Tag Archives: DS

Ski Paradise (Part 1)

The Great Ski Paradise vacation in all its glory, presented in chronological format for your convenience. (Note: Pictures will be posted in the final post.)

The Cast (Roughly in order of appearance):

  1. Richard “Verde”, “Squirrels” Benson
  2. “Daddy” Dave Benson
  3. Ramon
  4. Ed “The Funologist”
  5. Serg (From Serbia, 8 page spread in the latest Waterski issue)
  6. Doug and Kristin
  7. John and Kathy
  8. Greg
  9. “Party” Dave and Michelle
  10. Eric and Rhonda
  11. “Big Hard” Dave and Melaney
  12. Sam and Suzannah
  13. Steve and “Judge” Judy
  14. Gordon and Gabrielle

Friday – April 4th 2008

Knowing that I must get up around 3:00AM Saturday morning I make the wonderful decision to stay up all night and just attempt to sleep on the plane and in the airports. To help me stay up I purchase Saint’s Row. I figure it will kill two birds with one stone: keep me up and prep me for GTA4. I get about 40% of the game done before 3:00Am roles around.

Saturday – April 5th 2008

So it was that Friday bled into Saturday. Staying up until 3AM is usually quid pro quo for me, but I had anticipated going to sleep around 7Pm on Friday and getting a few winks before the flight. Thus I had gone to bed early Thursday and woke up around 12PM on Friday. 15 hours is no big deal, but gaming all day had seriously drained my eyes of strength. My shower at 3AM provided the second win my body desperately needed.

My Dad and I tossed our bags into the Durango and my Mom was kind enough to sacrifice some sleep to drive us to the Airport. Being the tech savvy people we are, we took on look at the check in line and headed straight for the self check in. Naturally it didn’t work. The system didn’t even register us as existing. Luckily there was an attendant at the “Self” Check-in helping to mitigate issues. Apparently the system was working for about 1% of customers. That’s what I call convenience, go Delta!

With the check-in debacle behind us and my Dad’s ski in it’s makeshift ski bag (read: large cardboard box with DIY fin protection.), we moved on to the now large security check point line. Nothing says a good time like being forced to undress in public. I’ve traveled a bit and understand that it is in my best interest to keep things simple and avoid wearing metal. My security experience was fairly routine. I took off the sandals, my belt and placed them with my bag on the conveyor belt. Not a *beep* for this guy and I was done. My Dad on the other hand got the special treatment. He apparently was randomly selected for additional screening. I broke down and started laughing when the lady informed us of that. I mean, my Dad can get pretty high strung when we travel, but a threat to national security? Ha! I’ve got to admit that it wasn’t as intensive as I thought it was going to be. He actually got expedited to the front of the line and we ended up finishing at the same time. From there it was on to the gate.

At the gate we stopped to get some Burger King breakfast. Yum! French toast sticks. We didn’t have to wait long before we were on the plane and I was trying to sleep. Our trip to Atlanta was a foggy one. I spent most of my time in sleep state not unlike the one experienced in a History 101 class. We had plenty of time during our lay over to get to our connecting gate and to sit down. I tried to sleep, but failed miserably. We met some people from the Atlanta area who were big waterskiers and had been to Ski Paradise before. They were going to Acapulco this time, but on a non-skiing trip this time. They gave us advice about preparing ourselves for the unique water. Apparently since the water is so warm and slightly brackish, it’s much easier to get blisters. Gordon had told my Dad as much through a series of emails that had been exchanged prior to the trip. The family advised us to use duct tape. Yup, duct tape.

Now on another plane to Acapulco, finally. This is the long leg of the journey and was meant to provide me with plenty of sleep. I spent most of the time watching the in-flight movie (P.S. I love You), on my DS, Ipod and I read a bit. No sleep. The landing was…interesting. Acapulco airport is right on the coast and around 3Pm when we arrived in Acapulco there is a strong breeze coming off the ocean. It was rough. Immigration and customs went thankfully smooth. We didn’t get red lighted, green light all the way. And then we hit a wall. Someone was supposed to meet us to take us to the Villa, but our names were not to be found on any of the signs being held up. My Dad figured the taxi drivers would assist us in finding Ramon, so he started asking for Ramon. Pretty hilarious. To his credit and far beyond anything I could have expected one taxi driver did mange to point us in the right direction even if my accident. We saw the Suburbans with the PackaSports on top. Ramon wasn’t expecting us for a while yet, but he was still happy to see us and went in to check and see if Steve and Judy had arrived. (I think they come on a later flight that would arrive a few hours later, when Ramon thought we were arriving as well.) Around this time Gordon dropped Ed and Serg off at the airport. Ed was going to take us in the suburban to costco and then to the Villa. Serg was going to be driving the truck to the Villa.

