Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Spiced Almond Tart

A Christmas Story.


If I was the male version of Oprah, the one thing I would feature on the "Favorite Things" episode would be none other than the Spiced Almond Tart by the Glamorgan Bakery. I mean among other things of course, like Guitar Hero, a bottle of Reserve Perrin Cotes Du Rhone, Oso Negro Coffee, and a tin of Formosa Ali San Green Oolong, but the Spiced Almond Tart would be the grand finale.

The Spiced Almond Tart is quite simply, "Gevulde Speculaas" in a tart shell. Gevulde speculaas is well, dutch, and it translates directly into English as "The Food Of The Gods" Not many foods have this title, this one however does. What this means is, if you're going to heaven you better get used to them. If you're not.. well, I hope you like Whitloff (which translates into "Devils Toilet" or "Tastes like Crap" depending on which region of Holland you come from) If you for whatever reason find yourself eating Whitloff, and think you're going to die, you most likely are. Whitloff has just been approved as the new form of Capital Punishment in the state of Michigan. The only known antidote for Whitloff is.. yeah, the Spiced Almond Tart.

There it is. The Spiced Almond Tart in all it's ambrosial glory, sitting there, trapped behind the squeaky clean sparkling glass of the Glamorgan Bakery display case, waiting to fulfill the meaning to it's existence, but.. it's sad. It's sad because even though it knows of it's divine status among it's case mates, it feels small, dwarfed next to the apple pie sitting so smug beside it. "Why can't it be as big as the apple pie"? it says. "Shuttup.." shout the apple pies.



A few weeks ago I took it upon myself to discuss to the owner of the Bakery, the plight of the Spiced Almond Tart, how it wanted to be big, big like the Apple Pie. He stammered that it was not meant to be! Building a tart the size of an apple pie could have dire consequences! It could rupture the space time continuum forcing the earth to collapse in on itself! Too much of a good thing is one thing, but this would be too much of a perfect thing, and it would not be done. I couldn't help but reluctantly agree.

But on Christmas Day, under the tree, a present, marked only for me. I opened it up and no word of a lie, there inside.. A Spiced Almond Pie! I said You've GOT TO BE JOKING! This thing is HUGE! Not a bad gift for Alex the Scrooge. Glamorgan Bakery, thanks for the fun.. Next up? A giant Cheese Bun!



Thank you Glamorgan Bakery and Staff for making this a Merry Christmas, and for granting the wish of a Spiced Almond Tart, OK and for me too. ;-) YOU GUYS ROCK!


AS

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Vancouver, A City Underwater.

Vancouver is not dry, it's a city underwater, and surprisingly it's not because of the rain.
I have been working in Vancouver for the better part of the week, staying at the Pan Pacific, cabbing it to work and walking back. It's not a long walk, about 1/2 hour, but to make it interesting I choose a new route to walk back everyday. Something was brought to my attention and now I can't help but notice it every time. Vancouver has a huge addiction, you'd think everyone lived underwater.
The other night I made arrangements with my parents to have some dinner. It's come to be a custom when I work in Vancouver to have a sushi dinner at least one of the nights I am here with my parents who only live about 15 minutes away from downtown. We chose a favorite place and settled in with some cherry blossom rolls, "delicious" rolls, and salmon sashimi. As we sipped our warm sake, my mom made the comment that as they were walking down Robson St, the only restaurants which were full were Sushi restaurants. Raising an eyebrow, I wanted to learn more. For the next few days I tested this theory out, and cannot believe the contrast in business between Sushi restaurants and Non Sushi restaurants. I felt bad for the Italian restaurant with three people in it, looking out the window at the people standing in the rain waiting for a seat at the Sushi Restaurant next door. It's that bad. I would say without a lie that 75% of all lunch / dinner business in Vancouver is in the form of raw fish. Why is this?
I think it might be because Sushi is one the rare food items that tastes great, and is actually good for you too. There's no deep fry, no grease, no trans fats, no MSG, no McCrap. It's like eating art, and you can walk away from a sushi dinner and feel good. (unless you're with Darren C, holy how, that's a different story. Stay away from all you can eat sushi with Darren C. He eat wike fwee Wiwwy, and he take you down with him.)
I think the sushi phenomena is giving Vancouver a pleasant personality, but as a result I don't think there's much hope for the French or Italian restaurants, unless maybe they start to serve raw sausage or uncooked noodles? Doubt it.

Paying By Debit?

If you are paying by debit, you might be paying more than the merchant. Lots more.
Debit theives are at it again, which isn't new, but the method is bloody scary.
I was once a victim of debit card fraud in the range of three thousand bucks a few years ago. I got it all back without problem, but it made me wary. Someone merchant cloned my debit card and watched me punch my PIN in the machine, and at the time I had a very easy PIN to read. When the bank refunded the cash, it came at a small cost. I needed to change my PIN to five digits instead of four, so I chose a very strategic PIN which uses two hands to enter, nearly impossible to read when watching. I know this cause I have tested it many times. But that doesn't matter anymore. Now, they don't have to watch.
The new scam involves replacing the debit card reader and PIN pad with one of their own. The "new" reader is very easy to replace, just unplug the coily phone cable, put old reader in pocket and replace with identical looking debit card reader and PIN pad. Here's the scary part. The new debit card reader has been modified with a bluetooth wireless transmitter, and is transmitting in real-time, your card number and PIN. Someone in a nearby car can clone your card and have your PIN creating a perfect copy of your bank card. They can then walk up to a bank machine and pull out the maximum daily amount in cash.. all before you have walked out of the store. Even more scary than that, at this current time there is no way to detect this scam. Everyone is walking around with bluetooth cellphones, bluetooth handsfree, etc.. flooding busy malls with bluetooth wireless traffic, bringing the chance of RF scanning techniques to pretty much nothing. Police are asking merchants to place personalized stickers or hard to remove identification markers on the pin pads, record the serial number and check throughout the day.
Good news is, I can go back to my easy PIN, cause apparently, it doesn't matter anymore.

sigh.

AS

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Monday, December 3, 2007

SOS.. "I need you"

This was on post secret this Sunday:

It decodes to "SOS I NEED YOU" :-)

And Karl, that's it. I think it's just a nice message to get. Nothing more nothing less. It's powerful in it's simplicity. This was the "email" of the 1800's. Beautiful.

-... . / - .... . / ..-. .. .-. ... - / - --- / .--. --- ... - / .- / -.-. --- -- -- . -. - / .-- .. - .... / - .... . / .-- --- .-. -.. / -... .-.. --- --. - .- ... - .. -.-. / .- -. -.. / -.-- --- ..- / .-- .. -. / .- / -.. .- - . / .-- .. - .... / -.- .- .-. .-.. / -... --- -- .... --- ..-.

AS

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tipping

The other day our family went out for dinner to the local restaurant "Montana's" in Westhills/Signal Hill area. We have been to this restaurant several times before, and the service is hit and miss at best. There are times we get fantastic service, and other times the service sucks big, but the last time it was just abysmal.
I can get into detail about why, but long story short the server we had should not be serving. Horrible. At the end of the dinner I wrote a big fat ZERO where the tip should have been on the credit card receipt. I haven't NOT tipped in a long time, as a matter fact I think the last time I didn't tip was when my mom asked me to pay for a lunch, and when you're eleven years old, you don't have much change in your pocket, so I just didn't have enough money for a tip.
I know that server's wages are calculated with tip in consideration but is this where the problem begins? Or is it just that we tip too much too often forcing the restaurateur to pay his servers less? I'll have some chicken and egg please.
Why do we tip?
We tip because we are supposed to. It's expected of us. 15% - 20% is the expected gratuity on a dinner, and no it's not "double the GST" anymore, that would be considered below the minimum. If you show up with a group at some restaurants "a 20% gratuity will be automatically included in the bill". Really? That tells me something. That tells me that you suck at hosting groups, and as a result of said suckiness you aren't tipped the maximum, so you'll just tip yourself. I'm avoiding these establishments like the bubonic plague.
A few years ago we go for a sushi lunch with a group of six. The service sucked as usual, and we paid as a group and left a small tip. The next time we go with the same group and the lady refused to give us a group bill, she billed us all individually and then said,
"We charge you separate because last time you not tip enough" No kidding? Last time we not tip enough cause you not give service enough. Needless to say, it was the last time we ate there.
Servers expect tips, and we, the unconfrontational mass, just throw money at them, further solidifying the justification to standardize the gratuity structure. I say, enough is enough. I say we redefine the tip. The following is a list of guidelines I will attempt to adhere to throughout the holiday season:

Alex's Tip Guidelines:

1. All tips start at zero. I am going to start making assumptions your boss is paying you for the work you were hired for. If you are working for someone as a server, you should be compensated fairly as a server, and not as 80% of a server. If you are being short changed because you are not receiving a tip, blame your boss.. not me. I'm not being cheap, I'm paying exactly what the menu is asking me to pay for your food, I don't haggle this price, and neither should your boss when it comes to your pay.

