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Agriculture, skepticism, politics

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-10-10

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-10-03

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  • Packing for a 4 am drive to MCI in the morning. I should be sleeping. #
  • OH: "He was drinking well." #
  • Rainbow Cocktail WIN http://bit.ly/9tSpYI #
  • Boarding AA1087 from MCI to DFW. #
  • I'm at DFW Dallas/Ft. Worth International in Dallas, TX http://gowal.la/c/2zReS?137 #
  • I just unlocked the "Swarm" badge on @foursquare! http://4sq.com/ciNWM6 #
  • Boarding AA1232 from DFW to MBJ. #
  • Unfortunately, I'm stripes. http://flic.kr/p/8Eyut2 #
  • We made it to Jamaica http://flic.kr/p/8EyuDv #
  • Unfortunately, I'm stripes. [pic] http://ff.im/-rcEaH #
  • And there it is…the first Wizard of Oz joke. #
  • I'm at Couples Tower Isle http://gowal.la/c/2A1MQ?137 #
  • Kiwi + peanut cake = win #
  • Gift shop fun! http://flic.kr/p/8ELApx #
  • Gift shop fun! [pic] http://ff.im/-rfU6D #
  • Wow. I go snorkeling and AOL buys TechCrunch. Just finding out now. Who is going to leak the price of this one? #
  • Re: Today’s quackery: osteopathic manipulative medicine http://ff.im/-rik1u #
  • So sore from snorkeling on the reef last night in the dark. Going to find some food and then SCUBA dive. #
  • Just got rained- lightninged? -out of SCUBA diving. I guess we're going shopping now. How did WIN turn to FAIL so quickly? #
  • Wife: "Want to go chug a drink?"
    Me: "Who are you?" #
  • Those shots of rum are looking to make this shopping trip a little more enjoyable. #
  • Eating at Bayside in Jamaica. Smells too good to be true. #
  • @dpoe is going to try chopsticks for the first time in the rain. #
  • They know how to cook wings in Jamaica. #
  • Honeymoon hammered is the best kind of hammered. It's the kind of hammered that says, "Let's go sailing." #
  • @dN0t who won? in reply to dN0t #
  • Tom Collins is so much better from scratch rather than the pre-mix. #
  • Listening to the Jamaican house band cover Hotel California. Unsurprisingly, the song doesn't improve even with the cultural flare. #
  • This chick's singing "I Shot the Sheriff" better than Bob Marley, though that's something anyone could trip and fall and do on accident. #
  • Aaron and Diane Traffas, Tuesday in Jamaica http://ff.im/-roSNe #
  • Aaron and Diane Traffas at Dunn River Falls in Jamaica http://ff.im/-roSNd #
  • 5:30 Jamaican Sunrise http://flic.kr/p/8FvdTs #
  • 5:30 Jamaican Sunrise [pic] http://ff.im/-rpL0K #
  • My Top 3 Weekly #lastfm artists: The Hold Steady (40), Two Cow Garage (29) and Glossary (24) http://bit.ly/9p4z1m #
  • Jamaican cooking demonstration http://flic.kr/p/8FBEjb #
  • Jamaican cooking demonstration [pic] http://ff.im/-rr1BE #
  • Facebook's photo albums still have limits. I just published the final Jamaica blog series on… http://fb.me/I850oTTX #
  • Leaving the resort. Hoping to make civilization in North Carolina by 5. Looking forward to a game of Civilization on the iPad on the plane. #
  • I just ousted Bristol John D. as the mayor of Couples Tower Isle on @foursquare! http://4sq.com/cZc8RA #
  • I just unlocked the "Photogenic" badge on @foursquare! http://4sq.com/aLzy0w #
  • Happy Shatnerday: I See What You Did there http://j.mp/cDrcd6 #
  • I'm at MCI Kansas City International in Kansas City, MO http://gowal.la/c/2BSRs?137 #
  • If I never hear raggae again it'll be too soon. #
  • Holly's cupcakes were waiting for us when we arrived home http://flic.kr/p/8FY5Gv #
  • So @boxee, you and I are going to have us a time during this new fall TV season. #
  • Holly's cupcakes were waiting for us when we arrived home [pic] http://ff.im/-rtSta #

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Jamaica Friday

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Today was our last day. We awoke at 5:30 a.m. to a beautiful sunrise. I had a pot of delicious Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. We killed a little time until breakfast, after which we put on swimsuits to float around in the sea.

