Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Over the hump?

Well I slept off and on all day, which is why I'm up in the middle of the night, feeling like I've passed the cusp of severity of this bug, still not completely coherent, but at least willing to actually do something like write.

Run on sentences are okay when they mimic the interior life of the writer. (he says sticking out his tongue.)

And I hate it when people refer to themselves in the third person, as I just have.

Spouse has been coddling me, he made chicken soup and keeps trying to make me take everything in the medicine cabinet. (I'm very resistant to such tactics. Water, vitamin C, rest. Time. And more time. This is all there is to do.)

Yesterday, I canceled my lessons but still had one at the lunch hour that was uncancellable. It was murder. Then when I got home, there was a note on the door:

"Call me at work to know where the key is."

See, we had the locksmith over in the morning to re-key and repair all the locks in the building, so I didn't have a key because I was out when the guy finished the job. So I go the the corner liquor store and ask if I can use their phone. Spouse didn't answer. Oh and did I mention that it was fucking ridiculously cold and windy outside? Oh and that I was sick as a dog? Yes? Okay, just so you understand the hatred I was experiencing when I got the fucking voicemail.

After trying three more times, I went to just look for the hidden key, which was hidden, guess where, no really just guess.

Yes, it was in the mailbox. Clever eh?

I was bitter.

Alright, I'm off to bed. Gotta be up at 6, but now that the blog post is done, that could be 6:30.

Oh yeah, and thank you, thank you, thank you, for all the kind words of late. It is appreciated in a bottomless way.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Ditto yesterday

Nothing of pertinence to report. The virus continues it's rage and even Nyquil didn't give me a good night's sleep. Hope your day is better than mine.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Short post of the whiny kind

I caught a bug. Sore throat, phlegm filled lungs and well, you know the drill. Gonna lay low today and hope I can get over the first hump of it.

I've got another blistering week of work ahead, so I foresee short posts of the whiny kind on tap for this week.

I'll do my best at clever bitterness, but we shall see.

Going back to bed now after I gargle some more salt water.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

A sign of maturity?

5 things that once grossed me out that no longer provoke such a reaction.

1. Swishiness. (some of my best friends are swishy now)

2. Vaginas. (Though my interest now would best be described as clinical)

3. Baldness. (I think it looks mature and distinguished now)

4. Anything from the sea. (I don't know if this has any relationship to vaginas but I will eat pretty much any seafood now. However, I'm not ready to gobble snatch just yet. Never say never and all that.)

5. Uncircumsized penises. (I don't know what was wrong with me way back when.)

Friday, February 24, 2006

More snippets

* I avoid ordering the cheapest thing on the menu. The same goes for the most expensive.

* I've had women try to get me into bed with them. This made me uncomfortable. And it is why I never consider straight guys sexually.

* I've got a student with the most severe dandruff problem I've yet to witness. I can't say anything though because mentioning it would breach the boundary of our professional relationship.

* I never understood why people flocked to Southern California to escape cold climates. They traded the beautiful snow for smog, traffic and a high cost of living. Now, after six winters in Canada, I'm starting to understand why.

* Money is an excellent example of mass hysteria. No other creature on earth believes in it.

* If my thoughts are "real", how come I can't touch, measure, or quantify them. In fact, I can't even prove to you that they exist.

* It breaks my heart when I hear the thud of a bird crashing into a plate glass window. However, the human version makes me laugh to no end.

* Overheard on the bus, a young girl asks her parents, "Papa, what are edible underwear?" I've never seen such red faced parents before. I chuckled for hours about that.

* I exact great joy from the ownership of a shoehorn. I like everything about it. The perfect combination of practicality and cheapness all in one.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

No HNT picture this week, but

I can explain.

First off, the minimum amount of clothing on my body these days (outside the shower) is socks, long underwear, and undershirt. Spouse likes the house chilly, though he claims often to be "burning up". Second of all, the one shot I took that could qualify was in the bathroom at the hotel in Ottawa. It had absolutely hideous lighting, the kind that exposes every blemish and even seems to magnify them. Recessed florescent I believe. Anyhow, the counter was quite low and the toilet was situated between it and the shower. While doing my morning duties, I realized I could easily lift off the bowl a bit, stretch my cheek open while tilting to the side, and have that freakish light bathe my freshly wiped asshole. So I peeked. And burst out laughing. It was so shocking! Then I started exercising the sphincter.push, squeeze, push, squeeze..it was like a monster! More laughing and then I think I identified what is becoming a hemmerhoid. As I recall when I asked as a young lad, my father responded, "It's like when one of the sphinx on your sphincter gets swollen." Well, that explains the itch. Unfortunately the photo was rather blurry, probably due to my incessant giggling. (And you really don't want to see that anyway)

I beseeched spouse to let me have an inspection of his in that light, but he would have none of it.