2. I'll decide what to tip. Don't tell me what the industry standard is cause guess what, you're not industry standard either. I've been known to tip over 25% if the service is great, but if you are having a bad ass day and decide to take it out on your patrons, guess what, no more tip. And if you hate your job? No tip. Bring me milk instead of cream for my coffee then ask me why I wanted cream and not milk? NO FRIGGEN TIP!

3. Buffet and Pick ups. No tip. If I am serving myself, that kind of makes you a moot point. You will not get a tip for me having to get my own food, and for the love of everything sacred, please don't expect a tip if I am picking up my food from your counter to take home. Pearl Express is a PICK UP ONLY restaurant and yet, when I pick up and pay debit, the debit machine asks me how much I should tip. Hey I know, how about negative 20%? Dumbasses.

4. Service is one thing, food is another. but if either of them suck.. No Tip. If the service is great, but the food sucks, I'm not paying for it. If I tell the server the food sucked and still get charged for it? two words. No tip. Why should we have to pay for food that sucked? This is a no brainer. If you did not like your steak cause it contained too much fat, you should offered a new one or have it removed from the bill. If neither options happen? I will use the gratuity or lack there of to satisfy the differential, aka.. no bloody tip.

We as Calgarians are beginning to accept lower standards in hospitality, and it's all due to the labour shortage forcing the industry to hire bottom-of-the-barrels. All one has to do is go to Vancouver and Lower Mainland area of BC to see the difference, to get a glimpse into the ghost of hospitality past. It's the "Hospitopia" where servers actually like their jobs, try hard to earn the tip, and do a damn good job at it.

I sit over my cold soup, look west, and sigh.

AS.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Changes to my blog

No more anonymous comments. Registered users only ;-) AND all comments will be moderated, so unless approved they just won't show.

Getting a little too confused as to who says what. And YES I know you can create a fake a gmail account and still post anonymously, but at least you have to work for it this time, and I'll most likely punt the comment anyway.

That being said.. Here's a great video:


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Went to Starbucks today...

and said cockily,

"I'll have a Super Grande Quadruple Espressinoso Light Blueberries And Cream Half-Soy Full City Roast Nonfat Half-caf Organic Caramel Vanilla Iced Double-Shot Macchiato Black Tea Chai Foamed Shaken Sugar-free Cinnamon Eggnog Dolce Peppermint Gingerbread Pumpkin Spice Latte Thrice Blended Extra Hot With Three Ice Cubes Hold The Whipped Cream, One Sweet'N Low, and One Nutrasweet.. please"

Lady said.. "You wanted a Super Grande Quadruple Espressinoso Light Blueberries And Cream Half-Soy Full City Roast Nonfat Half-caf Organic Caramel Vanilla Iced Double-Shot Macchiato Black Tea Chai Foamed Shaken Sugar-free Cinnamon Eggnog Dolce Peppermint Gingerbread Pumpkin Spice Latte Thrice Blended Extra Hot With Three Ice Cubes Hold The Whipped Cream, One Sweet'N Low, and One Nutrasweet?"

Thinking she was on to me I said

"Yes please"

she said

"why would you want it extra hot and then three ice cubes?"

I said

"the cubes are to cool it down"

she said

"why extra hot then?"

knowing I was beat I tip my head to the coffee master and say,

"I'll have a grande vanilla latte"

she smiles.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Calgary to Banff

How about another time lapse? OK. This one is Calgary to Banff in four minutes, shot on sunday. Kinda speaks for itself. See if you can catch the cop in a speed trap soon after the banff park gates. ;-)

Monday, November 19, 2007

A HUGE Thank you!!!

It's not every day I feel this grateful, so you may not see these posts very often. I have never been more thankful than I am today. A quick little bit of background before I get into why I feel this way.
A while ago I run into an issue with my debit card, seems it was wearing out a little on the magnetic strip. Over time it got so bad that Safeway started to reject the attempts. I knew that I had a credit card backup incase my debit card was unreadable which gave me justification to wait before obtaining a new card. Recently though my personal credit card and my corporate credit card have been showing similar disabilities, I knew the time was close to replace them, and yet I seem to always have chosen the easy road to a familiar little town called Procrastinationton. (If you haven't visited, you should!)
Further adding to my magnetic card stripe problem, other issues were creating my wallet into a timebomb. My drivers license is worn and dirty, my safeway card and my airmiles card were neutered from trying to open locked doors (legally mind you) and my wallet itself was a torn and ripped and ready for replacement.
That being said, I would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the very pleasant human being who stole it last night. Please consider the $60 as "thank you" tax.
There seems to have been a little mistake however, Leona did not require a refresh of her purse / wallet and would like it back. If you choose not to give back her purse.. you will be hunted. You have three days.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

To and From Work, TIME LAPSE

Who doesn't get excited over those two words.. TIME LAPSE!!
Kind of reminds me of always asking the teacher to play a movie backwards, I always would love watching movies either backwards or fast. Normal Shmormal.
Oh and in case you're wondering what the dude is singing in dutch, it's something about being late for work again, and getting fired as a result. The "Kadang Kadang" is the sound of the train he is riding, but he is frustrated because the train won't go any faster and there is nothing he can do but eat his gouda sandwich and herring on the train before getting to work, and.. getting fired. Sad song, but it's kinda funny to hear this guy singing dutch. I laugh.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Vegas Blog

They say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas..
I say, what happens in Vegas gets blogged.

vegas.sublime.ca


Updates will be blogging out in real time so check back often.
I apologize in advance. ;-)

V Day

For fourteen years I've wanted to go
Fourteen years of "maybe"
Stick around here and watch it snow?
Screw that.. I'm going to Vegas Baby!

Monday, October 29, 2007

And from Post Secret..




This is from one of my favorite blogs Post Secret. What's funny about this secret is that IF TRUE, it is only known by the writer, the celebrity, the wealthy young woman, and last but not least.. HIS / HER BOSS. All it takes is for one of them to read this secret.



Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Contristo

It didn’t get light this morning,
Light never came
Dark hung around for a sinister game
At first Dark was losing, but Light took a blow
Dark can be sneaky, as we all know
He cast a shadow, a shadow of rain
And finished Light off with emotional pain
It didn’t get light this morning,
Light never came
Dark is an evil, staking its claim.


AS

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Thanksgiving Limerick


This be da day to say thanx
We gotz all the ching in da banx
Got three of da kids
tryed to sell but no bids
Me thinkin itz time to shoot blanx


Monday, October 1, 2007

Tao of the Week, Last week of Sept 2007

Crrraaazzzzy week. Good news bad news stories for you.








Good news was that I played in a poker tournament this weekend with Dan Ray and Scott E. There were 200 players and I finished in a very respectable 11th place. That bad news? Prizes didn't start till 9th place.

Good news was that I my 5 year old daughter is learning how to dial a phone. Two days ago, she punched in a number then before pressing talk she showed me the number asking "who's it was". The bad news.. the number was six six six. I said, don't dial that number, it's long distance.

Good news was that my kids are good at "pretending" play, the other day they were playing "Tim Horton's". The bad news is that my 5 year old pulled up to the imaginary Tim Hortons in her imaginary car and said not so imaginarily.. "holy crap the line up is long"



TAO OF THE WEEK:

A good game doesn't reveal it's outcome, surprises are the spice of life.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Only Five Months LEFT!!

I can't wait. Perhaps the most anticipated moment of the year.
Hint:
Living on some tiny step enlightens a soldier on nightly frights of ultimate recourse.

Yea baby.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tao of the Week - Sept 22nd

Welcome to the Tao of the Week, this is where I put meaning to my life based on things that have happened to me during the seven day week, good and bad. This, at the very least, will give you an idea of the things that happen to me and the me happening to things.IF that doesn't make sense, read on.

Cool Things


1. Langley Starbucks.
Starbucks in Langley is so much nicer than any other starbucks location I've been to, they are always so polite and really seem to appreciate the patronage, unlike Calgary. In Calgary you basically get a coffee and bird flip.

2. Icecubes


Crazy Things


1. Cops for Cancer


If you've ever been to Langley you know how challenging it is getting through downtown on a saturday afternoon, it takes about five times longer to do anything simply based on the traffic around the area, and when one of the many daily trains comes through the heart of downtown on the CN mainline, the places segues from seizure to all out paralysis. It's crazy and frustrating, especially if you're used to the traffic situation in Calgary.

If that's not bad enough.. enter the "Tour de Valley".