We took the SCUBA class on Wednesday, and were rained out both Wednesday and Thursday. Diane and I had not planned to try again today, but as we were floating around the shore we spotted the other two couples from our SCUBA class waiting by the SCUBA desk. I persuaded Diane that we should go, since we don’t exactly have many options to do so in Kansas. Boy, was that the right decision.

After donning our gear, we went to the pool to practice breathing through the regulator, switching air sources and clearing masks. This part reminded me of the day that my high school anatomy and chemistry teacher, Mr. Booth, brought his SCUBA gear to the pool where our class got to try it out.

After we demonstrated competence in the pool, we waited about an hour for the boat to arrive. As if on queue, a downpour began as soon as we were boarding the boat. Our Jamaican dive masters were a little crazy, and pushed forward with the dive trip in spite of the weather.

We went about a mile away from the harbor to what they called the “No Problem Reef,” though I’m fairly confident that they made up that name.

We put on the gear and jumped in. It was terrifying. The dive was only about 45 ft., though my comfort level was exceeded at about 15. We pressed forward, however, and once we made it to the bottom and became comfortable with the environment, we had an amazing time.

The reef really is the forest on the ocean floor. We swam the sea floor next to reefs rising up anywhere from 5 to 25 feet from the seabed, each one full of what seemed like a different kind of fish.

We spent only about 30 minutes underwater, though it felt like an hour. It had stopped raining by the time we surfaced, and after a quick ride back to the harbor, we ate lunch and took a nap.

We took a few final pictures of the resort from the top floor before heading to the Eight Rivers restaurant where we had dinner reservations.

It was perhaps one of the finest dining experiences either of us had ever had, and while the service was superior and no expense was spared, I personally preferred the Asian food from the Bayside that we’d enjoyed the previous two nights. Diane had chicken and I had lobster tail, both of which were fantastic.

We went back to the room for a little packing and then went back to have a few more final drinks for our last evening out.

Jamaica Thursday

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Thursday was the day for Dunn’s River Falls. An off-site attraction, Dunn’s River Falls is about a 20 minute drive from Tower Island in Ocho Rios. Along the way, our bus stopped and picked up a videographer at a small shack along the side of the road where we rented water shoes. Our videographer was a bit of a potty mouth, but he was entertaining.

We were warned about the locals peddling. Our vacation was all-inclusive, but since this attraction was off-site,  we were left to our own devices when dealing with the natives. The first taste of commerce came from a small shack and beer cart in the parking lot.

We entered and walked by a sign with small print. This sign was a stark reminder that we weren’t in the States, as the hazards of the falls would naturally incur a multiple-page waiver back home.

We continued down the trail to the bottom of the falls, where the river met the beach. We posed at the base of the falls for our first pictures, and were essentially forced to get wet by the tour guides, who delivered on their promise of “no wet, no fun.” It was good to get drenched immediately, as there would have been no way to stay dry throughout the rest of the climb.

Our return placed us back to the resort shortly after noon. We spent the rest of the day napping, floating in the sea and drinking in the hot tubs.

Our dinner reservations were again at the Bayside restaurant, where the food was just as amazing as the night before.

Jamaica Wednesday

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We awoke on Wednesday to a little sunshine. We found some breakfast before our SCUBA class that was to begin at 9 a.m. We began with a swimming competency test, which was perhaps one of the hardest physical activities ever visited upon my body. It was only two laps in a pool, but trying too hard to finish first, combined with the fact that my swimming could only charitably be described as flopping around in the water while hoping to go in a particular direction, meant that mid-way through the final lap I was completely drained and nearly didn’t finish.

After the swim, we returned to the SCUBA office to watch a 45 minute PADI video. During the video, it began to rain and lightning, ending our hopes to dive that day.

Not having anything else planned, we embarked on the shopping tour that left at about 10:30. We were taken to the Taj Mahal shopping plaza in Ocho Rios.

