Dear Jack: We Visited the 2016 Progressive Nashville Boat and Sportshow

5 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack: We Visited the 2016 Nashville Boat Show

Dear Jack,

I have lived in Nashville for over a decade now and didn’t even realize we had a boat show here. But sure enough, because of my blog, I was provided complimentary tickets for our family to attend the 2016 Progressive Nashville Boat and Sportshow, so we did.

Dear Jack: We Visited the 2016 Nashville Boat Show

My agenda the whole time was to simply follow you around with a camera, as would demonstrate what kind of fun a 5 year-old boy could have there, so I did.

Dear Jack: We Visited the 2016 Nashville Boat Show

One of the places you spent a good amount of time was the Drake’s Creek Marina exhibit. You loved being able to explore boats, as well as yachts.

Dear Jack: We Visited the 2016 Nashville Boat Show

As long as your shoes were removed, you could go explore each one.

We began to explore beyond the boats and a man making balloon animals was the first to catch your attention. He was with the Nashville Boat Club. You smiled as he made you a “white dog” by your request.

Dear Jack: We Visited the 2016 Nashville Boat Show

You also really enjoyed being able to go fishing. There was this big tank full of real fish and you were given a fishing pole with real bait on it.

Dear Jack: We Visited the 2016 Nashville Boat Show

It just so happened that you were one of the few kids there who, within just a couple of minutes, had a fish bite. We quickly pulled the fish out of the water together.

You were so happy. That made the first time you had ever caught a fish; you’ve always been intrigued by the concept of fishing.

Dear Jack: We Visited the 2016 Nashville Boat Show

Thanks to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, there also was an area where you got to shoot a bow and arrow towards a floating ball. You liked that a lot!

From there, we stepped inside a trailer that featured the skins of forest animals; like a fox and a wolf. That really impressed you.

Dear Jack: We Visited the 2016 Nashville Boat Show

The place was packed. Here I had no idea the Progressive Nashville Boat and Sportshow even existed, and yet all these other families already knew, since they walked among us.

Dear Jack: We Visited the 2016 Nashville Boat Show

I have a feeling our family will be going back next year!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: We Visited the 2016 Nashville Boat Show

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Dear Jack: We Who Live on Dry Land are the Minority

5 years.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Dear Jack,

Last month during your “destination birthday party” Mommy and I had for you for your 5th birthday party in Destin, Florida, you quickly took to the water.

The thing about it was, it wasn’t a warm, sunny day. Instead, it was the beginning of a windy, chilly day.

Yet you didn’t seem to notice at all that the climate conditions were not idea for swimming. As I pointed out in an Instagram out of the event, it must be your genes that enable you to be able to have that much fun.

Must be his traces of Norwegian blood on his Mommy's side keeping him warm. You won't see me in the water this morning...

Must be his traces of Norwegian blood on his Mommy’s side keeping him warm. You won’t see me in the water this morning…

As for me, I’ve never been that interested in descending too far into water that I can’t see the bottom of.

We as a family love being at the beach. But whereas Mommy and I are perfect content barely letting the later graze our toes as it washes up on shore, you would rather be in it.

You’re not concerned with jellyfish or cold water or whatever else is in that ocean. You have the ability to just enjoy playing in it.

Lexus GX 460 Family Road Trip: My Son’s Destination Birthday Party in Destin, Florida

Though we as a human race seem to forget this, we who live on dry land are the minority. Only about 1/3 of our planet is land, but about 71% of Earth is actually water.

The ocean is the most unknown part of our planet. Without proper breathing apparatuses and/or means of transportation, we can’t survive very long in the ocean; especially not down deep inside of it.

If we don’t drown, or starve, or die of starvation, or are crushed by the air pressure miles below the water, then we easily serve as prey to sharks.

Sure, if you take a shark out of water and put it in the middle of a busy street, it’s not much of a threat.

But that same analogy reversed shows how physically vulnerable we are out in the ocean.

Ocean animals, whether fish or mammals, are created to not only survive, but to thrive, naked in the ocean.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Not us humans. Our survival rate out in the ocean is solely based on how not naked we are out there.

We humans live on about 1/3 of the earth’s surface, while all marine life lives on 2/3s of the planet.

I’m sorry, but ocean life is superior to us who live on land.

Even as we overfish and pollute the ocean, it only hurts us in the long run.

But as a 5 year-old, you’re not concerned with such grandiose concepts. All you know is, you love playing at the beach.

Love,

Daddy

Lexus GX 460 Family Road Trip: My Son’s Destination Birthday Party in Destin, Florida

Dear Jack: We Went on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

5 years.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Dear Jack,

In addition to you being able to pet and feed the dolphins at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, another really fun thing our family was able to do last week while on your “destination birthday party” in Destin was we sailed on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise.

What the event personally revealed to me was that I could probably be out on a ship all day long every day and be completely happy.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

But it’s even better when you have an experienced captain give you a tour of where all the dolphins hang out in the Gulf of Mexico.

