Grown Ups at Disney World [Michael Gutenplan]

Two adults take a vacation to Disney World over a holiday weekend. While this would be a great start to a surely hilarious joke, it is the true story of my friend Julia and my true-life adventure for a fantastic, fun filled few days in Central Florida’s best-known theme park with an adorable rodent problem. It all started a few months ago when my college friend Julia emailed me about our annual trip. In the past we have met up in Pittsburgh (where we went to school) or in New York City (where she works and my family lives). This year, Julia offered a whole slew of options and at the bottom of her list was the most magical place of all – Walt Disney World. For some people, a trip to Disney would include cyanide pills, as they would without a doubt want to kill themselves rather than be stuck in the humid air, waiting on line for hours to watch animatronic children sing about what a small world it is, but for me, it was an adventure into happiness, a chance to relive my youth and be a child for a few days. So without hesitation, I agreed to Disney and started preparing to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid of the happiest place on earth! One of our main goals of this trip was to make sure that we kept it an adult vacation and Disney World seemed to have a whole world of activities and restaurants geared just for adults. In addition to the parks themselves, this resort destination has fantastic dining, great themed hotels and a whole variety of leisure activities and sports. From the research that I did, I learned that Labor Day week was actually a great time to...

Mommy Issues: Parents are People Too [FRANKIE SAYS…] May17

Mommy Issues: Parents are People Too [FRANKIE SAYS…]

Frankie says… Parents are people, too. Since I recently wrote about my daddy issues, I find it only fair to write about my mommy issues as well. Now my issues surrounding her are not so definable – they’re much more convoluted and intrinsic to that weird and confusing bond between a mother and a daughter. I can tell you this, though: it makes me not want a daughter. Harsh? Well, it’s how I feel, at least for now. After all the stages daughters go through – immense attachment (0-8), awkward friendship (9-13), intense hatred and rebellion (14-18), clarity of collaborative forces (19-25), then the slow and eventual reveal that your mother is actually a person too and does not exist solely in your head (26 on) – it’s a wonder we’re not all more messed up than we are. This last stage, this is where I am at. I obviously cannot talk about what happens after, since I have not experienced it yet, but I’m hoping pretty hard that there are some more stages because the one I’m in sucks. Now that I am fully an adult, (in some circles) and am making life decisions on my own that will affect my existence from here on out, it’s come to my attention that my mother at some point had to make these same decisions. Not the exact same ones, but similar in the fact that they would impact the rest of her life. At 28, already my mom had three girls from her first husband (an abusive alcoholic) whom she was about to divorce in the next year or so. After that, she would join a commune in southern France, leaving her girls to essentially fend for themselves with the grandparents and not-all-there father...

Wherein I Avoid Facing the Loss of My Childhood Hero [Hyperbolic Tendencies]...

This past May, Sixkill by Robert B. Parker arrived in bookstores. It’s the thirty-ninth book in Parker’s Spenser detective series and I’ve read each of the previous thirty-eight at least a half dozen times. The day it arrived I hauled my ass down to the local Barnes and Noble and bought a copy. Which was an odd experience since these days I buy books almost exclusively for my iPad, and before that it was my Kindle. Flash forward six months and that copy of Sixkill still sits pristine and unopened on my nightstand. Why? Because Parker, dubbed “The Dean of American Crime Fiction”, died last year and Sixkill is his last. Between 1973 and 2011, Parker published nearly 70 books and almost all of them were bestsellers. He’s most well known his Spenser series, featuring the wise-cracking, street-smart Boston private-eye, which earned him a devoted following and reams of critical acclaim. (It’s worth clarifying that these excellent mysteries were the inspiration for the dreadful and unwatchable show Spenser: For Hire which eschewed the gritty character and ambiguity of situation that make the books so compelling for the cloying tidiness network television demands.) I’ve been a mystery fan since I was given a set of Encyclopedia Brown books for my eighth birthday. A voracious reader, I quickly finished those, then burned through all of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew in no time at all. Since this was before there was a robust Young Adult market, I leapt into the grown up stuff, and quickly fell under the spell of mystery and noir. Carroll John Daly, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane. I’d read them all by the time I became a teenager. And then, I found Spenser. I grew up in a safe middle class...