Old Fart Day

January 22, 2009 -

John Heald

And so I woke up this morning in my room at the Intercontinental Hotel with the realization that I was a 44 year old man………………with hemorrhoids.

There are warning signs I am getting old. I have started making weird “old man” noises when I get up from sitting down and it’s not only the hair on my head that is grey. I am, however, still on my first marriage, haven’t actually lost any hair yet and I’m fit enough not to need a stair lift – so things aren’t all bad.

Last night while at the Heat basketball game (more about that later) someone really annoying told me that when you turned 40 you had to take a really hard look at your life and if you hadn’t got your act together, now was the time. When you get to 50, he said, if you still hadn’t got your act together it’s too late. So I’ve started writing a sort of five-year plan.

Personally I’m determined to get my act together. First I want loads of money by the time I’m 50. It’s not that I think money will automatically make me happy but, in the words of Woody Allen, “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.”

I’m going to make this huge amount of money by either moving to the States and taking the place of Howie “Mr. Rude” Mandel as the host of Deal or Bugger All Deal, or selling those photos I’ve got of Judge Judy having rumpy pumpy with Donald Rumsfeld ……………. in a hot tub.

I’m also due a midlife crisis. This normally involves dressing like a teenager which means the next time you see me I will have an earring, my baseball cap on backwards, I will be listening to Pee Diddly and Lay Z …..and my pants will be worn so low down you will all have views to the entrance of my crap cave.

A midlife crisis also tends to involve the purchase of a flashy sports car, but I’ve already been through this embarrassing period when I briefly owned a Porsche. For six months I drove around feeling like a penis, getting nods at traffic lights from the sort of people I really hate. The last option is to have an affair with a 20-year-old Latvian

I don’t actually mind getting old at all… honest. It’s just the comfy middle-aged part that worries me. When I get properly old, I’ll love it – I can urinate at bus stops, refuse to pay for anything, and shout random abuse at strangers to whom I take a mild dislike.

You just can’t do that sort of thing at 44, sadly. There’s still too much at stake.

I’m joking – I’ve got quite a good feeling about my next 10 years, everything’s going to be fine… it’s only the halfway point of my life with no going back, time’s winged chariot, the inexorable approach of death… maybe I’m not as OK as I thought. All I want is to be able to do exactly what I want and have a healthy Thingy who is blessed with Heidi’s looks and not mine

That’s not asking too much, is it? After all, middle age is when we can do just as much as ever, but would rather not… and that suits me fine.

Anyway, thank you all for the fantastic birthday wishes. I see Heidi was the first to post today and that was a super surprise. So, after opening my birthday cards from Heidi, Mum and Dad and family, I enjoyed a breakfast of coffee and toast and headed to the office to collect my lap top dancer computer. My password had expired and I needed someone with a beard to help me out. So, I went to see Stephanie ……….. bugger ……..that didn’t come out correctly……………I am not suggesting Stephanie has a beard ……….except on Friday’s……….anyway……I went to see Stephanie and she spoke the strange language of Geekanitus to a man with a beard and now the lap top thingy works again.

Here is a video and photo from this morning.


Thanks to Stephanie and her colleagues for remembering me and thanks for the sugar-free cake which is as we speak making my keyboard sticky.

OK, as promised, lets answer the outstanding questions…………..here we go.

It was a very interesting day yesterday. After we finished the bloggers meeting I received a call asking me to attend a special meeting and lunch at a boutique hotel in Miami’s South Beach. As I drove up to the hotel I immediately felt insecure asking the GQ model to park my GMC thingy rent a car but only after he had finished parking the Ferrari and the Mercedes S600 with diamond spinning things on the wheels.

The hotel was called the Gansevoort and I am told it is the place to be. The rooms are airy and minimalist, but stay here for the rooftop pool and bar, a haven for the city’s skinniest models and fattest businessmen and the place where the stars hang out. There were photos of celebrities who had stayed there in the men’s bathroom for you to look at while you were having a pee……Madonna,, Heidi Klum, Debbie Harry, Lenny Kravitz, Molly Simms, Robert Duvall and Kyle MacLachlan………by the way, I have no idea who Molly Simms or Kyle MacLachlan are………I just wrote their names down to tell you.

There was also a photo of Paris Hilton who had (according to the info on the brass plate) filmed something called “Paris Hilton’s BBF” at the hotel. I have no idea what BFF stands for……but seeing her big gormless face staring back at me while I had a number one made me want a number two………..so I went for one.

