Saturday, December 31, 2005

Whatcha Talkin' About, Apu?

Last night I was sitting in my living room, playing a little God of War on the PS2 when the phone rang.


[pauses PS2]

[answers phone]

Me: Hello?

Roger's Rep: [thick East Indian accent] Hello sir, I am calling for Roger's Wireless. You are a customer with us, sir?

Me: Yes I am.

RR: [much background noise consisting of other accented individuals speaking on the phone) Yes sir, we are calling to make a special offer to our special customers like yourself and offering them a free phone. It is the X296-blah-blah-camera phone-blah-blah and it is free of charge to you our special customer.

Me: [straining to hear through the accent and background noise] What?

RR: The phone...blah blah...special customer...blah blah

Me: [confused] Does it work off the same plan? I don't want a second plan.

RR: Blah blah.....[incomprehensible]...blah blah....

Me: I'm not interested.

RR: [sounding shocked and surprised] Why not, sir?

Me: [thinking - "Because I can't understand a freakin' word that you're saying"] I'm just not.

RR: [pause]

Me: Is that all?

RR: Do you subscribe to Roger's high speed internet, sir...?

Me: No, I don.....

RR: Because we have a special offer for our special customers....


RR: [taken aback] Okay sir. Thank you.


Not the first time I've had a conversation like that. It gets me mad on so many levels. Number one....nothing is free. Don't sell me that line. You're a business...if there isn't something in it for you, there's definitely nothing in it for me. I hate when they act like they're a freakin' charity giving stuff away. And B), where's the professionalism? This guy's accent was so thick, I'd have trouble understanding him if we were in the same room together. On the phone, with a cacaphony of background noise (in the call centre where this guy works), I could barely make out what he was saying.

I'm thinking of investing in one of those airhorns you can buy at Canadian Tire:

RR: Sir, I'd like to tell you about a special off.....




[unpause PS2]

Friday, December 30, 2005


I have my Windows Media Player on shuffle. Face Pollution by Soundgarden just transitioned to No One Is To Blame by Howard Jones. How does that happen?

In my defense.....I grew up in the 80's.

Friday, December 23, 2005

*sniff* I DO Smell Something....

I don't understand dogs.

For some reason that escapes my capacity for comprehension, my dog (or perhaps all dogs in general), has some instinct coded in his genetics that predisposes him to roll in the feces of other dogs. Normally in the winter, I don't need to concern myself with this, as the turds left behind by inconsiderate dog owners are frozen and often buried. Today, however, was significantly mild, with rain, and all kinds of treasures were uncovered in the park which I routinely let my dog run free in. I had only turned my back for a minute, but somehow the stupid mutt managed to indulge himself in a crap bath.

Good times.

Do You Smell Something?

"Age is of no importance unless you are a cheese."

Soooo....yesterday was my birthday. The big three-oh. I'm trying to remember where my youth went. When I was in high school I would think far ahead to the year 2000....a new millenium....and how I would be 25. An old man. It makes me wonder how I look to someone in high school now.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Can You Feel The Glow Of Commerce?

I went Christmas shopping today.

Nothing quite gets me into the holiday spirit like pushing through crowds of irrate consumers, getting honked at by some idiot who wanted the parking spot that I CLEARLY was waiting for first, and dumping cash on gifts that the intended receiver may not even like.

Ho Ho Ho.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Know what irks me? The apple display at the supermarket. Ever notice how they always stack the apples with the imperfections facing down. You go to grab one thinking it looks good, then turn it over and see it has a bruise the size of Mikhail Gorbachev's birthmark on it. So I end up going through all the freakin' apples in search of the good ones, and in the process upset the delicate balance of the apple pyramid, causing a landslide.

One of these days the stock boy is going to catch a Golden Delicious right in the freakin' temple.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Honeymoon in Scotland: Day 5 to 7

We woke up in Balloch.