Basically, whenever anyone on the ship thought they saw a dolphin, the captain steered in that direction, so everyone could get a closer look.

For about 2 hours, that’s what we did. And it was awesome! Not to mention, it was so relaxing being out on the water.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Once we got out there, the captain gave you kids an opportunity to feed the seagulls… that was hilarious!

Plus, we even saw a bride and groom across the water on a different ship.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Part of the adventure of the cruse was the mystery of it. The captain explained at the beginning of our voyage that each time is different; he never knows exactly when or where the dolphins are going to appear.

I thought it was really cool how the captain depends on audience participation for the dolphin cruise to come alive.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Near the end of our voyage, the captain gave an opportunity for all the kids to be able to get in line to sail the ship with him.

Captain Jack sailed the ship safely back to shore tonight.

You couldn’t get enough! You totally were in the zone as you held onto the wheel. I Instagrammed the event:

Captain Jack sailed the ship safely back to shore tonight.

Captain Jack sailed the ship safely back to shore tonight.

The captain even wrote out a special award for you, making you an honorary captain!

Afterwards, you got to pick some toys from the treasure chest.

We were so pleased with the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise. It’s a completely worthwhile experience and I absolutely recommend it to any families staying in the Destin, Florida area while on vacation.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Psychologically Analyzing the Token “Feet at the Beach” Selfie on Social Media

It’s a cliche by now:

Psychologically Analyzing the Token “Feet at the Beach” Selfie on Social Media

We go to the beach and then we Instagram a picture of our feet, with the ocean waves in the background.

The token “Feet at the Beach” picture is actually a selfie, though we don’t necessarily immediately think of it that way. The camera is pointed at the feet instead of the face, but ultimately it serves the same purpose.

An efficient selfie of any form communicates the message, “Look at me right now and please positively validate my existence.”

And people do. A few dozen “likes” easily follow.

People enjoy helping each other celebrate life. People like to see their friends and family being happy.

But specifically, the token “feet at the beach” selfie communicates a certain message to its audience.

Here is how I translate the implied message behind it, from a psychological and analytical perspective:

“I am wishing to share with you that I currently am relaxing in a surreal state of mind. As you can see from my physical point of view, I am literally looking at the edge of the world, into the seemingly endless ocean; which serves as a metaphor for my life. The future is still unwritten; my life is still ahead of me. In this moment, I am able to escape from real life and share my perspective with you. (Now, please click “like” to show that you are celebrating this escape from reality with me; in hopes that you too will soon be able to enjoy such a view.)”

The next time you see a “feet at the beach” selfie, consider the paragraph above. Test my theory.

But I believe the reason it collectively resonates with so many people is that there is some familiar and universal psychology behind it.

And I believe I have officially put those abstract thoughts into black-and-white words today.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

4 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

Our family had so much fun road tripping in the 2015 Toyota Camry from Sacramento to Monterey, California. Of course, our main stop on that leg on our trip was the historic Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Here’s my video I made about our trip there, where you can also hear the jingle I wrote for them:

First though, we stopped at Ike’s Love and Sandwiches; a sandwich shop that openly welcomes vegans and vegetarians. I had a very manly vegan meatball sub; as the picture demonstrates.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

Once we parked the Camry, we enjoyed our walk from the parking garage to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I liked taking the picture of you standing in front of the giant otter at one of the shops there near Monterey Canning Company.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

The aquarium itself was everything we could have hoped for. I was snapping pictures the whole time as you pulled Mommy around, saying, “Hey, look at this fish!”

You seemed most excited by the sharks; as well as the station where we got to draw our own sea creatures, then “set them free”, by watching them swim across the giant screen in front of us.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

I think my favorite part was how they presented the jellyfish; in colored lights which really showed off their translucent bodies.

Plus, an extra benefit of visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium is that our family got to check out the Pacific coast; as the aquarium is situated right there on it. Looking down from the pier, we were able to see some seals in their natural habitat; just chilling out on a rock.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

I love it that you’re at such a perfect age now to truly appreciate such a fun and wondrous event. It was such a treat for our family to experience the Monterey Bay Aquarium!

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

Before heading to the hotel for the night, we drove to El Cantaro Vegan Mexican Restaurant for dinner, as we talked about our favorite parts about the aquarium.

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Monterey Bay Aquarium”

Mommy got to drive the Camry from there; you fell asleep within a few minutes.

Our next and final stop for our Camry road trip took place the next morning, when we visited the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park…

So stay tuned!

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Dear Jack: Family in a Camry- “Daddy Date”

Escape (The Pina Colada Song) from a Logical Perspective, Finally

It’s time to literally think through the lyrics of the Rupert Holmes’ 1979-1980 hit, “Escape”.  A song that many of us thought was called “If You Like Pina Coladas” and was performed by Jimmy Buffett.

