Monday, March 31, 2008

I put the cart before the horse in my backyard

As you can see, I haven't posted in awhile. It's been one hectic week for me and with my brain so cluttered with things, I haven't had time to think -- let alone think randomly. In addition, my previous couple of posts have, ahem, sucked. Maybe I should just stick with posting pics of Abby.

Nah, instead, I'll post some more sucky thoughts.

  • True story: I saw a food product, "Natural Mashed Potatoes". Last time I checked, potatoes grew only solidly -- though it would be handy if they grew already mashed. It would be difficult to harvest, though.
  • Toss my salad. Toss my cookies. Different foods. Different outcomes.
  • I want a digital watch that only shows the hands of a clock -- digitally. That would be really cool and really redundant.
  • Can anyone really tell the difference between -45C and -50C what about +45C and +50C. I think anything below -15C should be considered "fucking cold" and anything about 40C be considered "fucking hot"
  • I can't sing. I sing in the key of "Shut up"
  • I've changed my password to be all-asterisks. It's easier to remember that way.
  • Earth Hour was interesting. At 8pm, it was like a movie was about to start for the entire city all at once.
  • I have a front lawn, but a backyard. How did that happen? And when does grass become a lawn?
  • Put the cart before the horse if you want to experience what rear-wheel drive must've felt like in the old days.
  • Cool alarm clock idea: It only buzzes at frequencies dogs can hear. So I keep sleeping, but mysteriously everyone else in the neighbourhood keeps waking up at 4am because their dog is barking.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Classes I'd Like to Attend

I have a psychology degree, so I mostly took psychology classes in university. Needless to say, there was plenty of hard work and I sometimes wish I had taken a couple of "easy" classes so the course-load wouldn't be so heavy and to round-out my academic learning. Here's what I wish they had offered:

  • Egg-beating 101
  • Philosophy of Bruschetta
  • Boxers or Briefs: Your Honours Thesis
  • Baking statistics: The distribution of Chocolate Chips in Cookies
  • A study of the Classics: The Simpsons, The Family Guy and South Park
  • Weather Forecasting 101: Weather predictions using your window
  • History of the Group Hug
  • Medical Risks of the Unibrow
  • How to Make Money Fast* (*Note: An extra fee of $99 to attend class)
  • A Study of Metaphysics: When does your "laundry" become "clothing"?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesday's Random Thoughts

Ah, what a nice break. With the Easter long weekend, I got to relax, post pictures of Hugo and Abby, and not think for awhile. The problem is, I started thinking again. I need to get pills for that problem.

  • Fruit flies live only for 24 hours. They only eat fruit -- you'd think they'd be incredibly healthy. Doesn't say much for apples and oranges.
  • I don't get this. I bought "aged cheese" that's aged for 5 years and yet it expires in 2 months?! How does that happen? If it has to expire in two months, give me 4 1/2 year old cheese so I can get a good 6 months out of it
  • Who exactly let the dogs out and why was a song written about these dogs?
  • True story: There's an all-you-can eat place near my home that delivers. How does that work? "Ok, I'm done, send me more....ok, now more...ok, send me more..."
  • I sometimes feel like a 4x6 living in a 5x7 world
  • I bored someone to death. My lawyer thinks he can cut me a deal.
  • Hannibal Lectur likes people with open minds.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Cute Puppy Pics

My sister brought her dog, Hugo, over for a visit. Hugo is a Bernese Mountain dog. He's 15 weeks old and about 30+ pounds. He'll eventually weigh about 120 lbs. There are other pics of him when he was younger at -- go to the 5th page. The other dog in the picture is Abby. She's a black lab/border collie cross and is about 16 months old.

Hugo has an interesting personality as you can see by the pics and the quotes beneath them. (Side note: Each of the pics are clickable if you want to see bigger versions of them.)

"Welcome to Tribe Hugo. Me Hugo. Let us sit and talk."

"I must kneel before your great presence, o' wise Abby."

"Ok! Stand there in front of me! That's-a-good girl, Abby!"