So that's why I'm photoless, I hope you all understand.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Stirring up those nationalist feelings

If you are a recent addition to the cadre of readers for this blog (all 6) you may not know of my aversion to labels. As in defining people with them. It is why, though I am, you don't read the word "gay" much around here. It's like categorizing a whole group of people as "spinach eaters" - ridiculous! We all eat, need to eat, want to eat, so why label people by "what" they eat. Preplace "eat" with "have sex", and you should get my point.

Every couple years for the Olympics, I really don't pay much attention to the nationality of the participants. Why are we so proud that the medalist was born on our soil? (Or in some cases defected to our soil.) I think it's a lametard way to devise teams for a competition. (Sure, you can quote me.) I do like the triumphs of the human spirit, the personal stories of sacrifice and perseverance, and the breaking of previously held world records, but I couldn't care less from where the athlete hails.

The Olympics only reinforces ideas of "us" versus "them" on the world stage. When you consider that this premise pretty much accounts for all wars, it is curious that we continue to buy into it. Nevertheless, every evening we are treated to a scoreboard of medals won by each country. And the names of the individuals become irrelevant. (We should be rooting for everyone people!)

Don't even get me started on the gay Olympics, oh wait, excuse me, the (cough) Outgames.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What else is there to say but Brrrrrrr

Here you see some more evidence of the cold. The top photo shows the curved icicles we saw everywhere. They formed while it was very windy, explaining their shape.

In the second photo, you see an ice sculpture (man made) which didn't quite make it through the storm unscathed. This was on the festival grounds.

Finally, you see shivering spouse posing under a tree coated with ice.

We contemplated winter activities (skating, sliding etc) but just wanted to be cozy and warm inside.

I think Ottawa would be more fun in the summer. (And I think today's pics are clickable to see larger versions.)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Freezing cold

This is on the harrowing drive to Ottawa. 70 mile an hour winds and blowing snow. We had to take a very circuitous route to get there due to huge chain reaction accidents that had closed down the freeways. It took 4 hours to accomplish what normally takes an hour and a half.

We walked to the parliament building (this is like the equivalent of the capitol building in DC) with the wind chill of 25 below (-35C). The sun was no match for the icy razor blades of wind slicing our skin.

Here we are at the top of the Peace Tower (the center tower in the photo before this one) looking out. Doesn't it just shout "Frigid"?

I'll have more pics and details for you tomorrow. I was just hoping to hit home the theme of the weekend which was, "Fuck it's cold!"

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ta ta for now

I had to do a fair amount of schlepping yesterday during a wicked little storm when I passed by this canine waiting for its master. I tried to get the dog's attention, but he wouldn't even look at me.

We're off to Ottawa for the weekend. A weekend of checking out Canada's capital before the craziness upcoming next week. Next week, my appointment book has nearly every line filled, causing me panicky feelings. And a touch of dread. Best forget about that and enjoy the getaway.

I hope to have photos for you next week. Until then, bundle up, stay warm and enjoy the weekend.

See you Monday!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My bad

I know it's bad. Bad and wrong. Bad and wrong and ignorant.

I can name several reasons why this isn't funny, and is in reality a sad commentary on our culture.


Everytime I've seen this,

I can't help cracking up.

How about you?

Are you bad and wrong and ignorant?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Icky sushi, artichoke thorns and horseradish mayonnaise

Yesterday afternoon, as I enjoyed my mid afternoon coffee between lessons, I noticed the sushi shop sign next to the cafe. Somehow, I don't think this shop's name would do well in the states.

Then on the way to the last lesson out on Nun's Island, a rather affluent suburb, I realized I had caught the early bus, and would have 15 minutes to kill before going to the lesson. There is a large shopping center near the house, and I have stopped there before to peruse the drug store or make a deposit at the bank. I decided that I would check out the supermarket, IGA and see what kind of produce they had. This is the very same named market that we patronize in our neighborhood. But when I walked in, I think I audibly gasped as the produce section alone was as large as our own neighborhood version of a supermarket. I was thrilled to find artichokes, and ripe avocados. They never have these at our market. I strolled quickly through the rest of the market noticing that everything was 20 - 50 cents more expensive than at my branch. Ha! Still, it was a dreamy experience, so luxurious! And I bought a knife.

