Tuesday, September 16, 2014

There're Sharks in These Waters! - 5 Ways to Avoid Jumping Over Them

Alternate titles:
  • I Used Questionable Judgement While on Vacation Last Month
  • Wherein I Address "Jumping the Shark" Both Literally and Figuratively
  • I Hugged Dug (From the Pixar Film UP) and I Liked It

Little known fact: I write the titles of all my blog posts before the posts. Sometimes days before. In other words, the creative juices flow from the titles (I don't know why, that's just the way it is). 

Why this matters: I'm still (as I type) coming up with alternate titles for this post. So, if it (the post) comes out half-baked, I cannot be held responsible. 


Remember how in elementary school, when you got back from summer vacation, the teacher would sometimes have you write an essay (on newsprint paper with lines on it) entitled, "What I Did on Summer Vacation"?

Yes, well, I'd like to do a condensed essay for you now (circa my writing ability in 1976). 

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Over my summer vacation, I went on a cruise to the Bahamas. It was fun. When I was in the Bahamas, I went to a place called Atlantis Aquaventure and went down a giant water slide called the "Leap of Faith." The slide looks like it is going down the outside of a real-life Mayan temple. Not many people go down it, because it's really scary and almost taller than a skyscraper. Also, when you get to the bottom, you shoot into a chamber that is surrounded by a shark tank. There are lots of big sharks swimming in the tank, but they can't get past the glass to bite you. I did it twice. 

Note: Not me. I am not a man. I took the photo, however, and a few hours before, *I* was the fool sliding off a pyramid into a shark tank. 

On my last day in the Bahamas, in a town called Freeport, I rode in a motor boat with a glass window in the bottom out over some reefs in the Caribbean Sea. When the captain stopped the boat, we could see schools of tropical fish and sharks swimming through the glass window. We also saw a wrecked tug boat that had barnacles growing on it. The sharks and other fish circled the boat when the captain's helper threw bits of raisin bread off the side. I don't think the sharks were man-eating because they liked eating the bread. So did the seagulls. On the way back to the shore, only one lady got seasick. It was a fun day. 

Sharks on the reef, under the boat.

[end of essay and 1976 writing flash-back]

Although I didn't technically jump a shark on vacation last month, I did, in fact, slide/ride over (more than) one in close proximity. Therefore, the following tips are written from experience: 

5 Ways to Avoid Jumping the Shark(s) (while on vacation)
  1. Don't get in the water. 
  2. Don't go on vacation during Shark Week, when there's a high probability of a sharknado. (Because then you might get caught up in the cyclone and fly over one.)
  3. When your friends/family/tour guide suggests you attempt the shark stunt, refuse to do it. Have some will power. 
  4. Stop going on vacations. 
  5. Go under, or around the shark, instead. 

Who remembers the old Happy Days episode (and by old, I mean 143 years ago, in 1977) when Fonzie water skied over a shark? I don't...because the show had already gotten STUPID by that point, and I'd quit watching it! 

And that, friends, brings me straight to my next point: figurative shark-jumping. 
(Caution: Heavy use of metaphor ahead.)

I believe you all know what the idiom means. It means, the show got so boring, that the writers (with the producers' blessing) had to write something incredibly hokey into the plot to spike ratings. But, who the fudge cares about water skiing over sharks, y'all? Who wants to tune in and see Scooby-Doo's bratty nephew (Scrappy) ruin all the mystery fun? And why the heck did Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm have to grow up, anyway? Can you imagine if the writers for Sesame Street made Bert and Ernie grow up, become trapeze artists for Cirque du Soleil, and spun them off into their own Elmo's World-esque mini-show each week? No!!! I say, (1,000 years from now) let those muppet children (are they? children?) go out in a blaze of glory, without having aged one minute! [end rant]

Random photo of Jon Farleigh witnessing something monumental, while holding his own leash.

So, here's the thing. Not only did I literally get in shark-infested waters while on vacation, I've been sensing (no, more like fearing) a few figurative sharks in my (blog) waters for several weeks. And, y'all, I got myself so worked up, I came this close to making #4 in that list up there a reality. (Except make it say "stop writing the blog" and not "stop going on vacations.") I was this close

Yet, here I am. Not doing #4.

Random photo of Dewi sleeping through an earthquake, apparently lying in a puddle of his own slobber.

