Entertainment Tonight

May 5, 2008 -

John Heald

According to a newspaper report the game thingy I attempted to play this afternoon is the cause of all the worlds’ problems. The game is called Grand Theft Auto 5 and according to a report in the Daily Mail it is the sole reason for the all the crime on our streets today. This game had received such bad press…………………I had to see what it was all about.

Now, I may have mentioned this before but I hate flying ……………………… bugger ……………sorry about that I was on automatic pilot there…………let’s try that again.

I may have mentioned this before but I am useless at these game thingies however I having read that in some people’s mind murders have been committed because of a video game I wanted to see for myself.

To do this I had to go and see my ugly friend Alan and borrow his son’s game machine and before I did this I had to buy the game itself. Now, I had no idea where to get Grand Theft Auto 5 from so for the first ever time in my life I ventured into a Game shop which was like landing on another planet. Firstly I was old enough to be everyone’s Father and as I looked around me I felt as out of place as a Frenchmen in a deodorant commercial.

I knew the game I wanted but thought it best to ask a shop assistant to make sure I got the right one.

I couldn’t find anyone to help me and after about 10 minutes of waiting for someone to realize that my hopping up and down on one leg and waving my hands in the air was not an audition for the Village People but was in fact a need for assistance.

Eventually I asked a teen with black hair with lightning strikes of brilliant white in it if he knew who could help me find the right game………………….turns out he did know …………… because he was the manager.

Feeling ridiculous for expecting someone who looked a little older than 15 and who didn’t have a hair style that looked like a pigeon had applied the white touches with its bottom I explained that I was looking for Grand Theft Auto 5……………..he looked at me as if to say what the hell would someone like you want this game for………………once again I felt as out of place as The Same Old thing Of The Seas looked docked next to the magnificence that is Queen Victoria.

The next stage was when young Mr. Pigeon Poo Head asked me what “system” the game was for……………….he may as well asked me who to name ten bands from the current music chart which unless Duran Duran, Jethro Tull and Queen were still making music I had bugger all chance of answering……………….he was obviously smarter than he looked which wasn’t difficult and looking slightly bored about having to tell me he asked if it was for Playstation, X Box or some other contraption………………of course I had no bloody clue so there I stood phoning Alan’s 12-year-old son asking him what to do.

It turned out that it was for Playstation so Mr Skunk Head the manager put a game in a bag and as he handed it to me he said “that will be £40”………………..It wasn’t the fact that there was no please in the statement but £40 ($80)……………..for a game…………..I looked at him and considered asking him if for that price it came with Caviar and Dom Perignon ……but realizing that he would probably think that Caviar was a soldier from the planet Zog and Dom Perignon his faithful cyborg friend with human qualities………..I handed over my £40 and hoped he would use the money to buy some contact lenses so he could see how ridiculous he looked with bird crap in his hair.

So, with my Grand Theft Auto Special Edition in hand I drove to Alan’s house and myself, Alan and his son we started to play this game that many people had advocated banning.

Here is my report.

Ummmmmmmm…………..well………….I can tell you that there was a car and some man with a gun and then the words GAME OVER kept coming up on the screen after just two minutes……………..so…………….basically I have no idea what all the fuss is about and the only thing I proved is that I am totally useless at anything like this.

However I did watch Alan and his son play and both are very good………….his son because most kids of his age are and Alan because he is used to having no friends and living in a world of fantasy.
Seriously though I did watch the game and yes it involves crashing cars, shooting at people and lots of explosions and lashings of mayhem.

Now, according to the press having watched or played this game for just 30 minutes I should have felt the need to go next door and stab my neighbor with a knitting needle …….. but I didn’t……………..and as I watched Alan’s kid play the game all I could see was laughter and smiles from a great lad who ……………..like his father was living in a world of make believe…………..the only difference being that Alan’s make believe was that a girly might actually find him attractive.

A few months ago some of you may remember a heated conversation with a chap who sailed on the Carnival Freedom from PETA who had very strong views about such games………and indeed he had some reasonable points. However, having looked at this game for myself I am of the opinion that yes…………it is violent and yes……….it does contain shooting and explosions…………but really its no different to what we played when we were kids. We may not have had Playstation and all the sophistication of today but we still shot at things using toy machine guns or a piece of wood from Dad’s workshop ………..our heroes drove tanks or horses and not Ferrari’s and Hummers and instead of having a rival gang leader or some street person as the bad guys we had The Indians or the Cowboys or a creature from Mars………………….same thing …………..different times. ……………Grand Theft Auto may be controversial but apart from the fact that I couldn’t play it the only time I actually felt like committing a crime was when young Mr Whitehead asked me for £40……………..he was lucky I didn’t kick him in the Donkey Kongs.