Then I headed over to the lesson, a weekly session with a brother and sister of Japanese parents. Fresh from my produce rush, I quickly learned that the kids did not like avocados. They made screwed up yucky faces. I told them, "Do you put salt on them? Because they're no good without salt." They seemed surprised at the suggestion. The children had never seen (with cognizance anyway) an artichoke before. I explained to them how fun they were to eat, as anything generally is with butter or mayo. I asked the mother if she had ever tried an artichoke. She blushed and explained that a friend of hers made them and didn't explain the proper way of eating it. There she was dipping the leaf into the butter and then placing the whole thing in her mouth to chew, and chew, and chew, thorn and all. When her friend bust up laughing she ran to the toilet to spit it out. Since then she has had an artichoke phobia. Then her son said, "Can we have artichokes soon. Pleaaaase." She said she guessed it was time to get over her experience and we all had a good laugh. (Really, it was a Norman Rockwell moment)

The lesson finished, I hopped the bus and train home, arriving around 7:15. Spouse was home and had some meat defrosting on the counter. He spied the artichokes and immediately started to prepare the pot. I guess he had missed them too. 40 minutes later, we sat down to hot turkey sandwiches and artichokes with mayo. The mayo had some kind of spice in it. Something spicy. About halfway through the peeling of the artichoke, I asked if he had put dijon in the mayo. He said no. The wasabi paste?

"No, I used that horseradish mayonnaise that you just bought."

"I didn't buy any horseradish mayonnaise."

"Duh, of course you did, how else would it be there. Why did you buy it anyway?"

"I really don't know what you are talking about."

This causes him to leap up, making cat furball noises, and head to the kitchen. There is something vaguely familiar about the idea of "horseradish mayonnaise" , something from a long time ago. Serge arrives with the bottle of horseradish mayonnaise. I say that perhaps it is old and we just didn't notice it much. I pick it up to search for the "best by" date. I'm not a little shocked to read October 2004 on the bottle. And then I notice that the whole mass has shrunk away from the bottle, holding the bottle form but not touching any of the sides. Jiggling freely.

I read the ingredients and notice that there are whole eggs, and that it is preservative free (dammit!) We both begin to feel slightly nauseous thinking about the two year old mayonnaise coating our insides. We run to the kitchen and throw it out and prepare fresh ramekins of regular mayo. We try to talk ourselves into thinking we'll be okay. And after all that, the hot turkey sandwiches are better than the artichokes.

We've made it to morning, so I guess we have magically avoided food poisoning. Whew!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

It's lucky I forgot

It always seems hectic on Monday morning, dragging myself out of the sloth skin of the weekend, and rushing around to face the longest day of my week. Yesterday, I was saddled up and racing out the door with my arms full, as spouse took a more leisurely approach to the start of the workweek still in his robe at the computer. I hustled to the busstop mentally checking that I hadn't forgotten anything. Keys? check. Tape player? check. Copy list? check. All the class folders? check.

The bus arrives and I feel for my wallet to get out my bus pass. Shit! No wallet. The bus leaves without me as I curse myself and head back home to wait the 15 minutes for the next bus. But what's this? There is spouse on the other side of the street waving at me. Wasn't he just in his robe? How could he know I forgot my wallet? I wait for a break in the traffic to cross the street.

"Do you know WHY I'm standing out here with no socks and no underwear?"

"Um, because I forgot my wallet?"

"Nooooooooo." dripping, nay cascading with sarcasm, "THINK about it!"

"What honey, I don't want to think about it, why are you here on the sidewalk with no socks nor underwear? Please, just tell me."

"Because they cancelled! Your morning student just called to cancel the class, so I came to catch you."

Of course, I started chuckling how I've not forgotten my wallet in many years, how I seem to be forgetting things more lately, how it's wonderful luck that I forgot my wallet this morning. Because if I hadn't forgotten it, I would have gone all the way to the lesson and wasted HOURS of time.

Plus the charming memory of rankled spouse, disheveled and pissy, waving at me on the street in the frigid morning cold.

