuild parts of a retaining wall. On February 5th of this year, a mudslide more than half a mile long busted through the wall, taking with it a large stretch of land containing 18 homes. These persons are still displaced and are now left to wonder when construction will be started/and or where this leaves them in light of recent events. BB&T, the company’s largest creditor, wants the company to be liquidated to pay off it’s $6 million debt.

Apparently this particular landslide has highlighted a ‘need for a statewide law to regulate development of North Carolina’s mountains’. Well, hello – I don’t know how long this business has operated, but it’s at least been all my life. Are they just now realizing this might present a geographical hazard?? Apparently the company also owes money to workers, contractors and other businesses. They’re reporting they have lined up financing for it’s reorganization and plan to reopen the park in late May.

Whatever the issues are, and although I feel terrible for the lifelong residents of Maggie Valley who are temporarily displaced – the place is an icon to a ton of people. I’d sure hate to see it close down.


‘Scuse me, while I kiss the sky

Once in a while I like to write about something that just totally captivates me. This captivation can vary from admiration to curiosity; abhorrence to outrage; and can even be generated from the greatest of fears imaginable to me. In this case, it involves marvel and fear – my fear of extreme heights.

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, also known as the Burj Dubai, opened January 4, 2010 taking the world record by a landslide as the tallest building ever constructed. But that’s not the only thing about this mammoth architectural undertaking that breaks a record.

Current records include:

  • Tallest skyscraper to top of spire: 828 m (2,717 ft) (previously Taipei 101 – 509.2 m/1,671 ft)
  • Tallest structure ever built: 828 m (2,717 ft) (previously Warsaw radio mast – 646.38 m/2,121 ft)
  • Tallest extant structure: 828 m (2,717 ft) (previously KVLY-TV mast – 628.8 m/2,063 ft)
  • Tallest freestanding structure: 828 m (2,717 ft) (previously CN Tower – 553.3 m/1,815 ft)
  • Building with most floors: 160 (previously Willis Tower – 108)
  • World’s highest elevator installation, situated inside a rod at the very top of the building
  • World’s fastest elevators at speed of 64 km/h (40 mph) or 18 m/s (59 ft/s) (previously Taipei 101 – 16.83 m/s)
  • Highest vertical concrete pumping (for a building): 606 m (1,988 ft) (previously Taipei 101 – 449.2 m/1,474 ft)
  • Highest vertical concrete pumping (for any construction): 606 m (1,988 ft)
  • The first world’s tallest structure in history to include residential space
  • Highest outdoor observation deck in the world (124th floor) at 442 m (1,450 ft)
  • World’s highest installation of an aluminium and glass façade, at a height of 512 m (1,680 ft)
  • World’s highest swimming pool (76th floor)
  • World’s highest nightclub (144th floor)
  • World’s highest place of worship (158th floor)
  • And, most recently – the structure is now home to the newest record of the highest ever recorded base jumping.

September 21, 2004 began the construction on this massive megastructure, with the architecture and engineering assigned to the firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill of Chicago IL. When the idea was first conceptualized it was unknown just how high a skyscraper could be built. In fact, the Burj, which is the arabic word for Tower, reaches such unforeseen heights that a new word was coined to describe its magnitude – ‘Superscraper’. I’ve substituted this with the word Megastructure, it just sounds more fitting.

The final height of the Burj is equivalent to the previous record-holding Taipei 101 Tower in Taiwan with the Eiffel Tower on top of it. A whopping 828 meters, 2717 feet, 160 stories, HIGH. That’s over half a mile high. Already-seasoned visitors to the tower have reported that the best views come from in between 70-80 stories, since it’s near impossible to make out what is on the ground from the top of the structure.

The tower is designed to sway as much as 5.5-6 feet in the worst weather conditions. Not surprisingly, this figure has become controversial – with other experts saying it could be as much as a 10 foot sway. This gives me chills and a visual that’s all my own. You see, to me – this is the stuff nightmares are made of. Which, if you read this blog often, you already know I have some real doozies.

I’ve followed the progress of this monster for years, and the completion of such a feat is something I never could have envisioned. A few people I know say they would love to cruise to the top of this bad boy. I wish I could say the same, but unfortunately I wouldn’t even make it halfway! This thing is way massive, and oddly enough I have a kind of sick respect for the fellas that recently base-jumped off of it. The platform from which they launched from wasn’t even at the top – and it still beat the record by a sizable margin, if that tells you anything.

