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October 31, 2005

Update 2

Today was Halloween, M's favorite (nonreligious) holiday. The house was decorated, the pumpkins were carved, and the candy was purchased and sorted.

It was a lazy day, spent around the house doing odd chores and just relaxing a bit. I made French Toast, eggs, and back bacon for breakfast. I then finished the cleaning up after the pumpkin carving event while M ran some errands around the town.

Also got to light the stove for the first time this season... anyone who knows me knows how much I enjoy making fire! Fire, heh he-heh heh. I think M may have become a little frightened at that moment. ;-)

Anyway, as it was a really nice day out, M got steaks for dinner and she made the salad while I grilled. She's got a nice grill, and it burns hotter than mine so I overcooked slightly, but it was still yummy.

Finally, we sat outside with the pumpkins lit and our fleece and jackets on, under blankets, and doled out candy. Had about 70 children show up total... not bad.

Now we're off to watch The Great Pumpkin.

Tomorrow starts the real test... I'm "working from home" from M's place and she's going back to work. Hopefully the internet connection will be fine and works' servers won't be too slow. Hopefully she won't be teased much about her time spent with American boyfriend.

Gotta say-- Canada's a nice place. I could like it here, a lot. Now, remind me I said this when/if I survive Christmas!

Oh, that reminds me-- a special shout out to Mare for the Alpine Beer Toque ("took"). I wore it tonight on the porch and it did wonders for my cold issues. Have hat, will travel. ;-)

October 30, 2005

Vacation Report (10/30/05)

The first flight was a fun-filled trip involving a talkative pilot (on a red-eye) and a lot of turbulence. Not fun. I only cat-napped at best, so was pretty tired deplaning in Toronto-- int 1 degree (celsius) temperatures.

Toronto's airport was interesting and I had to wait about 30 minutes to clear customs, then get my baggage, recheck my baggage, and then get on the pimped shuttle to go the other terminal. It was hectic, never having done that before, but everyone was very helpful and polite.

The second leg was a bit better; the flight was smooth and the pilot kept to himself. The plan was pretty small so that, at my size, I was fairly cramped in my seat. I did make the man next to me smile when I glanced out the window and said, "It's so greeen!"

Desert rat, born and raised.

M met me at the Saint John airport with jacket in-hand. Most of my worries and cares from the flight sloughed away right then and there! We collected my bag and drove to her home.

I got the grand tour of the place, was fascinated by her basement, in awe of her central vac system, and impressed with the decorating job her friends treated her to when she first moved in. Place is very nice and full of warmth and vitality.

We hung out while I absorbed the atmosphere and get used to being here. I was also pretty wigged out after many hours of travel and even longer without sleep. M was very gracious and understanding.

We took a driving tour of M's parent's house, her grandfather's houses, her old schools, and some other points of interest in M's life to date.

Soon, however, it was time to meet Jenn and Stew for dinner and shopping. Being a desert rat, it was quickly decided that little of what I brought would be serviceable by itself to keep me warm in the single digit celsius temperatures of the area.

Jenn and Stew are great. Jenn is a fashion maven and Stew is low key and funny. We got along very well and they made the first pass of "meet and greet" very enjoyable. And I got some new clothes out of it.

Didn't sleep very well that night as I was trying to get used to totally foreign surroundings.

Saturday was a fun day. Made M breakfast (french toast for her and eggs for me), which she enjoyed. I then was given a tour of some of the city, including a walking tour of the downtown area and a walk along the ped-way which allows a person to walk and shop for quite a distance without setting foot outside. That was fun. The architecture and brick work is amazing. It reminded me of some of the places I've visited with my sister in Pennsylvania.

Next up was church. M's Catholic church is a beautiful structure with many stained glass and painted windows. One of her priests is 101 years old! It was interesting to go through the Mass. It's all very prescribed and formal, with the sitting, standing, and kneeling throughout, the singing, and the recitation of certain words and phrases to the priest. I was pleased with myself that I could recite most of the Lord's Prayer when they did that at the end.