Saturday morning, prior to leaving the in-laws house to run a few errands in town, I see a cop on a motor cycle fly by with lights flashing. It catches my attention. Then about 13 more cops on motor bikes come roaring by followed by ambulances and more cop cars, then about 15 cyclers, then 5 more motorbikes, support vehicles and two more cop cars. It was the Cops for Cancer "Tour de Valley". My first thought was wow, that's a lot of support for just a few guys riding bikes. 10 minutes later I take the car into Langley to pick up a few things, it should only take me 2o minutes. Two and half hours later I return, and I didn't even get everything done. What a complete joke. I met the tour de valley four times in Langley. I soon found out what all the support cops were doing. They would close up all the intersections to make way for the 15 cyclists to snake their way back and forth through Langley, an already saturated city, in order to "raise awareness". Well, raise awareness they did. Idiots.

Hey I know! Let's JAM UP A CITY FOR A FEW HOURS YEA THAT'LL WORK, MAYBE PEOPLE WILL GIVE MONEY! WE'RE COPS! WE HAVE THE POWER TO SHUT DOWN INTERSECTIONS, AND NO ONE CAN SAY ANYTHING CAUSE WE ARE THE ALL POWERFUL OMNIPOTENT GIFT TO THE NATION. HOW COME WE HAVEN'T THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE?? THIS IS BRILLIANT!!!
People were pissed. Horns were not honking in support, they were honking in rage. Somebody and perhaps a bunch of people thought this was a good idea. How does this happen?

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Tao of the Week - Sept 14th.

Tao of the Week for Sept 7th - 14th.

Welcome to the Tao of the Week, this is where I put meaning to my life based on things that have happened to me during the seven day week, good and bad. This, at the very least, will give you an idea of the things that happen to me and the me happening to things.
IF that doesn't make sense, read on.

Cool Things

1. Dinner @ Dan and Jen's. Very good italian food perfectly matched with a Chianti and good conversation. This is always a very cool thing to do for me, I enjoy this more than anyone knows.

2. Dinner @ Ray and Tan's. So, twice in one week, hey what's family for, besides they have a wicked house, warm hospitality, a kitchen that makes Hell's kitchen look cold, and a risotto that flows like.. lava. This was also where I met a new love in my life, Gorgonfreakinzola. I am pleased to learn that Tanya will be taking some cooking courses. What is already good can only become better.

3. Sunday with M&K and R&K. I love sunday guests, and I really love those that feel comfortable enough to stay the afteroon, then leave, and come back 30 minutes later with a dump truck load of Chinese food, then stay for dinner. Loved it.

Crazy Things

1. I saw this very old Asian lady in Chinatown, I mean she was older than religion. She was all hunched over and moving slower than cold risotto in a black bean sauce. She couldn't have stood taller than four and half feet. When I walked by her I had to smile. On her head was a black movie promotional baseball cap that read "The Grinch" in bright green.

2. Picture this. A homeless guy is riding a bike on the sidewalk, and perched on the handlebars is a homeless woman, but not just any woman, she looks 72 years old and is about the size of a 5 year old, and she had this cigarette jutting out of her mouth which looked huge for some reason. Like a big cigarette if there is such a thing. Anyway, she's wearing this white coat with little hairy tassels all over it, and can't help but think she looks like a parakeet, that smokes and wears glasses. If that's not bizarre enough, dudes that's riding the bike is munching on a most likely previously discarded donair from the 1970's. So, we have stale donair eating dude riding a bike with crazy small bird looking old big cigarette smoking homeless grandma on the handlebars. What happens next may need a disclaimer. Two homeless guys walking towards them kind of block them, dude on bike wiggles around them, perched grandma squawks something unintelligable, and dude steals dude's donair. Dude then takes bite of donair, makes loud noise and spits out donair bite, then throws down donair on ground. Dude is now off bike and perched grandma becomes unperched. I hope to walk through this mess without being accosted, but grandma comes over to me and asks in a squeaky voice if I have any drugs. I said what do I look like.. Dr. freakin Scholls? later I laughed cause Dr. Scholls is a shoe insert.
That... was crazy.

The Tao

Meaning is found not of oneself but by an interaction with others.
Understanding is lost not on oneself but by observing the interaction of others.
AS


Skinny on the Blog Posting

It's not that I haven't been constructing blog entries lately, It's just that my latest posts were never published, and are safely hidden in "draft" mode. I haven't really had the guts to release them to the lions.. yet. But holy crap when I do, the universe might collapse on itself in a reverse big bang effect, similar to what might happen if one meets his or herself during time travel, it's just not a good idea. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm going through some massive metamorphosis or anything, but I do feel a change happening, a whole lot of getting older mixed in a large wooden salad bowl with four packages of starting-not-to-put-as-much-care-into-what-people-think and topped off with finely shredded doubt, chopped pecans, ego and goat cheese, resulting in a gorgonzola of esculent brow raising posts.
Promise me that if I get hit by a bus, or meet some untimely end in the near future, you'll have to read some of those posts.

AS

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Sierra Lima - The Hotel

Adam sits on an old bed, the rusted out frame barely holding up his weight. Tuffs of cotton stuffing jut out of the stained mattress, worn from decades of puke and other unmentionable bedtime mishaps. Shards of light shoot through the holes of an old piece of rotted plywood nailed precariously over a broken window, lighting up invisible dust particles floating through the putrid air. His boots sat flat on a dusty hardwood floor covered with empty booze bottles, used syringes, blackened spoons and other objects one would rather just imagine weren’t there. Against the cigarette smoke stained wall stood an old bedside table with the drawer hanging open, a forgotten Gideon bible it’s only contents, probably untouched since it’s placement. Does anyone ever read these? Probably could have done a few occupants of this room some good, Adam thinks as he continues to scan his new surroundings. A single hotel room with a double bed. It was probably a nice stay in its day, hundreds of dollars a night, now a condemned building used by the crap of society, but it was perfect. Adam looks at his watch, it’s 2:33pm. He has exactly one hour and seventeen minutes.
Feeling quite different than he thought he would, Adam gets to work. One hour was more than enough time to complete the tasks he practiced over and over, but it was always better to allow for more time than not enough. This was a one shot deal. Get it done, get out. One hour. He starts by opening up the face of his watch, carefully dials a series of codes. A flashing green arrow with the digits “5.2m” appear, and after holding his wrist flat and steady, the arrow points east towards a closed closet door about 5 meters away. Standing up, he feels disoriented, like he’d be drinking heavy and this was the worst hangover ever. Beaumont told him he would feel this way, and that it would quickly subside, but the walk to the closet feels undeniably strange. He is not just in a foreign place. The closet opens with a stuck crack. This closet hasn’t been open in years, he thinks, a suitable placement, and a lot closer than anticipated, more time saved, damn they’re good. On the floor the metal case stood with the handle propped up in the carry position, like someone just placed it there and walked away. He picked it up and carried it back to the bed. The thought of yesterday’s meeting came back to him, the instructions, the repercussions of failure, all carefully planned by Mr. Bhig, to whom Adam was ready to prove his worth, as well to Beaumont and to the others members of the Sierra Lima.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Weekly Joke

Every night, Joe would go down to the liquor store, get a six pack, bring it home, and drink it while he watched TV. One night, as he finished his last beer, the doorbell rank. He stumbled to the door and found a six-foot cockroach standing there. The bug grabbed him by the collar and threw him across the room, then left.The next night, after he finished his 4th beer, the doorbell rang. He walked slowly to the door and found the same six-foot cockroach standing there. The big bug punched him in the stomach, then left.The next night, after he finished his 1st beer, the doorbell rang again. The same six-foot cockroach was standing there. This time, he was kneed in the groin and hit behind the ear as he doubled over in pain. Then the big bug left.The fourth night Joe didn't drink at all. The doorbell rang. The cockroach was standing there. The bug beat the snot out of Joe, pumped his eyes shut and left him in a heap on the living room floor.The following day, Joe went to see his doctor. He explained the events of the preceding four nights. "What can I do?" he pleaded."Not much" the doctor replied. "There's just a nasty bug going around."

