Holidays again

Right, I'm off again to tomorrow, a week at my parents. I may be online while I'm gone, but in the meantime, don't forget your homework - giving me ideas for an umbrella Make, and sourcing LEDs for me.I'll be back in a week (somebody tell Royalestel).

Posted by Kiteman 10 years ago


Merry ... uh....

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practi[c|s]ed within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, col[o|ou]r, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

Posted by westfw 10 years ago


Homemade Holidays Winners Announced!

See who won! Homemade Holidays winners

Posted by fungus amungus 10 years ago


im on holiday (knex)

Gone on holiday

Posted by Danny 10 years ago


New Holiday Treats Speed Contest

Whoa! It's a new speed contest! We were talking about all of our favorite holiday treats and we were getting pretty excited about the weeks to come. So excited that we decided to put up a new speed contest and give away laser-etched rolling pins.Our cool new Epilog laser cutter has a rotary attachment so we can etch cylindrical objects now. What better way to break it in than to etch in custom messages for those that win a rolling pin?So make something sweet and put up some tasty pics in an Instructable! Holiday Treats contest

Posted by fungus amungus 9 years ago


Holiday!

I'm away for a week or so from tomorrow morning, off to Cumbria to visit the rellies. I'll be around a bit (they have electricity up there now), but not as much as usual. Try not to burn the place down while I'm gone, but make sure you make a video if you do... (The image is from another topic I posted, but which seems to be stuck in the filters...)

Posted by Kiteman 8 years ago


I'm bunking off!

Goodbye, peeps! Plans have changed slightly for Christmas, so I probably won't be near a broadband connection very often, if at all, until the New Year, just in time for my second anniversary as an Instructableer. In the mean time, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, enjoy the Solstice and the New Year and any other holidays I've missed.

Posted by Kiteman 10 years ago


Advance Holiday Warnings

OK, so we survived A-Maya-geddon*. Unfortunately, that means I have to visit the in-laws... Actually, that's not so bad as it sounds, but Kitefamily Christmases are complicated affairs, happening in a variety of locations, with a variety of quality of internet connection. If it looks like I'm ignoring you, check the date - if it's not yet the 30th, I probably haven't seen your post yet. So, just in case, have a happy holiday season, of whatever variety you choose to celebrate, and take the best wishes of the entire Kitefamily with you into the future. In the mean time, here are two Christmas-themed projects from the archives that could be used for last-minute gifts or diversions: ear-rings, and a flying toy. *I wish I'd thought of that a few days ago!

Posted by Kiteman 5 years ago


Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish everyone here at instructables a happy thanksgiving. If you want to share what your doing today then go ahead, and post!

Posted by Shifrin 10 years ago


Steam Fair and Eden Project photos.

Right, that's it for a while - I'm away on holiday tomorrow morning, a week in Devon.Beaches, buildings four times older than America, and the Eden Project.I may even get my kites flying! (Edit: No, I didn't. The beaches were too narrow, too crowded or too non-existent to fly from. The one decent beach we found for kiting (Slapton Sands) was windless the day we went) PhotosI've uploaded selected images to my Flickr account:http://www.flickr.com/photos/76333500@N00/sets/There are two sets there, the Steam Fair and the Eden project.Sorry, no stills of the Stirling engines (what was thinking??), just this video.

Posted by Kiteman 11 years ago


Don't Panic! (I'm back-ish)

I'm going to be offline for a few days, going on holiday.After lunchtime today (it's 10am now), I'll be completely non-contact until at least Wednesday, then a maybe a bit of time here until the Wednesday after that.Don't expect reliable contact until the 21st.Be good.Somebody keep an eye on the squabblers for me.Off-site spamOff-site spamAnd don't forget to vote for my entries in The Book.EDIT:OK, I'm sort of back online, way up in the NW UK. I've just started browsing what I've missed - Eric's history of SquidLabs looks very interesting, and I seem to have won (another) t-shirt in the robot contest (Kitewife has claimed this one, though).Off to check The Book...

