My life's to-do list
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Posts from — December 2009

Nature’s Christmas Lights

Merry Christmas everyone!

Seeing the Northern lights was one of the very early items added to my list. This is my favorite task so far. Here are the pictures of the Northern Lights. Kit and I spent a few very cold and windy nights out in the Icelandic country side to get to see it. Enjoy!

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December 24, 2009   No Comments

Sleep tight my little lobster

Let me start by saying that I am not a seafood lover. I would rather look at sea life then eat it. Unless of course it’s wrapped in bacon, then all bets are off.

With that said, one night in a bar that had a live lobster tank, I saw a very drunk and outgoing patron reach into the tank and proceeded to free every lobster from the tank onto the bar.  He screamed, “Be free! Be free!” as he placed the lobster all over the bar top. The rest of the bar could do nothing but look on astonished. Myself included.

He then started to explain how lobster claws worked and took the largest of group and placed his pinky finger between the pincer claws. Hilarity ensued. He screamed in pain. We laughed at his pain. This back and forth between the performer and the audience went on for about ten minutes. Annoying the hell out of the bartender, who just wanted to clean up the now tainted bar top.

However funny that part of the story is, it was not the most shocking. One of the drunks’ friend took one of the lobster that was flopping around and stood it on his head. He then rubbed the lobster head until it was a small lobster lantern frozen on the bar. I was astonished. Who the hell is this Lobster whisperer? Was he raised as a child by kind-hearted lobster that found him abandoned on the beach? Or is he a NY Lobster Dundee? Whomever he was, didn’t matter. It was some cool shit what he was doing and I wanted to learn.

Hence, why Learning to Put a Lobster to Sleep was added to my list. Google searches came up with articles explaining that putting a lobster to sleep or hypnotizing one, was the humane way to prepare a lobster for their dip in the hot tub. I really don’t think I could ever cook a lobster. I can imagine hearing the little screams of the poor guy as he boils in the pot. Lobster shouldn’t be eaten they have personality.

But, if you are one of the millions of people on this planet that look at a lobster as dinner rather than a pet, please put them to sleep before boiling them. You will feel better about yourself if you do.

Here are the pictures of me playing and then putting “Lenny the Lobster” to sleep in a lobster pound in Maine.

If you too have a heart, here is how to put a lobster to sleep.

Step 1: Pick up your lobster and place it on its head. Some lobsters are bad ass and will take a little  convincing before it will stand on its head. For these lobsters I suggest getting to know them a little better. Buy your lobster and drink, ask your lobster it’s likes and dislikes, act interested. If all else fails, slip him a roofie.

Step 2: Rub, ever so gently, the lobsters’ head. Start out slow, cup the lobsters’ tail. Most importantly look your lobster in the eyes, with your best bedroom eyes. Listen to your lobsters body language, he will tell you when to rub faster or harder.

Step 3: Once your lobster is rendered unconscious, cuddle with him, scratch his back, smoke a cigarette. Then when your done, place the lobster into the boiling hot water and bam! You are done!

Step 4: Clean yourself up. Take a shower you dirty girl. And don’t worry your lobster knows it was just a one night stand, the lobster will not be calling you the next day. Why would he want to date someone who will rub him all over on the first date anyway?

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December 15, 2009   1 Comment

Hike On A Glacier

I am Bear Grylls Danny Rivera and I’m going to show you what it takes to get out alive in some of the most dangerous places on earth. I got to make it through a week an afternoon of challenges in the sort of places that you wouldn’t last a day without the right survival skills. I’m on the frozen wasteland of Solheimajokull Glacier, where I will be battling some of the most extreme conditions on the planet, pitting my wits against nature and showing you how to survive in a constant struggle against the elements. I have a few basic survival tools and my film crew Kit is coming with me.

Plagiarism aside Man vs. Wild has inspired a fair share of my list, almost as much as The Karate Kid. When I watched the episode when Bear spends a week hiking through the Patagonian steppe, I knew that hiking on a glacier was something I wanted to do.

