Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Hawaiian Holiday 2010-2011 - Part Three"

On the fifth day of our Hawaiian holiday, I walk into the hotel’s open dining area for breakfast. As the hostess escorts me to my table, I notice that something seems to be a little bit “off.”
“Something’s different,” I remark, pointing outside. “What is that?”
“It’s the sun,” I am told.
And so it was. The dazzling Hawaiian sun had decided to put in a belated first appearance on the second last day of our vacation. It was a little disconcerting. We’d become accustomed to slate gray. And now, there was bright sunlight.
“Will it hurt us?” I inquired, unseriously, but feigning the opposite.
Over the years, I have come to respect people who feel it unnecessary to respond to my silly questions. I made a mental note to add a few dollars to the tip. Though by the end of the meal, it’s possible I forgot to. Not entirely without reason. I believe I detected a groan as the hostess walked away.
Today, finally, we can relax on our beach loungers without first exchanging the rain-drenched towels that had been set out earlier for some drier counterparts. Old habits die hard. I wondered if on this first day of the new weather regime, I’d reflexively exchange our dry towels for other dry towels.
I turned out, the adjustment was not a problem. We followed the exact same routine as the previous four days, minus the racing for cover during torrential cloudbursts. The current arrangement, everyone agreed, was better.
It’s funny. On previous vacations – when the weather was more “clement” – we’d relax on the beach on the sunny days, and do things on the cloudy ones. This trip, our behavior reflected what I now perceive as the mistaken belief that having less sun required us to remain at the beach longer, you know, like since there was no “dollar bill” of sunshine, it was therefore necessary to accumulate the pennies.
Looking back, I do not believe it actually works that way.
Of course, as is traditional, despite the overwhelming glut of Chanukah presents, and further acquisitions during post-holiday sales back home, the female contingent of our family found it mandatory to leave campus (on one of the drearier days) for yet another round of shopping. Though invited, I cheerfully begged off. *
* Here’s how you know you hate shopping. When you don’t like buying things. (I have enough things.) And you really don’t like not buying things. (That’s just walking through stores.)
While the ladies were off trying to single-handedly revive the economy, I kept myself busy, cruising the hotel’s bathrooms. (This is not as disgusting as it sounds, though it can’t help but sound questionable.) I had noticed something curious, and was interested in investigating the situation further.
What I’d noticed…wait, my awareness of what I’m about to relate suggests that the following may not be appropriate for the squeamish, or the tasteful; you are now duly forewarned.
What I’d noticed was this:
Our hotel had installed various different models of toilets.
(And none of them were the really good Japanese kind, which I’ve heard about but have never experienced first-hand.)
What I’m referring to specifically are the toilets’ differing “flushing options.”
The situation first came to my attention when I availed myself of a toilet that appeared very much to be a “self flushing” model, but wasn’t. A fact that the previous user had been demonstrably unaware of. I am attempting to be delicate here. Though I may not be succeeding.
This disconcerting discovery propelled me into conducting a survey of Men’s Rooms throughout the hotel. Were all the toilets counterfeit “self flushers”, I wondered?
My investigation concluded they were not.
The hotel, it turns out, offers a multiplicity of commodes:
There are, in fact, some self-flushing toilets.
There are toilets with the traditional “flushing handles.”
There are the ersatz self-flushers, like the one I’d encountered earlier, the flushing process triggered by pressing a large, though unmarked for the purpose, silver disk, located on the front.
And there are toilets providing a barely visible “Press To Flush” button on the top.
So there you have it. One hotel. Four types of toilets.
It was as if the “Fixtures Salesperson” asked, “Would you like five hundred toilets, all the same? Or would you prefer the “Variety-Pak”?
And the hotel owner replied, “The second one.”
Had I been in his position, I quite likely would have opted for the former.
Thing some of us do on a rainy day, when our family’s out shopping?
We inspect toilets.
Other activities on the trip included reservations at two gourmet restaurants, the second of which Anna nailed by observing, “The menu was more interesting than the food.” We also paid a first-time visit (at least we did one new thing) to Honolulu a hot dog stand, called Pukadogs, where, rather than mustard, relish and ketchup, the accompanying condiments are mango, papaya and lily quoi.
It was Pukadog-a-licious.
One semi-exciting note: The restaurant which Anna aptly skewered was visited by the President and the First Lady two evenings later. Imagine the story I’d have, if they’d shown up when we were there. Instead, it was two days later, and I have nothing. Although the veal tart appetizer was quite memorable. Even Anna said so.
Not the be cruel, but you pretty much did nothing on this trip, didn’t you?”
Not exactly, Italics Interrogator, with underlining privileges. Aside from the family lounging quietly and contentedly at the beach, Anna’s betrothed, Colby, treated me to a “Guys Only” screening of Tron: Legacy. Rachel and I partnered up for regular workouts at the gym. Anna was a constant source of entertainment. And Dr. M…well, you know, confidentiality (she’s a psychologist) prohibits specifics, but the steady company was rejuvenating.
And let us not forget our family New Year’s Eve tradition:
Room service dinner, followed by Scrabble.
We did nothing, and we did everything.
Family polling reveals it was one of our most enjoyable Hawaii vacations ever.