Posted by Kiteman 10 years ago


Will you miss me?

OK, I'm off.Time to pack the car, off to my parents' for just over a week.I'll be online occasionally, but nowhere near as much as at the moment.Behave yourselves while I'm away.Don't forget to vote wisely in the Pocket Sized contest, and good luck in whatever the new contest is.

Posted by Kiteman 10 years ago


What are you giving this year?

With the economy in the crapper, it's an especially good time to consider de-commercializing the holidays. I'm not saying I don't want to get (er, I mean *give*) a ton of gifts, but let's get real. I can't even afford to set foot in a mall right now, and I can only virtually window-shop online.So what am I going to do?The more I think about the state of the States right now, the more I think about the world at large.Frankly, I don't want to spend my money on the gifts that I can afford - gifts that are probably made in sweat shops with terrible conditions and sub-living wages.And I really can't afford to support the local designers using only organic denim to make those great jeans, no matter how much I'd like to.But heck, I'm a crafty person! And I'm surrounded by a creative community from whom I could learn a myriad of new skills.And I figured if I'm feeling this way, there's probably a few of you out there who can identify.So hey, let's put this site and this community to work!What are we gonna make this year?Let's come together as a helpful, creative community and share some ideas, then work with each other figure out the best ways to get them made.So tell us your ideas. If you already know how you're going to go about it, great, share that too! You'll be sure to inspire others.Have an idea that you don't know how to actuate? Share that too, and we as a community will come up with some answers.What do you say??

Posted by scoochmaroo 9 years ago


Homemade Holiday Contest - When will Judging be finished?

Does anyone know when the judging for the Homemade Holiday contest will be complete? Thanks!

Posted by Bran 10 years ago


Homemade Holidays contest

Whatever happened to the "But wait, there's more..." for the Homemade Holidays contests? More prizes/winners were supposed to be announced at the end of January. Did I miss the announcement somewhere?

Posted by cainunable 9 years ago


Holiday gift contest?

Are we expecting to have one for hanukka/christmas? i.e. should I wait on posting an instructable on the gift i'm making my mom? Was there one last year? UPDATE: I see we did have one last year...so i'll assume there'll be one this year too, will instructables need to be published after the contest is posted, or is it ok to do one beforehand?

Posted by Weissensteinburg 10 years ago


Free DIY conference on December 1st!

I'm helping to organize an online DIY conference with lots of tips, ideas, demos, and conversations with Theresa from MyFixitUpLife. We will have holiday DIY experts sharing kid crafts, woodworking, decor, as well as some great holiday drink and food ideas! It's all streaming online, so you can join in whenever you like from wherever you are. December 1st from 12-4pm PST (3-7pm EST) Come check it out :) https://diycon.splashthat.com/

Posted by HannahR24 2 years ago


If you are reading this, then I am back with a small apology.

If you are reading this, then I have gone.On holiday, that is.I brought my little laptop with me, but forgot the wall-wart!I'll be popping in as borrowed laptops allow, but otherwise I'll be properly back in just over a week and a half.(UPDATE: I type on Friday 7th, 21:30 UK time. I will be unlikely to post again until a week on Sunday. For those who asked, we are going to based in Alnmouth for the next week.)So, I return, and find somebody has flushed a little too imaginatively, and left it dripping down the walls...An apologyMy email notifications say I have had hundreds of comments recently - I doubt I will read them all, so I apologise to anybody who does not receive a reply. If it was important, PM me.

Posted by Kiteman 9 years ago


Proud to be British...?

Everybody knows the British Holidaymaker - sandals, socks, egg-and-chips-twice, can't-get-a-decent-cup-of-tea, no matter what the climate.That image may have to be redefined, downwards, with the release of a selection of genuine complaints from Brits returning from foreign parts.My favourite is "I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts."Daily Telegraph story.

