vacation

Eight Days in Orlando

Well, kids, I recently returned from an extended trip to Orlando. And it was every bit as magical (you pick your variety) as you would imagine. I mixed it my two sons, my ex (mother of my sons), and the Photoshop World conference, not to mention the heat, humidity, and monsoon-style rain that is the central Florida. We loved it, we hated it. We celebrated, we cursed. Here's a snapshot from one of the sunny days, featuring my wicked-smart highly social eldest son, Max, on the right, and my wicked-tough circumspect youngest son, Sam, on the left. Two more different boys you could not meet. And yet, they both chose to adorn themselves in goofy sunglasses and ball caps. Gosh, I love them.

Sam and Max in Magic Kingdom

In reflecting on the eight days of pure Disneyness, I'm not sure I have much of a story to tell. Not one that hasn't been told before, anyway. There were huge crowds, long lines, and short rides. We spent a lot of energy grabbing food, drink, and "fast pass" tickets. And whenever I spoke with a Disney "cast member," each and every hireling ended our discussion with that excellent catchphrase, "Have a magical day!" Which, despite the amazing sincerity with which the words were delivered, did nothing to heighten the #magic of the crowds, lines, and short rides.

Do I sound Grumpy? Perish the thought! We had an exemplary time. Read more » 

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Seven Days in Venice

With any luck, dekeOnline feels like it's been humming away like the seamless beast that it is. In which case, I cheerfully admit, it's been doing so largely without me. Last week, I was away on one of my rare vacations. This time in Venice. You may know Venice from tales of its canals and Mediterranean sun. But latitude-wise, the city is roughly even with Mongolia and Nova Scotia. Toss in lots of water, copious fog, and a few Adriatic winds, and you have one of the coldest Winter cities I've ever visited.

Which was a good thing. Witness the HDR composite of Ponte Rialto below (captured with an Olympus E-30 and merged in Photoshop's HDR Pro). I count 14 people on the south side of the bridge. Based on my experience traversing that bridge, there's a very good chance every one of them was Italian. In the Summer, the Rialto is jam-packed with tourists of all stripes. But in the Winter, it's just you, a few Nativi Italiani, and the indigenous denizens of Venice. Which means, for a few heavenly days, you can rid yourself of Americans.

Ponte Rialto at sunset

Nothing against the Dear Old U.S. of A. I'd sooner live on the moon than anywhere else. But charming as Americans are in the wall-to-wall box-store opulence of The 50 States, they tend to be boorish imperialists abroad. As if to supply proof, the one American at my hotel: A) asked the dining crew if the complimentary breakfast included waffles, B) woke the housekeeping staff late at night to request fluffier pillows, and C) inquired of me one day if I had been to the "Doag's House." (He meant the Doge's Palace.) Once I got to know him, he was a great guy. But I really wanted to take him aside and entreat him, on behalf of Our Great Country, to stop being such a dumb shit. Read more » 

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Geek-Workslaves: Don't Forget Your Sunscreen

One of the handiest tools I have for mantaining my glamorous online lifestyle while still managing to get outside once in a while, is my Pixel Sunscreen by ThinkTank. Anyone who's ever tried to use a laptop outside can appreciate this handy device which creates an instant pop-up fortress of darkness for your laptop, complete with secret compartments and velcro hatches where powercords and storage devices can attach. Although it's ostensibly made for photographers by a company that specializes in camera bags, it also works quite well for studious sidekicks trying to blog from her vacation at family camp.  (I just miss you guys too much.) Here it is in fact, in it's collapsed state, lounging next to my laptop on a sunny chaise on the lodge patio.

When released from confinement... Read more » 

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