Saturday, January 31, 2009

Don't go see it

It was nominated for 13 academy awards so I thought, wow it should be pretty good. Plus, Brad was pretty good in the other movie Burn After Reading, so I decided to go see the Curious Case of Benjamin Button yesterday. It was housecleaner day so I had an excuse. What a dire mistake that was. I sat there for the whole three hours but almost left twice I was so bored. The only time I laughed was at the end when the credits (finally!) came on and it said the film was based on the "short story" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. How do you turn a short story into a three hour snooze fest? And Pitt is nominated for best actor? Are we awarding it for the most stoic and monotone performance? Because although we saw plenty of neat make-up on Brad, we saw no range of emotion. Monotone. Stoic. Ugh! The whole time I felt like I was talking to someone who was telling me a story and I wanted them to hurry up and get to the point, what is the purpose of your story, c'mon let's go! No. There was really no point except to watch Brad age backwards. Lame! (As might be my use of exclamation points this morning.)

I've only seen three of the nominated films, Milk, this piece of crap and Slumdog Millionaire. Slumdog was the best movie I've seen in years so I'm pretty sure it will win. I didn't see the Reader nor Frost/Nixon, so I could be talking out of my ass too.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Me me me, blah blah blah

This is just outside our place. I went out to shovel the walkway and dig out the car and since the sun was out, I took a little walk around. It's not the biggest snow dump I've seen, but sheesh it seems like it snows 9 days out of 10 this winter. It takes 5 days before the snow gets removed after a big dump like we just had and that will be just in time for the blizzard they are talking about hitting on Monday and Tuesday. One good thing? I don't have any contracts in Timbuktu this session, so I don't need the car at all.

Speaking of work, I finally finished the level 0 kid I've had the last month. Just in time for all the new contracts to start. And it looks like I'm going to be uber-busy, I've already had to turn down offers. Again I say, what recession?

And boy but I've been a sloth lately. I just want to sleep all the time. Even when I wake up in the morning now I don't get up. I stay there for a good hour, sometimes more if I fall back asleep, before I get up. Then while the coffee is brewing, I cozy up on the sofa with the blanket. Used to be that the need for nicotine propelled me out of bed each morning, but no more. Then when it's shower time and I've finished with the washing of the body parts, I sit down and do a "warmy" where I turn up the hot water and relax for several minutes. This was something I used to do as a teenager, only then I really might fall asleep in the shower and my parents would have to bang on the door to wake me up. Now it's just relaxing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Photo stream

I think one of the reasons I take so many pictures is that I don't trust myself to remember. Ever since I was a child, I've been a picture taker. Gosh I was terrible as a kid at taking pictures. I have old albums (come to think of it, the "old" is probably redundant now) with pictures of the grass, the tire, the sky. One day, I think it was my father who told me but I'm not really sure, I learned that pictures without people in them aren't interesting. I remember how ashamed I felt, I mean here all these years I was focusing on things instead of people. This explains why I have hundreds of subsequent pictures of the round-the-country-trek I did with my best friend after graduating from high school with every shot either of me or him pointing at the object of interest. Somehow, having people in them didn't really make the pictures more interesting either. Looking at them today, it's hard to access the memories on my head's hard drive, but the pictures draw them forth or recreate them, which if you think about it, really makes no difference. All my life too I've been drawn to the idea of taking a photography class. Every time the community college semester started or there was a community center class happening, I'd check out the description and always be turned off by the fact that my current equipment wasn't adequate. What was wrong with my little instamatic? They always wanted you to have a 35mm or nowadays a big fancy I don't even know what they're called, but they kind of resemble the old style 35mm cameras. So elitist. I'm an amateur, why do I need to futz with lenses, just teach me how to have an eye for things. Turns out, you can learn a lot of that by trial and error, and even (gasp how novel) by reading books. Still, I think trial and error work best. My favorite tips about picture taking are one, try to have a foreground and background focus, two, things oriented so that your focus is drawn into an L shape are often pleasing, and three, avoid centering the object you're photographing. I really suck at the lighting part of photography and that's something I'm putting on this year's goal list to improve. (Eek, this reminds me that I'm late getting that done.) Still, the main reason I take lots of pictures is to remember, because especially as I get older, that is one skill that is slipping away.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Let's Google

Ugh, I had to get up with the alarm clock this morning. I've really been sleeping 9-10 hours a night lately (don't really know why, but I'll take that over insomnia any time) and now to so harshly have to be at work at 7am and I don't get finished until 3. Anyhow, there's no time for a proper blog post so I'll just google something and take a picture of the result. What should we try? I think I'll stay on target with the brown theme. Which reminds me of this picture. Let's try googling "inside the butthole".