Leaving the church, I was introduced to a wonderful new thing called "wind chill factor." Now, obviously I know what this is and have even experienced it feeling colder when the wind blows in CA, but nothing like this! The hard truth is that this place gets Damn Cold™ in winter!! It went from 4 degrees Celsius to feeling well past freezing because of the wind. Ouch!

After church we made supper, and then met up with M's group of friends for an Improv night. Her friends Scott T, Anthony, Chris, and others actually performed the skits. I have to say, it was damn funny! I also got to meet Scott M, Mare, Brian, and Regan and had a late bite to eat and a good time talking. Mare brought for me a care package filled with stuff to make me more Canadian. I can't wait to wear some of it in CA!

Much better night's sleep from Saturday to Sunday. Being that M is hosting a Halloween pumpkin carving evening, we are downloading stencils, cleaning the house, and arranging furniture for the party. M's Dad just stopped by with some long tables for the event, and I got to meet him. Seems like a good guy and there are plans to go to dinner at his house later in the week.

So, I'm sitting here trying to download more stencil from the over-taxed pumpkin stencil site. M is in the kitchen finishing up some preparations for cookies and other treats for the party. And now she's calling because she needs help moving a table....

Okay, table moved. And another stencil just downloaded! Yay.

Tomorrow should be a quiet day of rest and relaxation until the sun goes down and we hand out candy to the neighborhood children.

Having an absolutely fabulous time, even if the cold is deadly! ;-)

October 27, 2005

Nervous Now

Okay, I admit it... I'm nervous now. Butterflies are a-flapping away in my gut and I'm totally distracted.

Not nervous about M; she's the best thing that has happened to me in a long, long time. That will be fine. Only slightly nervous about meeting friends. I've talked to many of them via IM and through emails and they all seem like great people. A bit more nervous about meeting family. Hey, it's family!

But I'm really, really nervous about the traveling.

I know in my head that everything will be okay. That hundreds of flights have no trouble whatsoever. That thousands of people fly every single day. But that doesn't stop my heart from skipping a beat every now and then.

As my mom always says, "This too shall pass." And it will, and then I'll be in Canada. With M.

Holding onto that thought.

Pizza Party

The two most popular flavors of pizza are cheese and pepperoni. So, when my company announced that our division was having a "pizza party," I actually decided to join in. When I got down there, I counted 20 boxes of pizza sitting on the table. I opened every single box, looking for either a slice of pepperoni or cheese to enjoy. Maybe a Hawaiian. Something without fungus or veggies. What I came across were all specialty pizzas that had "the works" or "supreme" in the title.

I saw chicken supreme (mushrooms, onions, and tomato chunks), veggie supreme, "the works" (a little bit of everything), and similar. Every single pizza they ordered had at least two, but most had more, vegetables on it. Many had fungus (my way of saying mushrooms).

On top of this, they were from California Pizza Kitchen, a company that has a hard time leaving well enough alone. They used every kind of cheese you can imagine except mozzerella. The slice I eventually took, a chicken and mushroom job that I thought I could pick off all the fungus/vegetables fairly easily and eat with no problems, was made with ricotta cheese and had a white sauce instead of tomato sauce as its base. On top of that, there were so many onions involved that I just gave up. Wasn't worth the effort.

As I was leaving, Tom, the guy who did the ordering, was complaining that they were going to have a lot of leftovers and that it seemed like many people didn't like the selection. Well, duh! In ordering for 150 people you serviced the 20 people who are vegetarians and the 30 more who like pizzas with odd combinations and multiple items. You did not service the needs of the vast majority of people. If the grumblings and comments I heard as I walked back to my cubicle were any indication, most chose to just get a side salad and a drink and ignore the pizzas.

I know it is boring to order cheese and pepperoni pizzas. But they are the top two selling pizzas for a reason. You cannot go wrong with them and a vast majority of people will eat one or both of them.

Now I'm still hungry. Maybe I'll drive through the local Taco Bell/Pizza Hut and get a pepperoni personal pizza to satisfy this craving.