"Yes, I'm having a bad hair day, alright?! Stop staring at me!"

"Nope. Nothing behind this door. Uh uh. Nope. Nothing to see here."

"Enough of my cuteness. I'm outta here."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Boy Bikes and Razor Blades

I was telling someone today about how I was forced to ride a "girls" bike while on vacation a few years ago. As I was telling the story, I was explaining how I didn't understand what made it a girls bike.

Yes, that infamous bar was missing -- you know, the bar that tells you if it's a girls or boys bike? Why does that make it a girls or boys bike in the first place? It's a friggin' bar! Does the bike know that I'm a guy? Will it tell me to fuck off? Yet for some reason, one is a boy's bike, one is a girl's bike, and they're sold as such. In fact, while I was riding it, I noticed some people staring at me -- because of this bar, or lack thereof.

In fact, it's amazing how many sorts of products are out there that are labelled as being for men or women when in fact they're the same thing. Razor blades stand out in my mind. I see all of these "Just for women" pink razors for shaving legs, armpits and wherever women seem to shave. But they're for women. Can't use the guys version. You see the metal is different. It'll cut your skin differently and cause your legs to fall right off! Don't ever use it! Geez.

And now there are "girl" cameras. You notice this? They're pink or red, or stylish. But they're for women. G-d forbid, I have one in my hands, I'll get questioned as to why I have a girl's camera. What, does it have breasts? It takes pictures. It's a camera!

When you think about it, even perfume and cologne are basically the same thing. They're both smells. Is there really a "manly" smell? I suppose there is if you want to put on "Ode de Football", but otherwise, I'd argue no there isn't.

Cell phones -- same thing. "No, Cindy, you can't take that phone. That's a man's phone. Notice the penis on it?"

The argument being made is that is appeals to consumers -- specifically gender targeting. I don't disagree with that. What shocks me is it actually works! I suppose I view things this way because I see myself as being a practical person. I want something functional that works. I'm not really concerned how it looks as much as I care about that it works.

"Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman."...because women want their underarms to smell different than men.

I'm just waiting for the next product: Hungry-woman dinners

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bingo and Airplane Food

Interesting combo, eh? Bingo and Airplane Food. I bet you're now wondering: "How on earth are those related?"...either that, or you might be wondering: "How deranged can one man be?" Either way, my answer is: they're not related at all! But sometimes my random thoughts stray in a few different directions and I just have to share them all at once. Today is just such a was yesterday...and the day before...and...


I was talking to a colleague the other day about having gone to Bingo halls on a few occasions and how annoying it was. I've never won at Bingo -- perhaps other than contracting lung cancer.

Bingo is a game of getting "close". I hate games like that. With Bingo, 5 minutes into a game you're totally focused on getting G50 or something and that's your life until that game ends.

The announcer calling the numbers knows that you're hanging on every call, and he always makes the most of it. I hate that too.

"...and the nexxxxxxxxxt nummmmmmmmmber isssssssssss..."
I lean in
I lean in even more
I lean in more, falling out of my chair
Moaning on the ground, I start to shout BINGO!

And how on earth do these elderly men and women, who can barely drive 10 km/h in their cars because they can't see, end up with 50 cards in front of them and manage to keep up? I'm struggling with two cards: "G. G. Where the fuck is the G?!" Meantime the announcer is 5 numbers ahead of me.

In the meantime, these folks are happily stamping away, talking, smoking and drinking all at the same time. These people have reaction speeds that rival goalies in hockey. I don't get it. The announcer says G54...

" I was saying to Marge..."
"...when are you heading to Florida for winter..."
"'s already getting cold. I mean it's only 16C. Can you pass me the water?"

I think I'll stick to Lotto 6/49 where at least I can ask the machine to choose the numbers for me. Much easier that way.