The first on the list is a question someone posted on wikianswers. The response is that you cannot insert your own fist inside yourself. Though I don't have (ahem) first hand knowledge, I believe that answer is false.

The second thing is a song that you can buy for nine cents. I am curious about the song since the title is rather perplexing.

The third
one cracks me up. It is an actual game. Doubtlessly invented by a teenager. You can go and play it if you'd like.

Hey this took longer than I thought. It was fun but I'm running late for work now.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday in the house

When I was making my fabulous roast beef and brie and honey mustard sandwich (again) yesterday, a piece of roast beef fell onto the floor and it's just instinct to yell, "Sara!" So I called Sara and spouse reminded me that she's never, ever coming back. This made me mildly bitter so I didn't pick up the fallen roast beef. Later, when spouse noticed the fermenting morsel of meat on the floor, he started bitching about the fact that I had left it there. I said, "See, there's a good way for you to miss having a dog. Now it's your job to pick up after me when I make a mess in the kitchen." And I meant it too.

So then last night after I went to bed, he got it in his head to clip his toenails (he may have had some encouragement from me as I shrieked when he clawed me with them in bed the night before) and though I appreciate the fact that he gathered his clippings to throw them away (instead of putting them on the floor like the slob that I am) my problem was that he never got around to the throwing them away part. So first thing in the morning I was greeted with a pile of the toenail clippings right there on the coffee table. I took a picture (of course) but since spouse cleaned them up right away when he got up, I promised I wouldn't post it. Count yourselves lucky.

I made a second attempt at breadmaking yesterday. I was on the phone to em asking about the recipe she had sent me (I'm still waiting for Rox's recipe) and I scoffed at the 1/4 of a teaspoon measurement in there. How am I supposed to eyeball a quarter of a teaspoon? She laughed at me and assured me that if I had a teaspoon, I also had a 1/4 teaspoon on the measuring spoon ring. She was right. It was a nice surprise to find that I already had the tool. It was irritating though to have to go out and buy powdered milk. Who keeps that on hand anyway? I had no idea where to look for it but got lucky when I was in the coffee aisle (to get coffee) and spotted it. So there in the picture you see the whole wheat bread, successfully made. Bread making recipes are so vague though because every instruction is approximate. Put in 5 to 6 cups of flour and let it set for "about an hour". I hate that. How can you make a consistent loaf? (Insert your own adolescent joke here.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Facebook and food

I have been getting into Facebook more and more as more people find me. I only got on there for the games but now I enjoy browsing people's status updates and whatnot too. The thing I don't understand is all the "notifications" and the requests for all sorts of inane things. Come take this quiz, go send someone a muffin, poke me, hug me, trade me, blah blah blah. I so want to push the "ignore all" button in the top right corner but it seems redundant since I'm already doing that. I couldn't even get all the notifications on one screen so the shot above is only a partial list. Does this make me a "bad" facebooker?

This sandwich was so delicious yesterday that I took a picture. I'll admit it looks a wee bit disgusting but there's only three things in there besides the bread. Honey mustard, roast beef and brie. Yum!

See that? 55% less fat than a serving of chips! This caught my eye in the market yesterday because I had been horrified by my morning weigh in. 186lbs - more than the scale has ever reported to me. Anyway, don't let the label fool you. Sure there's less fat but you can't stop eating this stuff. Serge made me take it away from him at one point. It really is the perfect sweet and salty snack. You've been duly warned.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Return of Snippets

* Regarding the failed bread comments from yesterday. Really? I bought the packets of yeast and used them *the same day*. Is it really possible that the yeast was dead, er inactive? Should I bring my failed loaves to the market to get a refund?