There seemed to be two kinds of shops among the roughly 20 vendors in the plaza, jewelers and – for lack of a better descriptor – tourist shops. We weren’t interested much in the jewelry shops, but we quickly learned that the tourist shops had roughly the same inventory at varying prices. The average fair was collectible shot glasses, mugs, shirts, hats, carved statues, and, of course, bongs. Bongs of every shape and size. Little bongs, big bongs, bongs with penises and bongs that were shaped like penises. We bought some shot glasses and some rum for the ride home.

We finished our shopping tour after about 30 minutes, and, with an hour to spare, decided to visit the little, local restaurant on the street, where we shared an overpriced meal. It was quite good, and the scenery was nice.

When we returned to the resort, it started to rain again, which caused the water sports to be canceled, including both the snorkeling and catamaran cruise trips we were hoping to take. Since there wasn’t much else to do, we spent some time in the hot tub and then the rest of the afternoon at the swim-up bar with the friends we made in the hot tub.

We had reservations at the Bayside restaurant for 6:15. It’s a fun place with amazing food, though it was dampened, literally, by the rain blowing in the sides of the open-air restaurant that hangs out over the sea. We still had a great time, but were quite done with the day by about 8:30 when we turned in for the night.

Jamaica Tuesday

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We woke about 6:30, refreshed and ready to go. We found some breakfast and killed a little time until the orientation tour. The off-and-on rain, which unfortunately became a recurring theme for our vacation, limited our activities. We ate lunch and visited the gift shop, then took advantage of the water sports kayaking and Aqua-Cycle before playing beach volleyball in the afternoon.

Based on a tip from another couple playing volleyball, we signed up for the night snorkeling trip. It was perhaps one of the most enjoyable parts of our vacation. We went out in a boat with four or five other couples a few hundred yards off the island and on the reef. The water depth varied from 6′ to about 15′, and we saw a wide variety of sea life, from a sting ray to a puffer fish to a pipe fish, among others. We spent about 45 minutes in the water; the boat didn’t start for a while so we got a little extra time while the tour guide struggled to come around to pick us up.

We were exhausted when we got back to the pier, and staying awake through dinner at the Verandah was a struggle. We went to the main stage for the house band playing reggae, but we didn’t last very long. We turned in early for the second night.

Jamaica Monday

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It was everything Diane and I could do to get up on Monday morning at 4 a.m. to make our flight from Kansas City. We were so tired after the wedding and the all-day work on Sunday that we just didn’t have it in us to head to Kansas City on Sunday night, so Monday was a long day.

We got to Jamaica and through customs to find a lounge that was specifically for our resort inside the airport. After confirming our names, they took our bags and pointed to the bar that was serving Red Stripe beer. It quickly became clear that free was going to be the theme of this all-inclusive trip. It’s a concept that looked great on paper, but became real when they started handing free beer to us.

The Toyota bus we took from the airport to the Ocho Rios hotel was the first right-steer vehicle either of us had ever seen. The scenery ranged from beautiful, elegant upper-class villas to poverty-stricken, run-down ruins of buildings with make-shift tin roofs and fences.

We stepped off the bus and had drinks inserted into our hands. Diane’s was a Jamaican Delight and mine was a Rum Punch. We checked into our room and then headed down to the restaurant for the evening. After eating, we were completely drained and ended up turning in by about 9 p.m. for the night.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-26

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Wedding is nigh

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The wedding is upon us. View all the wedding information at dianetraffas.com. For those of you looking for the quick details, here they are.

The wedding ceremony will be at 4 p.m. on Saturday, 25 September, at St. Boniface in Sharon, Kansas. Sharon is small, the church is in the northeast part of town and is quite unmissable.

The reception will be held just east of Medicine Lodge, Kansas, at the Barber County Heritage Center, at the intersection of US-160 and Isabel Rd. We’ll start serving cocktails at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m., followed by a dance. View directions as well as accomodations.

Those of you joining us for the rehearsal are invited to meet us at the church no later than 6:15 p.m. on Friday. We’ll eat following the rehearsal at the Knight’s of Columbus hall in Sharon.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-19

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