Ed described himself as a “Funologist”. He is a retired inventor, more or less, who spends most of his time now skiing, golfing and enjoying life to its fullest. Our trip to Costco had me believing that we were traveling through downtown Acapulco. I would learn later that I was wrong. At Costco we bought Coronas, waters and some snacks. It’s amazing the power of franchising. Without much time spent we were back on our way to the Villa. We went from sea level to climbing up a mountain side. Up and up we climbed. Twisting and turning. Traffic whizzed past. Rules held little merit. Horns were used generously for friendly signals as well as indicators of disappointment. Blinkers provided some indication of what was going on but a coin flip would be just as accurate. We must have reached some sort of high point because we were now going down. Before long (merely a few hundred yards) we took a turn and started climbing towards the peak of the mountain. Past a guard post and into an expensive looking area. Clearly we would not be staying in the typical lodgings I am used to on a vacation. Twisting and turning and still climbing we worked our way up. When at last we arrived. Ed told us that we would be in room 3. The best way to describe the place would be a very very large multi-level condo with rooms for many guests.

My Dad and I spent a few minutes unpacking and checking out our room. I immediately noticed that this room lacked the one thing featured most prominently in other “hotel” rooms: a TV. It was then that I realized I was truly on a different kind of vacation. I’m proud to say that for an entire week it was a relief to be without TV and not once did I miss it. After the quick scope, I stocked the fridge with Beer and Water and immediately changed clothes. I was still in pants and had a few shirts on. I went to board shorts, t-shirt and sandals. And that’s how I would remain for the majority of the week.

We left our room and climbed the nearby stairs to the second level of the villa which provided a truly breathtaking view of the southern part of Acapulco as well as slight glimpse of downtown Acapulco. It was there that we first met some of the other guests that we would be sharing this vacation with. John and Kathy, Dave and Michelle, Doug and Kristen and Greg were all up already relaxing. Ramon brought us out some wonderful Ceviche. Not something I would go out of my way to pick prior to the vacation. Now, I dunno, it was pretty darn good. He also brought us some chips, guacamole and salasa. I never really ate guac prior to this vacation, but now I love the stuff.

During this time the rest of the guests arrived: Eric and Rhonda, Sam and Suzannah, Dave and Melaney, Steve and Judy. Not long after everyone arrived and we had all had a few moments to get to know each other, it was time to get showered and dressed for dinner. The caveat for dinner was you could not smell or be wet. It was interesting to see the varying levels of “dressed-up-ness”.

Our dinner the first day was a wonderful meal with very Mexican roots. Sadly my memory fails me and I can not remember exactly what we had because of the so many wonderful meals to follow. I know enchiladas were involved. What I remember most was the table in the dinning area and the service. The table was made of solid wood and was the size of a small bus. It was absolutely the largest and most impressive table I have ever seen. The view out the dinning room were amazing. It was located on the 2nd floor right next to the pool/deck area and afforded the same views as any other spot on the 2nd deck. The walls were for the most part glass and had little to block your view when the curtains were pulled open. The service was astounding. Five star service in every essence. One interesting aspect was that depending on what was being served you choose how much you wanted. They would come along with a large pan or bowl and you would scoop out how much you wanted. Very nice if you were particularly hungry. (Some nights the meals were more individually prepared and this was not an option.)

At the end of dinner we went over the procedures for handling the mornings as well being informed on other events happening during the week. While our mornings would be dominated with time at the lake site and used primarily for skiing, our afternoons and evenings were open to doing other events. We were also informed of a little game they play at Ski Paradise. It doesn’t really have a title, but it certainly has a purpose. Gabrielle is involved in helping a local children’s home and as a way to raise money she has a little lockbox and whenever someone does something dumb they put $5 in the box. Needless to say I was scared because I didn’t have much cash. We’ll have to wait and see how that turned out.

As for the morning, we found out that the two suburbans would be going out in two groups. The morning crew and the late crew. The morning crew would leave the villa around 6:45AM and get the first sets of the day. The late crew would have time to eat breakfast and then leave the villa around 7:45. The late crew would bring breakfast to the Palapa for the morning crew as well as lunch. All of the meals were included with the trip. A service you come to appreciate and wish you had in everyday life.

The other interesting fact was that Mexico was switching to daylight savings that night. Oh great! So we all set our clocks ahead an hour (or those of us who figured out how to do it.) Everything seems great and in order now. It’s 10:17PM after setting our clock ahead an hour. I’m going on 34 hours being awake but strangely feeling not that tired. I figure it in my best interest to go to bed and so it is that our first day in paradise comes to a close.