Sometimes I love the way the universe works.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Revolutionary acts

Here in Quebec, the prevailing attitude toward the illegal downloading of music is comical. There is no contrition whatsoever. But. There is strong admonition to avoid downloading any Quebec artist's songs. That's right, nobody bats an eye if you download the entire Madonna collection, but don't admit to downloading Celine or you're a traitor.

The fact of the matter is that the way music is created, sold and distributed is changing. Technology has ushered in an ulitmatum to the music industry that says, "Change your business model!"

I am only helping nudge along this process if I download music. You see, all my life, I have had to buy albums, cassettes and discs composed of songs I did not choose. Invariably, there are tunes I have no affinity for, yet I had to pay for them anyway. (Maybe two albums in my life I have liked in entirety. Carole King's Tapestry was one.)

Now we have the itunes method so I can assemble my "disc" as I see fit. But for $1 a song, they are dreaming! That's the same price as if you buy a regular disc of 15 or so tunes. But there is no distribution cost, production and packaging costs, no music store overhead to support. When you consider that, you understand that you are being reamed with a capital R.

I told Spouse the other day, "All they need to do is sell it for a dime apiece, and I suspect more people would be willing to respect copyright law. Because you know that the artists get less than a dime a song anyway, it's all the "middlemen" who divvy up the rest of that pie.

With the internet, we can now make those middlemen obsolete and truly let the market decide. Let the artists promote their own music, let word of mouth spread, and let's even out the playing field for talent.

Expedia killed travel agencies and I can't wait for the death of music labels.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I respond to your questions

Because I post every day, I have not got into the habit of responding to the comments posted. Sometimes I feel like responding, but then I don't want to slight any other commenters, and so I don't respond, recoiling from the duty of answering everyone. Dantallion usually answers everyone which is really cool, but I just don't have the time to do it every day. That said, rest assured that I read and appreciate all the wonderful comments and do my best to reciprocate, (though this takes awhile with first-time commenters.) Here are four questions from the past couple of weeks I've decided to not let go unanswered:

Snooze asks on the topic of listening to the weather band radio every night, "Did that habit drive the Spouse insane?" Well it does, but not because of what you might think. You see the radio has a telescopic antenna, and the little nob at the end is broken off leaving a jagged metal end. He is very jittery when in bed with the radio in the dark, convinced that his eye will be gouged out by the antenna.

Dantallion poses the question for HNT this week, " Nice nipple. But had you just woken up? You've got what look like pillow lines embedded in your skin!" As a matter of fact, yes. And I couldn't understand how he saw that until I clicked on the pic which brought up a ginormous version, replete with impressions of creased bed sheets. That's what happens when you slog out of bed, realize with horror that it's HNT thursday and you've prepared nothing so you grab the camera and take shots avoiding the bedhead and puffy eyes. I didn't consider the bed pattern on the skin.

On the topic of Get Rich Quick Schemes, Farmboyz offers, " Here's my money idea:a coffee table book in which each left hand page has nine dick photos, and each right hand page has nine face photos. The idea is to try to match the dick with the face of its owner. (answers in the back of the book). What do you think? " Well, I think that's just fine. And my mind went wild thinking about the spinoff ideas, boardgames, and playing cards. But then I thought, "Who's going to want to pose for such a thing?" And there, my friend, is the proverbial fly in the ointment.

Of the Opera Singing Bus Driver, t asks, " Was he any good? " I think so. The oddness of it was distracting me from any kind of critical analysis of it. I didn't mention it before but he was bald with a long mullet from the remaining hair growing at the base of his skull.

These are but questions, quite a few comments are so clever and witty that they upstage add value to the post. Frankly, I love all the anecdotes, opinions and one-liners you commenters come up with. You're a talented group of people. Smooch!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Saturday drivel

Last night I said, "Let's take a picture!" and this was the result. Notice spouse's "over it" look.

I'm getting a little stir crazy, so it must be mid February. Though we've had bright, sunny skies lately, the cold arctic air has taken up residence and shows no signs of leaving. Sigh. January was so kind and gentle this year, I guess it's up to truculent February to find balance. And while the sun is climbing higher in the sky and the days expand, I know that snow will be in the forecast until April. It's a long road to Spring up here.

They are forecasting single digits for highs in Ottawa next weekend (-16C), I had hoped it would be cold enough for skating, but that just might be TOO cold for skating. We may simply become experts in our aquaintance with the hotel room.

This whole week has been rather blah, overall, with little excitement punctuating the monotony. The word "doldrums" comes to mind.