As I mentioned yesterday, the Executive Forum of specially invited travel agents and top-level Carnival executives. Yesterday, we were treated to a superb state of the company speech by Gerry Cahill, our president and CEO, which was followed by a talk from marketing execs Ruben Rodriguez and Jim Berra. They spoke about our marketing initiatives for 2009 and then……..we were all shown the new 30-second TV commercials which are set debut on the networks shortly.

Now……..I can’t tell you too much about them but I can tell you……..I think you will all love them. They are filmed onboard the Carnival Splendor and feature an individual with an “off the wall personality” who is just perfect to portray our fun for all for fun image. Anyway, I will give you the lowdown on the commercials themselves, as well as the dates they will air, as soon as I hear and as always it will be great to hear your opinions.

After our new Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations Roberta Jacoby had finished her spot, we all went of to the American Airlines Arena for dinner and to watch the Miami Heat get blasted off the court by the Boston Celtics. The Irish lads really brought their best game with them while the Miami Heat looked unrecognizable from the team I had seen play so brilliantly in November and December. Anyway, I think everyone had a great time and I enjoyed talking one on one with all the agents. It was fascinating getting their insights into what we do and how they sell our ships. One of the things they all agreed on was how brilliant our crew was and that the friendliness of all the ship’s company was one of the major selling points…………and that………..is wonderful to hear.

Mark Boyer
Hello Mr. Heald
I have been on a few of your cruises and have enjoyed your bedtime story. I am to entertain at a senior Valentine’s party at my church this year and would like to use it. Is it possible to send me a copy of your script, I will pay any royalties if necessary.
Thank you very much for your help.
Mark Boyer

John Says:
Hello Mark
Thanks for writing and thank you for the wonderful work you do to entertain the senior’s this coming Valentines Day. I am glad you enjoyed the bedtime story and I have to say that unfortunately there is no script for this show. It is pretty much dealing with what happens when it happens. However, I may have one or two games that you may be able to use including one called the Marriage Show and also the dating game. Both are harmless fun and should be great for what you are about to do. So…..if you are interested, let me know and I will send you the information.

Joko Joan Asked:

Dear Joan:
Just finished watching your video blog and it was brilliant. Sorry we couldn’t take a peek of how the thingy is growing.
I have a question that I have asked you several times before with no answer. I just do not understand why when the daily blog comes out that it already has replies to the posts from other cruisers on the same day that you post it! I feel pretty stupid not knowing the reason and have begun wondering if some people have been given some advanced copies. Likewise I don’t understand why I have not received an answer – I do think that I have been patient. On my last inquiry I also gave you the suggestion that if you didn’t want to answer this publicly that you could send it to my email address. I haven’t posted anything in a long while and I do know how precious your time is. I assure you that I do enjoy your blogs immensely and look forward to my daily chuckle from you. Love to you, Heidi and the Thingy.
Auntie Joko

John Says:

Hello Jojo Joan
Glad you enjoyed that long video, it was a nightmare to down or up load or whatever it’s called. I am not quiet sure what you mean about the blogs. They are posted at random times each day based on basically when I finish them and when Stephanie posts them. Also, as for your questions, well there is a time delay from when you ask them and I reply. This, of course, is based on when I can have the time to do so. Hopefully by placing the questions and answers in the body of the blog will help people find them. I am so glad you enjoy them regardless and that they make you smile…………smiling is something we all need to do more in today’s world. I hope you and the family are well.

Michelle Asked:

John Please Reply
I am very upset with Carnival customer service, and don’t know where else to turn for help. I have called and gotten nowhere. I have written my letter concerning my complaint about a recent cruise on the Imagination in November, and another regarding our cruise on the Carnival Miracle being cancelled, and not honoring the on-board credit promised. In return I get a standard reply letter. Not once has our concerns been addressed. Is there a way I can send you a copy? Or put me in contact with someone. We are so upset we cancelled our upcoming cruise in March on the Miracle. Just don’t want another repeat of the cruise in November.
Tom & Michelle

John Says:

Hello Tom and Michelle
I was sorry to read that you are so upset. Why not send me some details of your concerns and I promise to address it with someone senior in our guest relations department. Send me this via the blog and I will look into it.
Best Regards

Dave Myerly Asked:

I know that on Carnival Splendor you can go to the Carnival Site without being charged against your online minutes however, I was amazed to find out that to click on and read your blog we were charged time against our account. I raised this question to you some time ago and guess you forgot but I could not get an answer.
Seems a little chincy to me to do this to Carnival customers.

