Last year, our Bahamas sunburns were bad enough to make us red and uncomfortable for days. Apparently sunscreen loses potency with age, even though it may not have an official expiration date printed on the bottle. Lesson learned. This time, before heading out on the tender boats to Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island, we coated ourselves in layer after layer of new spray-on SPF-70 stuff. Then we painted our faces with SPF-100 sunblock sticks, which went on with the scent and texture of neutral Chapstick. Complete that ensemble with floppy hats and sun-blocking t-shirts, and you get a couple of pasty nerds looking ridiculous but safe from the Yellow Face that burns us, Precious.
Protecting our nerd-flesh from the Day-Star
Because we were such a huge group, there weren’t enough beach cabanas, Tiki huts, and clamshells available for everyone to get one. At first, they tried to have a first-come-first-get signup on a website, but we shade-lovers crashed it so hard. For plan B, they picked names at random, which I think was fair. We were lucky enough to get a clam-shell in the shade lottery, so we spent a good part of the day just lounging on the beach reading our books and listening to the waves and the loud Caribbean roosters in the trees. Incidentally, the tropical chickens put this song into my head for most of the week:
Being at a beach, we participated in traditional beachy activities, including dunking ourselves into the chilly ocean, examining pretty seashells, and discussing the corpulence of men in the 1800s with Wil Wheaton at the rum shack. As you do. We passed a sandcastle competition (we missed the subsequent sandcastle smashing) a little ways down the beach: very impressive creations, but most of them were not castles and should have been disqualified.
Dragons, chess pieces, nekkid mermaids: not castles.
Although I suppose maybe the rook would count…
Paul and Storm‘s show started soon after we left Coco Cay. They sang a few of their classics and a medley of their rejected commercial jingles, and they then changed it up by giving a TED-style talk about the nature of humor and inappropriateness. It was already incredibly funny, but then they showed us the funniest 36 seconds on the entire internet, and I laughed so hard I almost had to leave the room to catch a breath.
After a fancy formal dinner, we gathered once more on the covered-up ice rink and donned our finest headgear and moustaches for the 3rd Annual Paul F. Tompkins Memorial Moustache Formal and Fezstravaganza. The variety of fez designs was astounding. Fezzes with superhero logos, videogame symbols, flashing LEDs and sound effects. Tasselled fezzes, Star Wars fezzes, even tiny fascinator fezzes. One guy had a wriggling tentacle sticking out of the top of his fez. I even spotted a pair of hand-knit TARDIS fezzes. That’s pretty damn hardcore. If I do this again next year, I will be making or buying myself a fez with my own bio-nerd design on it. I have ideas…
Just a few of the spectacular fezzes on display at the party.
Photo credit: Steve Petrucelli
You’d think all this was enough for one day, right? Well, after an hour of Fezstravaganza, John Hodgman and David Rees took to the stage to throw us a dance party of epic proportions. It was a DJ battle to end all DJ battles, and it was spectacular. And I don’t care what anyone says: nerds can really shake it on the dance floor.