From the warm comfort of our futon, Kit and I planed our loose itinerary for our upcoming Iceland trip. Glaciers cover over 11% of Iceland, whereas Greenland is covered by over 80% ice. So yes, for all the Mighty Ducks fans out there Greenland is covered by ice and Iceland is not. But in no way do I consider Iceland green, even the areas of land not covered by ice are barren. Iceland has few trees and even fewer green rolling hills. The biggest glacier in Iceland is Vatnajokull followed by Langokull, Hofsjokull and Myrdasjokull. The last being the smallest out of the bunch. Solheimajokull (rolls right of the tongue doesn’t it?) is an outlet glacier, at certain points 60 to 80 meters deep.

Our trusty little 2wd rental car handled itself gracefully down the pothole filled and flooding road. After what seemed like forever we reached the parking area at the foot of the glacier and met our guide and the rest of the group.

With crampons strapped to our feet, ice axes in hand and adorable wool hats on our heads we took our first wary steps on the giant ice sheet. Walking with heavy exaggerated steps we reached the first of the many features of the glacier. A moulin, basically a gigantic hole craved in the ice. Our guide explained how these holes were formed and lead us to a few more.

We crossed a few crevasses, which had my inner Bear Grylls very excited. The only problem was that my inner Bear Grylls doesn’t quite have the English accent down so the word crevasses wasn’t sounding as cool or dangerous when I said it to myself. Nonetheless we crossed them safely and after a few hours of walking and our guide answering all the stupid questions an English tourist had. We reached as high on the glacier as we were going to get for the day. We might have been able to get up higher if it wasn’t for the predominantly English group lagging behind.

The views of the mother glacier were incredible. When the sun finally peaked over a hill the glacier sheen a beautiful blue. The black volcanic ash was a stark contrast to the perfectly clear ice.

The glacier also tasted as good as it looked. I foolishly carried the extra weight of two water bottles not realizing that the glacier is a giant ice-cube and you can drink straight from it. All you need is the margarita mix and a blender and you got yourself a frosty drink.

The guide’s radio squawked and he was told to start us on our decent. But a tour is never over just because you’re on your way back.

We found a few small ice caves and tried ice climbing on a very formidable ice wall. Looking up from the bottom of the wall you can just barely make out the crampons of the rest of the group who had already ascended the steep wall. The summit of the wall taunted us below. Daring us to take the first few steps. If you stood quietly enough you could hear the glacier laughing at those foolish enough to attempt such a dangerous climb. The wall must have been an easy 40 to 50 meters high, but with the conversion rate and a dose of reality it calculated to about 6 to 8 feet tall.

I rammed my axe into the ice, kicked my foot in and established my first hold. I can see over the ledge now, I knew I had to dig deep inside myself to conquer this wall. I mustered all the courage and adrenaline I could and I kept kicking into the ice until I was a mere two steps away from joining the group at the summit. Then I slipped but the sturdy axe held in place. I dangled on the brink of death or at least minor injury, dug my foot in and recovered. Step after step my determination grew stronger until I was just about over the ledge. At this point I was ready to dig my teeth into the ice to get over the wall but I just had to pull myself up. Kit started her climb next and within a few seconds she was standing next to me. Show off.

The descent off the glacier was harder than the ascent, everyone was constantly tripping over their own feet as we cautiously marched back down. After the third time I almost twisted my ankle I started thinking to myself snapping an ankle now would be such a pain in the ass. Fortunately we made it back on the soft volcanic sand safely and with a new found respect for the awesomeness of nature and it’s ability to create huge mountains out of snow.

Some say within 10 years the glaciers of Iceland might be all but melted away in the sea. I’m incredibly glad I was able to stand on one when I could. Much to my surprise the smile on Kit’s face suggested that she too enjoyed completing this task on my list.

The full gallery of pictures is on flickr, here is the link.

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December 9, 2009   No Comments