Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This and that

Isn't she a beauty? Even if you don't think so, the price was right. Mother-in-law decided to give us this car (which we've been wheedling her to BUY) for our birthdays and Christmas this year. Now we don't have to carry everything from the market and we won't have to rent a car to go camping. In short, she has given us more freedom. We will still use public transport most of the time, but if we want to get out of the city, it will be easy now. Hooray!

I spent yesterday in a recording studio doing voiceover for a CD that is part of a high school ESL textbook. I played a radio dj, talkshow host, interviewer, some roles in a modernized version of Romeo and Juliet and a bunch of Narration. You know like, "Audio track 27, Unit 4, lesson 3, Pages 142 to 144 of the student's book." Anyway, you know how we all hate the sound of our voice when we hear it recorded? Well whoever this sound guy was (in truth, his name was Gaetan) was a magician, because even I liked the sound of my voice. It reminded me of James Earl Jones. Anyway, it was hard work and I sweat up a storm in the booth until I was rank. It was really embarrassing emerging from the booth, giant sweat circles under my arms, one of which reeked of nasty pit. I must have not put enough deodorant on that one, lol.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Bday in pics

They did the gay pride parade on my birthday yesterday. So of course we went to join the festivities. But not before making a tour of the botanical gardens where we saw oodles of flowers, including this new flowering anus plant.

Then off to watch the parade, I insisted on ice cream. It was rocky road, which is called Delice Royale up here.

The parade was as in years past - colorful, energetic and replete with men wearing dresses or just underwear.

Once the parade had ended, we joined the masses in the village and made our way to Sky. The beer was quite refreshing, the mass of humans claustrophobic.

We strolled around for a couple hours people watching and sipped on a Red Bull. (Caffeine soda.)

I wanted to get away. Four hours of ogling was my limit. Poor Serge who wanted to stay, reluctantly followed me home where we enjoyed a (tranquil yay!) martini on our patio.

Then we walked to an Italian place we've been wanting to try near our house. We had what's pictured below with carpaccio and veal marsala. It was divine.

Here's a (lame) vid of me opening my present from spouse in the morning.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

This and that

At about 2:30 yesterday, I shut off the phone and the computer and sat down to read. Eight hours later and it was finished. The saga of Harry is over. (This didn't really "take" in my mind though, and all night I had dreams sprinkled with places in the book. ) It was a hugely satisfying finale that had my heart racing and my eyes tearing. The woman honed her craft well with this tale, and gosh I'm sad it's over. It's a good thing I've got the Kite Runner sitting here ready to crack open, or I might become desperate.

We got our cellphone bill. It was a horrifying bit of reality to see that each and every minute we used our phones in California cost $1.70. Serge discovered that sending a photo taken from his cellphone and sent to his friend cost $3.50. So it ended up costing almost $300 for 138 minutes (plus the usual $120 per month). I think next time we'll leave our phones home and use the hotel phone. At least at the hotel you don't get charged for receiving calls. Sheesh.

Today's my last day as a 41 year old man. 42 is the magical year. The answer to everything.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Harry and junket

So I'm only half way through Harry Potter. Yeah, I'm a slow reader. I like to chew on each chapter a bit and sometimes I reread a paragraph to make sure I don't miss any plot points. Plus, I don't want it to end, so each time I find myself wanting to rush, I stop, take a few moments to imagine what will happen, think about what I want to happen, and then continue. If I get so excited that I start skimming to get to relevant dialog, I put the book down for a spell. It's like a fine meal, or a $100 wine - slow consumption extends the pleasure (come to think of it, this would apply to sex too). Too bad you can't do this with ice cream since it melts.

I do feel rushed, however, as it's only a matter of time before I happen upon a spoiler. (And there better not be any in the comments, I'd have to locate you and proceed with the disemboweling.)

On Wednesday, Dan and I went out to the country to visit our friends who traded a city life for a country one. They live a mere three miles from the Maine border in a very lightly populated area. There is no cell phone service it's so remote. But it's nestled amongst mountains, forests, pastures and streams. The morning cacophony of birdsong is magical. (I decided that a robin's song can be mistaken for an angry squirrel.)

We had a lovely time. There is nothing better than sitting around a fire after dinner, telling stories and drinking wine, watching the moon and the stars, puffing a couple joints, laughing and chilling out watching Indian television. (the fire) I already want to go back.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Couple a one-liners

There was a recap in the paper of all the best jokes during the Just for Laughs festival (hahaha.com) and I read through all of them but I only laughed heartily at two.

