Category Archives: Adventure

Live every day (every so often) like a lunatic.


Today’s Music: The Allman Brothers Band – Jessica
*Note on Today’s Music: I absolutely love this song. Hope you enjoy it too.
Days Til Spring: 16!!!

And if you can, please help out Merbear.===========================>>>

Live every day like it’s your last!
I’m not a big fan of that phrase. To me it always meant “Go out and accomplish every dream you have NOW!!!!”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for accomplishing dreams (the more inane the better!), but do you have any idea how exhausting that would be???
I took a vacation once. Spent a day sailing on the Caribbean, two days scuba diving, drinking and wandering every night, then came home with just enough time to pick up a pair of tickets from someone and drive out to the beach for a concert.
Went back to work the next day, and called in sick the next day because I was beat. Plum tuckered out.
I needed a vacation to recover from my vacation.

I personally couldn’t imagine doing everything I want to do every single day.
But there’s one stunt that I could do say once a month.

Go rock climbing.
In scuba gear.
No, wait, stay with me here.
Strap the flippers to my back, and wear extra padding under the scuba tank. Which would be under the parachute. (If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know where this is going.)
Do a nice six or seven hundred foot climb up a cliff face. Drink a lot of water on the way (wetsuits are ridiculously warm). Get to the top, step away from the edge and enjoy the view.
Step a few feet further back from the edge.
Then run like hell…and…LEAP!!!

Like this, but from a cliff. In a wetsuit.

Like this, but from a cliff.
In a wetsuit.


Sail off the cliff cackling with only the piece of mind that barely-functional insanity can provide!
Clear the cliff and toss the pilot chute up, dragging the main chute out. (Do it fast. It takes four hundred feet for the canopy to open.)
At ten feet off the water, pull all of the chute harness’ quick release pulls. Arms crossed over the chest (still holding the flippers. You didn’t drop them, did you?), point your toes because you’re still moving pretty fast, and…SPLOOSH!
Fit on the mask and the flippers.
Swim at a leisurely pace underwater to the nearest unattended jetski.
Ditch the tank and vest (flippers too), climb on, and throttle up towards the nearest tropical beach.
Find one not too busy, with a thatched roof bar restaurant visible from the water.
Crank the throttle and ride that puppy right on to the beach. Extra points if there’s a boat ramp and you leap that sucker with a flying dismount towards the bar.
I can see the jail from here!

I can see the jail from here!


Pull the Hawaiian shirt out of your bag, put on the shades, and order the lobster for dinner. And a drink. With a lot of rum.

Could you imagine trying to do that daily???
But just once, wow, would it make a hell of a day!

And how are you spending your tuesday?

An Adventure: The Naked Bar Slide


Today’s Music: Lionize – Surrender
Days Til Spring: 44

I’ve danced naked on bars, I’ve made naked snow angels outside them. Here is the final installment of my “naked in bars” opus.

Above my right nipple is a small scar that has long since healed. But my memories of it are vivid, and I still rub at it absentmindedly from time to time.

Not every story ends here.  But the ones that do are great.

Not every story ends here.
But the ones that do are great.


Maybe a year or two after the first naked bar dance, my dart partner, The Terror, had gotten engaged to a wonderful woman from the bar we hung out in. He and the boys were out for his bachelor party, getting all sorts of drunk in all sorts of places. I was at the bar, drinking lightly, with a completely different group of friends from college.
And then worlds collided.

The Terror and the boys came back. Even though the bar (unlike last time) was full, space was made for them at the corner. Greetings were exchanged, backs were slapped, drinks were ordered.
“Gimme a Jameson”, shouted the Terror. “I can drink that smoother than anything!” six sets of eyes turned to me, all of us having been there the last time someone said that.
I smiled, and considered it a wedding gift.
“I can drink that smoother than you.” I said. Bigger grins all around.
The shots get set up, the shots get knocked down.
And I yell “Clear the bar!!!”

Now, I have no doubt that this time around, I drank it smoother than him. I’m not saying he dribbled all over himself, because that would be rude. But he was getting married, so give him a memorable send off.

“CLEAR THE BAR!!!”