I cannot imagine living in the city where this colossal cloud-buster resides. To even see it in my peripheral vision would probably give me vertigo. 🙂

Of course, I’m only detailing the facts here that are of interest to me. So here’s a couple good websites to check out extra notable stats and current info on the Burj….
Wikipedia
Burj Dubai Official Site


Tomorrow’s come

Well that day is here. It’s Saturday, and it’s time to go home. We just finished breakfast and got back to our room, and to say it’s cold is an understatement – it’s a brisk thirty degrees outside. The workers in the restaurant were all abuzz about the weather, talking about what an oddity it is for ‘these parts’. For the next five days, the forecasted lows are supposed to be in the lower twenties. Glad I won’t be here for that.

Got up around 6:30-ish because my bf wanted some good shots of the sunrise, seeing as how this is the first time we’ve actually seen the sun come up here. They did turn out to be some gorgeous shots.

Not much to do today in the way of loading the car since we pretty much got all that knocked out last night. We are still being entertained by the early morning Dolphin Show from up high. They are putting on quite the grand finale for us – cresting the top of the water while blowing out water, even making splashes now and then with their tails.

I gotta say that, aside from myself of course, I’ve never seen someone love the ocean so much as my guy. Even now as I write this, he’s on the balcony giving me updates every so often. He cannot keep his eyes off the sea, waves and fish. To see it through his eyes these past few days has been precious – almost like seeing it for the first time all over again myself. It has made me appreciate it that much more.

We’ll be on the road soon. We will, however, be leaving a large piece of our souls here on the shoreline.

Until next time….


Same state – different State of Mind

It isn’t the easiest thing to do, typing on this phone. In fact it’s still damn near impossible for me, I’ve just never gotten used to it. But after going two days without writing, I’m about to go into DT’s. And I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing.

Happy New Year to all. We rang in the new year of 2010 last night. It doesn’t seem possible, but here it is…

So it’s Friday, and we’ve been at the beach since Wednesday. It’s been a blast. It has for sure been a very needed getaway. The weather has been cooperative for the most part, the torrential rain ended Weds. evening.

The walks on the beach have been the best. There’s something about the ocean that can change one’s entire state of mind; a kind of cleansing or washing away.

We’ve watched fireworks at Broadway, eaten at some great restaurants, enjoyed long walks on the beach and even squeezed a nap in. Made glo-bracelets (and halos) and lit fireworks, with K getting burned once in the process. We even met up briefly with a dear friend and colleague for the fireworks at Broadway last night. The multiple dolphin sightings have been awesome too, but those are some tough moments to capture on camera.

We’ll head home tomorrow, but I’ll put off thinking about that until later. No sense in subsiding the current state of mind just yet. As Miss Scarlet would say, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”


Sea ya!!

We’re at year’s end once again. Somehow, this doesn’t seem possible – but yet here we are.

I’ve written so much about my year 2009 as well as 2008 in past blogs, that there’s really not much left to cover in that area. So instead, I’ll pan forward and tell you my plans for bringing in the New Year.

Me and my guy are heading to the coast for several nights over the New Year holiday, we’ll leave tomorrow morning. I can’t tell you how forward I’m looking to it. We both need the getaway (and I won’t tell you how long it’s been since he’s had a real vacation). The weather forecast isn’t the brightest and best – but after all, we are in the middle of winter.

We’re like two little kids getting ready to go on a summer beach trip. His bag was already packed last night, and if it weren’t for last-minute laundry mine would have been too. We already have an intinerary set, such as where to watch the fireworks on New Years Eve and possibly visiting the aquarium.

I’m looking forward to just to being able to breathe the ocean air again. Our room is oceanfront, and up high – a little slice ‘o heaven in my book. My camera is currently at home resting up for it’s future assignment.

I did install WP on my iPhone, so I plan to try to post some sort of update from there. I don’t think it’ll be a big surprise to anyone when I say that blogging won’t be topping the ole’ priority list, though.

Happy New Year to all!!


