Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I mentioned yesterday that I had another Michael Jackson tribute up my sleeve, so here we go.

Eric and I spent the weekend out preparing for our Europe trip (we leave one week from today!). We did lots of shopping for travel necessities - new walking shoes, comfy yoga pants for the flight, golf pants for Eric, and all the travel size toiletries a person could want. The weather was really nice too, except for some quick evening storms (what is this, Florida?).

On Saturday, we made sure to wrap up our shopping by 4:30p.m. or so. We had to get to Times Square, because I had heard through the world of Facebook and Twitter that a Thriller "flash mob" was planned for 5:00 p.m. in front of the TKTS booth in Times Square. The instructions were to dress up, come ready to dance, and bring your iPod. Then, in theory, at 5:00 sharp a whole crowd of people would start doing the Thriller dance together in the middle of Times Square. It was majorly hyped up, and crowds grew to watch, including lots of photographers. Eric and I got to Times Square early and picked up some Ray's pizza, then staked out a spot on the TKTS steps to get a good view of the action.

The red steps over the TKTS booth in Times Square

Times Square was SO CROWDED. Not that that's anything new, but still.

Eric on the steps, waiting for some dancing fun

Both of us on the steps, with the crowds behind us

People finally started showing up a little before 5:00 to dance. A few of them were dressed up either as zombies, or sporting the signature Michael Jackson white glove.

White glove guy
(photo taken from JoanJHuang on Twitter)

One of the zombies, and lots o' spectators behind him
(photo also taken from JoanJHuang on Twitter)

The dancing didn't get started until around 5:15, and then to be honest, it was a bit disappointing. It had been hyped up as a flash mob, but the "mob" was really about 10 people. It was also pretty disorganized - only a couple people seemed to actually know the dance, and the rest of them just sort of hopped around randomly. But, I appreciate the sentiment and I video-ed it anyway. I added the music after the fact, of course, since they were all dancing to their iPods. Also, the dancers are in the middle of a huge crowd, so they might be hard to spot at first. Look for some head twitching by the people at the bottom of the picture starting around the 20 second mark. The dancing does get a little better as the video goes on.

VIDEO: Thriller flash mob in Times Square

So, it could have been really awesome, but ah well. But, it made me think of Thriller dances that really ARE awesome. Have you ever seen the video of over 1,500 prisoners from the Philippines doing the Thriller dance? It's pretty awesome.

VIDEO: Prisoner performance of Thriller

And, if you really want to appreciate some Thriller-dancing awesomeness, you must go to the original source. Below is the dance portion of the original Thriller video.

VIDEO: Dance segment in Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video

So good, no? Nothing beats the original! Although I do wish I could have posted little 5th grade Eric's interpretation for you...maybe someday!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Farewell, Billy

My autographed Billy Mays photograph from the Big Apple BBQ Festival

Well, I had planned to be posting about our weekend today, which would essentially be another Michael Jackson tribute post, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. (Sorry, Michael.) Today, I have another celebrity death to address, unfortunately. This time, it is my dear friend Billy Mays.

Billy Mays tribute comic courtesy of Ctrl+Alt+Del Online

Can you believe it? The cause of death is still unknown (pending the autopsy), but he was found unresponsive in his home in Tampa yesterday morning. It is being speculated that his death may have been related to a rough airplane landing he experienced on Saturday, during which the plane's front tires blew out and he either hit his head, or luggage fell on his head. I follow(ed) Billy on Twitter, and he even Twittered about it: "Just had a close call landing in Tampa. The tires blew out upon landing. Stuck in the plane on the runway. You can always count on US Air."

How sad. I feel especially bad for his wife. I can't imagine what it must feel like to not be able to wake your husband in the morning. I also can't believe that I just met him two weeks ago, and now he passed away. My picture with him is still my Facebook profile picture! He seemed like such a nice guy. Really funny, too. Have you seen this video of him ordering a McDonalds breakfast while being taped for the MJ Morning Show (in Tampa)? It's good stuff.

Farewell, Billy. You will be missed.

UPDATE 6/29, 3:00 p.m.: Initial coroner's report states that Billy likely died of heart disease, and there was no evidence of head trauma. So it looks like that rough plane landing was just a bit of bad luck, not the cause of death. Poor Billy Mays.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

No Rain, No Rainbow

I know I've been whiny about the rain, and I'm sorry if I've been tiresome with the whole thing.

Yesterday, however, we were blessed with sunshine for most of the day, which was good because Eric and I were out and about all afternoon (more on that later). As soon as we got home, however, it started pouring rain yet again. But then it cleared up, the sun came back out, and we saw this:

What a great reminder that without the rain, there would be no rainbows. The rainbows are the symbol of hope that reminds us that no matter how much it rains or for how long, it will never fully consume us. There WILL be a light at the end of the tunnel, and a rainbow in the sky when the clouds clear. What a great metaphor for life, no? Have faith through the rain, and soon you will see the rainbow.