If you haven’t got the feeling yet. It all feels like you are staying at a friend’s place and will be skiing every morning. Only the friend owns a multi-million dollar home in a very exclusive section of Acapulco, has staff that provides 5 star service, dinning and lodging and has access to one of the greatest ski sites in the world.

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up

Fallen off the face of the earth that is.  I would have updated last night but the internets was teh slowzor.  Let’s see, what happened since Thursday…

Hockey games.  We swept Wayne State.

Resume is 90% done and in final editing stages.

Did laundry, twice.

Worked out and played hockey yesterday.

Saw Elizabeth for a week and a half straight.

Researched and purchased a DS homebrew device.

Set up Elizabeth’s new MP3 player.

Now it’s time for me to get back to getting things done.  Laundry, workout, cleaning and Life Development work needs to get done.

Hello 2008!

Ah isn’t the baby new year so cute?

Spent this New Year’s Eve relaxed.  Instead of driving downtown to a party that might exist or to a bar where they would charge too much for one of us to drink, we decided to stay in and watch the ball drop form Elizabeth’s house.  It was a good evening except I ate too much candy and got a headache.  Dick Clark sounded really ill and looks none too happy that Ryan Seacrest is going to be his replacement.

New Year’s day was also spent relaxed.  Elizabeth and I watched Hairspray, a charming and funny movie.  I made some Cinnamon Rolls I found in the freezer.  They were crap.  I refuse to buy anything but Pillsbury brand from now on.  Still hungry, we decided to order a pizza from Papa John’s.  It arrived pretty dang fast but it was smaller than I expected.  I still prefer Papa Murphy’s to just about every pizza out there.  (Don’t worry Davanni’s Deep Dish, I still love you the best.)  Elizabeth played Zelda on the DS while I watched Illinois throw a perfectly good comeback into the toilet.

Parent’s came back from their up north adventure and we all sat around and watched Biggest Loser.  I really don’t think they should kick people off that show.  They should award points on a decreasing scale and allow teams to stay on so that more people can loose weight.

I took Elizabeth home and played some Halo with the guys.  JJ apparently purchased a nice new HDTV.  It’s a good thing he has a job now or he would be back out on the street corner.  Now it’s time for bed and some exercise in the morning.  No need to shower twice in a day, that only wastes water and I’m trying to be eco-friendly.

The Great Christmas Wrap Up

…or Boxing Day if you have government funded health care.

So Christmas is over (or almost, Justin says he has something in the mail for me. He shouldn’t have, but it’s very nice of him to get me something and I’m excited to see what it is.) I’d like to thank everyone who went out of their way to gift me something and at the same time I hope everyone who received gifts from me enjoyed their gifts. I wish I had the funds to buy gifts for everyone and the time to spend the Holidays with all the people in my life, but sadly the world doesn’t work that way. In an effort to appear non-materialistic (ha!) I will now see how the list faired (the one’s in red are still missing):


  • Men’s Ware House Gift Certificates (Received some for Graduation)
    • Received a wonderful dress shirt and tie from Elizabeth’s parents, Thank you!
    • Dress Socks from Mom and Dad
  • Electric Blanket (Thanks for that already Mom.)
  • New Cellphone
  • New Slippers
  • Those fancy ear muffs that don’t mess up your hair


  • Nintendo DS Lite (Uber shocked to cross this out. Elizabeth is the greatest girlfriend ever.)
    • +Games!!!! (The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hour Glass, came with the Limited Edition Zelda DS)
  • Music CDs (Secret Santa: Uncle Craig got me $40 at iTunes.)
  • New Computer
  • Hockey Goalie Equipment
  • Spare Xbox 360 Controller (I purchased these items shortly after I put up the list.)
    • Rechargeable battery pack for Xbox 360 Controller
  • 2 More Wii Remotes
  • Digital SLR Camera
  • New earbud headphones

I received some gifts from Mom and Dad that I had mentioned earlier in the year and completely forgot about come list time. Most notable is a Makita Hammer Drill and Grinder set. After working at O’keef’s I’ve grown to love Makita products. In addition they gifted me more construction related tools and utensils. I’m pretty pumped because I find myself in need of tools and it feels like a sign that I am growing up. Purchasing a house doesn’t seem so far away. My sister bought me a pretty sweet zip up hoodie from Buckle. Look for me to be wearing it often. She also bought me some Jägermeister that, because it was a gift, came in a pretty cool metal slip tin. Now before you get all up in arms because she is underage, she had someone else purchase it for her and I am of age. Now all we need is some red bull.

To follow suit, I ‘ll do what Justin did and write what I got for others.