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cult of the Sierra Lima - Mr. Bhig and Beaumont

Adam approached the building with hesitation. These meetings always made him a little nervous, the not knowing what to expect, and the thought of being the next one chosen for a mission always a guaranteed an onslaught of anxiety producing endorphins. A quick glance at his watch revealed he was a little early, which was just the way he wanted it. Adam was hoping no one would be here yet accept for Mr. Bhig and Beaumont, getting a feel for what the meeting would entail prior to the arrivals of the others was a great benefit to him, and he used this to his advantage more than once.
Adam walked up to the doorman. "Please come in, They are expecting you," he said. Walking through a kitchen, down some stairs and through a hallway he was ushered into the meeting room, and shown the table where Mr. Bhig and Beaumont sat.
Beaumont looks up, "Adam, have a seat. First again I see." he says.
"I try! So.. what do ya have in store for us tonight?" Adam asked, trying hard to hide the look on his face that undoubtedly looked nervous.
Mr. Bhig didn't really smile. Before he began to speak Adam already knew what he was going say.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cult of the Sierra Lima - Brett

One thing Brett couldn't stand was not knowing what was going on. Brett was an information junkie, always needed to know everything about everything and everyone to a point of almost being interventional. He had two internet feeds into his house just incase one might fail, and one did once for 22 hours and that, he thought, justified the twin feeds for years to come. Brett just happen to be sitting in front of his dual 27" LCD monitors, taking a big bite of his PizzaPop when his MSN messenger popped up a window:

You said you wanted in? Now's your chance. Don't ask questions, get your ass over to my place we'll go the meeting together, but you better hurry. If anyone asks, you're meeting some friends for a beer.

It was his good friend Dirk. Brett couldn't contain his excitement and was out door before he was done chewing. He overheard a few cryptic phone calls between Dirk and some others in the past, something about a Cult. He had to know, nothing could stop him from getting to that meeting. Nothing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cult of the Sierra Lima - Kevin

Kevin woke up suddenly from an early evening nap, he would have probably slept through the night had it not been for the vibration of his blackberry still holstered to his side. The TV was still tuned to CNN, talk of more imminent hurricanes was the topic of the hour, with replays of Anderson Cooper being tossed around like a rag doll during a live transmission of a category four hurricane landfall somewhere in the southern states. Pictures of leaves being violently torn from trees, trees being torn from the ground, ground being torn from the earth. His blackberry vibrates again. On the screen is a message:

Congregating under large trees or finding the home entertainment service can only reach cold headless endorphin drenched lackeys encircling a fire. Be at the meeting place in 15 minutes.

Kevin puts on his shoes and leaves without turning off the TV.

Cult of the Sierra Lima - Tony

Tony looked at this watch, it was a remarkable time piece and a constant reminder of the success in his life as an entrepreneur, and through the sapphire face of the Rolex, the gold hands told him it was time to go. Tony left his downtown suite, pulled out a cigarette and began to walk down 1st street, making his way toward the railway underpass.

Thoughts of the meeting brought on some inescapable anxiety, but he knew what had to be done, there wasn't much time left. The leaves were almost falling from the trees and days were becoming shorter..

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cult of the Sierra Lima - Adam

It was a little colder out that night than it should have been being the summer wasn't even officially over yet, it wasn't even the end of August. Adam was not the best at remembering things, but he did remember his jacket, based on the earlier recommendation of his over cautious but always caring girlfriend. He was going for a walk, "meeting an old friend for a beer" was the line he told her.

Adam noticed that a few leaves on trees had already started to turn yellow and brown, preparing for the inevitable separation from the tree which gave them life. Much to soon for the Fall, I hope we'll have enough time, he thought to himself as he began to pick up the pace walking down 17th Ave towards his destination, a small little hole in the wall where he would meet the seven others.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Legend of Shen Nung

One day about 5000 years ago, China Emperor Shen Nung and his company were travelling to the far edges of his great empire. During his travels, Emperor Nung, being quite paranoid of becoming ill, required all water be boiled prior to drinking. While his servants boiled pots of water, some dried out leaves from nearby bushes landed in the pots causing it to be infused it into a brown liquid. Instead of throwing it away, the Emperor's curiosity got the better of him and upon tasting the brew was refreshed by it. This is the legend of how tea came to be.

One day about three weeks ago, Blog writer Alex found tea.

I was told about a place in Calgary called "Steeps" which is conveniently located on 17th Ave in downtown. Steeps is a Tea House, devoted completely to loose leaf teas from around the world. In Steeps is a stack of tea tins, with over 75 varieties of teas allowing you can open the cans and smell the aromas from each tea prior to choosing one for purchase. This is very beneficial, cause teas taste just like they smell. (One could argue that you are actually using your nose to taste being that the tongue can only detect four tastes; sweet, sour, bitter and salty) This is how my tea addiction began.

I was quite surprised to learn that all teas, yes, every single one of the teas offered around the world, all come from the same plant. The plant is the Camellia Sinensis. The location of the tea and it's fermentation processes are what give different teas unique characteristics. Black tea, the most common, is made black by fermenting the leaves to 100% oxidation. Green tea is just the same as black tea, but without fermentation oxidation, Oolong tea allows about 50% fermentation and white tea is young tea leaves picked and then processed very quickly with steam. Flavoured teas like Earl Grey (one of my favorites) is simply just black tea with Bergamot orange rind, and English Breakfast tea is just a combination of four black teas from various areas around the world. Orange Pekoe is not a tea flavour or a combination at all. Orange Pekoe is simply a grade of the leaf used in the tea, it's the largest leaf.


My first loose leaf tea purchase was a white tea called "Leopard Snow Buds". White tea is rich in antioxidants, low in caffeine and presents with a very light color. It has to be brewed at about 77 degrees C for about 2 minutes. This makes it a little finicky, dumping boiling water (95C) on a white tea leaf will result in off tasting bitter tea, but trying to infuse the tea below 77 degrees C can give watery results. I've purchased a thermometer for my teas. Green teas follow these rules as well, but black teas need boiling water to infuse.

Since the white tea purchase, I've also obtained a few green and black teas. Yamamoto Green which is Japanese green blend flavoured with orange and lemon grass, and Geisha Green which is high quality Japanese greens flavoured with strawberry and red currents. My black teas are Royal Earl Grey, flavoured with Bergamot and Jasmine and my current favorite Steinthal FTGFOP, which is from a 150 year old tea farm in the Darjeeling district of India. FTGFOP means Fine Tippy Golden Fannings Orange Pekoe, and that translates to good stuff.

I haven't been to Tim Horton's for a coffee in three weeks, not that I don't drink coffee anymore. Cathy picked me up some great coffee from the Shuswap district which I enjoy as well. I'm a little concerned that she bought me a coffee bean called "The Prince of Darkness", not because of the name but because she said it reminded her of me.. (insert evil grin here).

If you come over, ask for a cup. I'll brew you up 5000 years of history. If your planning a trip to Steeps on 17th, please take me with you, we'll call it a date, unless you're a guy then it'll just be a get together. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Cheers
Alex.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Wine

Over the last couple of days I've had the privilege to experience wine in a whole new way by visiting the wineries and vineyards of the Okanagan Valley. This is an amazing experience. I speak in the tense of the present, being as it is still ongoing in the form of the excessive consumption. Chris, Missy, Leona and myself have visited five wineries in the last two days, sampling from each of them. We started by visiting Arrowleaf and Gray Monk yesterday, then Mt Boucherie, Quail's Gate and ended with the best, Mission Hill. Mission Hill is amazing. The owner has created something most spectacular here, creating the illusion of stepping into a Tuscan painting. We opted for the tour and were taken into the belly of the winery, a cathedral of the grape preaching the religion of wine. 800 barrels of wine are stacked two high in a cellar framed by 30 foot archways, which could only have been inspired from old European churches. At the front of cellar stood a large stone table they called "the alter" where wines are tasted, celebrated and sacrificed to the lucky few who are invited for ceremony. Exposed stone walls are wet with running water, keeping the humidity at 80% and the temperature at a constant 13 degrees. On the side of the cellar is a large metal gate, protecting the "vault", a large room with a priceless wine vessel collection on the wall, one dating back to the bronze age. Some of the most valuable wines from around the world are kept in this room, decorated by aging cobwebs and dust. Remarkable.
As I draw a sip of wine, and as it brushes the palette of my mouth I can't help but think of wine as art, art for the soul and mind. I think of the passion, the dream, the history and the inspiration which led to it's existence, and I am grateful.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Kelowna Day One - It Sucks Here