And that's my deep thought of the day.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Taste of Tennis

Yesterday I met Eric for lunch (Chipotle, yum) and then we went to Rockefeller Center because he had been telling me about the setup they had there in honor of Wimbledon. I'm not any kind of tennis fan, but it was pretty cool! Check it out...

They had a whole tennis court set up, and you could wait your turn to play. Eric said when they first set it up earlier this week, it was actually green grass. I guess too much rain (have I mentioned the rain?) and too many tennis-playing New Yorkers changed that, though.

Tennis court in Rockefeller Center - behind it, you can see the flags that circle the Plaza.

A different view of the tennis court

They also had grand-stand seating set up in front of a huge TV showing live coverage from Wimbledon.

Watching tennis in Rockefeller Center

The TV (and VIP seating in the front)

There was also a station with Grand Slam Tennis (video game) set up so people could play.

I like the guys in their work clothes playing tennis video games on their lunch break!

And for a taste of a traditional Wimbledon treat, they had carts handing out free strawberries and cream. It made a great dessert after our Chipotle lunch!

Chowing down on some strawberries and cream

And of course, no sporting event setup like this would be complete without a photobooth so you could take your picture with the trophy:

Look at that! Eric is the men's champion, and I'm the women's champ. Isn't that funny how that worked out?

Fancy, eh? New York is so random (but fun) sometimes.

Also, last night when Eric was walking home from work we had an epic thunderstorm. Torrential rain, loud thunder, crazy zigzag lighting, the works. Eric actually had to stop mid-walk and find shelter under the overhang at "Wicked" for a while. It was crazy! But then when it cleared up, we had a really awesome sky to watch. First we thought it was cool because the sun was out in Jersey, so it was lighting up the buildings while they still had a dark sky behind them:

Looking east/southeast

Looking east

Then as the sunset wore on, we got some really cool cotton-ball clouds. I've seen lots of pictures posted online of this sky today (some even calling it "Apocolyptic"), so apparently other people thought it was pretty cool too.

Pink cotton-ball sky

Fancy, no?

Hope you all have a nice weekend! We're going to be out and about making preparations for our trip!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hey Pretty Baby With The High Heels On

I've had that in my head since yesterday, a day when we lost a music legend.

Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest yesterday at the age of 50. Thanks to my celebrity gossip blogs (don't judge me) and Twitter, I watched the news of his death unfold in real time. How sad. Sure, in the recent years he was making headlines not for his next great hit but because of his abuse accusations, trial shenanigans, financial woes, plastic surgery disasters, etc. At the very least I think we can call him very eccentric and a troubled soul. But his contributions to music and dance are iconic and enduring, and I hope that is what people will remember about him.

Last night the tributes rolled in his honor. MTV even played videos again in his memory (although still not the full videos - come ON, MTV). The bar across the street from us played his music all night. Cars driving past our windows were blasting his music, too. In Times Square, people were assembled with signs and white gloves. Even Eric and I sat around and listened to his greatest hits and tried to pick our favorite. Mine is "The Way You Make Me Feel" (as you might have guessed from the title of this post), and Eric settled on "Thriller." Do you know that when Eric was in fifth grade, he and a friend joined the school dance team to prove a point (that boys could be on the dance team, too), and they did a dance to "Thriller?" There is a video of this awesomeness, and it is every bit as wonderful as you might imagine.

Farrah Fawcett also died yesterday, and she was an icon to many. For me personally, not as much as MJ, but her struggle with cancer was tragic. Cancer is such an awful, awful disease. I sincerely feel for her loved ones for having to watch her fight it and hope she is at peace.

We also had some excitement yesterday when we took the dog downstairs to go to the dog park, and saw this in front of our building on our street:

There were probably 4 or 5 fire trucks, one of which had its ladder extended up on a building across the street (and we saw a fireman climb up it). They even pulled out the hose and took it into that building. I don't know what was going on, because we did not see (or smell) any smoke, but it made for an exciting walk.

And the excitement continued this morning, when I woke up to realize Achilles had stepped in gum during his morning walk with Eric. So, into the tub we went so I could wash his feet and pull gum out of his foot fur. I'm not sure who was less enthused. Oh, the exciting life I lead.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ode to the Beach

Ah, the beach. I've been thinking a lot about the beach lately. For one thing, days and days on end of dreary weather really makes one long for a sunny, sandy vacation. Also, although Eric and I are unbelievably excited about our upcoming Europe trip (Eric emailed me to say so this morning, and I could hardly sleep last night thinking about it), we're a little bummed that we'll have to skip a week at the beach this year. I've told you before that we're big beach bums, so although we know we're going to have an incredible time overseas, a little part of me is sad we won't get that week of seaside relaxation.

