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.
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.
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.
One of the suckiest parts of fence-fixing is getting on and off the ATV. I saw this new…thing on GeekBeat.tv and think it would be the awesomest thing to use fixing fence. It’s not likely the most comfortable riding experience over long distances, but pulling a trailer alongside you would be a pretty slick use. Just try to get it stuck.
Mason Powell’s been spearheading the creation of a skeptical movement in Lawrence. Late last week, we launched a new website at skeptikan.com. Here’s my introductory post.
I read Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World” when I was in high school. At the time, I wasn’t aware of any formalized skeptical movement, but the concept of using science and reason to sort out the woo from the reality resonated with me and excited me. The book’s subtitle, “Science as a Candle in the Dark,” summarizes for me what skepticism is about – a reliance on the scientific method to tell us fact from fiction.
I was first introduced to the skeptical movement several years ago when I was searching for new podcasts. I came across the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, and was immediately hooked. Here was a podcast that was somehow packed full of educational content and yet also entertaining. Through the SGU, I learned that there is a movement of like-minded people who are organizing and advancing the cause of science beyond simply the science itself.
There are many other science- and skeptic-based podcasts, but the only other podcast I’ll mention at the moment is Skeptoid. A weekly series, Skeptoid’s host Brian Dunning spends about 10 or 15 minutes on a specific topic. They’re pithy, short discussions, perfectly suited to learn about any given subject, or perhaps forward to a friend or loved one who may have fallen to believe in a particular pseudoscience or purchased a scam product. Dunning also created “Here Be Dragons: An Introduction to Critical Thinking.” It’s a free, 40 minute video that’s perfect to introduce classes to the concept and importance of critical thinking.
Woo has a very large surface area, and there are many different subjects that deserve a skeptical look. There topics such as some religions and conspiracies that result mostly in a walletectomy – removal of money – from the believer. The topics that concern me the most, however, are those that can actually cause physical harm. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) such as acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, reflexology – the list goes on – can cause both a walletectomy and real damage to people who need medical treatments or cures and are instead led to believe that these woo-jobs can help. The anti-vaccination movement is also particularly troublesome to me since it directly results in an increase in mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases.
That’s all for now. On a personal note, I can’t express how excited I am to be a part of SkeptiKan. I’ve always been jealous of skeptics living in other parts of the country who have meetups and organizations to which they can belong, and now it seems that Kansas is forming its own skeptical community. I look forward to contributing both by making this website attractive, usable and accessible and by participating in the discussion. We have exciting plans for the site and the project, and I thank Mason for inviting me to be a part of it.