Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Reduce Taxes

I was going to write something about the state of the union - but then the President opened with "..the state of the Union is strong..." and I just gave up. It's not that I'm un-American or a communist or anything - I just think that maybe we need to say "Hey, we've kind of gotten off track here and we need to get our heads out of our asses and start playing football the way we're capable of playing."

But that didn't happen. It's the same thing as every other year - more money for education, health care, and reduced dependency on fossil fuels. Seriously - not one interesting or new thing announced. The best part was when the President referred to Clinton and himself as aging baby boomers. This whole Clinton as Bush Sr.'s new best friend is really freaking me out. It's like Lex Luthor and Superman having venti caramel maciottos at the Starbucks around the corner from the Daily Planet - it's just not kosher. I'd actually kill for a cafe mocha right now - but then again, I'm a whore for Starbucks. I was in Waterloo, Iowa once for a gig at an Anheuser-Busch distributor. One morning I woke up and went down to the lobby to grab some orange juice. Waterloo, Iowa is a small Midwestern town - the only chain places they seemed to have were a Ground Round and a Longhorn Steakhouse - so I figured I was out of Starbucks luck. But fate would change that. I noticed a woman checking in at the front desk - and she had a Starbucks cup. I ran up and asked where oh where did she get that. "Down the street at the Target - there's a Starbucks in ther....."

She didn't have a chance to finish - I ran to the rental car and made my way down the road to the Super Target. Now here's the weird part. It's a weekday around 7am - you'd figure that Starbucks - especially the only Starbucks in town would be packed. But no - it's empty - except for me and the guy behind the counter - who looks like the twin of Senator Joe Lieberman. He even sounded like the senator. This was right after the election - so I figured, hey - you lose an election - you end up working at a Starbucks in a Target in Waterloo, Iowa. Go figure. I ordered my venti cafe mocha , no whip and promptly left.

Is it sad that I have happy Starbucks memories? Really - I do have memories of times I've been in Starbucks. There was that hotel in downtown Salt Lake City with the Starbucks in the lobby - it was January, so I had a hot chocolate every morning. I was in Anaheim, CA once at a Marriott right across the street from the Crystal Cathedral at Disney Land. Who cares about those - the hotel had a Starbucks. Each morning I had a slice of banana bread and ate it as I drove to work. The ultimate Starbucks memory is from St. Louis. We did a week of training there and the building we were in had a Starbucks in the lobby. We went three times a day. By the end of the week, I knew the entire staff and they even let me make coffees for people.

I feel kind of lame now. Ah fuck it - it's the little things in life that make you happy and if a Starbucks in the hotel lobby makes me happy, well then good for me.

Tim Russert is talking about the domestic wire tapping debate now. I'm not so concerned about this issue. For one, I live in Canada - so they can legally tap my phone lines if they want. Second - all they'd hear if they did tap my phone is two things - me hanging up on telemarketers and my mom asking me if I've proposed yet. Not sure if either of those are a matter of national security - you decide.

*** Update - apparently I forgot that Bryan was with me on the trip to Waterloo, Iowa. Listen - I went to Waterloo, Iowa three times - I can't remember who was there. Also - it was a Lone Star Steakhouse, not a Long Horn. My bad. Ground Round was better anyways.

Monday, January 30, 2006

You're being moved

The U.S. National Security Agency has a Kid's Page. Let that sink in for a while. I'm not sure I understand why it's there. They have a collection of mascots and fun code making and breaking activities - so the only I thing I can think of is that the NSA is trying to train young spies like that Agent Cody Banks. Actually, I've never seen the movies - but I've got a sinking suspicion that I wouldn't like them. Personally, I prefer the the Jack Bauer school of diplomacy. I wonder who would win in a Jack Bauer vs. Dr. House battle? Put them in a room with a patient who has information vital to national security. Both Jack and Dr. House torture people - but Jack is less prone to insult his coworkers. Sure, he also tortures them and in one instance, cut their hand off - but all everyone has interoffice politics problems, eh?

You know what I haven't done in a while - bet on greyhounds. What? How did I get there? Well, Laurie just realized she needs to go walk her dog and I couldn't figure out what in the Tim Horton's commercial that was on prompted her to remember that. Then when I was asking her - I said "What reminded you to go walk your greyhound?" She doesn't have a greyhound - it's a golden retriever. In the commercial, they had a groundhog and for some reason I said "greyhound". Who knows. Anyways - I'd love to go to the track. I miss the locals shouting out "Here come's the bunny, there goes your money". The last time I went was out in Loveland, CO. They had a track next to the hotel I was at. The gig ran over the weekend - with no weekend work - so on the Saturday I went over to lose $20. They even had the Palm Beach Kennel Club on simulcast - that way I could lose money in Colorado and Florida at the same time.