* What's really shaming me is that I used the beginner's recipe that they suggested. One of the directions was "put the loaves into the refrigerator from 2-12 hours." Couldn't they have narrowed that time down a bit? I figured it meant any amount of time from 2 to 12 hours and so I chose 3 hours. Anyway I'm only making bread because we got a new Kitchenaid mixer for Christmas.

* I started taking St John's Wort again. I had stopped because Rox says it stops working after a while and I wanted it for when I inevitably get the sun starved winter blues. I'm thinking seriously about getting a lightbox too.

* I got the soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire. Awesome workout music. Amazon was selling it for only $5 but then they changed their minds when they found out I was in Canada. So I got it from itunes (Canada) for $10.

* One sucky thing about living here (aside from the freaking elephant in the room that is WINTER) is that the broadcasting rules are all fucked up different and that makes it impossible to watch anything from hulu or comedy central for example. We just get a notice saying "We are unable to broadcast content to individuals located outside of the United States." Yes I know about proxies but the free ones aren't reliable for more than a few minutes at a time.

* This article is very interesting. Apparently we all live in a 3D world that is projected from a 2D surface, much like a Hologram.

* I can't remember from whose blog I read this, but it turned my monitor into a digital picture frame, changing the desktop image every hour. (You can set the frequency yourself.)

* I do know where I got turned on to this guy on Youtube. Thanks Gregory for the hilarity!

* Shameful confession time: Okay so when Blue Lagoon came out, I was a teenager and I saw the film and couldn't believe they showed Christopher Atkin's pee-pee, and then I went to see the movie like three or four more times and even recorded the film on cassette tape. Then I saw an article in People magazine about him and his family and was able to extrapolate his hometown from the article so I called information and got the number to his house and then when (I think it was his mother) answered, and told me he wasn't there but did I want to leave a message, I said, "No thanks, I'm just a fan calling...." And how retarded did I feel, I mean it was clear I was a GUY calling. Oh the shame, the terrible shame of it all.

* Now it's your turn for a shameful confession.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Refusing to say the "d" word

I woke up late today so this is going to be brief. I've been sleeping way more than normal lately, nine to ten hours a night, and I think it's the season, this gloomy, cold and never-stops-snowing winter we're having up here. I tried to make bread yesterday. I say tried because success was elusive. I don't think any rising occurred but I can't figure out why. I followed the instructions. Maybe I didn't talk nice enough to the dough. Then I played the lottery since the jackpot was 35 million. Not only did I lose, but not one of my numbers came up. At least nobody won so it will roll over for Saturday. I know it's a sucker's bet but it's fun to sit around dreaming about what you'd do if you won. In about 25 minutes I've got to be on the bus to go over and teach the level 0 student I have been teaching since before Christmas. He's actually making complete present tense sentences now which is good. But boy it's been tough on my patience as I've spent 35 hours with him with 10 to go. This is a student who never takes notes, never completes homework and is late to every class. I'll be glad when it's over next week.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I've never been all that interested in politics. Why get all worked up over someone who will turn out to be a liar anyway? Everything promised on the campaign trail gets compromised and watered down and oftentimes completely reversed. Still, I have to admit that the last eight years have been difficult for me as I watched a complete boob hoodwink Americans into voting for him and then watch as he destroyed our credibility in the world, invaded a sovereign nation (but not for the oil, for the WMDs wink wink) and pushed the nation to the brink of financial ruin. Nobody likes an I told you so, but I told you so!

I haven't been carried away by Obama the way some people have. Sure I like his message, but I can't help being cynical. Yesterday I went to a little cafe for lunch where they had a tv and they were showing the inauguration ceremony. It was hard not to swell with (not pride really, but something happy and emotional) feeling seeing over a million people out there freezing their butts off chanting Obama. And then when he stumbled on the swearing in, I thought it was so human of him, and then his excellent speech with not too subtle jabs at Bushco. Good for him. I was surprised too at how the Quebecers in that little cafe were just as riveted to the screen as I. They know a momentous occassion when they see one too. I had always said that my country wouldn't vote for a black man and I have never been happier to have been wrong in my life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mundane Monday

This is why I should stop writing every day. It's mundane, how can you stand it? You totally have my permission to skip this post. Heck we should be watching the Obamarama anyway, shouldn't we?