Anonymous said...

Earl: as a regular reader (and a long-time one at that) I love your daily stuff...but recently (the last month or so) each of your posts has shown up (to me at least) with HTML embedded at each inter paragraph blank line. It's driving me a little nuts.

Apologies if it's my reader, but just in case you can do something here is the "offending" line:

" "


Anonymous said...

Hah! I just looked at my comment and the HTML wasn't fooled by my quotes...the line shows up as blank. Oh well, my comment was sincere. I just don't know how to rid your posts of the code.

Gary said...

Same for me, HTML embedded, and it's been happening for a month or follows:

...As the hostess escorts me to my table, I notice that something seems to be a little bit “off.”

“Something’s different,” I remark, pointing outside. “What is that?”

Of course, if what I just pasted there doesn't show up, oh well!

Just for the heck of it, I switched to Google Chrome and voila, no more HTML. I have no idea why Int. Explorer shows the insertions - but only on your blog - and Google does not.

Inventory the toilets..perhaps you've started a new tradition for your Hawaiian trips?

I did see Pukadogs featured on a Food Channel show long ago, I believe it was about the best hot dogs in the US. Why not a work trip to Hawaii into the schedule? The only other one I recall from that show was Pinks - in LA? Perhaps you can check that out?

Going to get back on my "Becker" schedule this weekend. I'm into season 3. Surely I'll run into more of your work. By the way, do you know why Terry Farrell got fired and if so, can you share? I thought she was an excellent foil for Becker, and almost as tall.

PALGOLAK said...

Perhaps Anonymous might be better served by proceding any 'questionable' characters with a backslash, AKA '\'. This is known as an 'escape' character in lots of computer languages and means the interpreter should ignore the following character.


Dimension Skipper said...

Hope this works as it looks OK on the preview. If all goes well, this is what the first few paragraphs look like when using Internet Explorer...

On the fifth day of our Hawaiian holiday, I walk into the hotel’s open dining area for breakfast. As the hostess escorts me to my table, I notice that something seems to be a little bit “off.”

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->

“Something’s different,” I remark, pointing outside. “What is that?”

<--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->

“It’s the sun,” I am told.

I've noticed the same issue for some time now, but whenever possible I read through my iGoogle page via the RSS feed and then it looks OK even in IE (though the paragraphs seem to lose the blank line spacing that way, but I believe that's an iGoogle thing and I can deal).

I did some poking around in the blogger help area and it seemed to me to indicate that this issue is in fact IE-specific (I have no idea why) and occurs when someone composes a blog post in Word (or possibly other word processing apps? but I think it was Word) and then copies/pastes the text into blogger for publishing.

So I never said anything about it since I assume that fixing it would probably mean too much of an inconvenience to Earl's usual routine. I could be wrong.

Indeed, I could be wrong about what's causing the issue, but as I say that's just what I seem to recall was being stated (or intimated) as the root cause of the issue somehow. The help area isn't the easiest plce to navigate when looking for answers to obscure issues.

Hope that is some help and maybe a workaround can be developed.

(Assuming the HTML comments show up properly in my example above... I changed the '<' and '>' to '&lt;' and '&gt;' respectively to get them to show without being interpreted as HTML brackets. Anyway, here goes, let's find out...)

Dimension Skipper said...

OK, that seemed to work to show the infernal HTML comments between paragraphs (though I see I accidentally eliminated a '!' when translating the second opening '<' line, but no biggie, I'm sure you get my drift).

That's what they are, by the way... comments (for those who aren't into HTML). At least I think that's what they are, but maybe not quite, technically. Whatever. Anything that starts with <!-- should be ignored (or not displayed) by any browser, but for who knows what reason IE is having issues with blogger in this respect. Goofy.

And I also notice that on this "post a comment" page if I click the link to "Show Original Post" the text of the post then displays as a single giant paragraph (though minus the offending HTML flotsam and jetsam) which actually makes it even harder to read. Again, goofy.

I suppose folks could just try to use a non-IE browser, but that's not an ideal solution either if you're used to just using IE and/or possibly technophobic about trying any other.

Dimension Skipper said...

It's also possible, Earl, that if you look under the "Edit HTML" tab in blogger before publishing the post you may be able to scroll through the post text and manually remove the offending "weird HTML", assuming it shows up there, but I don't know. I also don't know that that's necessarily the best idea for you since you have indicated in the past that you're not the most technically inclined person when it comes to computers and software/apps. Though maybe you've grown more comfortable and confident since those early days?