So I'm in Kelowna today, yesterday, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. It sucks here. It's just Leo and myself here with Chris and Missy.. and no kids. When we got here, we had a sucky dinner made by Chris, with a few beer, which sucked cause beer sucks the big one. We then took a walk to the sucky beach just outside the sucky condo. Man does the condo SUCK! It sucks so bad, friggen tornado. Anyway I took my suckyass kite to the beach and flew it bad. I mean, it was real bad. The wind was sucking bigtime. I didn't have the needed 85 feet of beach for my lines so I had to stand in the sucky lake. Sucked, cause the sun was on my back and the choppy warm water was lapping up against my legs while I was flying my kite like a sucky champ. I made a bunch of people nervous with the violence of the air being torn and cut into a chop-sui of submission and domination all rolled up into one big fat sucky show of pure suckiness. Nervous people suck. I then had to go back to the condo to change cause my sucky shorts were wet.
What we did next really sucked. We went for a walk down the boardwalk to suckyass Rose's patio down the way, shared a large plate of nachos and had some sucky beer. The nachos sucked so bad, they were the suckiest nachos i've ever had, I mean they put jalapenos in the melted cheese. Who does that? Sucky people do. Then we went for more walking and stopped at a french bistro for a coffee and dessert. Usually I think french restaurants drip in 100% pure grade 1A awesomeness but this one sucked huge, it sucked like a vacuum on steroids. I had the Crème Brûlée and man, holy man, did that suck, but not as much as the cappuccino that accompanied it, we reached whole new levels of suckiness with that one.
Back at the condo, we play a game of Ticket to Ride, which kinda sucked, then went to bed.
I am now sitting on the balcony, the morning of day two, and the weather is looking like it might suck again.
I have to leave on friday. Man.. is that gonna be awesome, like Vanhalen concert awesome. I've never looked forward to something more in my life!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Couch Games

One of my all time favorite activities is getting together for socials with the great group of friends I have. Everyone has a few drinks, eats snacky type food, and the tolerance for stupidity is relaxed somewhat. I am made for the social activity. I love laughing with people, and making people laugh. I love Mark's one for one challenges, (although I'm sure this game was invented by Joylaine) and other games involving pain. I do however, truly hope that I am never considered an active participant in Mark and Chris's friggen sacking game, which should never be considered a game at all but an act of war. Horsing around aside, I love the group games we play, these are the games I like to call "couch games" .

The first couch game that comes to mind is "Things..". This is an ingenious little game which makes for a good time guaranteed. It's a very simple recipe, yet so devilishly delicious. One person reads from a card with a "thing" idea such as "Things which would make an opera more exciting", then using little papers the room writes down a "thing" that would make operas more exciting, all the papers then get placed in a hat, the reader then reads all the responses twice, followed by guesses of participants who wrote which Thing. This is one of the only games where winning doesn't matter. I have laughed myself to tears in this game, and think missy had contractions while we played once, man was that funny. You will find current themes in this game keep coming up based on tipping the laughter scale. This is the ingenious part of this game, what is funny in one situation is funnier in another. There's Gord's famous "thing", a vending machine, those of you playing know what I'm talking about. This special vending machine which performs a very special task has shown up everywhere, and it's over two years old! "Things.." good game.

The "Name Game" is a group get-to-know each other mixed in with some memory. Everyone writes a name of a famous person and places it in a hat. Then a reader reads them all out loud and it becomes a who-wrote-what game after this, but the names are never repeated. There's a few things I don't like about this game. It's hard to be creative, and the winner is the one who usually chooses the most forgettable name. It is quite sanitary though, it stays at a G rating for most of the time. Until of course Ray mixes it up a little and throws in the names "Heywood Jablowme" or "Dick Izinya" There are only a few times I laughed myself to a near stroke, that was one of them, mostly because my mom was reading them at the time, "Now.. vat de? Haary Paritesties? Now.. who is dat?" Crazy.

There's this other couch game we played once at Darren and Julie's introduced by Mark. I can't remember the name of the game but what I do remember is a whole lot of rules, and a crap load of laughter. We had to visually draw a pop culture slogan, pass it to the person beside you who would translate the picture into words, and then the next person would draw that slogan and so on.. very difficult for me cause I couldn't draw if my life depended on it. Trying drawing "Where Fresh is the Taste".. What made this game filled with aneurism inducing hilarity were Darren's renditions of the slogans. Holy crap, I actually couldn't look at his drawings at one point fearing that I would literally die from laughter. This is a definite do again.

Missy introduced another great couch game to us once called "Mafia". I've only played this game once, but from what I remember I can't wait to play again. It involves a story teller, and participants lying and acting, all without having to get yer butt out of the seat. I think I'm going to host a Mafia night where we do nothing else but play Mafia and of course drink wine and eat cheese. Who's in?


 


 


 

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cruise Control


Continuing the theme of stupid crap I've done in my life (and believe me I've just begun), I'd like to share with you a story of when Ingenuity took a ride with Curiosity, and Curiosity brought his best friend Stupidity. Ingenuity is a good friend of mine and he helps me out everywhere, the solver of my problems and the maker of my money. But when you invite Curiosity, you usually get the tag along, Stupidity. The problem with him is that you never know when he's around until.. well.. Stupid happens.

I was employed by a Langley based fireplace installation company at the time. I worked on a crew, we called ourselves "The Fart Duckers". It was because one of us had some serious gas issues, and utilized the upward motion of air through a fireplace vent to test out the draft with his ass. Of course he would wait until we were up on the roof screwing on the rain caps to the vents. The draft worked every time. Funk aside; it was a temporary stepping stone in my convoluted career path to where I am now, but a necessary one. This being the largest company I have worked with up to that point, I learned a few lessons about dealing with bosses and crazy ass schizophrenic kleptomaniac co-workers.. I'm hesitant to mention names cause I'd be scared my life would be stolen, then given back just to be stolen again. Seriously, I learned about how screwed up one can be and still manage to get a pay cheque, and how much methane gas a plate of onion rings can give to one over indulgent fireplace installer with a sick sense of humor.

I was on my way home after a long day of work, and it was hot outside. There's my disclaimer. It was hot, whatever. In my back seat was a clothes hanger, the standard wire clothes hanger. I would like to say the hanger was there because of all the dry cleaning I had to with my expensive clothes, but such was not the case. The hanger was there cause like a dumb ass I had an issue with always locking the keys in my car. Before you start to pass blame on my stupidity of keeping the clothes hanger IN my car, please know that it was there due to the fact that I had already used it, and not for future use. I'm not that dumb. Yea, I became an expert at breaking into my car, and at one point I had three or four hangers in the back seat of my car all stretched out and untwisted. When people would ask me about them, I would just tell them I loved smores, shut up.

So where was I, I was on my way home and it was Hot with a capital H, hot enough to turn on a nun. I get a little bored while I drive sometimes and I like to pass the time thinking of ways to make things better, or easier. As I go through life, I realize my life's goal is to make things easier for myself and for those who pay me to. I get paid to make other's life easier, but in the business world they like to call it "more efficient" cause efficient.. that's a money making word. My car at the time was a 1991 Honda Civic. A great car it once was, and if you ask Kupes from Cochrane, it still is. OK, that's a lie. He hates the car, apparently it blows more smoke than a gay locomotive, but it was once a great car. Honda Civics have a quirk however. The gas pedals take no pressure to activate. When I say no pressure I mean a well placed fart would get that thing moving. That got me thinking, why did my foot have to be what pushed it? Hello Curiosity. A smile grew on my face. I could possibly make a working cruise control system just by using the hanger in the back seat, welcome back Ingenuity. I grabbed the hanger. Knock Knock, who's there? Stupidity.

Engineering a cruise control system is not a simple task. Engineering a cruise control system while driving 80kph was a feat worthy of award, but I did it and when it was complete it worked like the hot damn. The basic design was the stretched hanger having enough rigidity to press the gas pedal, was rigged between the pedal and the steering wheel. Honda Civic steering wheels have three spoke design so I opted to use the bottom spoke of steering wheel and wrapped the hanger around it once. The excess hanger I just bent back into the dash. I could adjust my speed by simply moving the hanger through my steering wheel, and when I had to stop just pull it back enough to release all pressure off the gas pedal. I had it arched enough not to get in the way of the brake pedal. Safety first, one must be able to brake. I was so impressed with my design I was already thinking about the patent process. How would one patent this? Why hasn't anyone patented this already? How in the heck would I spend all that money?

I was nearing my destination, and disengaged the cruise control, the smile on my face like permanent ink. I drove almost the entire way home without using my right foot. I pull up to the intersection where I had to turn left and my smile quickly disappears. Stupid happens, and happens swiftly, without warning. As I started to turn left the hanger began to twist around the steering column and my steering became impaired. The pressure of the hanger quickly took away the ability to steer and I began to panic. I was turning left through traffic and couldn't stop, but I couldn't steer my car left enough to make the corner either! I decided I had to make the corner at any cost, and for a second I thought I could use the leverage from the steering wheel to break the hanger, but it just became tighter, tight enough now to trigger the horn. I was taking an unnaturally wide left with my horn blaring away. At first I thought I might be able to miss the curb, but I didn't, and it wasn't a small curb either. Anyone who has taken that left onto 88th from Glover in Fort Langley knows what I'm talking about. The curb is about eight inches of unforgiving 300 year old concrete. I smoked the curb and my car took a flying jump and came crashing down about three seconds later. I stopped. People were watching, and I can't help but wonder what must have been going through their minds while I was frantically trying to unwind the hanger from my steering wheel in a car half way propped up on a curb with horn blaring. I tried hard not to make any eye contact, but my ears were burning in embarrassment. About 23 seconds later, I got myself out of the jam and drove off the curb and went home.