9/11 changed the amount of bullshit we accept from our government from 'some' to 'infinite'.
-Greg Proops

In Dubai, I got a throat infection and I coughed up phlegm and accidentally ordered a taxi to the airport.
- Sean Meo

There was another one that made me smile even though I don't get the horn part.

A unitard. Sounds like a special-needs kid with a horn.
-Jimmy Carr

I'm off to an overnighter in the country to visit friends. (I hope they tolerate me carrying Harry Potter with me everywhere.) Be back Friday.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I had such a lovely day yesterday. Whilst out about town accomplishing my "to do" list, I stumbled by the IMAX and saw that Harry Potter was starting in 15 minutes. (Imax is the giant 6 story screen.) I shut off my cell and bought a ticket. Escape. Plus the last half hour is in 3D.

(Right now as I write, an altercation is taking place next door. (Screamed) "How many women you got in there? You told me to come and now you don't let me in? Where's my watch? And breakfast? You told me to come and I want some breakfast. You told me to come this morning. You are fucked up! Where is my watch? I want my watch." It is a skinny white girl standing outside and arguing with a muffled male voice coming from one of the apartments. This is the third time I've seen her come over and rant. We moved away from cracktown to get away from these sorts of characters but apparently we didn't move far enough. The skinny white girl just strode off with a self-satisfied look on her face.)

After the film, I walked past a bookstore, saw the new Harry Potter in the window and went inside. There was an employee pulling copies out of a box to restock the giant isle 'o Harry Potter in the entry. I grabbed one and headed to the line. I counted ten other patrons ahead of me. Only one of them did not clutch a copy of Harry Potter. It's amazing how Rowling has touched so many people on the planet. After paying for my copy, I can honestly say that this is the most I've ever laid out for a book of fiction to read. ($38 with tax.)

When I got home, I called the Brazilians and offered them the apartment. They came over within the hour ready to sign the lease and pay the first month. They seemed very nice and grateful. The cute guy who "REALLY WANTED" the apartment, and whom serge had promised it to before vacation, never called back after promising Tuesday to come put a deposit down. Serge even left a message at his mother's house. Flake!

Serge got home then and I told him what I had been up to all day. When I got to the book part, he picked up his phone and dialed someone and left this message. "Do not buy the book. I repeat, do not buy the book." Apparently someone was planning to get it for my birthday, lol.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Weekend update

It was a lovely weekend. The weather was just perfect. I went to refill the propane tank so we could continue our summer habit of barbequeing outside. There's all kinds of things going on in town now, the tourist engine is at full bore, but I find that I just want to stay home and enjoy our fabulous patio deck. We also felt like we needed to stick around since we were still waiting for prospective tenant to call us back. By last evening he hadn't, so we called the Brazilians to see if they were still interested, and they said that they were. (Yay!) Maybe we'll get this rented by August after all.When Big Brother came on last night (yes, I'm hooked again) I was incommunicado for an hour while Serge was puttering. When I finished the show, I went to see what he was up to and I found him outside on the patio with a whole bunch of stuffed animals. Apparently nude dancer had left two huge sacks of new stuffed animals. (We gave all his clothes away yesterday but spouse had discovered the bags as he verified contents.) I grabbed the camera. Notice the shirt I brought spouse from Vegas. (Save Water, on the front, Drink Beer on the back.)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

On being both ugly and stupid

It looks like we're going to get stuck with an open apartment in August. Dangit. The (super cute, so I'm told) prospective tenant who applied before our vacation has now vanished. There wasn't time to sign the papers before Serge left for California and since our return, the guy has now proved "flaky". This has been a source of marital discord all week with the final resolution being that spouse will pay me if this guy doesn't work out. (There was another prospective tenant and I kept saying let's give it to him, but Serge felt he had to honor his verbal agreement to rent to the cute guy. All I know is that if you really want an apartment, you show some money.)

Yesterday morning I got up and left the house at 8 to be at Canadian Tire for opening. I did not look good yesterday morning. I woke up feeling all puffy. I felt so puffy that I took a picture of myself. When I saw it, I laughed and felt grateful that spouse doesn't tease me for the morning hideousness.