I had to get out of the house yesterday since the housecleaner was coming. I had a list of errands to run and I wanted to squeeze in a movie too. It's been snowing for three days straight but it's okay because the temperature rose to minus 10C, so I didn't even wear my tuque. Last thursday morning when I went to work it was minus 29C, so now minus 10 seems practically warm. Weird. I had to run over to Canadian Tire to return the shower head we had bought on Saturday. Two of the little spray points were out of whack and squirted the water sideways. It was made in China, but I'm still surprised they didn't squirt water through it first before selling it. It was a pretty easy exchange. After that I went to the post office and drug store and had lunch at McDonalds. Why oh why do I get sucked into going there? I blame the coupons this time, they sent me a bunch last week so lunch came cheap. I was near the AMC22 so I popped in to see what was playing and decided to see a matinee of Slumdog Millionaire. What a satisfying film. I cried twice in it and absolutely loved the music. There's a scene at the beginning that was MADE for me and I laughed and squirmed ridiculously in my seat. I'll just say this - it's a moment with a whole lotta poo. After the movie I went back home to shovel some more snow (It has been snowing for four days straight) and arrived to discover the housekeeper hadn't come. I could have stayed home and cozy after all. I'm glad I went out though, this winter cocooning thing can get depressing.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday fun

We had a belated holiday dinner with the ESL teachers yesterday. What a treat. We went to The Keg steakhouse. It was one of those evenings where the hours passed effortlessly and the conversation and laughter never lulled. We stayed so long that the server asked us to pay and go to the bar if we wanted anything else. Poor guy, Sunday nights are usually early ones in the restaurant biz.

It was just yesterday that I got the play on words for Wile E Coyote. Wily. Duh. It only took me forty years. I used to love that show. The winner of the Darwin Awards reminded me of the cartoon:
The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering metal embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car. The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene. Police investigators finally pieced together the mystery. An amateur rocket scientist... had somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Off, actually a solid fuel rocket) that is used to give heavy military transport planes an extra 'push' for taking off from short airfields. He had driven his Chevy Impala out into the desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to the car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the JATO! The facts, as best as could be determined, are that the operator of the 1967 Impala hit the JATO ignition at a distance of approximately 3.0 miles from the crash site. This was established by the scorched and melted asphalt at that location. The JATO, if operating properly, would have reached maximum thrust within 5 seconds, causing the Chevy to reach speeds well in excess of 350 mph and continuing at full power for an additional 20 -25 seconds. The driver, and soon to be pilot, would have experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners, causing him to become irrelevant for the remainder of the event. However, the automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet leaving a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock. Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable. However, small fragments of bone, teeth and hair were extracted from the crater, and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel. Epilogue: It has been calculated that this moron attained a ground speed of approximately 420-mph, though much of his voyage was not actually on the ground.
Has this ever happened to you? There's a guy at the SAQ (provincial liquor store), a cashier, that is so stunningly beautiful that I'm nervous and atwitter when I pay for my things. When he says "bonjour" to me, I blush and say it back. When he says "Merci" upon the completion of the transaction I get all flummoxed and think, "He said MERCI to me, OMG!" I can honestly say that no stranger has ever had that effect on me. But if you only saw his eyes. Oh and spouse concurs with me. I can't imagine he'll be working there for long since he will surely be discovered in the modeling or (we can hope can't we) porn business. Happy Monday peeps!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Viewed by numbers

* This is my 1182 post.

* This is my 201st consecutive day without cigarettes.

* This is my 3056th day living in Montreal.

* This is my 5630th day with Spouse.

* This is my 15,880th day on Earth.

* So I've spent approximately a fifth of my life in Montreal and a third of my life with Spouse.

* I've also spent almost a fifth of my life enduring Bush in the white house. (I think he will go down in history as the one who ruined the great nation.)

* We have two television sets in the house and one stored in the garage. We only watch the one.

* We have 4 different snow shovels.

* We have had over four feet of snow this season.

* I have zero watches.

* I have 1259 songs on my ipod.

* We have 18 cases of toilet paper in the garage. Each case lasts 44 weeks.