Posted by Kiteman 9 years ago


My Own Holiday Gift Guide - cool books

The holidays are coming! Of course there are lots of things to give and get, but some of my personal favorite items are books. I read too many of them. Or not enough. I can't remember. Anyway, here are a few kick-ass books that I'd recommend and since they're books they're not too expensive. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon ($9) If you're hurting for ideas and feeling bad about yourself about not being original in anything, just get over it and start stealing like crazy. It's cool, everybody does it and Austin explains clearly with this quick book why you should do it. Make stuff. Go nuts. Just don't feel bad about it. Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro ($9 ebook) This book is technically about creative freelance work, but it's also a bit of a rant about life and how to live it as well. Respect yourself and others and do good work. It Will be Exhilarating by Studio Neat ($5 ebook) Studio Neat made two products with the help of Kickstarter: the Glif and the Cosmonaut. If you're thinking about crowdfunding for any product, check this out. It's short, to the point, and has lots of good ideas. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp ($11) How do people keep making creative works for decades? By not stopping, apparently. Twyla has a routine and has been doing it for a long time. Get up, get some exercise, make some art. Repeat and enjoy the process. Don't get her next book, The Collaborative Habit, however. It has nothing extra to add to this book. Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow (free ebook) Cory's books tend to wander all over the fine line between personal diatribe and fiction and Pirate Cinema is no exception. Copyright is bad and remixers are good! OK, got it. No, really, I get it. But along with the repeated messaging is a fun story about teenagers in London making their own remixed movies and showing them underground (literally). Makes you want to start making something and that's always a good thing. I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting right now. I'll add them when they come to me.

Posted by fungus amungus 5 years ago


I'm a busy boy, I'll be missing for a day or two.

I'll be a little "light" in my posting for the next couple of days.I know other people go missing for longer without comment, but last time I went over 24 hours without posting, several people who ought to know better assumed that something terrible had happened to me.Anyhoo, I'm out most of today doing a BTO Breeding Bird Survey visit, then tomorrow we are off to London for an over-nighter, we're going to watch Oliver! at Drury Lane - it's a (very) late 40th present for Kitewife, so she'd kill me if I took the computer and sat posting during the interval...

Posted by Kiteman 9 years ago


bad link on homemade holidays food contest page

Just wanted to mention that the link for Neighborhood Fruit on the Homemade Holidays Food Contest page is misspelled. It reads "neigborhoodfruit.com". There should be an "h" in there. Thanks!

Posted by skyisblu 8 years ago


Homemade Holidays Food Contest

In just a couple days, we'll be starting the Homemade Holidays Food Contest! Share your best recipes and mouth-watering pictures and win some sweet prizes. More details coming soon.

Posted by fungus amungus 8 years ago


Homemade Holidays Contest Ends on Sunday

The Homemade Holidays Contest ends Sunday night at 11:59 PST. This is the last weekend to get a project in and win some cool prizes from CRAFT: magazine. So whatcha waitin' for? Enter!

Posted by fungus amungus 10 years ago


SUMMER HOLIDAYS

It's the Summer holidays YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY. Just broken up from school :-) BTW: I'll probably post some more instructables now I have more spare time.

Posted by josh92176 11 years ago


Eligibility For Holiday Gifts?

In the Holiday Gifts Contests it states handmade gifts to be entered. The project I wanted to post however involves a laser cutter, would this count as handmade or be disqualified?

Posted by Charlie 72 6 years ago


Happy Holidays from Instructables!

Happy Holidays from everyone at Instructables! Autodesk gives all employees off from December 24th - January 1st 2014.  So we'll be working with a skeleton staff until then.  We'll still be here, but it might take longer to hear back from us! Hope everyone has a good vacation (for those of you who get one :P )!

Posted by Penolopy Bulnick 4 years ago


Instructables Holiday Trampolining Party

For our holiday party, Instructables and a few members of Potenco went trampolining at Sky High Sports. Sky High is essentially a couple of basketball-court-sized areas filled with trampolines. You bounce around like crazy, doing flips, playing dodge ball, and generally exhausting yourself. The potential for bodily injury is high, which for me, makes for an excellent holiday party. Afterward, we stuffed ourselves with Indian food.Today, the day after, everyone is nearly too sore to stand up straight.

