Category Archives: travel

Romantic Evening on The Queen Mary & Ghost Hunting! Part 2

Creepy hallway to our room. Seriously, the only thing down here is our room. The hall is as long as it looks… and dark!

As much as we enjoyed our romantic time on the Queen Mary, we also dipped into some of it’s more mysterious fun. The boat has a long and colorful history, starting as a luxury liner and then being commissioned as a troop transport in World War 2 before, again, becoming a luxury liner. When you’re an active mode of transportation for over 30 years things happen and sometimes those things are tragic.

A simple Google Search shows how popular stories of haunting on the ship are and the owners of the boat have definitely done their best to capitalize on that. There are multiple ghost tours on the ship, including some very high end (read: expensive) ghost investigation tours. All of them travel into the deep bowels of the ship and explore the haunted places. We did two of the tours: The Ghosts and Legends Show and the standard Haunted Encounters Tour. After we make a couple more movies/TV shows maybe we’ll do the Dining with the Spirits experience.

Before we go much further I feel like I should let you know where I sit on the whole idea of ghosts and spirits.

I’m a skeptic.

This will probably surprise many of you who knew me years ago, but with age comes wisdom and even though I cannot deny that I have seen somethings that were not readily explainable (I’ve been thinking about doing vlogs of those stories for Halloween) I’ve definitely come down on the side of skeptic. That isn’t to say that I don’t believe that strange things happen, quite the contrary.  As I mentioned, I’ve seen some crazy shit – undeniable, crazy shit – but what I doubt is that there is an intelligence behind it all from the “other side.” There are so many things that we don’t know about electric fields and how they interact, hell, there’s a physics guy that can make a whole room full of furniture flip out, just like poltergeist activity (video coming when I find it). Point is, people coming back from the dead? No. Strange energy phenomenon that we don’t understand yet that freaks us out? Yes.

Still, the paranormal has always fascinated me since childhood, and I still get that giddy feeling when it’s time for ghost stories. So how could we turn down tours of one of the most famously haunted places in the world?

The first show, The Ghosts and Legends show is truly just a show. They go through the history of the ship, there are special effects, you visit the “super haunted” first class swimming pool, but it’s all, literally, smoke and mirrors. If you want safe spooky fun, this is definitely the way to go.

The next tour we took was the Haunted Encounters tour. This was much more our speed. It’s an extensive tour of the ship and it’s bowels and as you walk the guide tells you stories about the ship in general, not just the ghost stories – although the ghost stories take center stage. I don’t want to recount those stories, cuz you should go on the tour yourself, but here are the pictures we took. Let me know if you see anything in them, I certainly didn’t, but it was a very good tour.

OK, actually there is one weird thing that happened to us on the tour that was not a part of the tour. You decide what it means. We left the first class pool through a side door on the lower level and proceeded down into the recesses of the ship. Right outside the door to the pool there was an office door; a regular modern office, as we’d come to discover. As I walked past the door it opened and closed very quickly. It startled the rest of our group and one man asked if I had done it. I told him no and that I assumed someone was going to come out but saw us and decided to wait until the tour had passed. The man who asked walked back to the door and opened it, revealing the office inside and no one there.

Honestly there was probably a person there before and they did have enough time to walk to the other end of the office and leave another way, but it was creepy and a very neat experience to have on a ghost tour.

Is the Queen Mary haunted? I don’t know, but it is spooky and spooky can be a lot of fun! Enjoy the pics!

Many of these are from the first class pool because we had lots of access and it was a super dark. Oh, and here’s a short video:

 These pictures are of the exit to the changing rooms. A lot of activity happens here apparently.

This is the changing room hallway. Apparently there is a “vortex” at the other end where entities can come through to our world. That vortex happens to be near the active exit of the changing rooms.
This is a replica of the old spa service menu.

Original furniture

 The engine room.

This isn’t haunted, it’s just the propeller and it looks like it’s haunted.

These pictures are from the old boiler room. Top right is one of Rene’s pictures with a mysterious white streak zooming through it.

See you next time!

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Filed under ghosts, rene, travel, video

Romantic Evening on The Queen Mary & Ghost Hunting! Part 1

For Rene‘s (and kinda’ my) birthday we took a couple days away from the hustle and bustle so we could have some time for ourselves. We couldn’t go too far, but luckily there’s a luxury ocean liner just off the coast of Long Beach, The Queen Mary and we had a Groupon!