* There are 18 people with the same name as me in the US.

* Here is a fun calculator for dates.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Around the house

Here's a postcard I received from Beth as part of the Postcard Project. Her reminder is always valid: People Matter.

I just noticed that it wasn't Polar Spring, which would be logical considering our proximity. They better not be shipping that clear from Poland. Sheesh.

I took this out of the paper last month and taped it to the wall in the office. Serge was horrified, but since we still haven't painted this room, what's the big deal? I wanted it as a reminder that we should go skiing this year. We haven't gone even once in 8 years here. Still, now that we are in the sub-zero icebox, nothing outdoors is fun. I heard they even closed down the ski lifts because the skiers got frostbite riding up. Maybe March will be a better time.

Serge started a list on the refrigerator. I should encourage him to write more often. Here's something telling: sandwich is spelled the same in French.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I'm having trouble getting back into the blogging regime. I think I'll do away with my "every day" posting routine. I did it for three and a half years so I figure I've adequately proven that I can do it. It's just that I don't want to anymore. It's easier to stay in touch with people now with Facebook and all my good stories have been told already so the blog has just become a scrapbook for our life. Which is fine, it's just that our life is simply not that interesting 365 days a year. (I could turn it into a poo log I suppose, but that'd likely reduce readership to zero.) Speaking of poo, it was funny over at my dad's house during the holidays. I was ill if you remember with a particularly nasty case of the runs. Dad and I were discussing in great detail our bowel movements, which truth be told, is just natural for us. We refer to bowel movements in terms of success. "Hey dad, I've been successful three times today, how about you?" His wife pointed out that before she moved in with him 20 years ago, she had never had a discussion such as we have. She confessed it took some years getting used to. "It was just something we never talked about before I met your dad," she revealed. There are special words we use too so that we don't draw attention to ourselves in public. Torquing is probably the most common. "Can you wait for me for a few minutes, I've got to torque." (This is short for "torquing a dump".) If any blame is to be laid (or is it lain, I can never remember) for my pooclivities, it is to be heaped on my father. Certainly mom never shared the excremental zeal of papa. So now you know.

In other news, I had that phone test yesterday which was an oral communication test. I hope I expressed myself well. I was awfully nervous and all the questions were hypothetical work dilemmas. Ugh. Still, I wasn't being tested on the solution to the dilemmas but rather how clearly and expertly I trotted out my answers. I have no idea how I did. I'm sure I sounded a bit like I do here in the blog, which is admittedly all over the place at times. You'll be glad to know that the above paragraph's topic never came up on the test. I did crack a joke at one point when I was asked to explain how I would go about solving a computer problem. "You mean after I kicked the machine across the room?" Crickets. So I said, "Uh, that was a joke." Then I got a courtesy laugh. At the end of the interview, I asked about when the results would be available. In about a month was the response. So I'm going to try to put it out of my mind now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This n that

The big freeze is here. We'll be below zero F for several days now. In anticipation, I went out to find a better jacket for myself. My leather/wool one just doesn't cut it on days like these so I went downtown to the spookily quiet underground shopping malls to find one. I had seen one at the Gap in Vancouver that I liked so I went there first. "We are all out of winter jackets," the salesman informed me, "We have the spring collection now." I thought this was retarded since winter lasts until April up here. No matter though, I ended up finding a nifty snowboarding jacket at Winners. Winners is like Ross or Marshall's in the states.

In other news, I got a call from the government in response to the job I applied for in July. Yes, as in six months ago. I'm having some kind of interview over the phone tomorrow. It's a psychological test as well. Today, I'm going to review everything about the department I applied to work in so that I can sound knowledgeable and professional. I'd better review what I put on my resume as well so I don't screw up. I would really like this position so fingers crossed everyone!