I won't say it was morning, as it was still dark, and we had to skip the second "B" in B&B as our host wasn't awake yet. On the plus side, traffic was light for our drive into Glasgow and back to the airport. We had to take a toll bridge over the river on the way. (Side note: Tam hates bridges, and Scotland has it's fair share of them, which was a constant source of amusement for me) We returned the rental (goodbye Peugeot 307) which I had finally started driving well. I should probably mention that our trip to Scotland wasn't 4 days long. We were meeting our friends Kelvin and Marie-Eve Bear who were flying in that morning. I worked with Kelvin at the RCMP detachment in Carlyle, Saskatchewan, and they had been planning on a trip of their own around the same time as we were, so we decided to do some travelling together. Anyway, after a short wait, the Bears arrived and we hopped a cab into downtown Glasgow. We stayed at McLay's Guest House, which I would not recommend. The lift (read: elevator) was big enough for two people with 1 bag each. But you had to be hugging. I'm serious. The keys to the rooms were the old skeleton key style from the turn of the century (read: last century), and the door to our room looked like perhaps the police had kicked it in on occassion. But luckily, the actual insides of the rooms was worse. We dropped off our bags and went for a coffee. The Bears were pretty jet-lagged, so they decided to grab a few zzz's before continuing on. Recalling our first day, we didn't have a problem with that, so did a bit of window-shopping in downtown Glasgow. After giving them a few good hours, we met up again and decided to do some sight-seeing. Glasgow is a city of art and architecture. We stopped at the McLennan Galleries, and I was able to see an original Rembrandt called "Man in Armour" . There was plenty more, of course, but that was my favourite piece. Leaving there, we walked...and walked...and walked...and eventually made our way to St. Mungo's Cathedral. The Cathedral itself was impressive. We went inside and took some pictures, though due to low lighting, they didn't turn out the greatest.
A graveyard was situated right outside the entrance, and the gravestones were laid flat on the ground. Time and weather had all but worn away the epitaphs. Next door was St. Mungo's museum, where I was able to see an original work by one of my favourite artists, Salvador Dali.
The piece was "Christ of St. John of the Cross". I wasn't overly fascinated with the rest of the museum, so I spent most of my time there just staring at the Dali painting, while the others looked around. Cool. Deciding to give our poor feet a rest, we took the bus from the Cathedral to the university area to look for a place to eat. Ashton Lane was recommended as a street with a lot to offer. We found a place called the Loft which had been converted from an old balcony cinema and had a movie theme. The food was good and affordable. Another long walk took us back to near our hotel, where we had a few drinks at the Driftwood Bar before calling it a night.

A mediocre breakfast greeted us the following morning prior to our departure. With our large backpacks stuffed and strapped on, we made the journey to the train station and took the ScotRail to Edinburgh. There was a bit of confusion on arrival, as we had to find someplace to eat, someplace to sleep, and figure out what we were doing. The food court at the Prince's Mall became our dining choice, after which we grabbed a shuttle to the Globetrotter Inn (hostel) where we would be staying. We dropped off our bags and took the shuttle back downtown. The scenery was great, as you have a nice view of the Scott Monument, Edinburgh Castle, and Arthur's Seat from downtown.We went to Rose Street and found a pub for supper, and another for further drinks, before grabbing the shuttle back to the hostel for the night. The hostel had a little pub of it's own, so we had a few more nightcaps there as well. Most of the hostel patronage is of a younger variety, and a few were there enjoying the night as well. One Scottish lad was considerably intoxicated and kept saying "Beer me!", and treated everyone in the place to a shot of Jaegermeister. Good times.