October 25, 2005

Secret Santa

A few years back our group of friends implemented a (sort of) Secret Santa strategy for Christmas. This plan has saved each of us time and money.

Everyone wants to get gifts for everyone else, of course. As the group got larger and things like couple-hood/marriage and children complicated things and further expanded the group, it just became impractical.

In our group, the typical plan is as follows:
• Elisa is generally our “ring leader” for getting this going.
• She provides the emails of each participant to a family member who acts as the neutral party and then randomly draws everyone’s name and assigns one person to another (throwing out the off times when a person is drawn for their own name).
• A dollar amount is set (usually $40), and everyone provides a list of items to a generic location that everyone can access. We actually have a Yahoo! Group set up for our Secret Santa chats and lists.
• Each person receives an email from the neutral party with their Secret Santa person and they check the Yahoo! Group for that person’s gift list.
• We all try to stay as close to the monetary limit as possible, so no one feels “cheated.”

This system has served us pretty well. With only a few minor bumps and hiccups along the way, it has saved the group time, money, and frustrations in shopping for gifts. It has been a godsend for me, because I know some of the group (and spouses) better than others. Before this plan, it was difficult to find things for those I didn’t know quite as well. I got stressed and frustrated when I wound up having to get gift certificates or other “lame” gifts (in my mind). And the added benefit is that we all get together for a nice party, eat some good food, and celebrate the holiday together.

This plan allows anyone who chooses to go outside of the Secret Santa to do so separately. For example, some like to get gifts for the children in the group. Some choose to get individual gifts for others who are not their secret person. This is fine, but is done on an individual basis and outside the Secret Santa process so that it does not affect the camaraderie of the get-together and does not reflect on anyone else who only provides the Secret Santa gift(s).

I comment on this now because I spoke with Elisa today. She is excited to get this process rolling now for this year’s Secret Santa and I am enthusiastic to get my person and start looking for a gift.

Now, all I have to do is think of something for my girlfriend, family, nephew, and a few, select friends outside of our normal group. But at least one group is easy to take care of!

October 24, 2005

Mostly for My Own Peace of Mind

How M and I met:

She was clicking the Next Blog button, stopped on mine, liked what I wrote, and commented. This led me to her blog, where I liked what I read, and commented.

It then evolved into an organic process of talking, getting to know one another, and, finally, meeting in person. It just happened to start using the internet as our primary medium. We are still dating and do not know what the future holds in store for our budding romance.

I love relating our tale. It is romantic and involves the right mix of coincidence, fate, and recognition between two similar souls.

NOT How M and I met:

Via an Online Dating Service. I'm not sure why so many people hear the story related above and then immediately turn around and tell their friends that M and I met via an ODS. An ODS is a specific means by which people post stats about themselves, meet, and check compatibility. Many are nothing more than meat markets. The higher-end ODSs, like eHarmony, use profiles and detailed algorithms to match people on likes, dislikes, and general needs/wants. There are many success stories, but many more failures.

I will SCREAM if one more person comes up and says, "So, I hear you met a girl through an online dating service. How was it? Which one did you use?"

I have nothing against the various ODSs out there. Use them if you wish. Post comments to this blog entry about your success stories. And I will even grant that our story has certain similarities to the processes by which the various ODSs match people and allow them to get to know one another.

But please do not tell others that M and I met via an ODS. It just is not true.


When someone says hello to me by way of the generic “hi, how are you” (which usually comes out as “hihowareya”) I actually respond. And I do not mean that I say, “Fine thanks, how are you?” I provide an honest answer. If I ask “how are you” in return, I wait for an answer.

This morning I had two people accost me with a “hihowareya.” The first I let pass because she did not even glance in my direction and her stride did not slow one iota. I was irritated, but just smiled and nodded while murmuring something incoherent. That was enough for her as she nodded and kept going, quickly making it to the corner and out of sight. Since she obviously did not care, why ask?