I got a book in the mail from my mom yesterday. "The Knitting Directory". It's a great little book detailing methods and techniques. It charms me that she went out of her way to send me that. Thanks mom!

Tonight we've got a party to go to. Actually we've got two invites. We've decided to go to the one two blocks away given the cold and the potential fun factor. I haven't called back the other invite yet to decline because I hate doing that. I feel like I have to lie, because it's not right to say that we had a better offer. Saying, "we had other plans" is just as bad. Too impersonal. I'd like to go to both to please these people, but I can't as they are at the same time. Ugh.

Well I'm off to clean the house, a chore I adore. (the sarcastic intonation goes on the word "adore") Good weekend all!

Friday, February 10, 2006


I've been voraciously consuming information on the cartoon protests. What started as something worthy of raised eyebrows a week ago, has turned into excellent fodder for classroom discussions on the topic. Thanks to Jimmy who posted a link to the images, I printed them up and brought them to class with me. A recurring comment came up from my student pool, which was "those people are brainwashed." That seems to be the only way to explain the disparity between our views that the cartoons are "harmless" and others' views that the cartoons are worthy of embassy-burning and lynch mob formation.

This has come up in 4 classes, and each time I said, "But aren't we all brainwashed in a way? Our thinking is shaped by the people, media, and culture that surrounds us."

This leads to a discussion of revered freedoms, the pros and cons of capitalism, socialized medicine (amazing the negative opinion of many Americans on the topic given that they have no experience of it first-hand) and the value of religion in general.

Finally, we have to admit (in 3 classes anyway, I had some closed minds in one class):

Our perception of the cartoons is every bit as much a result of "brainwashing" as is the violent reaction to it.

Anyway, this morning I read a wonderful op-ed piece in the LA times here. However, I only think it's wonderful because it appeals to my particular brainwashed state.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

HNT and The Aristocrats

My nipple for HNT this week. Click here and visit commenters blogs to see other participants in this week's Half-Nekkid-Thursday.

Watched "The Aristocrats" last night. It's a documentary about a joke of the same title. The joke itself is not all that funny, but the way one tells it can be hysterical. I was howling and couldn't catch my breath for a while as famous comedians delivered their own personalized versions, each more shocking than the last. Because it's really a joke about shocking people with how obscene it is. I've been daydreaming about my own version, and making myself laugh at the sickness potential of my own mind. The joke must involve scat, incest, pederasty, and more. If I post my version on the blog, it will be inundated with porn-googlers. (Just the other day, I saw that someone visited my site when I came up 2nd for the search "caughter sucks daddy's dick". I have told one joke on this blog, and there was a typo on it for "daughter". In the joke, the other three words are mentioned, thus the porn-googler visited my blog. Can I get an "Ewwww?") So I won't be posting it. Maybe if I can use code words for things, hmm, perhaps I'll think on it....

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

What would you rather have?

If you had to be stuck on a deserted island with one of the following, which would you choose and why?

1. A book store

2. A music store

3. A video store

You have a reading light, a music playing device, a tv and dvd player, and electricity.

My initial reaction is number 1, but 3 looks very enticing as well. Probably number 1 though because I read more in regular life than watch movies. Although I would miss 2, nature provides its own music.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The bitch

99% of the time, I'm so crushingly in love with our dog, Sara, that it borders on fatal attraction. For balance, the remaining 1% represents feats of such repugnance that my love for her is squelched more quickly than a masturbating teenager's hardon upon mom entering the room. (No, I'm not speaking from experience.)

Sunday started out in it's usual relaxed pace. I parked at the computer for a few hours, fed the dog and let her outside to do her business. I dressed and went out to the market while spouse slept in, way in.

When I returned, I realized that I had forgotten my key (for the first time in several years, though I was still incensed with myself) and had to pound on the door for spouse to get up and let me in. When he opened the door, a funky odor was present. I thought that perhaps spouse had let a particularly ripe one. I doffed my shoes and brought the bags to the kitchen. The kitchen seemed to contain a magnified version of the odor. I started sniffing the air to determine the location of whatever matter was dispersing the sickening aroma. Frankly, I thought the dog had shit (shat?) in the house (which she never does.)

And then I saw it. A football sized mound of vomit lay in the corner of the room. The mere sight of the mound set me to gagging as I ran out of the kitchen and said to (just woken up) spouse that it was his turn to deal with the mess. (I had cleaned up vomit already a week or so ago.)