The next morning, after some cereal and a little laundry, we went out to catch the shuttle. We gave up our seats to some others who had to get in to catch a plane, since the Americans who were last in line wouldn't give up theirs. While we were waiting for the second shuttle, "Beer me!" showed up and we all had a good laugh as he didn't remember much of anything from the night before. He just had a friend call in for him at work, saying he had been hit by a car.
We finally got downtown, and after a coffee at Starbucks (I hate Starbucks....sorry Ann), we proceeded up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle. We toured the Castle for a few hours, seeing the Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny, the prisoner of war jail and the War Memorial.
There were also some great views of Edinburgh, given the Castle's elevated position. Tam and I were sitting outside at one of the military museums waiting for the Bears when we saw the actor James Cromwell and his wife walk by. I considered walking up and asking for a photo, but am not the type to want to bother someone on their personal time. I made eye contact and gave a nod and smile, which was returned, and it was left at that. The Bears weren't overly impressed when told about our celebrity sighting, as they had no idea who James Cromwell was. Leaving the Castle, we went back downtown and to supper at the Standing Order bar. It was busy, but the food was good and reasonably priced. After dinner, the Bears went to shop for towels (not supplied by the hostel), while Tam and I waited outside on Rose Street. While standing there, James Cromwell and his wife walked right passed us again, and he gave some money to a homeless guy down at the corner. Tam tried to snap a picture but only got his back, in the dark, far away, and it was blurry. Once again, the Bears were unimpressed when told....but I was oddly reminded of the Polkaroo. We took the shuttle back to the hostel where I finished laundry and watched some television.

And the winner is.....

People continue to amaze me.

I'm driving home from work, and I see this guy. He's riding a a snowstorm.....on a highway....towards oncoming traffic....with no lights or reflectors.

Darwin Award waiting to happen.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Can someone please tell me why it is that EVERY time I am taking a road trip, something goes wrong? If it's not bad weather (as it is today......snowing......AGAIN), it's some kind of problem with my vehicle. At times, I'm really lucky, and it's both.


Off to London this morning so Tam can meet Gordie and we can pick up Gran. Hopefully the weather clears a bit south of here.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Dog's Life



Well.....Steve the Contractor did finally show up, and started framing the basement. I was out of town for work on Thursday and Friday, so I got to see the progress when I got back Friday night. It's starting to come along.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Marmasets Are Coming!

Life would be so much easier if we didn't have to sleep. Think of all that wasted time. What is 1/3 of your life spent sleeping? I envy those people who can function on 2 or 3 hours a night.

I, apparrently, am not one of them.

Just got back from Windsor after doing security for the Liberals. Long hours...a lot of driving....little sleep. I have a new war cry:

Large, double, double.

Don't worry little missy....I'll save you!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Honeymoon in Scotland: Day 1 to 4

Thanks to a generous wedding gift from my mother, Tam and I were able to travel to Scotland for our honeymoon. I'd always wanted to go, and since we were finally getting married, Tam decided not to raise too much of a stink about it. ;)