Anyway, I went to Canadian Tire to pick up wireless speakers for half price. I brought the box home, followed the instructions to set it up and, well, nothing. Absolutely nothing. Neither the transmitter nor the speaker seemed to work. So I boxed it back up and took it back for another. When I returned it, the guy asked me all sorts of questions and I just kept replying, "It doesn't work, it's broken. I'd like another." He finally let me exchange it and marked "not-defective" on the paper. I brought the new one home and set it up. Again nothing. Spouse was just rising and asked me, "Did you turn it on?" I answered that there is no "on" button, that the instructions said to just plug it in. He walked over and pushed a button and the whole thing hummed to life. Apparently, they skipped this part in the instructions, perhaps being too obvious. I felt pretty humbled (and by that I mean that I felt like a fucking idiot) that I had gone through all the reboxing and returning process for nothing.

It's not for naught though. Now we have music anywhere we wish in the house, including outside on the patio. I love it!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Last vacation post

I guess I'm supposed to be doing snippets this morning. Trouble is, I haven't been jotting things down since we went on vacation. For me, vacation is all about getting out of your routine. (That's why it's hard to have a real vacation by staying home. ) It's a great thing, to disconnect fully, and we often learn things about ourselves in the process. This time I learned that I think I could do vacation full-time. I suppose that's called retirement. Well, bring it on! Dan asked me yesterday, "What would you do then?" And without skipping a beat, I said, "I'd get a big camera and globetrot in search of cloud shots. Of course I'd have to take some classes first." Do I get a prize for "dullest retirement idea ever"?

Here's the final montage of our California trip 2007. I know it was a great vacation because when I watch this I get a big old lump in my stomach. I can't really tell what that lump is (grief?) but it's very far away from indifference.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hotels and dramedy

One of the hotels we stayed at was the Crowne Plaza. At check in, I politely asked if they had smoking rooms and was admonished that no, the entire hotel is non-smoking including the corridors and the pool area. Then the clerk made me sign something saying I would be charged $250 if smoking "occurs" in the room. Then, in case I had forgot the clerks finger-wagging, they had this friendly reminder in the room.

I much preferred the Doubletree, where every answer was yes and then they put a warm chocolate cookie in your hand at checkin. It's such a small thing, a cookie. But they are total geniuses - how can you have a bad first impression when you bite into a warm chocolate chip cookie? Did I mention it was warm?

When we went to visit Dee and her boyfriend up in Eagle Rock last week, Dee had put out some snacks to nosh on before going out to dinner. Her bf, Nate, was still getting ready while we sipped wine on the patio. We heard some noises inside and then the shouted word, "Pussy!" Dee jumped up and went inside, all of us a bit perplexed at the outburst emanating from inside. I followed her in. Dee immediately diagnosed the problem as Nate lolled on the couch looking drunk. He needed sugar. And now. I've seen this before, this problem that occurs in diabetics. There is a "drunkiness" about the person that signals dangerously low sugar levels in the blood. Nate became a bit belligerent and tried to avoid letting Dee put a sugar pill in his mouth. She ran around grabbing sugary things to try to get him to eat. Nate kept shouting with ever increasing insistence, "Pussy! I want some PUSSY!" It was a really strange moment, hilarious actually, except for the part where if we fail, this person could go unconscious and slip in to a coma. I went back to the patio thinking if worst came to worst she'd have to give him some to get him to take his sugar. Apparently she was successful without having to whip her kitty out.

Ten minutes later, the drama over, Nate turned back into regular guy and we all went off for a fine French dinner. Serge and the waiter got into it a little bit, the waiters were from France and scoffed at his dialect (we ordered in French). You think Americans are arrogant, no way, French waiters have that market cornered.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This 'n that

Our bags finally arrived at 8 last evening. Everything was intact though the TSA cards were in there stating that they had rifled through them. That's what happens when you transport canned tuna. It's the best tuna in the world since my momma caught, smoked and canned them herself. Mom had come home with hundreds of pounds on her last fishing trip and I helped her with the process. (and gained a new appreciation for the work involved. )

Waiting around for the bags yesterday, there was a spectacular accident in front of our house. A car full-on beaned a cyclist and catapulted him at least 30 yards through the air. I nearly vomited I was so shocked. The young man was taken away in an ambulance. It made me want to get a biking helmet asap. Truly horrifying to witness.

I can feel that post vacation funk setting in. Maybe that's because I've got to actually work today. Or maybe because we had such a darn good time. I dunno. Here's some more pics of us having a good time last week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A day at the fair

It's going to take me forever to catch up on blogs. There are 881 unread posts in the feeds for my blogroll and I haven't even started yet. I spent yesterday waiting around for the bags and organizing the media from the trip. The bags didn't come, but apparently Fedex has them now. Hopefully today we'll get them.