Airplane Food
A million comedians have had their say on Airplane Food. I'm not a comedian, but I will also have my say. Given that I had a chance to experience airplane meals for the first time in awhile (I normally travel to destinations where they don't serve food on the plane), I got to experience the food up-close-and-personal. This will be quick, but I had to share. It'll help with my therapy.
Here was the menu of food I experienced on both flights:

Shredded meat-like substance in a broth-like substance: It appeared to be chicken in what appeared to be a sauce, but it was too viscous to really be a sauce. Plus there were things floating around in it. But it wasn't a soup. Still confirming that it was chicken in the first place.

Shredded carrots au jus: Just as it reads. Shredded carrots in what appeared to be carrot juice.

The Omelette of Toughness: It was a block of scrambled egg...or perhaps an omelette. Hard to say.

The Yellow Thing: All I can tell you is it was yellow, crumbly, sort of sweet and considered dessert.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Clinton Vs. Obama (and McCain)

I've always found U.S. politics to be facinating -- especially during election season. Unlike Canadian elections that last 32 days and scandals occur when a politician forgets to say "please" during a debate, U.S. elections literally last 18 months with every breath weighed and analyzed and polled to death. I'm sure if Obama or Clinton or John McCain wanted to know if their campaign was appealing to 1-legged midgets living in Texas with an income over $100k, there are probably numbers on it...already.

I've particularly found the Clinton Vs. Obama situation really interesting to me. Everytime I watch the two of them debate, I almost see them more as being parents versus politicians. It's almost as if they see America, and Americans as being their kid instead of a country.

I see Obama treating America in this gentle way; trying to guide them; acting as a mentor -- arm around the shoulder telling America everything will be alright as long as they listen to him and don't stray too far. He'd like to teach America how to be independent and think for itself.

But it's almost as if he's this passive dad that'll explode if he needs to. America better not piss him off or he'll whup it's ass from New York to Los Angeles quicker than it can run to mommy asking for forgiveness.

I can see his State of the Union address now: "...and our economy is finally recovering. I'm proud of you. I'm proud of all of you and the hardwork you've done."
Leans into the camera looking stern
"But if you ever EVER talk that way about our friends in the Middle East again, so help me..."
Exhales loudly
Leans back and resumes smiling
"But remember, I'm proud of you. You're going to be just fine."

Clinton, on the other hand, I see her as a stern disciplinarian from the outset. I think she truly believes America needs a good spanking. Now. She's had enough of America's bullshit and if she had her way, she'd pass a law where every American would be spanked and sent to their room without dinner for the night.

I can see it now:
"...and another thing..."
"...enough with pissing off the UK!"
"That's no way to treat your friends! Would you like to be treated that way by your friends?!"
"I didn't think so! Now go to your room and think about what you've done and I'll come by in an hour."

John McCain, on the other hand (I might as well mention the Republican candidate to be fair) is almost like the old-fashion grandfather sitting in the corner watching Obama and Clinton trying to battle it out with how to discipline America.

He'd occasionally raise his hand and shake his head, smiling: "Bah, I remember the good old days where you didn't have to worry about spanking or yelling. America just knew how to behave. None of this spanking or philosophical crap. It knew its place and simply behaved."

I'm not going to tell you who I think should win -- everyone has their own opinion and your opinion is perfectly valid, I'm sure. What I will say, though, is I'm hoping one day America will realize it's actually adopted and search for its real birth parents.

Monday, March 17, 2008 the news

Actual headline:

"McGuinty [Premier of Ontario] announces dental, snacks plans" -- Hmmm, maybe if you eliminate the snack plan, you won't need the dental plan!

And some fake ones:
Bombmaker fired -- blows up at reporters.