Here's what I want to know: who signed me up for these uber-conservative mailing lists? So lame. Every headline is just oozing condescension on anything liberal. I'm not a big fan of Daily Kos or the Huffington Post because there is inherent bias and the same goes with these guys. How are we edifying ourselves if we constantly look for validation of our opinions instead of constantly questioning the validity of our opinions? There is a big difference.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

12 of 12 Chicago edition

Chicago was so much fun. Although I couldn't completely shake the guilt I felt for booking the trip in such a rash and irresponsible way, I think it was good practice for me. I see how I've grown so routinized and unspontaneous over the years and wrapped myself up in my daily rituals like they were my favorite blanket. That's not a totally bad thing, but it seems like cheating in a way, as if I'm living life lazily. So flying off to Chicago on a whim for three nights was probably a great reminder for me to loosen up more often. We ate, we saw shows, we tripped around town, rode the El, ate deep dish pizza, had vacation sex and endured it snowing nearly the entire time. We seem to have this effect on places. Everywhere we go it snows. We can't go anywhere now though because we spent more money than we should have and it will take months and months to replenish. So some picky-poos for 12 of 12. Remember it snowed the whole time so many of the photos came out "black and white" even though they weren't . Like this one of the John Hancock building enshrouded in the clouds.

There is an observatory at the top, but we waited for the final morning to go up when the clouds were higher up.

Our hotel, The Allerton, was on Michigan Ave, aka The Magnificent Mile, and we head out on foot the first day to do a long walk around town. The temperature wasn't too bad, around 30 F, but Serge hadn't brought a tuque with him so he bought a souvenir one to wear.

The architecture was really interesting in this town. It kind of reminded me of a mini New York.

There are lots more pictures of Serge since I'm the camera hound.

In Millenium park, there's a huge kidney bean shaped object made to have a reflective surface. It made for some interesting photos. In this one you can see me in the middle and Serge walking toward the skyline.

Here we are again. I thought this photo came out like a face. Serge and I are the nostrils.

Waiting for a train to take us around the "Loop", it was snowing really heavily. That's what I was trying to capture in this picture. Instead, the girl on the cell phone with the huddling pigeons became the focus. I like it.

Looking to the left at the same spot.

In the guidebook it said we had to try "Italian Meat Subs" and "Deep Dish Pizza". We did. It was good but I'll stick with poutine and Montreal smoked meat thanks.

On the morning of our departure the weather let up so we went to the top of the John Hancock building. (From the first photo, remember?) This is looking down at the lakefront. The skyscrapers looked like legos to me. So small from up here.

They give you a little headphone set so David Schwimmer can tell you all about the city.

Shortly after this we checked out and rode the el back to the airport. I'm glad we went and also glad to be home. We both decided that we want to revisit during a warmer month as it looked like it would be even more fun then. Another year perhaps.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Trip notes and pics #3

I haven't even caught up with the blogs and I'm off traveling again. I think I'm up to "L" right now. There were over 1600 posts in my bloglist when I got back from the trip. I don't think I'll get much farther through that list since today I've got to prep for another junket. I still can't believe we're doing this and almost wish we weren't. No use playing that tape though, it's nonrefundable. Might as well be excited.

After Vancouver, we headed down to more milder weather in Southern California. We upgraded to first class (Alaska lets you do this for $50 if seats are available when you check in) which would have been more fun if I didn't get the chills. I was coming down with something. My first explosion came right after we deplaned. Then I shat water every ten minutes for the whole next two days. It was dreadful.

Here's Sonny, Donna's dog. I guess he's starting to get hip trouble which made me sad.

The next day we went to the racetrack with dad and grandma (who's taking this shot). It was a beautiful day but crapping ten times at the track is no gift.

I finally started to feel better for the annual gingerbread men decorating extravaganza. Here is a portion of our efforts.

On the last day, we went over to dad's. He's here with Tiki, the new chihuahua who is pretty skittish with strangers, but quite at ease in his lap.

We took the other dog, Kira, to the dog park for a walk around. I loved being around all the frolicking doggies.
That evening was our "3 Kings" celebration, a second Christmas of sorts, and the sky treated us to this wonderful display. The last sunset of the trip and it was awesome.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Trip notes and pics #2

It was hard going back to work yesterday. Back to reality. At martini time I started poking around travel deals which is something I do sometimes, looking where I could go at the drop of a hat. Travelocity has last minute packages and I like looking there. I never act upon the deals, usually because I'm tied down here with work. I found a good deal for a luxury hotel getaway to Chicago and when Serge got home from happy hour (he was pretty lit) I told him about it and he said, "Let's Go!" Neither of us has ever been into the city of Chicago. So I pushed the (nonrefundable, nonchangeable) button and this morning I'm trying to push away those regretful feelings you get when you acted in a drunken haste. Even though it's a deal, it's still a lot of money. We leave tomorrow and come back Sunday.