Posted by ewilhelm 10 years ago


Homemade Holiday Contest Prize Change (for the better)!

You may have seen the Hackable Christmas card Instructable by ian. Well now you have a chance to win one of those cards for yourself. Each of the runners-up in the Homemade Holidays Contest will win one card in addition to the $50 from Shapeways and the Pro membership and t-shirt! We'd like to thank ian for putting up these cards as prizes and wish everyone the best of luck in winning one!

Posted by fungus amungus 8 years ago


Holidays!

This is my last post for a while - I'm off to Kenya tomorrow! I won't be online until at least the 6th August. Yes, I'll post photos when I get back (I hope I can remember how to embed a slideshow in a forum topic (PM me, somebody?)) Oh, and don't forget... [spam link]. UPDATE I'm back! I will post photos, but I have over 4000 to sort through... UPDATE I have put together a small slideshow - a tiny sample of the photos we took.

Posted by Kiteman 7 years ago


Merry Christmas!

In a few days it's Christmas, and since Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year, I wanted to wish you all a merry Christmas! I also realised Christmas and creating are very much alike: they both bring joy, happiness and gifts, so that makes Christmas and Instructables an even better combination. Merry Christmas!!!

Posted by emilyvanleemput 4 years ago


holiday inflatable - giant floating (indoor) balloon

 We have a Gemmy inflatable at work (a giant Homer Simpson -- about 8 feet tall) and we were wondering if we could somehow fill it with helium and float it on the ceiling. We're concerned that it's too permeable (when the fan is not going, it deflates FAST).  One idea was to coat the inside with polyurethane (turning the fan on to blow it throughout the balloon) but that seems like it wouldn't work very well (too patchy), and could make it too heavy. Another option would be to take a bunch of balloons, insert them into the Homer, and then inflate the smaller balloons (and tie them off). Any other thoughts or suggestions?

Posted by jeffreality 8 years ago


When is your spring break?

Just out of idle curiosity... when does your school go on spring break?

Posted by canida 10 years ago


BUST Magazine Holiday Craftacular 2008

Well, this is what happens when I get too smug about living in SF.Along comes a rockin' craft fair, and I can't go.It's only in NY, LA and London, and I won't be getting to London for another two weeks!For those of you who have been living in a self-sustainable cave for the last several years with no connection to the outside world, BUST is a bold, brave, raunchy women's magazine featuring interviews with hot, smart celebrities, cutting-edge fashion, art and craft projects, steamy fiction, and tons more. I do so envy those of you who will be checking out the Craftacular.It promises to be. . . well, craftacular.AND, as a special incentive in NYC, check out the BUST Stylist's Closet. DANG I am so jealous!!!!!Get more info at BUSTAnd pleeeeeze tell me all about it! I want pictures!!!!

Posted by scoochmaroo 9 years ago


Christmas Interruptus

Just a heads' up, I'm away for the Christmas break, visiting relatives without a useful internet connection* , so I will be less than my usual ubiquitous self over the next week or two.However, said relatives may be installing wireless broadband while we are there, so I may be able to pop in occasionally.The plan is to leave tomorrow morning (the 23rd), so, if we don't speak before then, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.(Thank you for all your kind comments already!)*I will not sit in a cupboard to use dial-up!

Posted by Kiteman 9 years ago


What did I miss?

OK, I've been away, offline for just over a week. I am already conscious that there have been quite a few comments and messages that I have missed without reply, and I've seen the new layout (me likey). Apart from a video of Caitlinsdad playing with my balls, and my balloon jig going slightly la-la on YouTube (it ended up on the front page, apparently) What else have I missed? What cool projects have slipped my view?

Posted by Kiteman 8 years ago


Holiday Gift Contest not showing Finalists...