Study shows the cost of balloons inflate over time

Geese launch new campaign -- asks drivers to honk to show support

Historians note Alexander Graham Bell found his calling in life

The People-Against-The-Use-of-Hyphens Club disbanded today for unknown reasons

Man pulls butter-knife in deli. Dozens off innocent sandwiches spread with butter.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Post-Peruvian Random Thoughts

Now that I'm back in Toronto, it's about time I share some thoughts I had while in Peru. After translating them from Spanish, I came up with the following:

  • The opposite of "underneath" is "overneath"
  • When snakes get angry, do they throw a hissy fit?
  • It's too bad Zoodles weren't to scale.
  • There should be a law that when people type "lol", they truly do laugh out loud.
  • When curlers have sex: "HEAVY!" "HARD!" "HURRY!"
  • I love wishing upon stars. Yesterday, I wished upon Julia Roberts.
  • I fell in love once. Broke my arm.
  • Always flip channels once every 10 minutes so they heat evenly on all sides.

Note: I have posted my Peruvian pics on my Flickr website. For now, I'm updating daily with another 4 or 5 pics per day. I have a few on my Facebook account, but those are limited. Go to and the Peru 2008 for the pics.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lines, Lines, Everywhere a Line

I am back from Lima, Peru. Back in Toronto. I'm in my house. It only took me a day to shovel threw the driveway to get in the garage. All is fine and dandy. I'm thankful I made it home, though. I'm surprised I'm still not waiting in line.

Now I can't say I'm the biggest traveler in the world, but I have been to a few airports in my time. I have never been through so many lines before! You'd think this airport has a "line manager" who sits in an office just coming up with new ways to wait in line. Here was my evening at the airport after taking a taxi to get there.

Line 1: The cab driver has to show ID at the airport gate. Waited in line with other cabs for about 10 minutes to show the ID.

Line 2: After being dropped off, I waited in line just to get into the building. That took about 5 minutes or so.

Line 3: Before even approaching the counter, I had to wait in line to approach a "pre-check-in" person who confirmed my flight and that my bags were ok.

Line 4: Only now did I get to stand in line just to check in, get my boarding pass, drop off my luggage, etc.

Line 5: Finally, I can head to security. But wait! There's a line up first as you have to pay a "departure tax". It's not built in to the cost of the ticket, so everyone who's departing had to wait in a line to pay the tax.

Line 6: Now there's the line up for your passport to be stamped before you leave -- customs in a sense. But that line is too long, so there's another line I had to stand in to go into the security line. Seriously.

Line 7: Passport has been stamped. Now there's a line-up for security, where you get x-rayed and such. I assume this is why they tell you to get to the airport 3 hours before departure. You have to spend 2 hours of that time in a line of some sort.

Line 8: Yay! I'm finally at the gate! Of course, there's that infamous line to get on the plane. You know, the one where they first "pre-board" people who are old or with kids, yet everyone rushes the gate en masse anyways? It's funny to watch as mysteriously everyone has a limp or clutching their backs or sides in mock pain; adults explaining how they're kids-at-heart so they should board first.

So all-in-all a total of 8 lines -- not counting all those lines when I got home. I bet if I wanted to complain about the lineups, there'd be a lineup to get into the complaints area, a line to fill out a form, and a line to give it to someone.

Side note: I have finally posted my first batch of Peruvian pics on my Flickr website! Yay! Go to and click on the Peru 2008 link towards the upper-right of the screen to view them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Peru -- Day 6, 7, Flight home

I suspect this will be my last post in Peru before flying home. Although I'll be in Peru all day tomorrow, between packing, eating, wandering and getting to the airport, I won't have time to talk about my day. Then, there's the flight home leaving at 1 am, picking up Abby and then trying to find my house -- likely buried under a few hundred feet of snow at this point.

Lima has been a blast. I'm still eating too much each day (today, I'm going to a "fancy" Peruvian restaurant). I've decided for fun that my "last meal" in Lima will be Burger King tomorrow night before heading off to the airport.

I actually didn't do too much today. Other than the obligatory eating, I ran, slept a lot, watched some TV (old episodes of Grey's Anatomy and House), and sorted through my 300+ pictures trying to narrow them down to closer to 200 (I got down to 250 -- approximately).