Many people in the history of modern civilization have claimed there are two kinds of people in the world. But through much research and toil on my part, I have learned truly what the defining line of what these two kinds are. An overwhelming number believe it is whether or not you like Pina Coladas. Those people are not looking at the big picture. They are only looking at the “here and now”, what is sweet, and smooth, and relaxing- exotic, even.

There are also those believe it is whether or not you like getting caught in the rain. They are able to go through the rest of the day with wet socks and not be bothered by it. Those are the free spirited who are always able to take moldy lemons and make fresh lemonade. That is a good thing, but is it consistent?

Then are those who believe it all comes down whether or not you are into yoga. It’s just that it seems a little judgmental “to put someone in a box” because they may or may not be into a trendy form of mental, physical, and spiritual exercise. I think it’s a given that some people are just better cut out for Pilates or Tai-Bo.

Rupert Holmes

Perhaps the most controversial outlook is the one that says it depends on whether or not you have half a brain. I would have to think that anyone who can read this has a half a brain. But is that the true question? Most scientists say we only use 10% of our brain. And that even geniuses only use 20%. So is it a matter of how much a brain you have, or how much of it that you use? It seems if you have half a brain but use 100% of it, then you’re much better off them someone who has a whole brain and uses 10%. The whole “half a brain/whole brain” is simply a theory with too many holes in it.

So what is the answer? There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who like making love at midnight in the dunes of the cape, and those who do not. No questions asked. I mean, you’ve seen Napoleon Dynamite and you think of the scene where his grandma goes four-wheeling in the dunes of Idaho and breaks her coccyx. But those dunes are nowhere near a cape. Nevermind that you don’t exactly know what a cape is. It obviously has something to do when some sort of a peninsula type of land mass. It’s always near an ocean.

Except for Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It’s on the border of Illinois and the Mississippi River. Nevermind that not only do you have to find a dune, that happens to be near a cape, but that it also has to be at midnight. You have to get past that.

Come to terms with whether or not you’ve made love so many times at midnight in the dunes of the cape that now you can officially say you like to do that. An even bigger question arises with Cape San Blas, FL, which is located directly on the Central Time/Eastern Time border. Depending on exactly which side of the time zone you are on, it could be either 11:00 PM, 12:00 AM, or 1:00 AM. And what if one lover is on the Eastern Time Zone side but the other is on Central, then you’ve really got a problem.

Just don’t think about how dangerous it could possibly be to be in a vulnerable position outside at night in some sort of cave near sand. Don’t think about wild coyotes, jellyfish, or pirates. If and when you do figure that out, then and only then, you’ll know which kind of person you are.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_(Rupert_Holmes_song)

And one more thing… Now that you’ve read my take on pina coladas, why not read my perspective on being a dad?  That’s right- parenting from a dad’s point of view.  I have been documenting my thoughts as a dad since the week we found out my wife was pregnant.  I formally invite you now to read my “dad blog” by clicking on the link below:

dad from day one

 

The Way a Name Sounds Compared to How a Name is Spelled

My name is… My name is…

Some people have long, complicated names. Like Ben Roethlisberger. Or M Night Shyamalan. I’ll even throw Weird Al Yankovic in that category. But just because a name is short, that doesn’t mean it’s not complicated. My name, in theory, is very simple. Especially when it’s written down.

But when it’s simply spoken, especially over the phone, to someone who has never heard my name before, they usually don’t get it right on the first try. Some popular variations include, but are not limited to the following, in all possible combinations:

Mick Shale
Mike Snell
Rick Schell
Nicky Shaw
Nic Snow
Mickey Show
Nate Shelton
Ned Shells

Because when all a person has to go on is what they simply hear, they are working with a muddled form that sounds literally like this: “Nicgtkahshelahw”.

I remember how fascinated I was when someone pointed out to me about ten years ago that often, when we say a word, we don’t correctly pronounce it, because we can get by without doing it clearly. When we say “cat”, we pronounce it “caaa”. We leave off the “t”. I had to practice a few times at first. Then I realized it’s true.

But if we are sure to emphasize the “t”, the word “cat” literally sounds more like this: “cattuh”. We tend not to hear the extra syllables we add on to the end of words. And we make a habit of leaving off the strong consonant sounds on the ends also, as previously mentioned.

I wonder, too, what mental image my last name gives people. Personally, I’ve always envisioned a turtle shell, hence the picture of a turtle at the top of this site. But people usually tell me they think of “a seashell at the ocean”. When in truth, “schel” is simply the German word for “loud and noisy”, which over time evolved into “Shell”. It would be nice to imagine my ancestors were a bunch of cool hippies hanging out at the beach. But in reality, not so much.

Secretly, some sort of picture pops up in my head for everyone I know- as soon as I hear their last name. I’m taking requests, actually. For those who send me a request on facebook I will reveal my mental image for their name.

I expect no one to actually do that, though. That would be like getting sucked into the TV screen.  It’s what we in the theatre world call “breaking the 4th wall”.

hello-my-name-is