It is now with great pleasure we welcome back a good old boy and a gold old friend ………. the king of the Waffle House and brilliant CD……………Mr Chris “Bubba” Roberts. I know you all enjoyed his Alaska blogs so I asked Bubba if he could let us know what’s going on in his life. Well, as you will see he is now on the Carnival Spirit getting ready for the Alaska season…………….but before the last frontier Bubba gets to spend some time in Hawaii………………here is the first of his special reports.

Howdy From Honolulu

Well after a week handover (which wasn’t enough) and 12 days later I am in the capital city of the Aloha State, Honolulu. I know that some folks had asked me to continue with my blogging after the Alaska trip as they wanted to hear more about Hawaii. After having done the last two weeks I know that it would have been almost impossible to do on a daily basis. So my hats off to john who somehow makes it happen almost everyday.

My handover was pretty much diving straight into the Carnival Capers and trying to get the ready for the two Hawaii cruises. For those of you who don’t know, the Carnival Spirit does four Hawaii cruises a year. Two in the spring and two in the fall. They do them as they reposition to and from Alaska and Mexico. Doing a run change like this is always challenging. Generally the schedule stays the same, but the management is usually different and they always want to try new things, so I spent most of my first 2 weeks getting the Capers in order for the other departments and trying to have the be correct as possible. Not an easy task when you are the writer, editor and printer of your own newspaper. It’s easy to make mistakes.

So my handover with Shawn was done on a 7-day Mexican Riviera cruise. I managed to get off once during that time. It was in Mazatlan for her going away party. She’s been working the Spirit for almost 7 years so it was a big deal for her leaving for good this time. I had work to do, but Shawn is my friend from a long time ago. We used to be social hosts together on the Elation many moons ago. Plus the end of that cruise, ended with 2 days at sea, and I knew that the start of my next cruise would be 5 days at sea. So I was my last chance to get on land for a week! So I took advantage of it.

The cruise ended on April 20 and Shawn was gone by 8 am in the morning, and now I am the CD of the Spirit. Now we got all of the guests off and sailed about 10 am and headed down to Ensenada, Mexico. This is where we would start our Hawaiian cruise. All though all of our guests were flying to San Diego, they had to check in the terminal there, and then be bussed down to Mexico to join the ship. This is because of a law called the Jones Act which prevents foreign-flagged vessel from transporting passengers from one U.S. port to another without calling upon a distant port of call. So because of this, we had to embark everyone in Ensenada, so that they were able to disembark when we got to Honolulu. Its sounds crazy, but all cruise itineraries are based on this law.

Because we were able to do the turn around in San Diego so quickly, we were able to get down to Ensenada around 3 pm. Right about the time the first buses were arriving. It was one of the best embarks for this cruise that has ever been done. It was because of a lot of hard work from many departments around the ship and some great planning by our captain, chief engineer and hotel management. So we had everyone on board and we sailed from Ensenada around 9 pm and headed out into the Pacific. The captain made a joke that he had to aim well. One degree off to the north and we end up in Japan. One degree off to the south and we end up in Australia. Hawaii is sooo small when you think about the body of water that it sits in.

It’s a 5-day crossing to get over to Hawaii. We had loads of activities going thoughout those days at sea. Sure did keep the entertainment team busy, plus we had extra staff including arts and crafts people and ballroom dance instructors.

We arrived in Kahului, Maui after 5 days at sea, processed everyone through US immigration. We stayed over night in Maui. It’s one of the big nights for the Luau. Wanted to go, but it sold out. Hoping to do so on the next Hawaii cruise. Book your Hawaii tours early they will sell out! So my first day in Hawaii, what did I do???? Went to K-Mart. Had not been off the ship in a week. Had not been shopping in over 2 weeks. So I needed supplies! Then that night went dinner and a movie with my girlfriend Julie. She’s a purser. Always gets the Julie joke from the Love Boat when she’s working. I tell her to tell them that Gopher was the purser. Not Julie. It was nice to have a nice normal night out.

The rest of itinerary was…

Maui – 2 days
Honolulu – 2 days

I did manage to get on a couple of tours during the cruise. One was to Volcano’s national park in Hilo. Here I got to see the Kilawea(I know that’s not how you spell it, but it helps me remember how to say it, Hawaiian words are tough to pronounce.) This was great! Seeing the most active volcano in the world was quite the sight. Plus I got to explore some lava tubes.

The rubber chicken is mine and Julie’s mascot. Whenever I go on a tour by myself and Julie can’t come I bring Matilda along to join me in some pics. It’s silly, but makes for some good pics.

A few days later in Kauai, Julie and I got to go to the fern grotto which apparently is a very popular spot for Hawaiian weddings. It was filled with lush green plants as well as other colorful ones. We heard some great Hawaiian music and even learned how to do a hula.