We flew out of Toronto on September 30th, 2005, and landed early in the morning on October 1st. It was our first trip overseas, and I was happy to have landed in Glasgow without becoming shark food. There was a bit of moisture in the air, but nothing too serious. Our first hurdle (or mine at least), was learning how to drive in Scotland. Let me tell you....once you've spent 14 years driving on the right side, driving on the left isn't quite as easy as one might think. Getting out of the airport was a nightmare, and I ended up getting onto the motorway (read: highway/freeway/interstate) headed in the wrong direction. The scenery was stunning least what I saw between lorry-dodging. Eventually, I got myself turned around and headed in the right direction (on the left side). We passed through Glasgow and made the 45 minute journey up to Stirling. The Bannockburn visitor centre was closed, so we proceeded straight to Stirling Castle. Withing a couple of hours of landing in Scotland, I was at the site of one of the most famous battles in the country's history. Wow....what a view. Looking out over Stirling Bridge and the surrounding area from the elevated plateau of the Castle, you could almost picture the armies massing on the battleground below. Across the river, the Wallace Monument stood tall. We toured the outside of the Castle for a while, including a stunning cemetary that sat beneath the walls. A little while later, we headed in and took the guided tour. It was interesting to hear all the history, and witness the damage to the walls from canons and musket shot. In the Great Hall, I got to sit on the throne (or a reasonable facsimile). We spent a good while there, just looking out over the breathtaking landscape. Then we hit the road again. The plan was to make St. Andrew's on the first day, but because we were so tired, we decided just to find some accomodations, eat, and get some rest for the following day. AFter some inquiries at a Tourist Information Centre (TIC), we booked in at a cute little B&B called Wyvis in Tillicoultry. We took a 3 hour nap in the afteroon, got up and went to get something to eat at the local pub, then came back and crashed again. Either it was the most comfortable bed I ever slept in, or we were really tired (perhaps a little of both)! In the morning, we decided against St. Andrews, as apprently there was a big golf tournament going on, and the place was difficult to navigate at the best of times. Given I was still wet behind the ears with my driving, we decided to keep it simple and head up the Coastal Trail. We passed through Dundee and travelled along the North Sea until we reached Arbroath. Here we stopped to see Arbroath Abbey. Now in ruins, the place is stunning nonetheless. Being from such a young country as Canada, the history of these places is overwhelming. It is mindboggling to think of the work that must have went into constructing these places without the benefit of modern technology. From Arbroath, we continued up the coast and stopped at Dunnottar Castle, just south of Stonehaven. Wow. Although a ruins, this Castle was on the most visually stunning piece of land. I wouldn't want to be part of the army laying seige to that castle! There were two great coves on either side of the outcropping the castle sat on, and you could imagine the longships pulling onto the shore hundreds of years ago. Oh....and there was about a million steps down to sea level, and then a million more up to the Castle. But let's not dwell on the negative! After Dunnottar, we had intended to stay over in Aberdeen, but we decided to continue on to Granttown-On-Spey and spend an extra night there. I ended up taking some backroad through the Highlands that was treacherous. A winding, narrow, uphill road filled with perils such as sheep and oncoming vehicles. We were driving so high my ears started to pop. In a town just southeast of our destination, I stopped and gave a boost to a guy with a dead battery (after popping the bonnet!). He was from Granttown, so said he could lead us to our B&B since he was driving that way anyway. Fantastic. He just failed to mention he was a Super Slalom Highland Car Racer. But...I managed to keep up as best I could. We got into Granttown and to our B&B without incident. We stayed at the An Cala Guest House which was excellent. The room, food and our hostess, Val were all great. She made our 2 night stay very enjoyable. The next morning after a delicious Scottish breakfast, we hit the road. It was past 9am, so it was time for some whiskey! We went to the Glenlivet Distillery which was great. It was located in a very remote area of the highlands, southeast of Granttown. They had a free tour where we got to walk through the distillery and see the whole process, start to finish. There was also a little whiskey tasting at the end. Tam didn't wish to partake, but I tried the 18 year. It was good, though I still can't say I'm a huge fan of Scotch whiskey. It's amazing how many casks of whiskey they produce. Millions. And that's just one company. In the highlands around Granttown, there is something in excess of 40 distillerys. Crazy. From there, we drove up to Craigellachie, where we took in the scenery near Telford Bridge over the River Spey. I really started to miss my dog, Rudy, then, as he would have loved it around there. It would have been fun to have been able to take him for a walk. We drove back towards Granttown, and tried to stop at Castle Grant. We were able to get onto the grounds, but the gate to the Castle was closed, and there were too many trees to get a good picture (dagnabit!). So, we drove back to town (after chasing a sheep with the car), and did a little bit of shopping on the main drag before going back to the guest house. We took a little walk to a nearby restarant for supper. It was early (around 5pm), and we were the only ones in the joint. I think traditionally people eat a bit later out there. I tried some Cullen Skink with my supper, and though different, it wasn't too bad. There wasn't much going on that night as far as entertainment, as it was early in the week, so we just made it an early night. The next morning we travelled south towards Aviemore, with a short stop at the Speyside Heather Centre. Not a lot of sight-seeing along the way, as we were headed for Glasgow. We passed through the Trossachs (Rob Roy country) and made a pit stop at Dewar's distillery, courtesy of our bladders, and had a slice of pie in the coffee shop. We made an unscheduled stop at the Falls of Dochart, since were were passing by and they looked pretty cool. We didn't quite make it to Glasgow, instead calling it a night in Balloch, which is at the southern tip of Loch Lomond. It was a cute little town which is growing and nearby an area which has just been set aside as Scotland's first National Park. We booked into our B&B, went out for some supper, and took a nice walk around town before calling it a night.