And you know why? Because I befriended them. The sharks in my blog waters. Yep, turns out I like sharks. If they were giant octopuses, or spiny lobsters, I'd probably like them too. Because if I didn't, why the frell would I have written them into my blog waters? This is not a TV show and I am not Fonzie! It doesn't matter if I jump a shark, because I'm a creative writer, and writing about sharky stuff makes me happy! What I need to do is stop worrying that other people will disapprove of my shark-jumping skills. (Which, I suppose, are passable, since neither I nor the blog are dead yet.) 

So, no, this is not the blog it was three years ago. That's OK (I affirm to myself). I'm not the same writer, or person, for that matter. And maybe next week? I'll be chasing alligators in Australia. Who knows! 

Random photo of Bobby Flay sleeping inside Youngest Child's summer camp bag, while I was trying to pack it.

Please Cut the Corny Metaphors and Tell Me What the Heck This Has to Do With Anything!

Fine. Here's what you should take away (if you're still reading):

  • On this blog, there will be more Tacky Cardigans. And some litter box anecdotes, with a splash of product review. Oh, and I changed my 15-year-old cat's name - you'll hear about that. And the handmade purse I'm getting with Dewi's likeness on it...OMG! SO adorable! Oh, and the pet-assisted meditation tutorial...just for starters.
  • Me telling you that Jon Farleigh just rolled over on his back next to my foot, which means either 1) he wants a snack, 2) he has to pee/poo, or 3) he wants a belly rub. At the moment, I believe he needs to poo. Hold on, I'll be back....OK, I'm  back. They both had to pee and poo. But Jon Farleigh just flopped over again. [insert belly rub]
  • This blog is not subject to Nielsen ratings, nor does it have stockholders who give a rip. 
  • You need to subscribe by email (see upper right sidebar) to this blog. Please do this. 
  • Sharks are largely misunderstood.
This would be where I might write "The End," except IT ISN'T! BECAUSE LOOK!

I met Pixar stars, Dug and Russell, at Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida! On my way to Mt. Everest (there was a Yeti, and I nearly died, but that's not relevant right now)!

This, friends, is one hard-working professional dog handler (slash) celebrity body guard. 

Dug likes to rub on walls. Who knew?

I was one happy camper (get it?), despite my inner wondering whether Dug and Russell were secretly female. I don't know how to edit that stripe out of the photo.

I will never wash (nor tape off) that outfit again. 

Russell picked his nose and tried to put his finger on my shirt right before this scene.  I told him he had crossed the line. He just looked at me and smiled. 

Hey, you think it's too late for me to change the title of this post? Yeah, never mind. 

P.S. I still have to tell you about (and show you) the stingrays. REAL live Southern stingrays that I met and interacted with in the Bahamas. Later...


  1. So... you were thinking of leaving us alone? With no more pics of JF and Dewi?? I know you say you were "this close" but I hope the "this closeness" didn't last too long. It must be the vacation thing... cuz when I got back from vacation (where no sharks were jumped, literally or figuratively) I also came THIS CLOSE to just not bothering to start blogging again. (it's a huge time suck, how many people even read it, I feel like I'm not as funny as I used to be so why am I bothering - my usual angst.) But it was a brief "this closeness".... And I remembered that I just do it for my own fun and creatively and to keep in touch w/ my bloggy pals - so, I started up again. Anyway - love all the pics! Very jealous about hugging Dug. Glad you're back and had a fun vacation.

  2. Wow that was some vacation and great way to see sharks. Fascinating animals if a little scary. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. So glad you didn't stop writing the blog! So, so glad! This post is exactly WHY I'm glad! Btw, I have the exact opposite problem. I can never, ever come up with titles, so I end up just slapping something on. Would you like to write my titles from now on? :) I totally get it, though. I've been feeling incredibly overwhelmed and - dare I say - burnt out lately. Not sure how to dig out of it myself, but... It sounds to me like you have some great ideas for direction, and I can't wait to see what unfolds!

  4. I love going on cruises! So cool that you did the water slide. Next time in the Bahamas I want to do that. I envy you as I need a vacation getaway!

    Also, don't stop blogging. Do it for fun and a hobby. Plus, the dogs make us laugh.

  5. I haven't been reading your blog for very long, but it is absolutely one of my favorites! I'm so glad you decided to keep at it! As a fellow creative writer with a rather unconventional blog (http://destinysdogblog.com), I can most certainly relate. But to quote a really cheesy movie (it involves some friends and a pair of pants with a passport), "Why do you want to [blog like everyone else] fit in when you were born to [boldly go where no blog has gone before] stand out?" ;)


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