Thanks Bubba and we look forward to reading your next report very soon. A Low Ha ‘yall.

I’m still waiting to hear who the Carnival Splendor’s godmother will be and of course as soon as PA 007 lets me know I will let you all know as well. Before I worked for Carnival I had never met any famous people……………….strange that…………..you would have thought that The Cliff Pub and Ali Barbas Kebab House would have been thronging with A List Celebs.

However, today I find myself thinking of all the famous people I have met and some have a great story to go with them and in the next few days I would like to share a few with you.

Let’s start with the incomparable Mr. Regis Philbin. Back in the 90’s Carnival’s spokesperson was of course the wonderful Kathie Lee Gifford. Now, I met her on many occasions during new ship launches and although like most celebrities she had her critics, to me she was a warm and kind and even though she didn’t see me for many months between new vessels she always remembered my name……………I thought she was super.

Then there was Regis who is obviously a national treasure and very very talented ………….unfortunately my two memories of Regis were not so warm and wonderful. The first came when Kathie Lee Gifford was hosting a charity event onboard the Carnival Destiny during its inaugural season in New York.

The evening started with a lavish dinner which the rich and tanned paid hundreds of dollars for with all proceeds going to Kathy’s charity for underprivileged and sick children.

After dinner it was Showtime and Kathy was to perform along with Marvin Hamlisch and a very famous country star who I cannot remember.

The evening started with me going out on stage and welcoming everyone and then introducing Kathie Lee and Regis who were going to sing the old classic “You say Potato……Let’s call the whole thing off”……………..well a few moments into the song we started to have a few …….ummmmmmmmmmm………….technical issues with Regis’s microphone which started feeding back when he sang and high pitched whining noises started coming from the speaker…………..well…………….Regis’s did not hide his emotions and in between the bouts of feedback he glared up at our poor old sound technician and eventually…………..stopped singing all together and let Kathie perform on her own.

Well, being well heeled and educated the audience applauded and cheered at the end of the song and Kathy stayed on stage to continue the show. Unfortunately Mr.Philbin was not so forthcoming and as soon as he entered the backstage area he said a few words that rhymed with luck and hit and then in a final act of rage …………..he threw his microphone at me. Luckily his aim was not good and the microphone just missed my head and crashed to the floor behind me ……………and that was that……………he demanded to be shown off the ship and we didn’t see him again that night.

This had not been the first problem Mr. Philbin had encountered onboard one of our ships……….the first was onboard the Carnival Sensation. He was sailing with his wife and of course staying in the penthouse. Well, formal night came around and about 6:30 pm the Chief Purser Ron Ness (this was before the position of Hotel Director came around) was asked to go to the Penthouse to see Mr.Philbin.

Arriving there Ron was asked by Mr.Philbin to help him on with his Tuxedo which had just returned from the ship’s laundry………………..Ron thought this to be a rather strange request but as he was a huge celebrity and a guest of the company Ron had to comply. Mr.Philbin pointed towards his expensive designer Tuxedo which was hanging in the closet………..thinking that maybe he may have a bad back or something Ron started to take the jacket off the coat hanger………………..and there in lay the problem……………he couldn’t……………….because unfortunately the laundry had pressed the jacket with the wire coat hanger still inside and had welded the thing onto it…………………………..oops.

You can imagine what happened next.

So, tomorrow Heidi and I start a four-day holiday at a beautiful country hotel. Hopefully we will have time to relax a little and enjoy the fresh English countryside air. My blackberry will be coming with me as well as my lap dancer top computer and although the blog thingies may not be as long as usual I promise daily updates.

One more thing, The day after the Carnival Destiny microphone throwing incident Regis went on his morning show and apologized to the millions of viewers about the state of his voice which was due to “the worst sound system he had ever experienced and a sound man who was deaf”………….that is exactly word for word what he said…………….obviously this got back to our sound engineer Adam who although he had obviously had problems with the sound had been working with new equipment and certainly did not deserve the public humiliation Regis bestowed upon him.

I have the greatest respect for this very talented man whose morning show is legendary and he was as the host of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” When he threw the microphone at me I was a young and inexperienced Cruise Director who thought it was OK to be treated that way……………however when I look back I wish I had been brave enough to ask him to apologize for this and the anger he directed toward me. If he threw a microphone at me now the host of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” may have to phone a friend……………to pull the microphone which will be protruding from his bottom.

What a shame that’s my overriding memory of this so talented performer.

OK, that’s all for now. I left Grand Theft Auto with Alan’s lad. I don’t think I can ever get into these reality games……………..not unless Playstation event a game that involves me being George Hamilton sitting in a Jacuzzi with Jessica Simpson and being served Caviar and Diet Coke buy our butler…………………Regis.

Your Friends
John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.