The Holiday Gifet Contest page (and the Pizza contest) are in Judging mode yet there is no option to see the finalists on the page. The Design contest page is fine. Tested ie8 & firefox 18 on a XP PC... Attached is a screenshot.

Posted by vanweb 5 years ago


Holiday Spice Pepsi

Hey all - I was wondering if anyone had a recipe or any idea of what spices/flavorings go into Holiday Spice Pepsi.  My boyfriend and I are addicted to it and Pepsi doesn't make it anymore and has no plans to in the future. Any suggestions would be great!

Posted by Moosaka 8 years ago


Core77 Holiday Gift Guide 2008: 77 Design Gifts Under $77!

Our friends at Core77 just put out their 3rd annual Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide! It's a list of 77 design-themed gifts under (you guessed it) $77.There's some great stuff in there, once you get past the flashing neon and straw-dancing barbies, including some sweet ninja throwing star magnets, Nintendo wall graphics, and a device called the BottleBob that punches a perfect straw-hole in soda bottle caps. They finish up with a DIY Gift Box Instructable from member blightdesign!I found plenty of things I'd love to buy, and even more I was inspired to make! Definitely check it out - this is a great list for inspiring some fantastic holiday projects.

Posted by canida 9 years ago


Short absence

Hey guys, I'm leaving for France this monday and I'll be gone for about two weeks. So if I won't reply that's why =D I want to wish everyone a great holiday and I hope I'll talk to everyone once I've returned. -AUG-5OM3-

Posted by AUG-5OM3 6 years ago


BUST Stylist's Closet

Oh MAN!This is what I get for bragging on SF.The first ever BUST Stylist's Closet is making it's debut at The 2008 BUST Holiday Craftacular! And it's only in NYC*** A $10 VIP ticket allows you entrance to the closet AND one item of your choice from the many items contributed by participating fashion brands including Queen Bee, Revival Ink, Aviator Nation, Boy Meets Girl, Greta Cavazzoni, Yak Pak, Nikita Clothing USA, 80%20 Shoes, Vine and Venetia, Angel Court, Dear Creatures, Hellkats L.A., Osiris Girl's Shoes, and more! Those are some nice names. * Insider tip: The first 100 people to buy their tickets online get first dibs in the closet at 12 noon, before it opens to the general ticket-buying public at 2pm. The BUST Stylist's Closet will be taking place at the BUST Holiday Craftacular on Sunday, December 14th, at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, NYC, from 10am to 7:30pm.***The BUST Magazine Holiday Craftacular will take place in NY, LA and London UKRead all about it!

Posted by scoochmaroo 9 years ago


Andy's American Odyssey - We're Here!

Myself, my wife and our two boys (will be 13 and 15) are planning a 3 week trip to the USA next August. We'll be staying with relatives in Lexington Park (Maryland) for a week, but would like to travel around a bit to (probably) 2 other areas to get a 'feel' for the country. We're more into the natural wonders than the Disney / Celebrity thing and would like a mix of city and country. Budget will be adequate but sensible and I'm quite happy with hiring cars and driving, although we don't want a road-trip type holiday. In short, where should we visit to get a 'Flavorsic of the U S of A'? Patches for my favourite suggestions.

