Monday, September 28, 2015

Grape Juice, Shepherd's Pie, and Apple Picking

Two weeks ago we had one of our friends from Saipan visit, so we both took a day off in the middle of the week to go exploring northern Virginia.

On the recommendation of a friend, our first stop was Stribling Orchard in Markham, VA.  It took us about an hour to get there once we were out of the city, but it also took us about an hour to get out of the city.

When we got there, we had the whole place practically to ourselves.

The girls were picking for the first time, but I'm an experienced apple picker.  We used to go pick them every fall when we still lived in Massachusetts.  But it must be at least 25 years since the last time...

Between the three of us we picked about 8 pounds.  I have no idea how much it cost though, because Joelin was kind enough to pay for them all.

We also explored the pumpkin patch, but didn't buy one.  The girls haven't caught on to the importance of owning a pumpkin this time of year yet.  They'll get there.

Food options are limited out in the country and a lot of places were closed during the week.  Trip Advisor recommended a place called the Hunter's Head Tavern.

What a great little find!  Who would have expected an English pub out in the middle of the Virginia countryside?  I went for the shepherd's pie and the girls shared the traditional English Buffalo wings and Thai lettuce wraps.

Our next stop was the Oak Barrel Winery.  It's like a little slice of Napa just outside of DC.  I sampled 10 wines for $11 and then had a full glass of chardonnay.  Again, we were the only people there.

The girls don't drink, but were very entertained by this cat.  The cat was not entertained.

There's a new winery down the road called Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery.  We stopped there and I had another tasting.  The girls kept busy with Jill the dog.

Want to see more? I've posted more photos from our day trip to Facebook.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

10 Best Party Songs of All Time

My wife played the S Club 7 classic S Club Party the other day and I got to thinking about all the great songs that help us party. There are some classics, like the Beastie Boys, and then there's the crap, like everything S Club 7 ever did. This is out of character for this blog -- at least for the last 5 years -- but here are the 10 Best Party Songs of All Time -- meaning that I start with good party songs and then the list devolves into crap, finishing with a couple of tunes that make my ears bleed.

10. Fight For Your Right by the Beastie Boys 1987

The greatest party song of all time. It's 30 years old, but just as good as it was when I was 8 -- when I didn't really understand what was going on in the video.

9. Party Up by DMX

Is this the only song DMX ever sang, I mean rapped? About 15 years ago he was going to be the next big thing. Until he wasn't.

8. Party Like a Rock Star by Shop Boyz

This is the anthem for everyone who just got paid.

7. Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO 2011

I learned how to do this dance and got pretty good at it.

6. We Like to Party by Venga Boys 1999

Quick, name your favorite Dutch band! The Venga Boys! This was a college party staple in the late 1990s, along with the Venga Bus is Coming and We're Going to Ibiza. This is the song that made the Barbie Girl song possible -- or was it the other way around?

5. S Club Party by S Club 7 1999

Why? This is the country that gave us the Beatles, for Christ's sake!

4. Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus 2009

Admit it, you like this song.

3. Party All the Time by Eddie Murphy 1985

My 18 year old brother thinks of Eddie Murphy as a voice actor from the Shrek movies. He used to be so much more. This song came out at the height of his popularity. And then he stopped being funny. Coincidence?

2. Party Hard by Andrew W.K. 2001

This would have been the best party song ever -- if it came out in 1987. What were these thrashers still doing hanging around in the 21st Century?

1. Party All Night by Yo Yo Honey Singh

I found this while "researching" party songs (I did a single Google search). And this is why Bollywood hasn't caught on in America.

Wow, you made it to the end? Good for you! Just a note: I wanted to include the Prince Classic 1999, but I couldn't find the video on Youtube, only a crappy karaoke version. What's up with that Prince?

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Getting the Band Back Together

Over the last five years I've had the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing and dedicated people to protect sharks.

During my travels I collected more than a few passport stamps from Australia, Bahamas, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Chuuk, Curacao, Fiji, Grenada, Guam, Japan, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, New Zealand, Palau, Philippines, Pohnpei, Saba, Saipan, Samoa, St. Maarten, South Korea, Thailand, Trinidad, Turks &Caicos, and Yap. I was also on the Fiji delegation to CITES, advocated for sharks at four WCPFCs, and helped create the Micronesia Regional Shark Sanctuary over five APILs. Along the way we created a few shark sanctuaries, put in place some shark fin trade bans, and raised the global profile of the need to protect sharks. Also, Kevin Bacon once retweeted me. No. Big. Deal.

Why am I speaking in the past tense? Because it's time for new challenges. And when I say new challenges, I mean old challenges. I'm going back to my old job creating large marine protected areas. You remember the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument? I'll be doing stuff like that.

But before I hop over to new things, let's look back at sharks for just a few more minutes -- then we'll look forward. Want to see my very last presentation as a shark conservationist? I was in Bonaire last month and gave a public talk on shark sanctuaries to a crowd organized by STINAPA, DCNA, and CIEE Bonaire. All I can say is, my god do I hate the sound of my own voice. In my defense, this was late in the day and I had sat in a conference room all day.

I also talked to the Speak Up for Blue Podcast many, many months ago.  The podcast was published a few weeks ago. I talk about myself a little bit in this one and maybe you'll get to know something about me you didn't previously know (if that interests you).

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Hour Views

I snapped a few photos from our new porch today. These are some of the things I look at as I drink my morning coffee.

The Washington Monument is the tallest structure in Washington, DC.  We went to the top a few days ago and could see our house.  That's pretty cool.

This isn't a statue of R2-D2, it's the top of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

And this is the top of the Lincoln Memorial.  Man, I wish they'd cut down all those trees.  Just kidding.

I have a decent view of Robert E. Lee's old house and parts of Arlington Cemetery.

And right across the street is the Arena Stage.

My only complaint is that with the $2 billion construction taking place along the waterfront we've lost most of our river view.  We still have this small slice of water, with the Pentagon and Airforce Memorial behind it.  If you want to come over, I serve freshly brewed coffee in the morning and beer in the afternoons!

Sunsets aren't exactly terrible.