The second person was heading straight toward me and made eye contact. When he gave the “howareya” I answered him and moved subtly to restrict his progress past me as I asked him about his health in return. I could tell from the quick look he gave me that he was slightly annoyed or taken aback by my interest, but then he recovered himself, smiled, and answered me. I corrected my course back along my original path and he could easily get by me.

When seeing someone you barely know or do not really want to stop and chat with, just say, “Hi” or “Hello.” It is a declarative statement that does not necessitate any additional conversation beyond a reciprocal greeting. Alternately, you can do the smile and nod routine. You can both pass on your merry way and be done with it. But if you add an interrogative statement like “how are you,” you should expect at least some of the people you ask to answer you, stop and chat, or otherwise engage you. If you are not looking for an answer, do not ask the question!

For me, it comes down to manners. It is impolite to ask a question and then walk away, talk over the other person’s answer, or otherwise ignore the person to whom you asked the question. Yes, I am smart enough to realize that many people use this question as merely a form of greeting; however, there are many simple ways to greet another person without asking them a question. If you ask the question, expect an answer.

Lastly, you can be surprised what actually answering the question honestly and waiting for the other person to answer it honestly can do. Maybe they are having a bad day and can get just a little of it out by talking with you for a moment. Maybe your spirited response and convivial patience in listening to their response will lighten both of your moods. Maybe you will make a new friend, even for a moment.

October 20, 2005

Passport is in the House

The United States Post Office hand delivered my passport to me today.

One more step in my ultimate goal of conquering Canada has come to fruiti... er, I've said too much. ;-)

Canada, here I come!

October 17, 2005

Taste Quiz

I haven't done one of these in awhile.

You're SWEET!
You're SWEET!

You prefer the calmer, more compassionate things in
life and are loved by many.

Are you Sweet, Sour, Salty, or Bitter?
brought to you by Quizilla

October 12, 2005

Not for the Squeamish

You've been warned.
I am frustrated with men who tell me, "I didn't pee on my hands, why wash them?" I wash my hands each and every time I use the restroom and let me tell you one reason why.

This division of my company has approximately 160 employees. I work upstairs where slightly more than half the people work. Let's say 100 people. The division is pretty evenly mixed between males to females, so let's say 50 are male.

Each day, a majority of the males have to use the men's restroom at least once and some men multiple times. That means, each day, approximately 45 men are using the urinals in the upstairs men's restroom.

Most men hold their penises with at least one hand while using a urinal and nearly all touch their penises for "the shake" when they are finished peeing.

That means that 45 men have touched their penises and, at a minimum, have then touched the flushing mechanism on the urinal and/or the door to exit the men's bathroom.

You know where your penis has been, how clean it is, and what sort of problems or diseases you have. But you are, each time you use this restroom and these urinals, touching items handled by 44 other men who have similarly touched their penises. Do you know where each and every one of these men has been? How clean they keep their penises? What diseases and other afflictions they have on their genitals?

You touched at least one surface within the restroom that 44 other men touched with their unclean hands, and you chose to leave the restroom without washing yours. On the way back to your desk and at your desk, you touch:
- the flushing mechanism and/or the door handle to the men's room
- the handles of every public door between you and your desk
- your chair
- your keyboard
- your phone (including possibly your cell phone)
- your laptop
- writing implements
- pads of paper, notes, papers that will then be forwarded to other people
- staplers, tape dispensers, etc.

Also, along the way back to your desk, did you:
- pick up that print job from the public printer? Change or add paper when you saw it was out? Touch printout of the person who was in front of you?
- shake anyone's hand?
- attend a meeting? (there's another door, another chair, more hands shaken)
- did you stop and get coffee? (coffee handle, the cups, the cream, the sugar, the little straws used to stir)
- did you use the soda machine? (buttons, change area, receiving area)
- touch the sandwiches in the lunch room before finding the one you want to eat? The plates or cups?

Whatever you might have picked up from one of those 44 other men has now been spread to multiple surfaces that other people, including women who have never even visited the men's restroom, may now touch and pick up.