We had an awesome trip and the weather was perfect. There are so many fun pictures that I'm going to milk this trip for several posts. Today's pics can go under the heading "only in America". You see, we happened to be there when the Orange County Fair opened, so we headed down for a look. Parking and entry was free for the first hour so we stood in a half mile line to get in. I used to love this fair as a kid because of all the carnival rides, and as a teenager I was once the "star" of the hypnotist show, singing in front of thousands of people (shudder). As an adult, I was surprised at the number of charlatans hawking wares. There was actually a guy selling cookware that cures Aids, leukemia, and chronic fatigue syndrome, "That's why this cookware is a MIRACLE!" he crooned.

I don't remember all these food choices at the fair. If you click the pic to enlarge, you'll see the menu better. The most disgusting of all is the Krispy Creme Chicken Sandwich (with Honey!) - two glazed donuts with chicken and honey. Gross. The fried avocados looked intriguing, but we had already downed a bratwurst so we abstained.

I don't know how they can deep fry Coke, but apparently it's possible. Again, we declined to partake.

Being a fair, there were plenty of animals. When we got to the pig section, Serge kept commenting on how good they looked - to eat. He was actually salivating at the live animals.

It's hard to tell from the picture but the hot dogs this guy was selling were at least 18 inches long.
You wouldn't think it, but these things smelled delicious.

Since we're doing "only in America", I'll throw in this shot from the John Wayne Airport. They had some advertising in the terminal, and I thought this one was rather odd. There's something wrong with peddling operations, but I just can't put my finger on it. (Click to enlarge so you can better see the ad)

Monday, July 16, 2007

We're back

But our bags aren't. Even though our bags left before us, they did not arrive. We got home at midnight last night after arriving at the airport at 8am yesterday. Let's just say United Airlines will have trouble getting my business again. There's lots to share from the vacation which I'll spend the rest of the week detailing. For today, check out a little cozy moment with us at the Doubletree.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Vacation this 'n that

We're in Palm Springs now. It's awful hot out here, but that's part of the charm of visiting this time of year. Plus the town is semi-deserted (yuk yuk yuk) making traffic light and things like the Aerial Tramway a breeze. (more yuks) Still, we had to wait for a table last night at The Cheesecake Factory. I told Serge that I have always had to wait for a table there, and this axiom continues to hold. We tried something new there that I hate to admit was delicious. Fried Macaroni and Cheese. We highly recommend it though if you have any kind of heart condition, you might want to reconsider.

After the tram tour yesterday, we sought refuge in a mall where we shopped for some clothes. We had already made several purchases when we spotted the Gap. I refused to go in and sat outside the store (but still inside the mall) while Serge checked it out. (I love the Gap, but I had already spent more than I wanted.) A few minutes later, Serge emerged with a pair of jeans. He had procured them for $10. I have never seen a ten dollar pair of pants at the Gap, socks maybe, but not pants. So I went in and spent ten more dollars. How could I not?

Today we're off to Knott's Soak City. Gonna be kids for a few hours. Later!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Vegas done

I'm back in Socal now. Vegas was a ball, we played and played and played and drank. I see that Rebekah snuck off to post while I was at the Pai Gow table. Gosh we were drunk that night. Yesterday was all about nursing the hangover and a visit to the top of the Stratosphere. We both came back with money in our pocket, so that should be considered a success. We were up and down and up and down, but down invariably wins with time in that town. I kept hearing the phrase "you've got to bet big to win big" being bandied about, but I came up with the corollary, "you've got to bet big to lose big" which kept my betting practices frugal. 4 days for $500 is not bad at all considering all the food, drink, hotel and gaming that we did.

The drive out there was brutal, I had already been sitting on planes for 8 hours before arriving and then the 5 hour drive to Vegas caused my butt to experience considerable discomfort. Because of this, Rebekah shared some driving duties. Returning today was much more pleasant and I mentioned this to Rebekah when she offered to drive. "No, that's fine. Coming hurt my butt so much." She asked me, "What did you say?" And I repeated, "Coming hurt my butt so much." Then we both melted into hysterics. Good times.

There is much to say on the nature of defecation in Vegas, but maybe I'll leave that to Rebekah to detail. (She's certainly not shy about sharing details with me, lol)

Tomorrow, I'll be hanging out with Em (It's her birthday) and the weekend will be spent amongst family. I'll try to post again in a few days. Hope everyone had a nice holiday!