So I'm eroding my masculinity by watching Project Runway. I'm not exactly "into fashion". I do own two shirts from Armani - but they're hand me downs from my dad. He knows fashion - he should, he's been a photographer for damn near forty years. The good thing about having a dad who knows fashion is that he tells me what shoes to buy. Then my girlfriend's friend always compliment me on my shoes. I'm not entirely sure what's good about that - but I'm a whore for compliments - so bring it on.

Also - lucky for us - weekly Super Bowl themed updates from Chuck Klosterman for the next couple days. Plus later this year - Chuck Klosterman IV.

Also - call me childish - but these replies to this post are fucking hillarious.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Have you seen any mokeys?

We had a poker tournament last night to raise money for a co-worker's mother-in-law. Her house caught fire and burnt down while she was at work and to make it even worse, she lost three dogs in the fire. We ended up with two tables of six each - plus a wild card table for the first four losers. Then we took the final two from the pro table and the final three from the newbie table, plus the wildcard Moli Moli. OB took home the grand prize and we put together a nice little donation for our co-worker's mother-in-law.

The final round lasted to about 3am, at which time I promptly passed out.

It's Sunday at that means back to back "Da Ali G Show" and "Little Britain". For those of you unfamiliar with "Little Britain", I strongly recommend buying the DVD collection of the first season or subscribe to Showcase in Canada or BBC America in the, well, America. All they have on BBC Canada is home renovation shows. It's incredibly weak. Anyways - "Little Britain" is an insanely funny show, but it is also very British - which is a good or bad thing depending on your personal preferences in regards to humor.

"Bambi 2" is coming to DVD. In the sequel, we're introduced to Bambi's father. Where was he when the hunter killed Bambi's mother? Probably at the strip club. Typical.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Good manners

I'm watching "Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan" on CityTV. Being a trekkie, i've seen this film probably over 100 times now - and i've only just noticed something for the first time today. In the middle of the movie, there's a part where Kirk, McCoy, and Savik are going to beam down to the space station to investigate what happened to the station's crew. The three of them walk towards the turbolift. Kirk enters first, followed by McCoy - who holds the turbolift door open for Savik.

Why does he hold the door open? This is a 23rd century, state of the art starship capable of faster than light travel. Do you mean to tell me that they hadn't developed doors that don't close on people yet? I have an answer - they do have those doors - in fact, the doors on the Enterprise are fully aware when someone is not completely in the turbolift and they will wait until clear. The answer is that Dr. McCoy is a gentleman and even with photon torpedos and transporters, there's still such a thing as manners in the 23rd century.

Over the years, it's always amazed me when i've met people my own age who have no manners at all. Even for simple things - like holding doors open or not pissing on my toilet seat - there are just a lot of people nowadays who are rude as hell. Personally, I'm nice to everyone - that is unless they've given me a reason not to be. I'm Irish, we forgive but we never forget. Hell - I go as far to say "thank you" and "have a nice day" to the toll collectors on the turnpikes. That's got to be a thankless job and the least anyone can do is be civil. That is accept for that bitch on the Tri-Boro bridge one day when I was going to Albany from LaGuardia. I was short 75 cents. Mapquest didn't say there was a toll - how was I supposed to know. Now, yes - I should have cash on me. My mistake - but it's 75 cents. I had to give them my driver's license and then find an ATM in Brooklyn and then drive back across the bridge - pay and get my license back. I know that i'm sure a bunch of people have the same sob sorry - but there's got to be some kind of easier way - give me a ticket - just don't send me to Brooklyn.

So back to manners. I have my knife and fork in the wrong hand (left handed) - but no one ever notices. Is that bad manners? No. Not really. I cut my toe nails in the living room - now that's bad manners. But I cut them while watching PBS - good manners or educational - you be the judge.