So, I decided that if I am not going on a beach vacation this year, maybe I should relive old ones. I pulled out all my old beach vacation pictures (since Eric and I met) and got to reminiscing. Then I decided I would share these pictures with you, because who doesn't like to look at old pictures? I know I do. So, lets take a trip down Beach Memory Lane!

Side note: Sorry for the poor quality of most of these pictures. All of them up until the honeymoon ones were taken with a disposable camera, then scanned - not exactly the best strategy for high-quality photos.

Beach Vacation #1: Cayman Islands, July 1999

Eric and I took our first vacation about 10 months after we started dating. He was 16 years old, and I think I had just turned 17. Eric's dad and stepmom own a timeshare at Morritt's Tortuga Club in the Cayman Islands, and in July of 1999, they decided to take the three W. kids down to the resort with them. The best part? They were nice enough to let little ol' me tag along, too! It was my first trip out of the country, first time being that far away from my parents, and first trip with a boooooy. Oooh, la la.

We had a blast, and after this trip, I was hooked. We made friends with other kids at the resort - visitors and locals alike. We partay-ed on the Dock every night. I tasted my first Cayman Lemonade. I swam with the stingrays for the first time. I rode a wave-runner for the first time. We even stayed up all night with our new friends on our last night so that we could watch the sun rise. So, so fun.

Eric and me in the hammock. Yes, my hair really is that short.

Holding a stingray for the first time!

And although it was my first time traveling with my boyfriend, I probably spent more time with Eric's sister Kelley than with Eric himself! Kelley and I had a great time.

Kelley and me before riding the wave-runner. (My hair is going for the "beachy look" here, I think.)

Beach Vacation #2: Cayman Islands, March 2003

Well, after the first trip to the Caymans I had a little Cayman hiatus. You know, I had other things to do - high school graduation, college, etc. Eric did get to go without me one time between 1999 and 2003, but the next time I was able to join the W. family in the Caymans again was Spring Break of my junior year in college, when I was 20 years old. This time, we were sans Kelley, but Eric's brother Ronnie brought along his friend Tom.

Tom, Ronnie, Suellen, Ron Sr., Me and Eric. I am loving Ronnie's bleached blonde 'do here.

As always, we had a wonderful time. There were a few particularly memorable points from this trip.

The first was the wahoo. Oh, the wahoo. Have you ever eaten wahoo? Do it immediately. Eric's dad and stepmom went on a deep sea fishing excursion with Captain Herman and caught this enormous wahoo. Then Captain Herman brought it back to our room at the resort and cooked it for us. The only ingredient I can remember going into it was ketchup. And I think there was rice. Sounds awful, yes? Oh, but it was to die for. Best fish I have ever eaten to this day. And there was so much of it! It fed all of us plus the other few people who had been on the fishing trip, and we had leftovers for days. Amazing.

The second memorable thing was the sunset sail we took. It was very peaceful and relaxing, and came with rum punch, which is never a bad thing.

Eric and me on the sunset sail

The third memorable thing was Tom's sunburn. Oh, poor Tom. I have never seen a redder person.

Unfortunately, I cannot find my full set of pictures from this trip, which contains pictures of both the wahoo and poor, red Tom. The only pictures I have are the few that made their way into my college scrapbook.

In the new infinity pool. I apologize if this is inappropriate, but how hot does Eric look in this picture?!

Beach Vacation #3: Grand Bahama Island, 2004

We took a break from the Cayman Islands (and the W. family) for Spring Break of my senior year of college and went to the Bahamas with our friends (and later roommates) Coral and Alexis. We cruised there out of Ft. Lauderdale and stayed for 4 or 5 days, if memory serves me.

Coral, Eric, me and Alexis.
I got very, very sunburned on our first day there, so spent the rest of the trip in the shade or in a t-shirt.

We stayed at the Xanadu Resort in Freeport. Needless to say, our hotel was...um...an experience. Disappointing and weird. We had a giant living area room, half of which had no furniture. In the whole place, I think we had one working lamp. Why? I don't know. And the customer service was awful.

Other than that, we had a pretty good time. We beached, we sand-sculpted, we shopped and ate and drank Kalik beer. We even did totally smart and responsible things like buying drinks out of the back of some guy's car. You know, the kind of things that only sound like a good idea in college.

Rum in your trunk? Sounds great!