When I got home I pulled Ingenuity out of the car, and told Curiosity to take a hike. Stupidity who was no where to be seen apparently left on his own. I wish I knew where he went so I could tell him not to come back, but he always did. Sneaky little bugger.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why I don’t like Bowling

Several years ago, five I think, I bowled the last ball of my life. We were at a party for Julie C and decided to go bowling, and I hate bowling with a passion that could kill elephants. It was the 10th Frame, I was playing the all time worst game of my life. I held up what was my last ball (it was the kind where you stick your fingers in… those are unsanitary sess holes in my opinion) I turned around to the party and asked for their attention. I then spoke, and the people listened. I saith "Attention all… This ball I am holding will be the last ball I will ever bowl in my life. I hate bowling with a passion that can melt steel. I hate the freaky shoes, I hate the balls, I hate the stupid slippery chairs you have to sit in, I hate the little yellow reset button, I hate the pins standing there laughing at me as one ball after the other misses them in the gutter. I hate cream soda. I hate the fact that I have to wait for the ball with the big thumb hole. I hate the fact that everyone seems to like this game but me. I find no reason to continue this ridiculous activity. THIS BALL I AM HOLDING NOW WILL BE THE LAST BALL I WILL EVER BOWL IN MY LIFE. THIS IS MY PROMISE TO YOU AND TO THE PEOPLE BEFORE AND AFTER YOU. "

I then bowled the ball.. only it didn't go down the lane, it slipped off my thumb and went backwards in a six and half foot arch. It came about 2 inches from Ray's nuts. Realizing the burden released from me, I took a bow and departed the lane. Ray then took the ball and threw it down the lane for a strike, it was poetic. I removed my shoes and spat in them, then placed a curse on the next wearer, man pity that guy.

I have been asked by many people why it is I don't like to bowl. Well, I used to be a good bowler, averaging 7 strikes per game, yea I fricken rocked the casbah baby.. rocked it all night long. Then Something happened.

It was when I was about 19 years old. I was bowling the game of my life, nine strikes in the 9th frame. I was on my way to a perfect game. I remember women and men but mostly women from all around gathered to watch Alex "The FireBall" bowl the game of his life. I was decked out, totally in the zone. I had the black shirt with the flames on the bottom, and had my nickname embroidered on the chest. I had the glove and wrist support custom painted with flames. I was cooler than the other side of the pillow baby… yea.. the other side of the pillow.

I'm ready to bowl my third and last ball in the tenth frame for the perfect game when someone from behind me says.. "HEY FIREBALL". I turn around. The music stops, and in some dream like sequence everyone around me disappears. The place goes dead quiet, and I am standing alone with a ball in my hand. The lights go dim and a strange fog appears around the bowling lanes. The only light seems to be a spotlight on me. "HEY… FIREBALL" I hear from behind me. I turn around and nothing is there except the set of pins I was just about to crack down for strike number thirteen. "Bowl the ball Fireball!" I turn again, and now standing by the reset button is a tall man. He is wearing a black suit, his shirt was un-tucked and he was not wearing any shoes or socks. He had on a tie, loosened and wrinkled. On his face an evil grin, his teeth yellowed by what could have only been from thousands of years of smoking, and his eyes were opaque windows to a soulless void.

"Excuse me?" I asked ears half cocked.

"I said.. BOWL THE DAMN BALL FIREBALL" he shouts. I swear I saw a fire in the back of his throat when he opened his mouth.

"I don't think I understand what's going on here.. who in the hell are you?" I asked, quickly realizing the irony of the question.

"You think you're all the shit don't you Fireball.. Don't tell me you forgot our deal"

Knowing full well what he was talking about I attempted the back spin of ignorance, "Um.. so, yea.. can't say I do."

"YOU BOWL A PERFECT GAME AND I GET YOUR SOUL…" he replies, then proceeds to pull a piece of paper out of his jacket. It's The Contract.

"OK Ok, ok ok ok.. look.. this is stupid. I wrote that as a joke back in grade 8 with some buddies at a sleepover.. this certainly isn't legal.. or whatever law.. look.. I'm sorry for the confusion, It won't happen again, where the hell did you get this.. anyway.. don't answer that.. ok so..what, what happens now?" I ask

"YOU BOWL THE PERFECT GAME AND I GET YOUR SOUL, SIMPLE AS THAT."

"Well that's a crappy deal seriously.. I bowl like a perfect game and you get my soul, that's like trading shit for gold"

"HEY, I GET EM WHERE I CAN, you have to understand, this isn't an easy job, I busy 24 / 7 in the soul collection business. Besides, we have a lot of busted computers down there and could really use someone like you."

"I don't work with computers"

"OH YOU BETTER BELIEVE YOU WILL, NOW YOU WILL BOWL THAT BALL"

In a flash everything came back. Hell Dude vanished along with the fog and I was left standing with the 13th ball in my hands, people all around me watching, hoping to be witness to The Fireball's first perfect game. I bowled the ball.. only it didn't go down the lane, it slipped off my thumb and went backwards in a six and half foot arch. It came about 2 inches from Ray's nuts. Realizing the burden released from me, I took a bow and departed the lane. Ray then took the ball and threw it down the lane for a strike, it was poetic. I removed my shoes and spat in them, then placed a curse on the next wearer, man pity that guy.

I never dared throw another strike after that day. But just to be on the safe side I thought I just better call er quits all together.

And that's why I hate bowling. Hey, you would to.

Whatever.

The Fireball





Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sour Cream and Onion

I was twelve. If I was any younger I wouldn’t be smart enough, and if I was any older I wouldn’t be dumb enough. It was the perfect age to do something that in hindsight was pretty stupid, though at that age was considered nothing less than duty.
In the early 1980’s there were always two things more on the mind of a twelve year old than anything else, toys and food. Girls are still in the annoying category and school was a torrential sucker of all that was fun, but nothing was better than sneaking in that new Transformer toy into class, or hiding a pack of Black Bart ® licorice chewing gum in your desk to be used for a recess trade or to share with your friends in some game to see how black you could make your tongue. In grade six, the search for the meaning of life ended at toys and food, and all other things were non essential.
As far as I remember it, it was the perfect day. I was on my BMX bike making my way to the Consumer’s Distributing to spend some paper route money on one of my favorite things, a GI Joe action figure. After the purchase I would make my way over to the corner store and buy a bag of chips, not just any bag of chip, heck no. It had to be Old Dutch Sour Cream and Onion.
Sour cream and onion chips were, without a doubt, the best flavor of chips ever. When in school you’re asked that stupid question about what you would take on a desert island if you only had one thing? It had to be sour cream and onion chips, every single time. Fishing trips? Sour cream and onion. Sleepovers? Sour cream and onion. Birthday parties? Patio hangouts? Tree forts? Sour cream and onion. The two flavors if consumed on their own, not so good, but some Einstein put the two negatives together and out came a positive.
At that time there were two brands of chips, Hostess and Old Dutch. Both chip brands made the SC & O, but Old Dutch did something Hostess never did, they rippled the chip. Rippling the chip does two things, it helps the pursuit of world peace AND helps the chip hold more flavor, the latter being the most important of course, world peace be damned. The precious ripple held far more flavor than the standard flat chip. Simple science could prove that with friction zones, contact zones, static electric bonding and the Pythagorean theorem. Yea, A squared plus B squared equals more flavor. It was all that mattered. The more flavor, the better.
So I was on my way to the corner store, GI Joe in my hand. I remember never being able to wait to get home before opening my toy packages, and risking life and limb I would unpack my GI Joe while riding my bike, discarding the package material without stopping. I arrived at the store and parked my bike against the outside wall of the store and went inside. GI Joe and I fought our way to the chip isle in a show of sheer bravery, fighting off nothing but time really.
Scanning the rows for the SC&O in Old Dutch brand of course, my trained eyes found the familiar white bag I knew so well, the little cartoony sour cream dude and the onion guy in some kind of strange embrace. They were in this together. They were brothers in arms. I picked up the bag, but something was wrong. It felt heavy. I grabbed another bag for comparison, and it was certainly lighter. I couldn’t help but wonder what would cause a chip bag to be heavier? I knew I was on the verge of a major discovery. Could it have been a prize? A chopped off finger? A dead mouse? I decided that good or bad, I had to know what it was. Worst case scenario I’m out a quarter and curiosity gets another notch on the bedpost that is life experience. I paid for it and left the store hurriedly, almost forgetting about my new GI Joe comrade. We were in this together after all, him and I, brothers in arms.
I biked to a nearby park, set my bike up against a trash can and ignoring the bird crap, quickly sat down on the park bench. I reached into my jacket and pulled out the bag, still feeling a little heavier than normal. Grasping the sides I slowly pulled them apart until the top seal broke open and the familiar smell of good ol’ sour cream and onion wafted upwards. I looked into the foil bag and realized quickly what the source of the weight was. What I had here was a bag of chips with more flavor than chip, the chips were literally stuck in an immense amount flavor powder awesomeness! What I was looking at was the Holy Grail of the potato chip religion. A bonafide factory screw up! The bag was probably worth millions at a potato chip auction, but there was no way that it could be saved. We had a situation there that had to be dealt with swiftly, I had my orders and it was my duty. I had to eat that bag of sour cream and onion chips proudly, and in so doing mark it as a major accomplishment in my life along with the others such as taking my bike over a five foot ramp without crashing, or walking several kilometers under Calgary in the sewer system without dying. So I began to eat those chips and powder ad it was good, very good.
I was over half way when good started to turn to not bad, and then not bad to a turn to gross. I started to feel a little nauseous, and I could feel my stomach presenting me with the possibility of a full refund. I stopped eating, hoping the feeling would go away. It didn’t. I sat there on the park bench now swaying back and forth, attempting to slow what now seemed to be inevitable. I didn’t want to puke, I hated puking.
There is a window of time before one vomits, it’s that time where the cold sweat breaks out on the forehead, the dizziness starts up and the saliva starts to crank into overtime. It’s that time where you feel the worst. It’s puke imminent. I can’t remember how long I maintained puke imminence, but it couldn’t have been for long. I stood up and made my way over to the trash can which up until that time was used only as a holder for my bike, was about to be used as a container for my guts. The gates opened, I puked wildly, and with violent heaves the meaning of life and I parted ways.
When I was finished and the aftershocks had settled, I opened my eyes and through my puke induced tears peered down into the garbage can. There, in the technicolor of my funk, I saw my GI Joe. He was holding out his arms in hope to be saved, but it was too late. He was covered with chemical blast and I could not get myself to save him. I turned my head and biked away.
I learned two things that day. One, too much of a good thing is not good at all. Two, I could never be a US Marine, but being a Canadian made me feel somewhat better about the latter. I ruined something in my life that day, I could not get myself to eat sour cream and onion chips for a long time. Even to this day, 23 years later, it’s my last choice of flavor. Sometimes life presents us with these tests of indulgence, and we learn from it. It would take seven more years for my next test to show up, this one in the form of Southern Comfort, but that’s another story, if I can remember it.