Posted by AndyGadget 8 years ago


Handmade for the Holidays

The winter holidays are upon us!  I can't seem to go anywhere without being accosted in several senses at once with a frantic plea to "BUY, BUY, BUY!"  Advertisements for various sales splash across my field of view, blaring pop versions of holiday songs reverberate against my eardrums, and obnoxious clouds of synthetic fragrances waft, uninvited, into my sinuses.  Maybe I'm an idealist, or maybe I'm just a curmudgeon... but I don't understand how a season of giving meshes with a season of commercial overconsumption. If I thought hard about it, perhaps my aunt Ida really wouldn't be thrilled with the box of assorted oversalted meats, plastic vials of suspiciously labeled "seasonings", and cheap imported mugs with images of football playing reindeer.  But if the tacky mug set is the only piece of kitsch in an entire department store that fits in my budget, how much choice do I have? Lots, it turns out.  Handmade gifts have become increasingly popular in recent years, and it's easy to see why.  They're individualized and unique, they tend to use fewer resources and produce far less pollution since they're not made in a factory, they can be created with attention to detail and quality, and can cost little more than time and thought.  In this economy, most of us have limited funds.  Even if you're fabulously wealthy, a thoughtful handmade gift from you can mean more than a pricey basket that took no more though than whipping out a credit card. If you're browsing Instructables, you probably already enjoy learning about other people's ideas and sharing your own.  Whether you're a long term author or haven't yet posted your own Instructable, now is the perfect time to show us something you can make!  Have you reclaimed wool from a thrift store sweater to make a set of mittens for your mom?  Have you made a small batch of scented homemade play dough, or perhaps melted old bits of crayons into chunky, swirly new ones for a child in your life?  Are you brainstorming a plywood and acrylic laser cut clock for a loved one?  Whatever it is that you've made as a gift, we'd love to see it!  If you haven't yet... there's still time to get started.  This year, we have some fabulous incentives (as if you needed more reasons to make something for someone else).  Win yourself or a loved one a new computer, iPad or camera to document future Instructables! We'll be posting the Holiday Gifts Contest page soon, so be sure to keep an eye out.   In the meantime, be sure to check out the Reuse and Sew Warm contests already running.  There's still time to enter, and while you're there, be sure to vote for your favorites! 

Posted by scoochmaroo 5 years ago


Temporary Absence

Just so you know, Family Kite will be away from, well, the time of this post until Sunday evening (UK time). I may not post while away, as we are staying in a motel that charges £5 an hour for the internet... But, when we return, we should posses new skillz. (Oh, and I went to the first Dorkbot Anglia last night - very cool, but no time to tell it now.  Other iblers were there, maybe they will tell.)

Posted by Kiteman 8 years ago


Mother's Day Emergency? CLick here.... You know the deal...

You know the deal. Mother's day is in 2 days. No gift ready. No moneyAny good instructables on what I can do for mother's day?????Well, fungus amungus has provided this: Mother's Day Instructables for all your needs!I'll post the ones I like here, if it helps...What I've found so far: How to Make Unique tile pictures for less than $3! (I am so doing this one!!!)Mother's Day flowerWrite or Draw with light! (I'm also gonna make one of these saying "I love you" or "Happy Mother's Day!)My own How to make Paper Flowers ( I made her a bouquet of these last year!A dozen Red Origami RosesHow to Fold a Japanese Paper Ball

Posted by Keith-Kid 10 years ago


DIY Contest

I just wanted to let everyone know about a contest where you can win a $10,000 gift card from Sears or a Samsung 46-inch HDTV just by sharing a DIY/Holiday story. It is very easy to enter! Here are the details... Project Holiday Contest Everyone has a holiday disaster tale, DIY story, or some handy tips for getting your home ready for the holidays. Visit ManageMyHome.com to upload your photos or video and let your captions tell the tale. Enter the Project Holiday contest by January 15, 2009 for your shot at winning one of 10 prize packages.

Posted by DinaC 9 years ago


HAPPY INDEPENDANCE DAY EVERYONE!!!

Hello everyone, tomorrow is independence day, do people in other countries have independance day? anyway, have a good holiday. and for you entertainment, the amp in my car!

Posted by Yerboogieman 10 years ago


Spring Break

Spring Break is here! For me, that means I hole up in my house and go into town as little as possible. I live in Augusta, Georgia, the Home of the Masters Golf Tournament. Big whoop. I don't like golf, but people from across the world come to my town, just to watch the game. I'll leave on Thursday to spend 2 days in Atlanta. But what are y'all doing? Going anywhere fun? The beach? Theme park? Post where your going, and if you want, pictures when you get back! Have a fun break, Bran.