The flight home looms over me now as that fast approaches. Just like the flight here, I'm still nervous about flying and not happy that I have to fly. Can't we learn how to teleport people already? I mean geez, Bill Gates already has the whole desktop operating system thing nailed down, isn't it time we figure out how to store a human on a 2 GB flash drive and shoot them over the internet to their destination? Maybe that'll be in the next version of Windows -- but I'm guessing.

In the meantime, I'll remain nervous about flying. Given that it's a nighttime flight, it's even more nerve-wracking. I won't be able to see a thing out the window (I'll be over the Pacific) and this time of year it's quite bumpy in the air because of the trade winds. Lovely. And because it's overnight, there won't be movies to watch or people wandering the plane to talk to. Everyone will be asleep. So I'll remain belted in my seat, sweating profusely, sending off fumes that will test my deodorant.

But I do look forward to seeing how Abby will react when I get back. Will she go nuts knocking over anything and everything in her way as she jumps on me? Or will she just lay there, slightly wagging her tail giving me a doggy guilt trip for abandoning her? I suppose I'll find out in about 36 hours or so.

As always, I've included a picture with this post. Apparently, the neighbourhood I was in is a "No trumpets allowed" neighbourhood. Perhaps they had a bad experience in the past.

P.S. Yes, yes, I was kidding. I know this is a reference to not honking a car horn.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Peru -- Day 5

Boy, this vacation is going faster than I thought. Although I technically leave on Thursday, I leave at 1am on Thursday. So really, Wednesday is my last full day here. I'll be back Thursday morning.

Today's wanderings was a real eye-opener. I went to a great restaurant that serves chicken called Granja Azul. It's waaaay on the outskirts of town, though. While being driven there, I got to see some of the "less developed" sections outside the city where people have built shacks on the side of mountains, or they work labouriously for hours and get barely a wage.

It was tricky snapping pics via a moving car and keeping the camera steady and focused, but I managed to get about 65 pics by my count. I've included one below.

The restaurant was great. For a flat fee of about $20 USD, you can get all the chicken you want (they serve you half-chickens at a time), as well as salad, drinks (non-alcoholic), bread served inside a chicken (don't ask, wait for the pics), and french fries.

To say I overate was an understatement. So far it's been my only meal for the day and it's 9pm my time. I didn't have breakfast and I doubt I'm going to have dinner, either.

I'm thankful I've been running as that's probably the only thing that's prevented me from having to book a second seat for the flight home as I'd be that wide!

I don't have any specific plans for tomorrow. I may just take it easy (other than run) and gather my stuff, my thoughts, and my leftovers.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Peru -- Day 4

First, and most importantly: my stomach upset update. I'm taking Immodium so all should settle down soon and I'm definitely improving. I skipped going for a run today. I find it interesting that two of the nicknames for having dirrhea include "the trots" and "the runs". I guess depending on how bad you have it, you're either trotting to the washroom or you're running. That being said, I have a case of the moseys.

I'm actually starting to crave american food now. There's a Burger King across the street from me, and I might just have to have a meal there, just to remind myself as to why I went to Peru in the first place.

I continue to have at least 2 glasses of fruit juice daily and one fish-related dish. I must also recommend lukoma (spelling?) ice cream. It's a fruit that's found here (and not in Toronto) and they make an ice cream flavour from it, amongst other things. It's amazing. No other way to describe it.

Tomorrow, I'm going to a chicken place near the mountains for lunch. Lima is an interesting place as it's right on the ocean, yet it's surrounded by mountains. It makes things quite scenic and interesting. A lot of the poorer people simply build shacks on the mountainside. Ironically, they have the best view, but on the worst property.

Speaking of poor, this evening I visited a poor neighbourhood, but smack-dab in the middle of it is this massive fountain park (for the lack of a better description). They have about 6 or 7 fountains doing a variety of different designs, tricks, and such.

I've attached a couple of pics here from that visit. I've been asked why I'm posting relatively crappy pics. This is because I don't have the time to truly "process" any of the pics properly, but once I get home, I'll be able to work on them and post them properly both here and to my Flickr website --

Ok, enough from me. I have to mosey...