It is true that this happens every day and that most people's immune systems are strong enough to fight off the small amount that has spread over all of these surfaces and areas. But do you want to take that chance? And what if that one person has something more virulent? What if he has open sores (on his hands or on his penis)?

Now, tell me again that "I didn't pee on my hands, why wash them?"

I admit that washing your hands is no panacea. But it does seriously reduce what you can catch and what you can pass on. It only takes a few moments. Please stop and wash.

October 11, 2005

Never Easy...

Everyone has followed my travails in getting a birth certificate so I could get a new passport. I got my old passport February 14, 1986, when I was 14, and it expired March 1991. Time for a new one.

So I filled out the proper forms and sent them off after neither my mother nor I could find the original (which is still a bit of a worry-- where did it go?). Then the snafu of my credit union leaving Southern California and giving all of its members to a different credit union, so I was worried that the state couldn't cash the check I had included (since it was from the former bank).

Elation when the check was cashed. More elation when I received the actual birth certificate nearly a week earlier than expected.

While waiting for the birth certificate, I called and found a post office that does passports. I chatted with the guy at the USPS phone service center hotline about the charges, including expediting, photos, etc. Total of $97, he told me. Steep, but fine. I need this and it is good for many years, right?

This morning I bundled up my old passport, my birth certificate, and, as a last minute idea, my checkbook (the PO is funny about some things). Traci helped me. We took my picture ("It's not a mug shot, John, smile!" she said), I filled out the forms, and she started with the charges.

- $127 check (had to be check) to the US State Dept for the passport itself. Hmmm, we're already above the total costs that the nice man said I would be paying.
- $72 more in service charges, handling fees, picture fees, and fees to have it sent back to me 2-day air, certified so I have a chance at getting it before my trip.

$199 versus $97. It's almost the same amount.

The kicker was that, when I passed Traci the old passport, the birth certificate, and my photo ID, she slid the birth certificate back to me and said, "Oh, I don't need this." I guess I still look like I did when I was 14? Yeah, right. I had hair and a crooked smile back then.

'Excuse me?' I thought. 'All that effort and consternation for nothing?' But I didn't say it. I also somehow managed to smile to her instead of beating my head against her desk. I'm sort of proud of that.

Traci checked the information, teased me about my chosen profession ("Oh, so you write all those boring manuals, eh?"), and then passed me back the passport and drivers license. I thanked her and left.

Back at my desk at work and getting back to business, I get a phone call. It's Traci. "I'm so sorry, John, but I forgot to get your old passport from you. I'm going to need that."

So off I went, on the 5 mile trek back to that post office, I hand her the passport, I smile at her repeated "Sorry," and then I drive the 5 miles back to work.

At least, that task is done. I don't have to worry about it as I have the BC if I don't get the passport before I leave. Canada will let me visit. Watch out, world, John will soon be able to visit you!

Now, if I can just find a bank or foreign exchange to let me buy some Canadian money. You see, they all want you to be a member before they'll give it to you (and my credit union expressly doesn't provide that service). *sigh

October 7, 2005

The US Government Comes Through

My birth certificate came today, nearly a week early. Who says the US Government isn't on the ball?

So, now I can try for my passport next week. I know if I pay an extra $30 fee they can expedite the request, but I may or may not have it in time for Halloween.

But it doesn't matter, because I can get in with my ID and birth certificate.


*snoopy happy dance
*sings... "I'm going to see my girlfriend, I'm going to see my girlfriend!"

October 6, 2005

Near Death Experiences

So, I'm at the intersection. The light turns green for our side of the three-way intersection to go. I start to pull out. The guy on the left side of the intersection just floors it and takes off. Drives right through the red light he has, avoids the two cars turning left, narrowly misses me (as I was turning into the lane he was driving in), and just keeps going.