Surf’s up in Hawaii

Quicksilver Competition Pics ’09
Probably seems like a continuance of yesterday, and I guess it is, in a sense – just not about dreams. The ocean and marine life are however my favorite subject, so I could talk about it to no end. As long as I have my internet access with which to do my research, so as not to appear an idiot. Hope that generates a LOL, regardless of it being at my own expense. 🙂

The past couple of days, I’ve been consumed with the story of the huge waves that are hitting Hawaii. Because of these colossal waves, the Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau competition was held for only the eighth time since the contest’s inception in back in 1984. The surf had to reach a 30-40 foot height wave requirement in order to even put that contest into place again. As I would expect, the spectators amounted to more than 20,000 for the event. Several beaches in Oahu and Maui were closed due to fears of possible tourist drownings, with the island officials warning them of the possibility of being swept out to sea.

As I’ve said before, the ocean is my favorite thing in the world. Favorite place in the world, state of mind, yada yada. But it will always demand respect. From the danger of it’s own strength, down to the perils the life that resides in it brings.

I love Shark Week on Discovery. Most recently, there was a special on the Nat Geo channel that I wanted desperately to see, but missed – so my boyfriend dvr’d it for me. It involved the capture and release of a gargantuan Great White. The platform created off the side of the huge vessel was suited especially for the temporary capture, as well for a successful release. My God, the hours it took just to tire that thing out to even attempt to ‘land’ it on the platform. The hook that was required to make the catch…. well, that’s a whole other story.

I can’t look at a surfer without these magnificent animals creeping into the old thought process. As I look at the pictures from the above link of the Quicksilver competition, I find myself creating scenarios in my head of what could happen. My Mother and I used to be fearless while in the sea, often venturing beyond the breakers and hanging out on our floats for hours. I had a couple of friends who had the fearless trait along with me when it came to venturing a good distance into the ocean. We honestly didn’t think a thing about it, it was like being in a pool. Was it courageousness? Absolutely not – it just never entered our head that it could be dangerous. Not sure why, really, at that time…. because I do think about it now.

Those who know me already know I have the utmost respect and admiration for professional surfers. They are a special breed. Fearless, adrenaline driven, dedicated and well – something I’ve always wanted to be. Simply said.

26-year old Greg Long won the competition. This is just a small piece from his post-competition interview, but it’s the piece I most love: “It really is about the wave and celebrating the ocean. It’s what we do: go out there and ride big waves. The respect and camaraderie in the lineup you don’t find in too many places in the world, and this event really encapsulates everything that’s great about surfing: the friendships you make in the water and looking out for one another.”

With that, I’ll leave you with another very interesting website I found, link below. The part you’ll be directed to actually details shark attack incidents from this year back, the ones around the Hawaiian islands anyway. For each incident, it lists important details such as depth of the water, clarity and what the person was doing. I’ll be keeping my eye on it to see if any new attacks were reported during this most recent competition in Hawaii.

http://www.hawaiisharks.com/incidents.html


Manners – A Lost Art?

Please. Thank you. Excuse me. Oh, the nice things that come to you as a result of just uttering these simple words. Have we Americans forgotten our manners? I’d like to say no, but unfortunately I believe many have.

I drove up to the mountains yesterday to do a little hiking. It was obvious that our area had been hermitized for several days as a result of all the rain that Hurricane Ida brought in, because there almost wasn’t a parking place to be found in the State Park.

When we finally did find a place, we had to squeeze the car in – the SUV to the left had overrode his space. The owner of the SUV to the right was still standing by his vehicle, which we had to get pretty close to. My boyfriend rolled his window down and said to the guy, “I’m going to move it over a little” to which the guy replied “Oh, you’re alright”.

We found out pretty quick how treacherous this hike was to become, being as how it eventually led up to a waterfall. Needless to say, the waterfall reward at the end made this one the most popular of all the trails.

Once the trail started getting kind of chancy, oftentimes we would have to wait for ‘oncoming traffic’ to make their way up, or down. Can you believe there was usually an ‘excuse me’ and/or ‘thank you’ involved? As well, I would say it when people would wait on or move for us. Sometimes we were winded, as other hikers were – but we all managed to keep our manners with the ‘excuse mes’ and ‘thank yous’.

It behooves me that people can be in the middle of a freaking forest and maintain their manners, and yet forget them when out in public, such as a restaurant, grocery store, etc.

Hmm. Manners. In the woods.

MsSpider1

A habitant of the forest.