Friday, January 27, 2006

All your presents are downstairs

Contrary to popular belief, no one in my family is, or has ever been, a member of the Communist Party. Well, that’s not entirely true. Once, my dad did sign up for the Communist Party of America’s newsletter – but then he read it and realized that these were all worker’s rights type of communists, and not the cool marching through Red Square kind. It was depressing really – I imagine it’s the same feeling you get when you’re old enough to go to an adult aged party and realize they’re boring. The only real attraction was that you couldn’t go. The cliché “be careful what you wish for, you might just get it” has to be the only cliché that is ever 100% on target.Sometimes I think that I’m not a risk taker – but that’s really my low self esteem talking. I’m also a narcissist, which is an amazing contradiction. At least I’m not a sociopath with borderline personality disorder like Khansella (with a new post). I can just hear him now, screaming – “I’m not a sociopath – you watch too much Law and Order! Grow up!! Stop calling me Jack Bauer – I’m not playing ‘24’ with you.” He’s really sensitive.

Back to the risk taker thing. I take risks. I moved to Canada. One of the main reasons I moved was to make sure I’m as bad ass as my mom. What? Yes. When she in her early 20’s, she moved to Ireland from Philly to work as a nanny for a child psychologist. She went for a year, stayed for thirteen. She traveled all over Europe – met some cool people, partied, and eventually got married and had two kids. Now if I couldn’t move to freaking Ontario from Florida then what kind of man am I? Another reason was that my dad told me “Get the hell out of here – I hate this fucking state and I would leave if I could.” I love my parents.

I don’t jump out of airplanes. Laurie and her sister did. I’m not that kind of risk taker. It’s not that I don’t take risks if there is no tangible result – I just don’t take risks that involve me jumping from a height greater than say, four feet.

So what else is up? I was reading Khan’s blog this morning and it got me thinking. He’s writing about things that are happening now – I sometimes write about things that did happen. Part of me wishes I had jumped on this blogging band wagon while I was traveling – a lot of the details would be fresh in my head and I probably wouldn’t have to make up as much as I do. It happens. One thing I told him was to keep a journal. It’s something I always wished I had done – and one of these days, I may actually do it.

And now for your Friday pleasure - Terry Tate. Office Linebacker.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Taka Special Party Tray

Here's my problem. I'm trying to compile a list of the things that are different between Canada and the U.S. This list would not include things like socialized medicine or the use of "eh". I'm talking the most minor, insignificant things. Here's an example.

There is no Morton's Salt here. Don't ask me why I noticed that. I think I was making a joke about someone looking like the girl on the Morton's Salt box and said person didn't know what I was talking about. So I asked around, and sure enough - there's no Morton's Salt. Now I'm not even sure if Morton's is a brand available in all of the U.S. - it may or may not be.

You get the general idea. This post will not be about things that different though, because I don't have time to compile them all. That is for another post. For now -

Chuck Norris Facts

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ten Minutes

This year is flying by - already it's Wednesday and i've just cut two new betas this week. I know it's a really bad cliche, but time does go by faster as you get older. Someone once explained this to me by saying that when you are five, you have only lived such a small fraction of your life and that it took a while to get to five years. But at say fifty, you've lived half your life (hopefully), and now it seems like that first fifty years went by so fast. Maybe i'm not remembering the exact words - or maybe it just doesn't make sense. I'm not sure, and honestly - it's not that important. What is important is that this week is fucking flying by.

The weather is so shitty here today - we ordered in pizza so we wouldn't have to go driving. Personally, I love this weather because I go to an empty parking lot and drive around like an idiot and make my car slide. I really hope my insurance company doesn't read this. Wait, PRANK CALL!!! PRANK CALL!!!

Sushi time!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Did you clear this?

The first time I traveled after September 11th was at the end of October to Los Angeles for the 2001 Microsoft Professional Developer's Conference. Yes, I've been to a Microsoft conference. Laugh all you want - they had free food and beer and a private "Counting Crows" concert. So step off. The conference itself was a really great learning experience. By "really great learning experience", I mean three days of computer geeks arguing "C++ is better than VB" and "How to migrate your existing VB 6 code to VB.Net in order to take advantage of JIT compiling". There's a small part of me that finds these topics interesting. There's also a small part of me that likes Ashlee Simpson - it's a part of me, it doesn't mean I have to be proud of it.

At the end of the conference week I met up with my friend Anna Beth and her boyfriend Mike for some fun for Halloween night. Anna Beth worked at the L.A. Zoo, so I was able to get a VIP tour. Not too shabby. That night, Anna Beth had the line a costume party in the hills at the house of some alumni from Duke University. I went as a guy from Florida. The party was awesome - there were at least four women dressed as a "sexy" Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz". One guy was dressed as Tony Soprano.