The funny things about this story:

1. As he swerved to avoid me I got a good look at him. He was doing a one-handed McCauley Culkin/Home Alone shocked look. Idiot.
2. My heart rate didn't even spike for a second. I took it completely in stride.
3. The guy next to him nearly went too-- I guess the first idiot was really convincing in his portrayal of "it's really green and we can go." Oscar-calibre!
3. I have yet one more piece of evidence that the life-lesson I learned when I was young, that I cling to when all else fails, and that has never let me down is still true: People are Stupid.

And a quick aside concerning stupidity: I said "I'd like a large beverage" (don't roll your eyes, M, you know that's how I talk) fairly slowly and clearly. The woman behind the counter repeated back to me, "You'd like a 6-piece chicken meal?"

Er, what?


End of the Innocence

After arriving home from bowling last night, I stopped to get my mail. As I neared the hallway in which the group mailboxes for my unit are located, I overheard the words, "I love you, but...." As I rounded the corner, a woman, mid-20s at a guess, was sitting on the stairs and facing her (and me) was a man around the same age. He saw me, but made no acknowledgement of me that she could see, so she continued not knowing she had an audience.

"I love you but not in that way. We have fun together, but I need...."

Having heard enough and it being obvious the man didn't care, I loudly scuffed my shoes on the ground made sure to jam my key into the mailbox lock more loudly than needed. I was going to allow her the privacy she needed for these comments.

However, I couldn't help but take a couple of looks over and assess the situation. I love stories, and my mind was racing with who these people might be and how they got to be here, on the stairs at 9:30 at night, breaking up.

She was an attractive woman, curvy, with mousy-brown hair. He was a little short, but in good shape, but had a pissy look on his face. Instead of devastation, pain, or a wounded look on his face as this woman broke up with him, I saw irritation. My first impression was that her breaking up with him was an inconvenience. Like he had made plans that would need to be changed.

Sometimes you can tell a lot by those initial glances and the pieces of conversation you overhear. I'm sure she will be much better off without this man in her life. Even if he cared for her, it was obviously in a possessive or diminutive way. I am confident that, in his life, the woman would always be more of a show piece than a companion. An object rather than a friend.

As I finished grabbing my mail and loudly made my exit so she would know I was leaving, she started back up.

"I just don't feel like you need me...."

I rounded the corner and quickly left listening range.

"I'm giving her all she's got, Captain!"

Awhile back I posted a blog about my TV dying and the desire to get a new one. Then I started noticing a trend that when the TV was "dying" the power to other items in the apartment also seemed to be affected. I called the front office to have a worker come out and take a look.

The worker, Geraldo, stood in my apartment for 20 minutes with everything turned off, strangely didn't notice any power fluctuations or problems, and concluded there was nothing wrong.

The power fluctuations continued and I saw a pattern; they happened during peak usage hours mostly, and only to my front room (which consists of the main living area and the kitchen). It affected everything in both areas of the front room to some degree-- didn't matter which plugs I used or whether the item was plugged directly into the power (like the lights). Got so bad that the TV would shut off, the microwave's clock would go blank, and my TiVo would reset and have to go through the power-up process.

I called again. Geraldo came back out, "tested" my plugs, and said everything was okay. That weekend, not two days later, the situation got so bad I had to move out of the front room and into the bedroom. I called the weekend hotline and didn't get an answer.

I put up with it for another two weeks, while other aspects of life were more important, and then the power situation got abysmal again during the weekend. I called the hotline and reached someone this time. Explained the problem and they assured me that someone would come out within an hour. Wrong again.

Recently I signed a new lease for another year. Wanted to move, but life piled up and it became difficult to look for a place and what looking I was able to do showed me most places were more expensive than resigning a lease would be. While talking with the front office I told them about my continued electrical problems.

Out came Geraldo again. This time he checked the circuit breaker and claims to have replaced some parts in it. I was good for about a day-- or the intermittent nature of the problem was more stable for that day, I don't really know which-- but the problem returned after that.