I know I've already posted on Vancouver, but that first day was so lovely that we headed out for a full city tour on foot. We started here at Place Canada near our hotel.

We walked from there across town to the beach, which was blanketed with snow. The palm trees seemed out of place in that snow.

The next day was rainy so we went to the science center. I liked the optical illusion above. If you click on it for the bigger version you'll see that the circles seem to be spinning.

Serge liked this one. It took a long time to prove to him that square A and square B are the same color.

Even the bathroom had little sciency educational tidbits. Still, they stayed clear of scat info.

This machine showed what you look like older. It was scary. And I didn't know your face gets longer as you age.

After that we took a trip on the Skytrain, an elevated train that snakes around the outer city. The rain ended and we got some good outdoor shots at the end of the day.

Finally, we had dinner at the train station that night. I had the shrimp curry, which was a huge, huge mistake. I didn't know it then, but it would cause gastric meltdown for the three next days.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Trip notes and pics #1

We got back Monday morning at 2:15. We were awoken at 4:30am Sunday to get to the airport for an early morning flight to Salt Lake City. For some reason, there was no ticket in the system for Serge. A panicked and assholey version of me called Orbitz to get it cleared up. From there, we connected to Atlanta for a 3 1/2 hour layover and we finally landed in Burlington at 11:15. Even our luggage made it! We took a cab to the hotel where we had left our car 2 weeks prior and headed for home. I never knew sitting on one's ass was so exhausting, but I assure you it is. A little over 18 hours door to door. Too long. Anyway, I thought I'd trot this out over a few posts starting with the beginning. Burlington.

We decided to leave early because of a big snowstorm predicted. Serge had fallen sick the day before and was running to the bathroom every ten minutes shitting water, cramping, and even vomiting. He got it together enough to hold it for the 3 hour drive and after checking into our hotel, we headed to the "downtown" of Burlington, a cute University town in Northern Vermont. It was butt cold, man. We kept dashing into stores to escape it. We were looking forward to getting out of here and away from the snow.

The next day, the slated snowstorm day that we had left early to avoid bore down and we decided to drive to the Ben and Jerry Factory since it was only 2 exits down the interstate. Little did we know 2 exits was 26 miles. It was pretty scary and when we got there, there were 8 employees milling around and just us there. Serge and I got a private tour with the goofy guide. Vermont really reminded me of that old show Newhart when he ran the Inn in Vermont. You really don't know if you are supposed to laugh or not, never quite sure if something was said as a joke.

The next morning we were offered 2 free round trip tickets in the US to give up our seats, but we declined, eager to be on vacation in milder climes. Ha! Seattle was a cruel joke, snow everywhere, and a city that I promise you is totally inept at dealing with snowfall. Driving was a nightmare. I saw a lady digging her car out with an ice scoop and another using a baseball cap, the brim as the shovel.

It was just one night in Seattle though before we went to the cottage the folks had rented for this family holiday. It was out on the Kitsap peninsula at Port Gamble. Brother Chris, Serge and I shared it with them for 5 days. Here was the view from our room.

I haven't spent this much time with Chris (now a Phd!) since we were kids and we fell easily into a comfortable rhythm. It's funny, nostalgia seems like the glue that bonds family together.

Mom in one of her elements - the kitchen. The other is the sea of course. Here she is making hot buttered biscuits at the cottage. They were divine.

At Christmas day, we enjoyed lots of food and champagne and enjoyed watching the kids open their gifts. One of them received a kit of tricks that included this fake dog poo. He was thrilled to receive this kit and it was so cute seeing that enthusiasm I once felt for these kinds of gags. Oh I still like them, but that electric giddyness he was exuding was just like me at that age. So cute. Anyway, included in that kit was also a "snake in a can" trick only this one seemed decidedly less explosive coming out of the can. Maybe they had some lawsuits? Here, watch the brother show you.