AS

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm in the mood

to go home and sleep in my own bed.  ;-)
I'm writing this entry from science world in vancouver, it's busy here, so busy in fact there was no parking to be found, so i parked in staff parking.. I hope the van is still there when i get back... If i get back and not stomped to death by a million 11 year old kids vieing for position to the snot gallery called grossology. There's this woman here who scared the ever loving shit outta me when from 10 feet away screamed at the top of her everloving lungs directly at me... I jumped clear out of my skin... People thought i was a exhibit from the human anatomy show... Turns out she has touretts,  i think.  Anyway then it became funny and she pulled the same tourette-a-tete on sonya, caught her off guard to say the least.  She too became an exhibit.. Only in grossology cause she crapped right there.... On the floor..
Hope the van is still there.
ShaZZ*ppa

Monday, July 9, 2007

A Limerick

replace a bird with a plane
and a rope for a chain
then put them together
bind them with leather
people will call you insane

Saturday, July 7, 2007

7,7,07 .. anyone need some luck?

Today is the seventh day of the seventh year in '07. I read on the news a whole boat load of weddings happening today.. for good luck. I think, if you need good luck to make a marriage work, it's not gonna. I predict a way higher than average divorce rate for those married today.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Pink Cowboys?

Lots of cowboys wearing pink here in Calgary. I know it's for hooter cancer support, but can you imagine all the real cowboys? "Tough Enough to wear pink" is the slogan. If you're a part time executive cowboy, and you think you're tough enough to wear pink then more power to ya'll.. but if your a grit eating, tabacco chewin, cattle ropin, bull back ridin, womanizin, red neckin, REAL COWBOY..... you probably don't wanna wear pink.



Thursday, July 5, 2007

Goodbye Guitar Hero.... HELLO ROCK BAND

If you been to my place, you've probably seen or played guitar hero on the xbox. Guitar Hero is an extremely addicting "guitar simulation" where the player uses a special guitar shaped controller called an "xplorer", and follows a series of colored notes travelling down a neck of a guitar on the screen. The notes are in sync with the notes of the music being played, and if hit correctly, you'll be jamming with a band on a stage. Points are given for accuracy.
I have accumulated over 7,000,000 points in my band career, and I've barely reached the "hard" level. I'm embarrassed to say how many hours this has taken, but there are many out there on the "expert" level who have invested three times the amount of time I have. I take solace in that. Yea, I enjoy it, but I'm not obsessed.
As I play, I can't help but think how fun it would be to play the drum track. Well, it's coming. There's a new product soon to be released called "Rock Band". Not only do you get the guitar, but you get a bass guitar, a four pad drumkit with a kicker, and a microphone for Karaoke.. WHAT? no kidding.. a mic. But quite possible the BEST THING going.. is one song. The one song that will make this the best game ever. Included in this package.. is Blue Oyster Cult "The Reaper"!! Not included however, is a cowbell, but you can be damn sure I'll be getting one.
This my friends is gonna be the ultimate party game! I know I'm gonna cringe at the price, but I don't think I'll be able to say no to this. Rock Band with Cowbell... coming to alex's basement near you. ;-)




Wednesday, July 4, 2007

MMMmmmmm Subway.... again.

It's 11:30am, my stomach reminds me I didn't have any breakfast. I stand up and ask a coworker what he wants to do for lunch, "Subway?" is the inflected reply. I grimace, memories come back to me of the last time I was at this subway.
"Ya whatever." I respond.
"Let's got then"
10 minutes later we are standing in the Subway line and I immediately notice the absence of the sandwich terrorist. Perhaps she got a new job, or was fired.. or accidentally blew herself up. I didn't know, didn't really care to tell you the truth. I was hungry.
Pete notices a sign on the Subway, advertising a new sandwich called the "Lobster" sandwich. "100% pure lobster meat" it states. Sounds good.. real good. Pete and I being fans of the seafood sub opt for the lobster sub today.
Pete orders first. "I'll have a one of those lobster subs on 12" wheat"
I order second. "I'll have the same please.. whatever he's having"
So far so good. Our subs are coming together nicely. Something has to wrong, it always does here. I look over at Pete's sub. It's almost done, fully loaded with a little sprinkling of salt and in the paper, cut and wrapped. No spills, Bob's your freakin uncle. Lickity Split. the perfect sub. Mine is ready for veggies. After seeing the perfect execution of Pete's sub I know my odds are good.. or bad.. depends on which school you come from for probability studies. I ask for everything but no green pepper. It's not like I don't like green pepper, I just don't think it should be in a sandwich like a potato. The veggies arrive right on schedule and everything is looking perfect.
"Sauces? Salt? Pepper?" I am asked with a smile
"A little mustard, some salt and pepper" I reply with raised eyebrow.
I'm suspicious. A perfect sandwich? not here.. no way.
"For here or to go?"
"To go please.."
I am handed a perfectly rolled sandwich, handed to me in a bag with three napkins. I didn't even need to ask for an extra napkin. (I tend to spill a lot.. so what.. i said. SO WHAT?)
I have a grin on my face. I'm looking for the hidden camera. I'm sure I'm on a new TV reality shock show. This never happens. They may as well handed the sub over on a silver fricken platter. Something was wrong, and here's what happened. As best as I remember it.
We shuffle over to the cashier. Pete is first to pay.
Subway guy: "What did you order"?
Pete: "Foot long Lobster Subway"
Subway guy: "That will be 16.90"
Pete: "Oh sorry, I'm just paying for the one sandwich"
Subway guy: "Yes, one foot long lobster, 16.90"
Pete: (stunned silence)
Alex: (grin turns into laughter)
Subway guy: "Price for foot long lobster is 16.90"
Pete: "For a FRICKEN SANDWICH???"
Subway guy: "Yes, price over there see?" (points to a small price in far corner of menu opposite to line)
Pete: "do ya THINK you SHOULD HAVE ADVERTISED THE PRICE WHERE PEOPLE ORDER?"
Subway guy: "Prrrice 16.90"
Pete: "$^#& *#*$&#* Q*&#&@*( shit &$#*& !@#!& #&*@)! ~!(!@"