Peru -- Day 3

I'm posting a bit late for day 3 as it's already noon of day 4. But the internet here can sometimes be a bit finicky, so I'll keep this short before I get booted again.

I took quite a few pics -- and yes, I took a few sunset pics too. So I can clear customs! ;)

I ate at a seafood restaurant that jutted out into the sea (it's on a pier). The food was amazing and a little more elaborate than I had hoped. Unfortunately, I also upset stomach (insert scary music here). That's never a good sign here since the water isn't exactly the cleanest in the world. Hopefully I haven't eaten anything that will, ahem, linger.

I hear Toronto got, um, a bit of snow. It's too bad I wasn't there to see it...bahahahahaha, oh I love sarcasm sometimes. My bro is watching my dog. I have a feeling if he was to let Abby out for a walk, all you'd see is her tail sticking out through the snow.

Ok, I'm off to wander the city. Italian food for lunch. Some sort of "fountain show" in the afternoon (pics to follow). And dinner...not sure. Possibly seafood. I haven't had much seafood yet....

The pic I've attached is the scene from a restaurant overlooking the ocean in Mira Flores. This is also where I took my obligatory sunset pics. In reality, this is about 10 pics stitched together (hence the odd shade of sky in one portion). The original version of this pic is massive. I've reduced it in size for this blog.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Peru -- Day 2

Ahhhh, what a day. I awoke to the fresh, crisp smell of petrol in the air as the morning rush hour had begun. Did you know the average Peruvian honks their horn in one day more than most Canadians do in a year? Ok, I don't have any real stats to back that up, but it's somewhere between an educated guess and fact.

Today, I decided it would be a good day to take it easy after a hectic day of photography yesterday. So today, I had more fresh fruit drinks, more fresh fish (notice a pattern yet?) and had my first, real pisco sour (it's a drink for those of you who don't know).

I'm staying right across from a golf course, and for the past two days, I've used the outside of the golf course as a running track of sorts, so I could continue my running (30 minutes yesterday, 45 minutes today). While I'm right across from a golf course, I have a view of the ocean...and the mountains...and a building depending on what window I'm looking from. I've included a couple of pics here to illustrate. The pics look a little distorted as I combined about 12 pics for the "building" pic and 6 pics for the "ocean" pic. Unfortunately, you can't really see the ocean in the ocean pic since I didn't spend the time to properly shoot the pic or process it. So just pretend it's there and ooo and ahhh a bit.

Prices for any sort of service or labour here is quite cheap. I had a fantastic meal of an appetizer, fresh fish, a pisco sour, a large fruit drink and dessert for about $20 U.S. (about $15 for Canadian folks, bahahahahaha).

I must emphasize once again that the driving here is nuts. You don't drive in a lane. You drive wherever there's room -- on either side of the yellow line. I'm going to try and take a couple of pictures tomorrow to illustrate the chaos they call driving here. I'm not sure why they bother with traffic signals, lines on the road, or stop signs. Apparently, they all went out of style sometime last decade. Yet, I noticed there were no accidents and very, very few cars on the road seemed to have any visible damage from collisions. It's chaos, but at least it appears to be safe chaos, if there is such a thing.

Tomorrow, I'm going to be returning to a restaurant I visited on Thursday. It's right on the ocean on top of a cliff that looks rather unstable and unsafe. I'm hoping to get a few rather cliche sunset pics, but hey, I've got to do it. It's the law for any tourist to take at least one -- otherwise they don't let you back in the country.

Customs agent: "Do you have anything to declare?"
Me: "Yes, $200 in clothing and $150 in souvenirs."
Customs agent: "Any liquor, cigarettes, live animals, dead people, or plants?"
Me: "Nope."
Customs agent: "Can I see your sunset picture please?"
Me: "Well, you see, I actually was...well, it was raining most of the time and...well, I mean the camera battery was charging and ---- "
Customs agent: "I'm sorry, I'm afraid that'll be a $2,000 fine. You've let your family and friends down. Here, we'll give you this generic sunset picture you can use for your obligatory vacation slideshow. You ARE planning on a vacation slideshow, aren't you?"