Due to our schedule Rene and I rarely have much time to ourselves. It’s self imposed, so please don’t read this as a complaint, and it also makes us really appreciate any alone time. So we took off and had a great time on the boat. What follows is a series of photos from the weekend with comments as they are appropriate.

These are all of our room when we first got there. It was an old first class cabin with many of the original fittings, all be it they did not operate.

We got ready and went to Sir Winston’s for dinner. The food was fantastic! Oysters, lobster bisque, beef Wellington, sole… all of it so good and we stuffed ourselves to the point of being sick.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that this was my first dirty martini! I love them now.

 Rene got a birthday cake and chocolate covered strawberries AND a chocolate souffle! Seriously, we ate until we were sick.

You could see our table from the deck.

Long Beach at night.

Recreation of the music room from the hay day of the Queen Mary.

Much of the original art is still in the boat.

We spoke with this gentleman about the history of the Queen Mary.

And we drank! Lordy, we drank.

The Queen Mary was one of the first luxury liners to serve truly Kosher meals.
The “lobby.”
The “Shining” like hallway to our room.
Long Beach by day.
Photos of the old gym.
Carnavale cruise ship boarding.

Working out on the ship.

Recreation of the old ticketing office.

The next day we had high tea.

The Tea Room

More birthday cake.

The Diana exhibit was surprisingly detailed and took over two hours to explore.

People were shorter a century ago.
Old gym equipment.

 In part 2 we go ghost hunting!

See you next time!

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Filed under rene, romance, travel

Sent from Japan

When I arrived in Oregon my friend, Erik, told me about a section of dock that was torn away from its moorings in Japan and ended up on the beach in Oregon.

Yes, that’s what I said, a section of DOCK TORE AWAY in JAPAN and FLOATED to OREGON!

Yeah, I was impressed too.

In my head I pictured something wooden, like the kind of dock you see in a movie about a summer camp, horror or otherwise. It seems easy for something like that to get pulled away in a tsunami and dragged out to sea. This dock in my head impressed me just because I imagined that it was a very well put together wooden dock since Japan is almost 8,000 miles away. It took about a year to get across the ocean to end up in Oregon. It was sad and amazing and I was looking forward to seeing it in a weird way.

After a couple of days getting caught up in training and getting used to a new city, a city that will be my home for the month of July, I kinda’ forgot about the dock. Then we went to dinner at a pizza place that over looks the beach. We sat at a booth near the window and Erik pointed out the dock.

It was massive.

This was no wooden structure, this was cement and rebar and steel. This didn’t hold dingies this was for major boats (crab boats it turns out). And even mostly submerged by the incoming tide you could still tell how big it was. I tried to get pictures from the window, but I only had my phone with me and my phone is dying (more on that another day) so I couldn’t get any of the pictures to turn out. We resolved to go another day when the tide was out so we could get a better look.

We finally went down to the beach just the other day and saw the dock. Here are the pictures I took:

Even this far away you can see how big it is.

Here are people in various planes showing scale.

When it landed it was covered in 1.5 tons of sea life.

This is from on the dock, looking back from where it came.

It was humbling to see this. It’s made of all the stuff we use when we want to make something “permanent” and to the power of the ocean it was nothing.

Tonight as I was writing this Erik mentioned that the local government have set up a hotline for people to report tsunami debris. He also told me that if you find a shoe you’re not supposed to look inside, human remains may still be in them. That’s just a horrifying thought. I decided to look up some news on this and there’s actually quite a bit, a giant dock making it 8,000 across the ocean with no one noticing is quite a story. Here is a link to the NPR story. It gives the dimensions of the dock (66′ long, 7′ tall!) and tells you more about where it came from and what this means for the Pacific coast in regard to tsunami debris.

No matter how impressive our human achievements, nature only needs to flex it’s muscles once to humble us.

See you tomorrow.

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Filed under Japan, jobs, news, travel

I’m In Oregon. Here are some things I’m learning.

As many you you may well know, I’m in Oregon training for a new job.

Quick FAQ:

  • No, I have not stopped acting.
  • No, I have not stopped producing.
  • Yes, we are still making movies and pushing TV & web series.
  • Yes, I am still teaching and coaching acting students.
However I will be working with a new company and I’ll release all the details on that once training is complete.
Actually some of you financial people might be interested in what I’m doing, especially if you’re an independent financial rep. But we’ll get to that on another day.
So, anyway, I’m in Oregon until the end of July to train. Training has been going well! My colleagues are great and so are my superiors and the company in general has been wonderful!