Then there is the guy who would get me into trouble with airport security. How? Thanks for asking. This one particular guy was dressed as the "Trojan Man". He had the blue tights and Mercury helmut and two large bags of condoms. He went around the party giving out handfuls of condoms to everyone there. At some point I ended up with two pockets full of shiny blue packets. The party went on and on and on. We eventually ended up at some diner for pancakes and coffee before Anna Beth and Mike dropped me off LAX for the flight home.

It was about 4am and the ticket desks weren't even open yet. I waited around, mulling a sleep-less hangover and stomach full of pancakes. Time passed way too slowly, but eventually the ticket agents arrived and checked us all in. I followed the lines around to security. This was a little over a month after, so the airport rent-a-cops (unaware that they would soon be replaced) were on ultra, super extra double alertness.

I took out my laptop and placed it in a separate tray. My keys and cellphone were in the laptop bag. This was pre shoe bomber days, so the shoes stayed on - to the benefit of all around. The rent-a-cop waved for me to come through the metal detector.


The guards eyes lowered towards my crotch. My heart started racing with anticipation. Then I realized she was looking at my belt buckle. I took my belt off (calm down ladies) and walked through again.


"Do you have anything in your pockets?"

I reached into my pockets and pulled out two large handfuls of Trojan condoms. The guard stared at me. The x-ray tech stared at me. The two sheriffs deputies stared at me. All the other passengers stared at me.

"You never know." I muttered as I put the condoms into a tray normally used for spare change.

We promised never to speak of it again.
Thank goodness the TSA didn't exist yet.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Never dated a sister before

The DrudgeReport had this on today....

"Sometime this month, somewhere in suburban South or West, a couple, probably white Anglo Saxon Protestants or Hispanic, will conceive a baby who, when born next October, will become the 300 millionth American... Developing..."

300 millionth American - that is nuts, and also completely illogical. Seriously, I bet the media will try and find the 300 millionth American - but the problem is, how would you do it. It has to be conceivable (pardon the pun), that two babies will be born at the same millisecond, but miles apart. Also, what about time zones? What about counting in the death rate too?

When I drove into Waterloo for the first time, I wanted to go up to the population sign and mark it to "99,001" - but that would have been untrue, for i'm sure someone else might have moved in the same day. Maybe an hour earlier someone else got to their house or apartment and unpacked. Hell, there was snow and I got lost on the way in from Buffalo.

What blows me away is that there are only 36 million people in all of Canada. That's only 3 million (or 3 Montanas) more than California. There's such a population difference between the States and Canada - and most Canadians live along the border. The world's largest unprotected border - where weed apparently flows south and guns flow north.

Personally, I still don't understand the whole gun/no gun situation here. At first, I thought there were no guns here. Then I found out people have guns - they are just hard to get. Now there is talk about banning all hand guns. There are two arguments I always here about this. First, this will take the guns out of homeowner's hands. True - but most handgun death's in the home are caused by the home owner's gun and it's usually the homeowner on the bullet receiving end of it. Second, how are people supposed to protect themselves? That is a good argument, but a sad point. It's 2006 and we still live in such an uncivilized situation that we need to arm ourselves. Maybe i'm being a utopian nancy about that - but really, come on people. I enjoy drinking and partying and the company of a certain beautiful blonde, what else do you need in life? Relax!

Also - new Chuck.

Yet also more - check out the entry "James Papa" over at Chris Diclerico.

Monday, January 09, 2006

We're funding that

There's an English debate on TV tonight for the upcoming federal election. I specify that's it is an English language debate because here in Canada, they have debates in English and French. All four major party leaders are bilingual - i'm not sure if they are cunning linguists like me - but hey, we all can't be perfect. The topics of the debate are similiar to those in the states - with some interesting differences. For one thing, current Prime Minister Paul Martin just said "..we need to ban hand guns..." Now that is something no U.S. presidential canidate would ever, ever, ever, ever say. It's kind of refreshing to hear - especially since the only point of a hand gun is to kill another person. I'm not a Michael Moore-ish anti-gun fanatic. I love guns - I just want them to be on TV in the hands of Jack Bauer and the other qualified agents of CTU. The other major difference is health care. Sure, in the states there is always debate about health care. Look at the ongoing debate on that whoreific welfare program, vote buying scam called the Medicare Prescription Drug Program. We'll be (well, you'll be) paying for that thing for the rest of your lives. 10 billion my ass. 1 trillion buddies - and all to buy the votes of people who won't be around to vote again in ten years. At least i'm not bitter. I don't have a vote here - so in a very liberating way, I can sit back and see what everyone has to offer and then not worry about making a decision. My friend Dempster is voting conservative - we have an ongoing MSN nickname debate about this. Currently he is "Harper Owns Martin" and I am "I'm not being investigated by the RCMP". Having four parties makes it difficult to judge someone by their political party - then again, just two is still dificult in the states. You never know who is a Republican and who is a Democrat. Just don't waste your vote on Ralph Nader.