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Peru -- Day 1 + The Flight

It's Thursday. I'm in Peru. I've already taken 60 pictures (edited down to 30). I'm eating fresh fish, fresh fruit, and probably anything else starting with the letter "f".

As mentioned in my last post, I don't like to fly. I'm rather subtle about expressing myself, so you may not have picked up on it in my last post unless you read between the lines. (Note, this is called sarcasm.)

There was a big snowstorm in Toronto from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Luckily, my flight left in the afternoon, so there was no delays due to the weather. Oh, there WERE delays, but not because of the snow.

As everyone settled in their seats, the flight crew wandered about, making sure people were stowing their carry-ons properly. Well this seemed to be a surprise to one lady sitting across from me who insisted on keeping her bag at her feet. Of course, the steward was equally insistent on the bag being stowed properly. In fact, he discovered that the bag was too big to be considered for carry-on and it had to go with the rest of the luggage. Needless to say, the lady was not amused and didn't want it to leave. The steward pointed out that either the bag goes with the luggage, or she's more than welcome to disembark with her carry-on and try another flight. She chose to put the carry-on with the luggage.

We're now 10 minutes late.

They close the door and start to go through all the announcements about safety (i.e. if the plane blows up, try to hold your breath because there's no oxygen at 37,000 feet) and the lady flags down the steward and says she needs her passport number to fill out the customs form. Her passport is in her carry-on...with the luggage. It was neat as I almost witnessed a member of the flight crew almost strangle a passenger.

They went and retrieved her bag, she got her passport, they took her bag back to beneath the plane and shut the door again. We were now 25 minutes late. The joys of flying.

Ultimately, the flight itself was a boring 8 hours. There were 3 movies of no consequence. Dinner consisted of rice with a "chicken-like" substance with sauce, and shredded carrots au jus. There seemed to be some sort of dessert, though I wasn't able to identify it. I can tell you it had raisins in it...or really shrivelled grapes.

My biggest concern, as always, is the customs agent. I never know what they're going to ask or how they're going to treat me. What if they think I'm hesitating? What if they think my big nose is a sign I'm lying? In this case, it was even more nerve-wracking since their native language was not english and mine was not spanish.

I believe the encounter went something like this:
Customs agent: "Ola"
Me: "Hello"
Customs agent takes passport. *Stamp* "Gracias"
Me: Stares

So here I am. The weather is nice, the food is amazing and the traffic is more chaotic than any video game you can imagine...seriously. As I mentioned, I've taken 60 pics so far with about 30 of them having any merit (to be edited later). One that I had to share right away was a shoe store they have at a mall here. I'm really hoping they understood the play-on-words. See below. I'll try to post occasionally while on my vacation. Pics to follow afterwards. Ciao, baby.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I'm go-in' ona jet plane...don't know when I'll be back again

As of Wednesday afternoon (weather permitting), I'm off to Peru. Now you might be asking yourself "Well what does that have to do with me?" And to that, my answer would be, "Nothing. This is my blog, so I'll talk about myself. And by the way, who are you in the first place?"

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm not particularly thrilled with the whole idea of flying. Each time I fly, I pack a couple of books and fill up my mp3 player in the hopes that I'll just sit in my seat, relax, read a book and listen to music. Nope! Instead I stare out the window and not move in the hopes that I won't accidentally trigger turbulence. Yes, that's totally rational in my mind...

So I've gone through the routine again of charging my mp3 (full of classical music to calm me), bought some books (Jon Stewart, a sci-fi book and a book on photography), and I'm fully ready to take on the flying experience...not.

I think I've discovered the origins of my stress and fear, though. I think it has to do with how my family deals with the ordeal of flying in the first place. Yes, I'm calling it an "ordeal" because that's how they treat it. So far, I've had my mother, father and a couple of friends ask me to call them to "say goodbye." How's that for sounding a bit fatalistic. I'm going in a plane, not in a casket! Hell, some are calling this my "final blog post". Geez, am I going to the electric chair tomorrow?