The regulars started laughing and moved away towards the back wall. The new folk were looking on in disbelief as the story was explained to them, and they moved against the wall.
“Hey Otto!” I called to the bartender as I slipped out of my shirt and started undoing my belt (with a little wiggle. You know, for the crowd). “How about a slide this time around?”
Otto laughed and sprayed down the bar below the taps with seltzer. *Remember that the taps are the demarcation point. It’ll come up again.*
While Otto finished hosing down the bar, I got out of the rest of my clothes, making it as sexy as only a 170lb six-footer in need of a shave and a haircut can.

At this point, the people who’ve figured out what’s going on are laughing and clapping, while the rest are looking very very puzzled, and perhaps a bit aghast.

So naked me goes back by the dartboard, and, clad only in a worn pair of boat shoes, bellows “CLEAR THE BAR!!!” one last time before sprinting towards the rounded corner of the bar. I time my launch perfectly, feet leaving the ground as my fingers curl around the top of the bullnose edge of the bar and my arms drag me over it, adding to my momentum.
My stomach hits the bar in a splash of seltzer, and, with a slightly arched back to reduce drag, I zip down the bar, a carbonated rooster tail of spray marking my passage, as Otto sprays me in more seltzer (or possibly Diet Coke) as I slid by.
I’m in the zone! Only three other people have done the naked bar slide in this particular place, and I’ve already gone further than any of them! Why, I’ve almost made it as far as- Crap!
The taps!
(Remember those?)
They’re set at the middle of the bar, and jut out over halfway into the bar. I suddenly realize that maybe I had a tad too much momentum. And the bar is soaked, so no traction there.
So, like a latter day Indiana Jones avoiding a sword laden trap, I roll onto my side and watch as the taps near. I begin to slow down, my body contorted (and soaked) as speed bleeds off, decelerating to the point where, when I reach the tap, I’m going just fast enough…to scratch my chest…from below (???) to the center…of my nipple.

And the place goes wild!
I’ve seen plenty of stupid bar stunts, and been involved in plenty myself, but truly, this was an appreciative crowd.
So finally, I get off the bar and dry myself off. Several bar napkins staunch the flow of nipple blood. I make my way back to the end of the bar, past the smiling faces, the shocked faces, and the faces that have no idea what they’ve just seen, and lean against the bar near The Terror. We order another round (tequila this time for me) and toast. he leans over.
“I think you drank the Jameson smoother than me this time.”
“Nah. Congratulations, John. Have a happy marriage.”

A Very Surfing New Year


Today’s Music: The Ramones – Surfin Bird
Days Til Spring: 79
I’m generally the quiet type. I don’t talk a whole lot. Because when I do, it invariably gets me in trouble.
Despite the fact that it was below 30 degrees farenheit this morning with a water temp of maybe forty deg F, I’d been saying I was planning on surfing new years day for several weeks. Enough to the point that A Frank Angle, on his list of “national…” days listed wednesday as El Guapo Surfing Day. Enough to the point where my boss sent me a happy new year email, closing with “don’t drown.

20140101_100341

Wish I’d been wrapped in a blanket like my board…


So despite the frigidity of the weather forecast, and the fact the the surf forecast was one word – Flat – I’d backed myself into a corner.
To be honest I was still planning on going when I went to bed at 2 last night. I’d cut myself off after two (delicious) beers so I wouldn’t be hung over. I even packed my bag with gloves, booties and hood and pulled out my wetsuit.
I woke up bright and early at 8 am, but my wife (The Most Wonderful Girl in the Universe) was so warm and snuggly that I stayed curled up with her until 9. But then my innate “me”ness kicked in.
By 945, I was in my wetsuit at dunkin donuts getting coffee.
By 1015, I was on the beach, freezing my butt off, looking at an ocean surface only slightly rougher than glass.

Don’t let the ripple in that pic deceive you. That wave, and all the waves were breaking so close to the beach it was like surfing in sand.
But don’t let it be said that I am a victim of common sense!

My wetsuit-clad leg, ready for battle.

My wetsuit-clad leg, ready for battle.

The waves were so low, and breaking so late, that I stood a few yards from the beach. When I saw the few surfable waves roll in, I hopped n my board and rode them the five yards into the sand.
20140101_104922
Those drops of water on the board are good atlantic ocean drops.

So I stayed in the water about 45 minutes. When I first got in and the water trickled into my glove, it was so cold that it took about five minutes until the water warmed up and I could move my hand again.