John Says:

Hello Dave
I agree and will address this now to try and get it changed. You should be able to read Carnival.com and the blog free of charge. I will get back to you on this.

Arlene Asked:

We just had to cancel our 3 legs of the SA cruise on the Splendor because of an emergency surgery. We are heart broken!!!
PLEASE – tell me, are there going to be any other cruises like that one?

John Says:

Hello Arlene
I was so saddened to read your news. Due to the popularity of the South America cruise I hope this will not be the last time we offer this voyage. I hope the surgery goes well and we will all be thinking of you. Try and keep smiling if you can and if there is anything I can do please let me know
Thinking of you

Jeanette Asked:

John, perhaps you can help me get the issues of Currents magazine I yet to receive. I’ve been on five Carnival ships since January 2007 (I got off the Valor last Sunday) and have yet to receive a single Currents magazine! Reading online is fine, but if I want to read it at lunch at work that is a no go cuz our lunchroom doesn’t have a computer and the job has a no net surfing policy unless for work purposes policy….
I’d like to have an idea what ships you’ll be the CD on cuz I’d like to meet you in person…..
As for the wee problem with flare ups after sitting too long–fiber supplements help. Try the All bran two week challenge…..

John Says:

Hello Jeanette
Of course we can help you get your copies. I did this for another blogger last week. You should receive it soon and thanks for the all bran challenge insight I shall definitely give that a go. I will be re conforming my CD schedule next week and hopefully give you all some insight to 2010 as well.

John & Cindy Asked:
We couldn’t be more excited with the Blogger’s cruise so near. My wife and I signed up for the New Orleans event to help out but are wondering if we need to bring anything? Do we need work gloves and clothing, face masks, tools, or anything at all?
See you in 19 days!
John & Cindy

John Says:

Hello John and Cindy
I am also excited for the bloggers cruise, not long now. Thanks for helping us out at the charity event and you don’t need to bring anything as we will provide all the materials etc. We’re still in the process of finalizing the volunteer activities but whatever it is it will feel great to put something back into the community.
See you both soon.

Joe Asked:

John Please Respond
I was looking at the CD schedule that you posted and did not see Brent Mitchell listed on it. Is he still with Carnival?
He was the CD when I was on the Miracle in August and I thought that he did a great job. (No one can top you as a CD of course.)

John Says:

Hello Joe.
Brent is indeed still with us. Mitchell is not his real name and you will see his real name on the schedule as Lawlyer……..he now has a stage name of Mitchell which I understand ws the name of his Teddy Bear when he was nine.
He is a great chap and I am glad to read you think so highly of him
Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you

Jessica Asked:

So really, John do you actually answer the questions and read your facebook , you named a lot of people in the thank you, for the award. I guess I see how much time is put into answering questions, how many things you write about and I wonder how you do it with out becoming divorced. Do you actually do the talking, or is it, writers like on the soap shows.
I know that it takes time to do all these things and I was just wondering. If I write to you is it you opening them up, or is a Carnival crew reading them and researching, then providing the answers. I was also wondering who will be the cruise director on the new ship Carnival Dream. Just a couple of questions and please ask the cruise line to get technical, loose the printing of all those pics, make sure they get on board with ordering them on line, in packages, it would save a lot of trees . Did you know that in many countries the amount of clear cutting is leading to the cause of the production of green house gas. The cruise line has to be very proactive and make sure it does as many things in the reduction and reducing of waste. I am sure there are a lot of things the cruise ship is condemned for because of environmental impact. We for one , just do not get pictures taken unless we know that’s the shot we want , no need of getting 25 poses done and not even serious about taking them – some of the responsibility comes back to us the cruiser to .
So I really do enjoy this blog, and it’s the first time writing, thought I would ask those questions and I think you are doing a great job, its funny informative and many people in my office read it.

John Says:

Hello Jessica
Welcome to the blog. I am so glad you found it and yes I do indeed answer and type all the questions myself and I wish I had a team of Letterman-type writers, maybe then the blogs would be funny. I don’t often get chance however to answer those Facebook questions. I have enough work here with the blog thingy without adding Facebook as well.
I hope you will enjoy Todd Wittmer as the CD of the new Carnival Dream. He is a brilliant CD and will be a huge asset to the vessel. It was interesting reading your comments about the environment and I look forward to continuing these types of discussions with you and other readers on the blog.
I remain at your service

Sheryl Asked:

John, please respond
Congrats on winning the blog award. You certainly deserve it. On today’s segment of The View, (do you know this show?) the ladies spoke of a couple in England who were refused the honor of adopting a baby because the man was too overweight. No names were mentioned and the ladies were appalled. I’m sure you are not the only people in England that this has happened to, but I was wondering if it was you and Heidi they were talking about? Just wanted to let you know this was discussed on the show.