But that's how I've been made to feel since I was a kid. There was the "farewell dinner", the "say goodbye" calls and visits, and this pall over everyone as there was the "last hug and kiss." Driving to the airport was always this solemn affair like we were being driven to our deaths. In addition, there was the added stress of do we have our tickets; do we have our passports; are we going to be on time; oh, and do we have our tickets...

So you know what? I say screw it! Tomorrow I'm going to enjoy my flight! It's a non-stop, 8+ hour flight from Toronto to Lima. It leaves in the afternoon, so I'm going to enjoy it, watch the movie, listen to my music, read my book a bit and just generally enjoy the fact I'm going on vacation and I don't have to do any of the driving or anything else.

...or not.

See ya on the other side of next week, folks!


Monday, March 3, 2008

A Few Words and a Story

There are certain words that I just find funny. I try to say them and I find myself smirking or stumbling over the word. I can't say them with a straight face...or even a crooked face. These words would include:

  • Cockapoo
  • Shitzu
  • Cockpit
  • Penal system
  • Uranus
  • Winnie-the-Pooh


I'm still fuming from a wonderful incident earlier today. Last night, after I parked my car in the garage, I noticed my tire was almost flat. That would be the third time in about a year! You'd think I'm deliberately driving over glass and nails. But I digress.

There's a nearby store that can change tires quickly. I won't name the store directly, but the first word in the store's name is Canadian and the second word is Tire. I didn't have much time, so when I arrived, I asked the gentleman behind the counter how long it would take. He told me about 30 minutes, which was perfect. He told me to go wait in the waiting room -- there's a glass-walled waiting room as a part of the automotive department where you can wait while they work on your car.

I noticed literally 5 minutes after sitting down that my car was already on the lift with the tire off. I was impressed! I figured they'd patch the tire and I'd be out of there in 20 minutes. I went back to reading my newspaper.

30 minutes goes by.

45 minutes.

90 minutes.

The whole time the car was sitting on the rack with the tire off. I finally left the waiting area and headed over to the counter where a second gentleman was now standing. I asked him for an update on my car. After asking around in the back, he comes out to tell me I've already been told the tire cannot be repaired. I stared at him blankly and told him no I hadn't. He insisted I had because someone in the back said so.

So I said to him: "Well lets assume for a moment that's true. Then why hasn't the tire been replaced yet?"

He replies with: "We're waiting for your authorization."

So I said to him: "If I've already been spoken to, don't you think I would have then either authorized it or not right there on the spot? Bring the guy to the front please. I want him to say this to my face that he spoke to me."

So the person who walked out is the first gentleman who initially told me it would be 30 minutes. He then explained how the tire can't be repaired. I told him I've just been told that and howcome I've been sitting waiting for 90 minutes without anyone bothering to tell me.

He then explains he "tried to get a hold of me," by paging the store twice (which can't be heard in the waiting room). I'm stunned.

"Why didn't you just check the waiting room? You know, the automotive department department waiting room where all the customers go while waiting for their car to get fixed?"

"Well I tried to page you."

"Ok, you actually TOLD me to go and wait in the waiting room. In fact, two other customers in there had the mechanics come in and update them on their car and to get authorizations. Those customers you may notice are now gone. It also happens to be a glass-walled room. All you had to do is turn your head to see if I was there. You didn't even need to come in!"

He begins to apologize repeatedly. I told him I appreciated the apology, but rather than apologizing, could I get my car back with a new tire on it, please.

Ten minutes later, the car is done and I'm out the door. As I was paying, the guy behind the counter kept apologizing profusely. I didn't know whether to feel badly or to slap him so he'd stop sounding like a broken record.

You know, in a few years, no one will understand that phrase "broken record" anymore. Kids won't know what records are. We'll have to start saying "...repeated himself like a scratched CD." -- Doesn't sound the same, does it?