Now you must be wondering - if this post is about politics, why are there photos of Niagara Falls. Well, that's because we went to Niagara Falls this weekend to gamble at the Fallsview Casino Resort. It was a damn good time and I was only down ten bucks at the end of the night. Sunday we went to this pizza place called Cocos and for some reason they had a Santa and alien themed display in their front window. Still haven't figured that out yet.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Somewhere not too far away

Let me state the obvious. I'm good at that; like pointing out it's cold outside. It's January and i'm blessed to experience my first Canadian election. It's fucking awesome! There are five parties fielding canidates in the parlimentary election here; Conservatives, Liberals, NDP (Socialists), Bloc Quebecious (French), and the Green Party. Five parties! It's way better than the absolute nonsense of the Democratic and Republic bullshit you south of the border people have to deal with. Here's another interesting fact - they're having an election because the leading party in parliment lied. I'm not saying the Bush administration lied about anything, that would be too easy and common - i'm just saying it's nice to see a see different system at work - one that punishes lying to the people, rather than lying to your wife (Sorry Bill - you know I love you).

The other news of the day is that Ariel Sharon had a stroke and probably won't recover. I don't know the guy, and have nothing against him - but of course, Pat Robertson does. That genius says the stroke is from God because Sharon gave land to the Palestinians. How does anyone in America watch/listen/tolerate Pat Robertson? It's so fucked that people listen to him - but then again, look at his audience. Maybe it's the wine talking, but he's a schmuck and anyone who wathces his show is a sheep. There's nothing wrong with having a relationship with God - it's a great thing - but if your relationship to God goes through Pat Robertson, then you might want to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

I'm so politcal tonight.

Let's talk about something else. Tacos. I was going to make seared ahi tuna tacos with avocado salsa. After work, I drove over to the Sobeys on Fisher-Hallman and of course, they were out of tuna. Instead, I bought salmon and sea bass wrapped in banana leafs. I've never cooked seafood before - but thanks to the helpful counter guy at Sobeys - I was able to grill it up to perfection. The fact that I don't like cooked seafood didn't even ruin the dinner.

Well - that's it. Niagara Falls this weekend. I know when to fold them.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Another reason to wear it

Food Network has a show titled "I do, let's eat". Tonight's episode features a couple who are having a knights and damsels themed wedding. For the main dish, they wanted an entire roasted pig. Sadly, a few hours into cooking, the pig caught on fire and was charred to the bone. The groom and his buddies were running around the pig trying to figure out what to do. At one point, they even call the butcher and ask what to do. The butcher recommends putting water on it.

Good fucking idea. Isn't that what you usually do when something is on fire?

Well, the new year has started. Moli Moli has a post about the cliche of the "new year's start over". Why did I put in that in quotes, that is not a quote from his blog. I tell you, the reason I like New Years is that I really do feel like it's an opportunity to start making small changes that will add up to big bonuses at the end of the year. Walking more, giving up some junk food, saving a little more. It all adds up. So many people try to make some gigantic change - giving up all fast food or trying to bench press 350 (three hundred and fitty) pounds.

Small steps - big rewards. That could be the theme of the year.

In other health and wellness news, we (Me, Laurie, Karen, Christine, and Josh) all managed to get in two nights of partying in a row this New Year's Eve - which is quite an accomplishment at our respective ages. Friday night was New Year's Eve Eve - there was a great turnout and the party ended up going till about 5am - at which point I passed out in my winter coat. I tried to make burgers on the grill at 3am; sadly they all ended up getting burnt.

Saturday night we headed out to Burlington to Ryan and Leslie's New Year's Eve party. We brought a cooler of full of beer and did a pretty job almost emptying it. Laurie and Karen were drinking from the keg, so it slowed us down - but it was a good effort. Leslie had a chocolate fountain, and I learned that tortila chips dipped in chocolate are awesome. Really awesome