Fun with signs

Beach Vacation #5: Cayman Islands, June 2004

Although we had fun in the Bahamas in March, we had the need for more beach in 2004, so we returned to the Caymans once again with the W. family. This time, in addition to the parents, it was Eric, me, and my sister Heather. Yay, Heather got to come! I particularly enjoyed this trip because Heather and Eric are my two most favorite people ever, so to have them with me in my most favorite place ever was just too good to be true.

Heather and me on the Dock

We did a lot of fun things this time, too. For one thing, it was nice just to have a beach buddy who wanted to do nothing but tan with me. Eric is nice at the beach, sure, but he also likes to do things like play golf and volleyball and that sort of thing. I'm much more of a "sit and fall asleep in the sun" type of beach-goer. As is my sister. So, it was nice to have someone to just lounge around and drink tropical beverages with on the beach or in the pool.

Heather and me on the beach

And if we're not on the beach, we're drinking in the pool!

We also entered - and WON - a sand sculpture contest! We sculpted Sir Turtle, the unofficial national logo of the Cayman Islands. We won a bottle of rum! Hooray!

Eric, Heather and me with our winning sand sculpture

Sir Turtle, and a closer view of our sculpture. Not bad, eh?

This was also the trip when Eric and I played - and WON! - the Newlywed Game. We were still two years away from even being engaged, and we beat three sets of real newlyweds and another couple that had already been married 7 years! We won rum cakes and another bottle of rum in this one.

Eric and me after the Newlywed Game, with our winnings

I've already shared quite a few pictures of this trip, but why not a couple more for good measure? Just because I like 'em.

Heather in George Town with the statue for a famous local rum

Back in the hammock. Check out my tan - this is probably the only time in the history of our relationship that I have been darker than Eric!

I love this pic of Heather and Eric wading through the cold water in the infinity pool!

Also, not pictured: me nearly getting my face eaten by an iguana at Rum Point. Fun times.

Beach Vacation #6: Cayman Islands, August 2007 - HONEYMOON!

Oh, this was a good one! But how can your honeymoon NOT be a good one? Oh, well, actually I can answer that one, because it almost wasn't. We were supposed to head down to the Caymans the day after wedding, but Hurricane Dean had other plans. He hit the Caymans the very day we were supposed to arrive. Thankfully, we were able to postpone our plans by a week, and Dean didn't hit the Caymans directly (as he was predicted to do), so by the time we got there, all the power, etc. was back on. The infinity pool was closed because there was sand all in it, and there was some damage to the Dock, but other than that, it was all good. Oh wait, not totally. The airline also left our luggage in Tampa on the way down, and didn't get it to us until almost two days later. But other than that, it was all good!

The highlight of this trip (other than the fact that we were MARRIED, yay!) was the sunset sail we took for dinner one night. One of the resort hosts' boyfriend owned a boat and he would take people from Kaibo Yacht Club to the other side of the island for dinner at The Fisherman's Reef. The sunset was gorgeous, the food was divine (and paid for by some very generous people on our boat), and we were able to see a spectacular moonrise over the water as we ate. Then we sailed back under the stars. Helloooo, romance.

With our complimentary "Happy Honeymoon" dessert at The Fisherman's Reef

Other than that, most of the week was spent enjoying the beach and each other. We didn't turn the TV on once, and we slept on the sleeper sofa in the living area of our room, so that we could open our sliding doors and hear the sound of the surf as we slept. Glorious.

Also, I wore a big floppy hat.

Married feet

Mudslide Madness at the pool bar

Fun in the hammock yet again

Beach Vacation #7, the last one to date: Cayman Islands, August 2008

We decided to return to the Caymans again for our first anniversary. This time things went a little smoother, although our flight there was cancelled because of some mechanical problem and rescheduled for the next day. So, not as bad as the previous year, but still annoying!

I won't belabor this one because you can read a very, very in-depth recounting of our trip here. But, a couple highlights from this one were the bike ride to Vivine's Kitchen for an authentic home-cooked Cayman lunch (and the best lemonade EVER)...

Riding my bike to lunch

Eric at Vivine's Kitchen

...the return to Stingray City...

Ready to snorkel!

Smooching a stingray

...the sunsets...


...and just being together, celebrating our first year of wedding bliss.

Anniversary kiss

More mudslide madness

Oh, and the refrigerated aloe. There was some more redness happening on this trip, so that refrigerated aloe vera was a major highlight.

So, you can see that Eric and I have had a lot of fun times at the beach together. We will definitely miss it this year. But, we are so, so excited about our Europe trip, and who knows? Maybe after traveling abroad we will be hit with the bug to see the world, and will shelve the beach thing for a while. Anything is possible!