Elizabeth: 3 Different Types of Scarfs. She asked for a scarf for Christmas and not knowing what else to get her and not having the funds to buy what I really want to get her, I went over board and got her multiple scarves. I bought her a University of Minnesota scarf first because I knew the moment I saw it that I had to get it for her. I realized that it probably wouldn’t be appropriate for work so I figured I would get her scarves to match whatever she wore. I went with a fancy black scarf and a big fluffy white scarf. She seemed to be happy and I hope she likes them. I’ve already seen her wearing the Minnesota one. (After her gifts, though, I felt that my gifts just didn’t match the awesomeness of hers. She totally won this year and at the same time I win because of that.)

Melissa(sister): I got her $20 at Buckle because she loves that store. She is also going to Mexico for school this January so I tried to get her a CD that contained popular Latin Musica. Wow. Shopping for music in a different language is hard. I’m not terrible when it comes to Spanish, but I still struggled. I was able to find a CD that said it was the winner of 4 Latin Grammys. It was either that or one of the bajillion mariachi bands present in Wal-Mart’s Latin Music selection. So you can guess which one I went with. When we popped the CD in on Christmas day we were all pleasantly shocked. It was a pretty sweet CD. Juanes – Un Dia Normal, if you are interested.

Mom: Our family is big on “TV on DVD”. Mom is always hard to shop for. It seems that women are much harder to shop for than men. I think it is because women don’t like to express what they like and would prefer you guess. So I picked up that my Mom and Dad like Boston Legal. My Mom even told me that they really liked that show, so I purchased the first season on DVD for my Mom.

Dad: Continuing the theme, I purchased Battlestar Galactica Season 2.5 on DVD for him. This one was pretty easy. We already own all 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1 on DVD, my sister was picking up Stargate Atlantis Season 2 for him and we own Battlestar Galactica Season 1 on DVD. However, this is where I erred. I thought the extra “.5” meant it was season 2 with bonus features. Silly me. When I eventually bothered to check, I found that they split the season up. Those capitalist bastards. So today I actually went out and got Battlestar Galactica Season 2.0 on DVD so that we can watch them in order.

Secret Santa – Cousin Mike: He didn’t put anything down on the list. So I got him the multipass of gifts; a Wal-Mart gift card. I also made him a card with the following poem I wrote the morning of Christmas Eve:

Santa’s confused this Christmas Eve,
For on his list your name he does not see.
He’s checked it twice,
and he’s sure you’ve been nice.
It must be that you’ve asked for naught.
Now you’re stuck with what he bought.
Lucky for you, he’s a nice guy,
And left it up to you with what to buy.
A golden ticket to the land of lights,
Where they never close for holidays or nights,
A land of toys, games, food and mead.
A land with everything you may need.
Santa hopes you’ve learned this year,
Forget again and you’ll get a kick in the rear.

That is all the giving and receiving I was involved in. Christmas Eve was spent with the family at Andy and Theresa’s. We managed to set the house on fire only two times. We had to open all the windows, get the air flow going and clear out the smoke. It wasn’t so bad when we did it before most people arrived because the sun was still up and it wasn’t too bad outside. However, when it happened right before dinner it was dark out and much colder. To be fair, I think only one involved actual fire and that was with the ham in the oven. The earliest incident was just turkey juices spilling over in the oven and being turned to steam. The rest of the evening was a run of the mill family event with everyone playing their normal parts. The most unlike normal role goes to Tigger (Andy and Theresa’s cat) for actually being playful with so many people around. He was pretty good until people took his playfulness for granted and got him all ornery again. Dakota was in heat so we had to keep her penned up (don’t worry she has a nice heated garage.) It’s too bad too. She is such a wonderful dog and it has to be hard for her to be excluded. It doesn’t help that her new friend in life, Chase, is away at training.

Everyone stayed for a pretty long time. Eventually we all made our way home and the night drew to a close. I couldn’t read the book I had read on the way up, Negotiating for Dummies, so I decided to sleep .

Christmas morning, I woke up at the bright hour of 10:00am. It wasn’t long after that we opened presents. Santa brought the family Scene It Deluxe Movie Edition 2 so we played that a bit and watched Christmas movies on TV. The day was spent relaxing with the family and it was very enjoyable. Elizabeth stopped by late at night after her family event had concluded. She stayed pretty late which was surprising considering we would be going skating the next morning. It’s a family tradition of hers to go skating the day after Christmas. Braving the winter weather she headed home around 2:00am and I was relieved to get a message saying she had made it home safe. My Christmas 2007 came to a close then as I went to bed to get some well needed rest.  I would need it, for the next day we would play hockey and skate.

And there you have it! The great Christmas wrap up of 2007. The culmination of a month or so of shopping and hours of preparation and cooking. I hope everyone had a wonderful time, I certainly did.