Oregon, as an experience, has been the harder thing to adjust to. Complete culture shift, weather shift and activity shift. For example:
  • It is very green here, but in a wild and un-groomed kind of way. Look at the pictures in this blog and you’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about.
  • It’s damp all the time. I was told that this is a rain forest, technically (Wikipedia says it’s the Pacific Temperate Rain Forest).
  • Because it’s damp all the time things smell damp all the time. This can be good, like wet wood and flowers, and this can be bad, like mildew. So far the good has out weighed the bad.
  • There is a LOT of space. Lots of it. Between houses and between cities.
  • Things that I’m used to having down the street are over 50 miles away. This has become a problem in a few ways, but we’ll come back to that.
Within the first week my friend, Erik, has shown me pretty much the whole of his little town. There’re grocery stores, Safeway and Fred Meyers (we’ve been shopping at Fred Meyers) and local restaurants and quite a few little dive bars that I wouldn’t dare call “dive” when inside.
I’ve had world famous clam chowder and cobbler at the Chowder Bowl on Nye Beach. It was REALLY good.

We are right next to the Rogue brewery, although I haven’t visited yet. And there’s a Mexican place called Mazatlan I really want to try.
But what I want to talk about today are bathrooms and condom machines.
Yes, you heard right, bathrooms and condom machines.
I’ll explain.
I mentioned the dive bars. We’ve actually had quite a bit of fun in the dive bars and some shockingly good food. Karaoke too, but let’s cover that later.
In the Men’s room of all these bars are condom machines. They look like this:

One side is condoms, but the other is a little package called the “Surprise Sex Pack.” 

There are only so many times you can see these before you’re curious about what kind of “Sex Pack” can fit in such a tiny package.

So I bought one. It’s an iron-on patch.

The scary part is that I’m sure that there are people out there who collect these sex patches.
There are so many things that I’ve seen so far, and I want to tell you about all of them, but I think it’s probably best to split them up a bit so this blog doesn’t end up being pages and pages long.
Oh, and for those of you looking for Project: Iron Man, that will be back in August.
See you tomorrow!

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Filed under adventures, jobs, travel

Travels & Stuff!

It’s been over two weeks since my last blog and in that time there has been so much going on.  they include:

  • Business stuff I can’t talk about yet, so I’ll stop mentioning it.
  • A trip to New Orleans Louisiana for business and pleasure.
  • Super cool stuff for the documentary.

There is an opposite side to this coin, but they are such first world problems:

  • My to do list continues to grow faster than I can check things off.
  • There’s not enough money for all the cool shit we want to do.
  • There is too much cool shit that we want to do!

 We had a great time in New Orleans!  Rene’s family hails from the Crescent City and I have always wanted to go there.  Even though the effects of Hurricane Katrina are still very obvious, the city has a magic that no natural disaster can wash away.  In addition to enjoying the local flavor of the town (including the food, drinks and even the touristy stuff) we also stumbled on to a couple movie sets that were filming down there.  Here are some select pics of our trip:

Looks like we may be able to do some business in N.O. and that is VERY exciting!  Whether it is business or pleasure I can’t wait to get back!

Since I’m catching up I’m going to go off and write a few more blogs about some of the other stuff I mentioned earlier – spread them out over the next few days.  The next one will be published Monday, give you something to read at work that might be slightly less boring than what you should be doing.

See you tomorrow… err, Monday!


Filed under making movies, musings, rene, travel

Project 365 8-8-2010 Duck Poop

It feels like everyone I know is traveling except me.  Rene just got back from doing a show in Portland, my Dad leaves for Philadelphia soon and both of my parents just got back from visiting family in Indiana.

My travel itch is dying to be scratched, but there’s no way that we can take the time right now to go anywhere unless it’s business related – which has motivated me to get something going outside of the state!

One of the things I like best about traveling is the fun local goodies that are available no matter where you end up.  Rene brought home one of these delightful treats from Portland:

Yep, duck droppings.

It’s candy.

Praline covered peanuts dipped in chocolate.

They also have powdered sugar on them – which just adds to the duck poop look.

I would have taken a picture of them in all their poopy glory but every time I took one out of the bag I ate it.

For poop it was really tasty.

For that matter for candy it was really tasty!

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under poop, project 365 2010, travel