Posted by Bran 10 years ago


Xmas tree

Christmas is coming... Have you got your Xmas tree up and dressed yet? Post pictures and show us what your tree looks like! Also, what kind of tree do you use? Real or Fake? My family use a fake tree, we used to use real ones, but we will never again use them again because... After christmas, my dad tried to get rid of the real tree by burning it outside, when he lit it, after a few seconds later, the fire instantly spread around the tree and shot huge flames high as 30 feet... After that, we had got a few complainants from people in the neighborhood about the orange glow. So we never again going to use a real xmas tree because it is dangerously flammable...

Posted by Plasmana 9 years ago


And now I shall bore you with details of my vacation.

Yes, I know, everyone likes to talk about their vacations and nobody wants to hear about them, kind of like dreams. Must be a quirk in the human conditions. So read on, or not. My wife decided she wanted to go on a cruise, now I had prejudged cruising and had no desire to ever go on one. But she searched around and found one that had a fishing in Key West excursion to convince me to go. Well she planned the whole thing, did all the work and really made the vacation happen. There was one small moment when we decided to cancel the cruise for financial reasons (her transmission went out) but discovered we were one day past the cancellation deadline, so we must have been destined. So anyways, on with the vacation. On the first day we drove down to Miami, about four hours, not to bad. We were so early that we decided to visit Fairchild Tropical Garden. Fairchild is a must see for those with a horticultural bent, eighty some odd acres of lush tropical gardens, though I still felt it wasn't quite as nice as Leu Gardens here. We had lunch at the garden before proceeding to the hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn, cheap but surprisingly clean with a friendly staff, and a view of the port. Unfortunately my wife became ill from the lunch, and I don't mean just a little ill, but the throwing up out both ends ill. She was so sick that she was curled up in bed crying. We thought we might have to cancel the cruise. But I loaded her up with acidophilus capsules and a dose of a medicine I take for a condition I have and told her we would decide come morning. Come morning she was feeling better but weak, so we decided we'd continue on with the expedition. That brings us to day two. Getting on the boat is similar to boarding the airplane with one noticeable difference, Port security is infinitely more professional than airport security. We only made one mistake, we didn't check our bags. Since you can board hours before the rooms are ready we were stuck with our luggage. There was a moment of Zen when we boarded, they greet you with food and drinks in an atmosphere of sybaritic luxury, but since it was Christmas they were playing music, the song they were playing when we boarded was 'Do They Know It's Christmas'. The rest of the day is exploring the ship and discovering I get seasick, yea! Day Three Nassau, we have swimming with stingrays and snorkeling planned, afterwards we plan on visiting Ardastra Gardens on our own. Swimming with stingrays was pretty cool, and I enjoyed the snorkeling, my wife who doesn't care for the ocean spent her time sunbathing. Eventually that planned excursion was over but we never got to the garden, I was too darned tired from swimming for three hours and my wife was sunburnt. So, back to the cruise ship to do what else, but eat. Day four Cococay, Royal Caribbean's private island, I have snorkeling planned, my wife has sunbathing. Now, admittedly, we're here at the discretion of the cruise line, so the snorkeling area is prescribed, but it's not bad, there's an area of about 1/2 an acre inside a breakwater and about 5-8 acres outside the breakwater. But here's the interesting thing, of all the people snorkeling, only 5 went outside the breakwater! Which means we each had an acre or more to ourselves (there was an additional area that was closed due to the currents). I did find two 'artifacts' while snorkeling here, the first was a dive glove, so I kept that as a 'trophy', the second, I was snorkeling in about 20 feet of water and spotted a distinctly man made object, a doughnut shape, so I swam down and dug up a bottle top, but not just any bottle top but the top of a pre-civil war 'case' Gin bottle. I though that was pretty cool. Now I've considered the idea that the area was 'salted' but I can't quite believe they would 'salt' with broken glass. So I think it was a genuine find. I, of course, returned it to where I found it after taking a picture. Day five Key West, I'm really in a bad mood this morning, because we have to do a 'papers please' inspection with ICE, but then it gets MUCH