Sara, our lovely yellow lab, has a thing for cat turds. When I say "has a thing for", I mean "loves to devour". And it's just our luck that we have a crazy cat lady next door who has, count 'em, 14 cats. They like to creep into our yard and leave gifts for Sara. Oh, we try to get them before she does, but we are not very successful because cats BURY their shit. And Sara is good at digging them out, a la pigs and truffles.

Anyway, spouse went to clean it up and he gagged the whole time. The act of cleaning it released more of the vile odor and set me to gagging as well in the other room. The two terrible smells of dog vomit and cat shit swirling around us, we were on the verge of vomiting ourselves. The dog just watched, wagging her tail.

Considerable time will be required before further kisses are dispensed.

Monday, February 06, 2006


* Every night when I go to bed, I listen to the "weather band" radio for a few minutes. It used to be real people broadcasting, but now it is computer generated voices. I've had this habit since before puberty.

*Speaking of bedtime, I am only able to sleep on my stomach. I do not use a pillow under my head, instead clutching one in the crook of my arm. It doesn't have to be a pillow; any towel, blanket or even stuffed animal will do.

* I used to choose window, now it's aisle all the way, baby.

* When it's hazy, I think Mother Nature is bored.

* 3 months ago, I stopped recording every transaction in my checkbook. I'm still not comfortable letting go of this long term habit, but can no longer find a logical reason to keep it up.

* Woody Allen says, "90% of success is showing up." My corollary is, "90% of successfully speaking a 2nd language is confidence."

* I believe it is better to adapt and make do than to complain about it.

* If, as the bumper sticker says, "we are spiritual beings having human experiences", I would wager that the spirit world is getting pretty sick of our shit.

* The only sport I truly excel at is bodysurfing. Sadly, I live far from the ocean now.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

This only begins to describe my loathing

I hate parties. I hate to throw them and I hate to attend them. And yet I do attend them, casting off my anathema and fulfilling my social obligations. At every invite, I excitedly accept, only to rue the words moments after they've left my mouth. Once in a while my abhorrence for large gatherings gets the best of me and I flake. But not yesterday.

Yesterday was unflakable because confirmation was given and the host purchased food and alcohol based on the confirmations. So I went. It was an 8pm to 3am affair and I decided to go early and get it over with. I was out of there by 11. Out of over a hundred, I knew only the "going away" person, and no one else, until about 10 when a friend of a friend showed up who didn't know anyone there either. She and her date clung to me (which I was grateful for) until I took off. There was music, food, booze, and small talk. The francophones and anglophones slowly congealed on different sides of the rented banquet hall. By the time I left, the music had become so loud that communication was rendered useful only by shouting into someone's ear.

I walked out of there at 11, free! Free at last! And though it was pouring down an icy rain as I made my way through a large park to the metro, I burst into song, "Singin' in the rain". (How gay, I know.) It was the best part of the night.

After that, I stopped and strolled through the village to see if I could catch up with Spouse, he having gone to a different party. I ducked into a couple of usual haunts for him and didn't see him, but instead was seduced by the lottery slot machines against the back wall. I popped in a $20 and a half an hour later, after having gone down to $3, hit a good one and walked away with $35. Glad I stopped. I decided I could treat myself to cabfare and was home at 12:15.

I was proud of myself for staying out past midnight. (I acknowledge that you may find that funny.)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

No death threats, please

I'm a little disturbed by the whole brou-ha-ha over the cartoon depictions of the prophet. I'm not surprised about the Muslim reaction (I remember Salman Rushdie) but more about some countries and press denouncing the depictions as insensitive. Insensitive? I would be put to death living in their countries simply for being a homosexual. Here, let's tune in to some of the "sensitivity" of the protesters and Islamic leaders raging across the globe at the moment:

Early Friday, Palestinian militants threw a bomb at a French cultural
center in Gaza City, and many Palestinians began boycotting European goods,
especially those from Denmark.

"Whoever defames our prophet should be executed," said Ismail Hassan,
37, a tailor who marched through the pouring rain along with hundreds of others
in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"Bin Laden our beloved, Denmark must be blown up," protesters in
Ramallah chanted.

An imam at the Omari Mosque in Gaza City told 9,000
worshippers that those behind them should have their heads cut off.

"If they want a war of religions, we are ready," Hassan Sharaf, an imam
in Nablus, said in his sermon.

Don't worry, I'm aware this is a sampling from fringe extremists and that the vast majority of Muslims are just trying to get through the day like us. But still.