Next time: Day 5 to 7 (Glasgow and Edinburgh)

Adventures in Basement Building

I'm listening to Billy Talent because I have some anger.

We bought out house with an unfinished (or minimally finished) basement. The plan was for me to do it myself even though I have no experience, tools, or time to do so. After 5 months with no progress made, we decided it would be best to hire someone to do it. A bazillion estimates later, we decided on a guy who struck me as honest and professional. I had a "good feeling". Being a police officer, you learn to rely on your instincts and first impressions are usually pretty accurate.

So on the day he was coming by to finalize the contract, we discover some water in our basement. It appears we have a stress fracture on one of the poured concrete walls. Outside, the water seems to be pooling and not adequately draining to the weeping tile. This is because the backfill is all clay which doesn't allow the water to drain properly. The contractor says he can fix the crack and will backfill with some stone. Fair enough.

So fixing the leak took about a week where he said it would have taken 2 days, max.

He also tells us that he will start on the basement on Monday. So as mentioned in the previous post, we had my mother-in-law come down to supervise as Tam and I both work, and I cleaned out the basement on Sunday.

Monday comes and goes. No contractor. He calls and tells us he'll be around between 8-8:30 on Tuesday.

Tuesday comes....and he manages to come by in the late afternoon to fill the hole he dug outside. He tells my mother-in-law he'll be by between 8-9 the next morning.

Wednesday comes.....10:00. No contractor. I phone and leave a message. Start this post. He calls around 10:30...saying he'll be here for 11:15.

We'll see.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Nodrog: The Backwards Baby

Nodrog, of course, is Gordon in reverse.

And Gordon, or "Gordo", is my new baby nephew, born at some ungodly hour on December 3rd, 2005.

But Dave....why backwards? Well....because he wanted to jump into the world feet first. Crazy breach baby. For the entire complicated story, see my brother-in-law's blog, Postcards From London.

As for my goes something like this:

My wife (Tammi) and I had just finished supper. She was talking to my sister Kim on the phone. Kim was uber-pregnant and had her membranes sweeped earlier that day. Natural way to speed up labour, apparently. Anyhoo....when she got off the phone, we took the dog out for a walk. Upon returning, we phoned my mother, who had been talking to Kim, and the mother-to-be was now having contractions.

A little logistics for you. I live in Innisfil, Ontario. Kim is in London, ON, about 2 hours southeast of me. Mother is back in Sudbury, ON, about 3.5 hours north of me.

So Mom was supposed to go down to London for the labour/Christmas. But now it looks like baby boy is coming 2 weeks early. My mother-in-law was supposed to come down that weekend anyway from Sudbury, so we had Tam's father drive her and my mother to Parry Sound (1.5 hours north of me), where we met them.

We left home around in tow.

It was a blizzard. Of course.

I don't remember what time we got to Parry Sound, but we got there. On the way back with the mothers, we got a phone call from Steve. They had a bouncing baby boy just before 1am. Name was withheld for personal introduction to the new Gran. It was now around 2am. Around 3am, we got back as far as Innisfil, and decided that due to weather and mental acuity considerations, we should stop at home and get a few hours sleep.

A few hours is equal to approximately 2.5 hours. By 7:30am, my mom and I were on the road to London (Tam had to work). We got to St. Joseph's in London about 3 hours later, including requisite stops at Tim Horton's and McDonald's. After tracking down Kim and Steve, we were introduced to Gordon Grant Loney, a.k.a. Gordo, a.k.a. Nodrog (the lame name gifted the boy from his uncle, just this very eve). We got to hear about the early morning scare, and take some pictures and video. After a few hours visit, I abandoned my mother and came home, as I had to clean out my basement for the contractor (who didn't show up).

And that's about it. Without further adieu......Gordon Grant Loney.

Coming Soon!

My Nephew Gordo
Honeymoon in Scotland
The Basement Boondoggle
...and other ramblings.