worse. There's an envelope under the door, my fishing trip has been canceled, lack of participants, the minimum was 5 people, I'm the only one who signed up. Anyways, wise to the ways of Gov't, I convince my wife to show up early for the immigration control, reasoning that 'It's better to be 15 minutes early and wait 30 minutes, than be 15 minutes late and wait 3 hours', guy looks at my ID, asks where I was born, they punch my Seapass (onboard ID/CC). So we go looking for another excursion, my wife wants me to go Kayaking, but I'm seriously exhausted from the past two days of snorkeling. So we decide the Butterfly Conservatory and the Aquarium are where we'll go. The Butterfly conservatory was beautiful, with dozens of species flying everywhere, landing on you and a selection of birds thrown in for good measure, The aquarium, well, umm, geez, I don't want to be mean, but I wouldn't go back. After that we walked around and enjoyed the architecture and visited the Mel Fisher Museum since I was hooked on books about treasure hunting as a kid (I have a metal detector, the most valuable object I ever found was my wife's wedding ring several weeks after she lost it.) And then back to the boat for more eating. Last day, they get you off the ship early, here, you don't want to check your luggage, if you do, you don't get off until they let you, if you carry your luggage, you can get off the ship first thing at 7:30 am. So once we're off the ship all that is left is the customs and the drive back. Customs was nothing, you hand a guy a form and you are done. The drive back was mostly uneventful until the last rest stop, then, of course, the truck won't start. Well it will start, but it's stumbling and sound like only one bank of cylinders are firing, in desperation I stand on the gas and it picks up, think that last fill up had water in it. I baby it the rest of the way home by drafting behind a truck and keeping to 65 and, obviously, we get home. So, goods, bads, and impressions The goods. The ships are insane about cleanliness these days, I noted that there was one individual who seemed to do nothing but wipe the stair handrails with disinfectant continually. The service was impeccable. The food was variable, but it varied from just good to fantastic, it was always hot and fresh, and you never saw the same item twice. The room also had a revolving menu of movies to watch, so I finally got to see Wall-e. The Steward cleans the room twice a day and turns down your bed while you are at dinner. The excursions take a lot of the 'what do you want to do? I don't know, what do you want to do?' out of the trip. And the room was surprisingly quiet. The bad, I realize that the excursions are done through independent contractors and therefore they are not the ones who canceled my excursion, but they could have informed me before hand that there was the possibility that it would be canceled. They push the drinks and the pictures, learn to say no. During the life boat drill the videographer comes up and says 'Can I get a wave from everybody?' and I turned to him and said 'No', he came back with 'Are you kidding me?' and I said 'I can't speak for all these people, but I'm NOT waving' LOL, he walked off. The elevators are slower than hell, if you use them, you will spend half your cruise waiting, use the stairs. Also there are six elevators amidships, three port, three starboard, when you push the elevator button, it only summons the three elevators on the side you push! Poor design, you can cut down the waiting by pushing the button on one side and quickly walking over and pushing the other button, but, of course, you have now tied up two elevators and are increasing others waiting times. Also, no one tells you that you will suffer dizziness after the cruise, both my wife and I have been having dizzy spells and a search shows it is pretty common. Oh, and I used a Walgreens waterproof disposable for the snorkeling, since you don't see any of those pix, you can guess how well it worked. Impressions Cruises are not for xenophobes! Not just the mix of passengers, but the crew is from all over the world, and I like that when they introduce themselves it was often 'Hello, I'm Melvin from the Philippines.' And as a member of the IBWF I enjoyed the diversity. The formal dining was assigned seating, but we only did it once, I was actually a little uncomfortable with the level of service, three waiters for two people? I'm not used to that. Lastly, tipping is expected, I feel that it should be included in the price of the cruise, so we did the pre paid tips, so we wouldn't have to deal with it. And finally, the myth of the 'ugly American' is just that, a myth, what I learned is that ALL tourists are 'Ugly' So, in Ebay speak, A++++++ Would Cruise again. If you read this far, you deserve a drink.

Posted by Tool Using Animal 9 years ago