Really, there should have been no brou-ha-ha because it's a smattering of pissed off people, pissed off over a couple of satirical cartoons. Normally that is handled with a nasty letter to the editor, but no, this has become a WORLD EVENT.

It's like a bad movie I tell you.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Pics around town yesterday + PV tale

First stop yesterday was at the 25th floor looking over the city.

After that, I took a leisurely stroll through the park.

This facade caught my eye. That face is intense.

And I happened upon some really interesting graffiti art.

And now a little journal excerpt from the Puerto Vallarta vacation last month:

Sometimes, I'm a mean guy. Here in Puerto Vallarta, where everyone is on vacation, conversation comes easily around town, on the beach, and in the clubs. Origins and duration of stay are the most likely ice breakers while in the back of everyone's mind is "is he/she/they pursuit worthy?" But there are the stand-offish attitude throwing types too, denigrating you somehow with a simple tone invoked while saying hello. I like to call them "tudes". I'm rather a civility nazi and exacting revenge on these types is easy. Since everyone vacationing frequents the same clubs, restos and beaches, repeated sightings of people met is commonplace.

Today, when we passed by some of these tudes, I remarked loudly to spouse, "Yah, but there's something funky about his butt." And then, like five minutes later, we passed another one and I almost burst out laughing as I said, "I didn't know you could get acne on your back." Of course, I try to zero in on the one possible weak point of the physique as I'm sure this is their emotional achilles heel as well.

Cruel? Perhaps. I don't care if you are the vilest hunk of flesh to look at on the planet, I will speak to you, smile and be open to any other gifts you have to offer.

Is it wrong to expect the same from others? Or just naive?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dance of glee

God I love Priceline. Have you tried it? It's a site that allows you to bid for hotel rooms (and car rentals and airline tickets) in a particular city at a particular quality level. If your bid is accepted, your credit card is charged and your reservation is prepaid.

Yesterday, I was poking around looking for getaway arrangements for the weekend of the 17th. I was looking at Ottawa because they have the Winterlude festival going on. Also, I've never been to Ottawa even though it's a scant 90 minute drive from here. It looked like a fun weekend, skating on the longest skateway in the world (on the Rideau Canal) and enjoying the winter playground with slides, ice sculptures and sleighs. The Museum of Civilization also looks highly interesting.

Before you bid on Priceline, you should always check over at Bidding for Travel to see what hotel rooms are successfully bit at in the area and quality level you are seeking.

So I went and bid $55 for a 3 star property. (This is the level for your Hiltons, Marriots, Radissons, Sheratons and Hyatts) It was accepted. Then you go to the website of the hotel you just purchased to find that the "guaranteed lowest rate on the web" is more than double what you paid. (put another way, we paid 40% of "the lowest rate")

Then you do a dance of glee, and get down with your bad self.

I also noticed on the Radisson site (our hotel) that pets are "OK" and I am interested in bringing our Sara instead of foisting her on Spouse's mom again. But how does this work? Can you leave your pet in the room while you are out? Do the maids have to clean around the dog? What if the dog makes a "boo-boo"? Do they have a designated dog pooping area? These are the questions I'll be posing on the phone later today.

Any of you ever stay in a hotel room with your dog? If so, is it more hassle than it's worth?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bus tales

I get on the bus. It is dark and the weather is inclement. It seems as most people have already made it to their cubby holes since the streets are nearly empty. The bus contains scarcely half a dozen passengers. I locate a seat I like near the window and begin to zone out for the ten minute ride to the subway. Suddenly, operatic singing breaks out. The bus is an echo barn and my first thought is, "geez, the driver sure has got the radio on loud." Behind me, I hear two teenaged girls giggling. Slowly, it dawns on me that the bus driver is singing. Clearly using his diaphragm, he is belting out one mean solo. The singing stops in conjunction with the bus as new passengers are taken aboard. Then the singing begins again. I watch the new passengers as the same consternation at the "noise" crosses their faces. Then one by one, smirks and smiles and raised-eyebrow glances around as they too realize that we have an opera singing bus driver.

And the smiling is contagious, as the teenaged girls continue giggling. At the end of the bus route at the subway, we all file off smiling and thanking the driver. What good cheer this man has spread, I think as I descend into the tunnel, all because of his lack of self consciousness. He knows it's odd, but doesn't care, and in a strange magical way brightened our day.

Thank you opera singing bus driver man!