John Says:

Hello Sheryl
Thanks for writing and mentioning the blog’s award.
I don’t think they were referring to Heidi and I but I can understand how angry that couple must have been…………….don’t get me started
Hope all is well with you and as always it is great to hear from you

missingthesmokefreeparadise Asked:

Methane – a byproduct of life. Have you seen the article where scientists believe that life exists on Mars because of the presence of methane?
Go figure?

John Says:

Hello Jon
Let’s go home…….I think you and I would be very happy on Mars. Thanks for sharing that great article…………..life really is a gas
Best to you and the wonderful MTSFP

Jim Eakins Asked:

Hi John,
A question, if I may, about the arrival and departure times published for Carnival ports-of-call. Is the “arrival” time the actual arrival time or the time that passengers will be allowed to head down the gangway for fun ashore? Arrival times are not usually a concern except when we will be tendered to the dock. In these instances the additional time it takes to ferry the humbled masses ashore may adversely impact upon time available for excursions. Those of us who have arranged for private excursions (read non-Carnival here) and who do not have priority tendering status worry that the tender gods may not look favorably upon us.

John Says:

Hello Jim
Great question. The arrival time is, of course, the time the Captain expects to arrive. This however can change depending on sea conditions, traffic and other factors. However, in the Caribbean, most of the time we arrive at the times listed. As for tendering, well, in most ports there is no difference in the time you can disembark based on if you have a ship purchased or independent tour? There are one or two exceptions to this. Can you tell me the port and the time your tour is and I will work out what’s best for you to do.

OK, that’s all I have time for today. I have another bunch for tomorrow starting with Steve Smith and if you haven’t seen yours answered today I promise it will be tomorrow.

Over on www.bestblogsatsea.com you will see the Arcadia had a visit from a British Naval vessel and there are spectacular photos to go with it. Also, for the first ever time you will see that the AIDA blog has been translated from German into English giving us all a chance to experience the life of a captain. Holland America continues to lead the way with a huge variety of blogs and once again I hope you all pop over there at some point to read all of our sister companies blogs……….except Princess……who will have one soon……..I think I may have mentioned that before.

I have Fox News on while I am writing this and from what I am seeing, you would have trouble believing that Michelle Obama could think for herself at all. The new First Lady may have graduated from Princeton and had a distinguished career, but more important, it seems, is who designed her frock. Does she wear false eyelashes? Look at those toned upper arms. And weren’t those Jimmy Choo pumps just fabulous? Ah, yes – it’s historic that the U.S. has its first African American president, but we are still unable to judge a woman on anything other than what she looks like. So for all that talk of change, some things stay very much the same.

I have received a lot of congratulations and best wishes from people in the Miami office on the impending arrival of the Thingy. I have also received some gifts from bloggers including something very, very special that must have taken weeks and weeks to make from Carolyn…I will show you that in the days ahead. I also received yesterday a book. It’s a children’s nursery rhyme book which I guess I am supposed to read the Thingy to help it sleep at night.

However, having taken the book into the bathroom last night I have while seated, discovered that nursery rhymes are cruel and terrible things full of stories about dismembered sheep and the bubonic plague. You have Simple Simon, who sounds like Jeffrey Dahmer………. Hickory Dickory Dock, which is just a load of bollocks, and Wee Willie Winkie, who ran through the town in his nightclothes, peering through the windows of children to see if they were in bed. Clearly, the man was a pedophile, and the less my Thingy know about such things, the better.

I was also talking to a parent who told me that these days parents don’t sing their kids to sleep with the usual lullabies of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, etc…….these apparently have been replaced with pop songs as parents of today’s generation can remember the words to I Kissed A Girl by American singer Kate Perry but can’t remember the words to Rock a Bye Baby.

So…….I guess I shan’t be teaching the Thingy any nursery rhymes and instead teach the Thingy to play Grand Theft Auto instead……………and the Thingy can look forward to falling asleep to the sound of me singing Slap My Bitch Up.

Your friends
John, Heidi and Thingy……….who I miss very much

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.