Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

Do you see what's missing? Here's the inventory: 2 couches, a piano, an end table, a writing desk, and some speakers.

Yes, thank you, the piano really is lovely, isn't it? But wait a minute, there's no TV!

The TV has been banished to the office, and covered with a blanket to further block it from our consciousness.

What was its crime, you inquire? I thought you'd never ask! It began to infiltrate our lives, taking over our conversations and most waking thoughts. Even mealtime was tarnished, as we sometimes took our plates to the couch to watch while we ate. No use wasting our good TV-watching time eating! When we started praying nightly that Ashley wouldn't win the Biggest Loser, we knew we had a problem.

We now plan to spend our evenings feeling less hurried and more productive. Ideas include reading, writing, cleaning, kite-flying, frisbee, going on walks, and toning our abs for that nice, chiseled look.

With these illustrious ambitions in mind, so far one of us (we won't say which) spent a rough afternoon watching TV on the computer, and another evening we went to the movies because we couldn't watch anything at home. Tonight we ate dinner in the office around the blanket-covered TV, reminiscing about the good old days.

I can't believe we were ever scared to put it away.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cooper Rules for Disneyland

Growing up as a Cooper, we went to Disneyland every year and spent several days there. With three hard-core brothers, and having a little die-hard Disney blood myself, we developed a unique strategy for experiencing the park.

1. Show up early enough to weasel your way to the front of the crowd in Main Street at the rope. Do this by any means necessary, but try not to step on any babies.

2. When the rope drops, run as fast as you can without looking like you're running to either Big Thunder Railroad or Space Mountain. Ride that ride as many times in a row as possible until the line gets too long.

3. Never dawdle, never waste time strolling leisurely in between rides, and never drink too much water and waste everyone's time with bathroom breaks. Always run. You can rest in line.

4. Never, never, NEVER watch the parade! That's when the lines are shortest! Plan out which side of the park you want to be stuck on beforehand.

5. Banned: It's a Small World, Captain EO, Toon Town, and musical shows in general.

That said, I was a little nervous to go to Disneyland with Isaac's family. Did they understand the rules? Would they be dawdlers? What if they wanted to split the day between Toon Town and Captain EO? Or worse yet, spend the day shopping?

While Isaac's family is not and never will be Coopers, I am fully satisfied with the day I had with that awesome family. Granted, we did break one of the cardinal rules and rode "It's a Small World", but the line was short, lessening the infraction. Here are some examples of how hard-core we were:

Yeah, we rode Space Mountain three times. Never buy the pictures. You can just take a photo of the screen.

Nathan, Karen, and Sierra, looking happy to be hard-core Disneylanders.

The happy couple. Isaac got a lot of compliments on his awesome "More Cowbell" shirt. (If you've never seen the SNL skit, here's a link:

If you look veeeerrrry closely at Isaac's face, you may notice that one side is hairier than the other. His electric razor died mid-shave and made for a funny-looking beard.

Nap-time. While not explicitly stated in the Cooper rules, nap-time at Disneyland is generally shunned in our family. But I decided to give everyone a break for good behavior.

The classic castle shot, just to prove we were really there.

As an added note, we stayed until closing at 11:00 PM. Hess family, you make me proud.

The Pacific Ocean: Overrated!

Last week we went to San Diego with Isaac's family and stayed in their cozy time-share.

Isn't it cute? The view was breathtaking:

While there I enjoyed reading, long walks along the water's edge, morning runs on the boardwalk, and admiring the Hess family sand-castle:

This is complete with a garden, an out-wall, some small buildings I can only assume are meant for human sacrifices (small humans, apparently), and the twin pits in front that are used for bloody sporting events.

Note to self: Do NOT try to add additional rooms, play areas for children, or helpful staircases out of said pits. The Hess's will not appreciate your contribution. They take their bloody sporting events seriously. If you just want to dig a pit in the sand, go somewhere else.

The ocean itself is another story. Waking up in the mornings, I saw in the water what looked like a herd of small black whales bobbing up and down where the waves broke. No, whales are not that stupid. These were surfers, all wearing full-length wet-suits and waiting for tall waves.

Why would the surfers don all that ugly black rubber? Because the water is FLIPPING COLD!

Only the tourists went out into the water in just their swimming suits, so thrilled with the novelty of the ocean that its Arctic chill didn't penetrate their sensory awareness. But it penetrated Camber's. Two times I ventured out, certain that hypothermia followed like my shadow. And two times I left the ocean under half and hour and ran as quickly as my numb, quivering legs could carry me to the hot tub. Sometimes I still have dreams about that hot tub. I usually wake up crying when I realize they're not real.

The Hess's, on the other hand, seemed immune to the oceanic ice-bath. Look how happy they are:

On the plus side, my arms now boast a faint brownish-hue. I'd be happy to show it to you any time.