I complained in detail to the front desk. I explained that the problem was NOT in my actual apartment. Somewhere there is a circuit breaker that feeds power to the entire front room area and that THIS is where the problem lies. I explained everything that had happened to-date and that having someone come out to look at my apartment again would garner the same results-- nothing would appear to be wrong. Justin, the man I was dealing with, assured me that he would talk with the service manager and get this cleared up.

Came home yesterday and there was a nice little note from Geraldo (who is NOT the manager, btw), virtually word-for-word identical to the last time he was out, saying that he had replaced the circuit breakers IN MY APARTMENT and that I should be okay.

So, I guess I was imagining the power flickering and the loss of power that occurred last night, eh, Geraldo?

I'm sort of at a loss of what to do at this point. I cannot get them to understand that the problem is external to my apartment and that everything they have done to-date has been without effect. I may have to contact the William Lyons Group directly and see if I can't get more satisfaction from someone "at corporate" than I am going through my front office people.

I am even considering asking my father, who is a whiz at electronics, to come down with his equipment and take a look himself.

I've lived in this same apartment for 4 years now. I’ve had a pretty good relationship with this complex and the management here. I’m happy with where I live, except for this continued problem.

I currently have an extension cord from my bedroom to my front room. Since the power in the bedroom is fine, the extension cord powers everything I need it to in the front room without interrupt.

Oh, and it turns out I don't need a new TV after all.

Bowling Update (10/5/05)

Tonight's scratch scores:

191 163 233 = 195 average.
Overall average for season (to date) = 186.

Team: It appears we went 3-1.

I say "appears" because Jean, our usual female bowler, was out and we had a substitute (Tai's girlfriend). We had to 'guesstimate' her handicap since she didn't have one going into tonight and it looks like we went 3-1 for the night when that gets factored in.

Oh, and Tai had a fabulous night. Had a 183 and 175 when he's normally a 140-145 bowler. He's coming along. Getting much better at picking his spots and nailing the spares, which is one of the first steps to becoming a good bowler. Now if we can just work on the consistency, he'll be fine.

Now to get Arvin back in the swing of things....

So, we are now 11-9 (if the 3-1 from tonight holds up) on the season and up from last place to middle of the pack.

Go Jean's Posse!

October 4, 2005

Working Vacation

Okay, it is booked. I'm leaving from LAX on Thursday at around 10:30pm, arriving in Toronto at around 6am on Friday morning (terminal change), then hopping one more flight at 8:40am from Toronto to Saint John, arriving at 11:30am. That is a lot of flying! The trip back will be better. I have to leave at 6:40am on Sunday, November 6, with a hop to Montreal, no terminal changes, and then to LAX.

Hopefully I can find a friend or two to drop me off and/or pick me up from LAX. But, if not, the Super Shuttle is $45 one way and I'll book passage with them to get me to and from LAX, which is 50 miles from here (80 kilometers).

I tried to get a flight from John Wayne Airport, which is just down the street from me, but the options we saw a few days ago completely were booked up or canceled. Plus, each of those flights required three planes and at least two terminal changes, both ways.

As a reluctant flier at best, and a fearful one in reality, we felt that three flights and so many terminal changes was asking for trouble. It is worth the hassle of finding a friend or getting a shuttle to have the more direct flights and fewer terminal changes.

I'll still be a nervous wreck when I get there. And it is too bad I don't have the vacation days accrued to make it a true vacation, so I'll have to work 4 of the days I'm there. But that means more time at Christmas....

Look out, Canada, John is on his way!

(Now, if that birth certificate would just show up.... If it is not one thing, it is another!)

October 3, 2005

Joss Whedon and Neil Gaiman

I'm at lunch and stumbled across this cool conversation between a Times writer and Joss Whedon and Neil Gaiman. It touches on a variety of topics and I enjoyed learning a little more about both.

Oh, and I picked up Anansi Boys this weekend and hope to settle down with it soon-- I've got nearly everything Neil Gaiman has written, comics and books. Great author, really tuned in.

Link to Article

October 2, 2005

Fruits and Veggies

Do Claussen Kosher Dill Pickles count toward my daily allotment of fruits and veggies?