Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"When a great adventure is offered, you don't refuse it"

I'm skipping town for the next week.

This Friday, I'm flying south with friends and going island-hopping in the Caribbean. We'll be aboard a giant cruise ship, so please send "canned Spam, canned fruit, canned milk and munchies such as Pop Tarts" if something goes wrong.

"Munchies such as Pop Tarts." Look at you go, LA Times!

My friend works for a cruise line and got us an insanely great deal. Insanely great. That means there's plenty of vacation money left over for fun activities like ziplining, snorkeling, kayaking, cocktail-drinking, etc.

I'm a little excited.

It's November. I'm in Seattle. I scraped ice off of my windshield this morning and, while doing so, stepped in dog poop. Fresh dog poop. I didn't notice this fact until I was halfway to the Park & Ride, when I finally realized what the stench was. And, oh, what a stench it was.

The only thing that got me through it was picturing myself on a sandy beach in less than a week. With a very strong cocktail in my hand.

This trip wouldn't always have been possible for me. If I was still in debt, I'd probably have to pass on the opportunity, or just go deeper into debt — neither of which sound like very fun options.

If I hadn't recently decided to be more adventurous, I'd probably have passed on the opportunity since it wasn't a sure thing until just a few weeks ago. We bought plane tickets several weeks before the cruise was even confirmed, and, while this would have freaked me out not too long ago, my mindset was, "Well, I'll either get to spend a week in the Caribbean or a week in Florida. If necessary, I'll find something to do in Florida!"

I'm pretty sure Florida in November is more pleasant than Seattle in November. Or so I've heard.

Chris Guillebeau — who's right up there with Gandhi and Santa Claus in my book — recently reminded his readers to register for his upcoming World Domination Summit by busting out this quote from Amelia Earhart: "When a great adventure is offered, you don't refuse it."

A cruise may not be a "great adventure" for some people, but for me, it qualifies. Remember, I'm "a stay-at-homer, a curl-up-and-reader, a call-me-when-you're-done-and-tell-me-how-it-was... er."

I'm trying to be less of that, and more of a doer.

A year ago, Devon (that's me) would have said, "But, Devon, Amelia Earhart disappeared on her adventure. Wouldn't she have been better off just staying at home and watching reruns of the Real Housewives of [Anywhere]?"

That's true, Devon, but at least Amelia was out doing something. She was following her heart, chasing her dream, squeezing her life to its last drop — all that good stuff. Besides, what have the Real Housewives done for you lately?

I've written this about my self-doubt:

I find that when I dream of something, whether it's running a marathon or traveling around the world, I almost immediately start thinking, "But... [I'll never have enough endurance] [I'll never have enough time/money/bravery]." I can be too practical and too realistic. The "But..." comes all too quickly for me.

I'm going to try to wedge the quote, "When a great adventure is offered, you don't refuse it" in the front of my brain, right ahead of the, "But...". By the time I can start to doubt myself, I've already signed on for the adventure and the ride is in motion.

For example, this idea was planted in my mind just last night. I'll be signing up for this when I return from the cruise. (Just the 13.1, people. I'm adventurous, not crazy.)

I also registered for the World Domination Summit a few hours after the Web site went live, about a month and a half ago. A great adventure was offered. I couldn't refuse it.

So those are some of my upcoming adventures, and I'll be back in a little more than a week to tell you how the cruise went. I've got my fingers crossed for good weather and, you know, whatever the opposite of an engine fire is.

If things don't work out, remember... Pop Tarts.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Halloween 2010: The lobster costume

So, this happened:

I can't explain it. For Halloween 2009, I really phoned it in and dressed as a witch. Ever since that poor showing for my favorite holiday, I knew that I wanted — no, needed — to be a lobster for Halloween 2010.

And a lobster I was.

A month or two ago, I was sitting in the Creative area of my place of employment, waiting for someone to set up a video camera so we could film a brief segment for the agency's new homepage video (not finished yet, but you better believe I'll link to it at some point). I don't usually have any business in Creative, so I noticed for the first time an odd, slightly creepy piece of art on the wall. It featured what appeared to be a wide-eyed marsupial.

"Is that a... lemur?" I asked the creative director, who was also waiting for the shoot to begin.

"Yeah," he answered casually, barely looking up from his iPhone. "Nate painted it. It's his spirit animal."

The lobster, friends, is my spirit animal. The lobster costume was meant to happen.

First of all, let me give credit where credit is due: to this dude.

Apparently you can pay money to subscribe to this Instructables Web site and follow step-by-step directions for constructing this costume. Or, you can just study the pictures and wing it.

Winging it has always been my forte.

If you read the description, lobster dude says it took him eight hours to put this costume together. I didn't believe it would take that long, but it did. Oh, it did.

Don gets one-thousand gold stars for putting in hours and hours of work on this with me on Saturday the 30th, immediately after we ran an exhausting 5K. All either of us wanted to do was take a nap, but he helped me string plastic cups onto red yarn to make lobster legs. He helped me cut claws out of red plates and staple them onto fingerless gloves, which allowed me to hold drinks and project ping-pong balls with the greatest of ease at the party I attended. He even came up with a way to make my feet look like lobster feet, even though I had to ditch those things early in the evening due to their instability and the very-crowded nature of the party.

He wins.

What you see here is:

- 48 red plastic cups
- 15 red plastic plates, plus one cut in half for the claws and two for the feet
- two ping-pong balls
- two red pipe cleaners
- a bunch of red yarn
- a bunch of clear packing tape
- red shirt, shorts, tights and fingerless gloves

All the work was well worth it, as several people complimented the costume and even asked to take pictures with me at the party. It was awkward and creaky to walk in, sure, and going to the bathroom was very difficult, but it was the best Halloween costume I've ever sported and it made for a super-fun night overall. All my best friends were at the party and I had a great time.

The only question is: What will I be for next Halloween??
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