The waves? Crap.
The weather? Freezing.
The surfing? Horrible.
But New Years Day, I spent the morning doing something I love – sitting on a surfboard in the ocean on a beautiful morning.
And if that ain’t worth it…well then, the crazies who ran into the water in bathing suits (and a tutu) 10 minutes after I got out was totally worth it.

And you thought I had problems???

And you thought I had problems???

Happy New Year to each and every one of you to your families, and to your loved ones.
And I hope every last one of you catches your wave, whatever it might be.

An Adventure Philosophy Post: Being and Doing


Today’s Music: Cab Calloway – (Hep hep) The Jumpin Jive

I’m a skier. Put me in a pair of boots that fit, drop me on skis (rentals are fine), and I’m all set.

El Guapo surveying his domain...

El Guapo surveying his domain…


I’m a rock climber. despite being in terrible shape, I can belay with the best of them, and keep your tail from hitting the ground if you come off the cliff. At the same time, I can find some way up the face and warn you if I’m not going to make it.
I’m a scuba diver. despite a depressingly low overall amount of time spent underwater, I’m conscientious with checking and donning my gear. I know how to not panic (trust me, it’s a hard won skill), and I pay close attention to where I am underwater.

Sadly, I’m not a surfer. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love surfing. I’m planning on putting on my wetsuit, strapping my board to the roof and diving in on 1 Jan, unless the weather is just horrible.
But when I get on a board, I’m just awful. I have no idea what to look for when catching a wave, and no feel for when to stand up on the board. The majority of my rides end with the nose of the board plowing into the water, and me shooting over it like Wile E Coyote in too many cartoons.
That’s fine. It’s still fun.

The pros got nothin on me.

The pros got nothin on me.


But that line – the difference between just doing something, and being something – is an important one for me. It’s about going beyond being a random participant, and breathing in everything you can about whatever it is.

When I learned to scuba dive, I read everything I could get my hands on. I would go into shops and handle equipment, studying different mounting options, handling features, options and tools. I would play with my depth tables (because some things are too important to leave to a computer), and occasionally wander around the house in flippers (Oh, like I’m the only one who does that).
Under water, I’ve gotten into some odd situations, and remembered that as long as I could breathe, I was still ok. Then, calmly, I figured out how to get out of them.
Scuba diving is also one of the few sports I’ve done where the training actually is helpful.
And thank god for that.

But a new year is right around the corner. And I plan to be in the water on the first, on my board. Maybe I’ll even graduate from a guy who has a surfboard to a full fledged surfer!

Faith and Fear…And Adventure. Part 1


Today’s Music: Blind Faith – Can’t Find My Way Home

Beginning

What do you see at the edge?

There’s a moment, right at the very beginning, where anything is possible. -high and low, win and lose, yes and no.
On any adventure, that time is fascinating to me.
It’s a metaphysical moment where, for me, time stretches. My whole life doesn’t flash before my eyes. The moment isn’t long, but it is deep, and it’s there that I gain a better understanding of who I am. And it’s where I simultaneously find my fears and my faith in myself. I also see how those things have changed.

Here’s an early example -
- A young Guapo standing at the edge of the high diving board. He looks over, takes a deep breath. Another boy is already starting up the ladder for his turn. He looks back over the edge and steels himself. He ignores his burning red face and climbs back down the ladder.
- An older Guap (late teens?) stands at the edge of a different diving board. It’s high, but the water is deep, he tells himself. Don’t panic and you’ll be fine, he tells himself.
He looks out over that edge, remembers how younger him wished he’d stepped off that board all those years ago. He sees his younger self at that moment, remembers the exhilaration of being up so high, the danger of that narrow plank with so much empty space below it, and the terror of what could go wrong outweighing the thrill of what could go right.
He looks at the present again, every detail burning into his memory. He squeezes his eyes as tight as possible. He feels his face turn red.
And he turns and

Steps…

Off…

The…

Edge…

He goes off the high diving board another 8 times that day. Most of them with his eyes open. All of them with a big grin on his face.

I know I can.

I know I can.

So what changed?
Plenty of people dive from the high board/jump from the plane/hang from the cliff/(you get the idea).
Some of them have hurt themselves, some have even died. But as with a great many things, the vast majority have been careful, taken precautions and lived to do it again and again.

And the thought of being red faced and angry that I didn’t try something makes me feel worse than any of the damage I’ve accumulated thanks to gravity over the years.

So stop thinking that jumping will lead to crashing. Go on, have a little faith.