Now I'm laughing pretty good at this point, just cause I was expecting something to wrong. After pete's display of displeasure, they knocked 25% off our subs.. to top things off, they didn't even taste all that great, well not seventeen dollars great. Dumbasses. You know what you can get in downtown Calgary for lunch for seventeen bucks? Well, how about three sunny lunches, or one all you can eat Indian Buffet, or one all you can eat Russian buffet, I mean the list goes on. Idiots.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Apollo 20 alien spaceship debunked

Long story short, I was able to debunk the lastest apollo 20 video on my own by simply comparing the opening shot of the hatch to some stock photos of other apollo hatches. I most likely found the exact hatch the hoaxer used for the video, and that can be found here. Everything about these two hatches are the same INCLUDING the fact that the hatch is in the open configuration!! If it was closed (which it would be in moon orbit) the hinges would be clearly visible in it's closed configuration. (Look at this picture here for closed hatch configuration)
The video footage of the interior of the command module, the scene where we see the hybrid american / russian flag and the apollo 20 mission logo could have easily have been filmed inside a training command module. Where would one find one? Well, there's one available to the PUBLIC in Alabama at the US Space and Rocket Center. Check out these guys enjoying a sit in the trainer. The trainer is lying on it's back, and as a result the straps in the video which look to be "in zero g" are actually just hanging straight down. The video is being shot pointing up. It would be trivial to bring a video camera and faked logos on this publically accessible command module, shoot the vid and bob.. is indeed your uncle.
Alex.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Alien Ship on Moon - Update 2 ..And now this??

This video was released two hours ago from the same guy. Apparently he has 22 hours of footage that he's gonna be uploading to youtube. CRAZY!!!!

Alien spaceship on the moon? Apollo 20? what the..



Tell me what you think of this. I've been doing quite a bit of research on this one and by nature am quite skeptical. This one intrigues me.

From http://www.angelismarriti.it/ANGELISMARRITI-ENG/REPORTS_ARTICLES/Apollo20-TheFootage.htm

"A recent controversial footage of about 6 minutes (which seems a digital transfer from a film, and that we can call the “Apollo 20 footage”) released on YouTube is causing amazement inside the ufological public on the Web, all around the world. The footage would be the presumed shooting realized during a NASA classified mission, in the ‘70s: the “Apollo 20” mission or, as it is suggested by the subtitles of the dialogues between the crew and the Mission Control, the “Vandenberg 20”. I remember to everybody that the last official landing mission on the Moon was the “Apollo 17” (NASA), which took place in December 1972, and that the Apollo 20 mission was cancelled by NASA in 1970. For sure, if the footage is not a hoax or a fake, the purpose of that mission would have been to shoot close to a mysterious object for understanding its origin. And, maybe, to organize a secret retrieval if possibile."

I think it could be an ad campaign for the upcoming movie "Transformers"

Saturday, June 23, 2007

O que me gira sobre..

Hello todos!

Eu estou escrevendo este em uma língua diferente às coisas da mistura acima de um pouco. Eu tenho um sentimento que ninguém está indo figurar para fora este assim que eu posso dizer que qualquer coisa eu quero. Deixar-me tentar. Algo que eu tenho sempre quis dizer mas pôde nunca admitir a inglês: As tartarugas giram-me sobre. Quando eu v uma tartaruga, eu começo tudo quente. Eu não sei porque este é. Pôde ter que fazer com algum processo que evolucionário eu não estou ciente de. Eu teria tartarugas do animal de estimação mas seria como ter mais de uma esposa. Nao bom. Long vivo a tartaruga.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I win!

Okay, I won that last blog war hands down. Next topic soon..

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Our blog war starts.. NOW

If you so choose to accept it.. if not, well, then I win. What is a blog war? Simply respond to the following statement in your own blog. Best response wins. (if there is one) Comments are disabled for this entry.

I hereby declare a blog war with the following situation: (we'll start with an easy one)

Situation: No Limit TexHE Tourney, stacks are lopsided, you have an average stack of about $2500 blinds are 100 / 200. There are eight players on the table, you are UTG. You are dealt "sigfried and roy" (QQ) and are first to act. You raise 3x the big blind. Position 4 folds, Position 5 folds, Position 6 raises $600, Position 7 folds, Position 8 folds, Dealer folds, SB folds, BB goes all in with $1400.00.

Intel: Position 6 is staring down at the table and avoiding eye contact. He is currently the chip leader at the table with $9000 in chips. He has brought gatorade to the table and eats cherry tomatoes. He has a reputation for finishing in the money, he is what you would consider to be a "good player". You did, however, find out that the night prior he was at casino and lost a wad of cash at the poker tables. He is single, and has no where to be at this hour, which is.. 1:30am. The BB (all in) position is fidgity. He is tired and had a fight with his spouse prior to the game. He keeps looking at his watch. He is however, known to you as a sneaky player, and a jackass. You want nothing more than to relieve this table of his presence.

Everyone waits for your call... what do you do? and.. why?

Check out these blogs for possible answers:
http://mkweening.blogspot.com/
http://strangershereourselves.blogspot.com/

----update-----
Dan has replied in his blog (click here)
Basically he says "it's the easiest call ever"
I disagree. I say.. the move is fold. Dan did however get a few points correct in my opinion, a crappy bet under the gun with 2500 should have been a push it in sally. But, NOW.. he knows he's beat, most likely with AA or KK by seat 6 there who if he was smart would not go all in, but attempt to pull an all in reraise by you. BB is a wash, he's on a hail mary at best. So, if you call your against AA KK or AK.. only the latter you have a 2% edge on, so it's a race. I say, chuck the cards. Finishing in the money is your only goal here. And, the fact that BB is all in allows you the satisfaction to see how your cards would have lost anyway. Keep in mind you are UTG. ANY Raise made by UTG at an 8 player table HAS TO BE INDICATIVE to a good hand. Number six is not an idiot, as stated in the intel... He has seen your raise, and knows it's not a good position to be bluffing in. HE KNOWS you have goods, and yet he is still willing to challenge it. He has you beat my friend.. he has you beat. Lay it down, lay it down.. then say "that was one hell of a lay down" but at least your still in the game.



Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Movies you have to watch..

Two movies you have to watch in the next few weeks:

"Office Space"

This movie was a recommended watch to me from Ray and Tan YEARS ago. I believe their exact words were.. "WHAT? you haven't watched OFFICE SPACE??" followed by this look of tharn and disbelief. After succumbing to the enthusiasm of R and T’s recommendation, I understood the justification for the outburst. This movie is ha-fricken-larious. If you have ever worked in an office environment, and even if you haven’t, you will be able to relate to the characters in this movie. The story is about a few office workers that hate their jobs. The office, the bosses, the TPS reports, the annoying no-one-knows-what-he-does guy, the super-duper happy receptionist, the fax machine, the copier, are all despised by the characters. Among the other great performances, the sympathetic character “Milton” played by Stephen Root, is delivered to perfection. Give the guy his stapler!!
I now own this DVD and keep it at work on my desk, next to my swingline stapler. Rarely is it there however, as I lend it to everyone that hasn’t seen it. If someone pays my desk a visit I’ll ask them if they’ve watched it, and if they haven’t I echo R and T’s enthusiastic question… “WHAT??? YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT??”

“Fight Club”

I tend to pick up on things pretty fast, I can figure stuff out quickly. It’s what I do. Yea, I might not be able to fix a damn car or for some dumb reason remember people’s names, but I can solve stuff lickity split. It’s hard to pull one over on the schaaper. “Fight Club” pulled one over on me and I instantly fell in love with it because of that. The author, Chuck Palahniuk draws you inside someone’s head, and builds this story written totally in the first person. An office worker (Ed Norton) and a soap salesmen (Brad Pitt) build a club which helps men identify who they truly are. The very interesting thing about this movie is the main character played by Ed Norton doesn’t have a name. He’s credited as “the narrator”, and his narration is unique and quite thought provoking.
This is quite a violent movie, but I wouldn’t consider it gratuitous. This movie is one to see more than once, and is much more fulfilling watching it the second and third times.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The corner grocery store.

I swear.. CO-OP is an acronym for Canada's Opressed Old People cause it seems to be the punching bag for the elderly of our community. Forgive me for my generalizations, I don't care, Something has to be said. Here are a few of my observations:


1. Old people can't count.

Excuse me for bitching, but the isle you're standing in says "EXPRESS LINE FIVE ITEMS OR LESS!" This means, look down at your little basket and count how many items you have. If you have more than you can count on one hand, YOU'RE IN THE WRONG LINE! If you can't count how many items you have, chances are you HAVE TOO MANY ITEMS ANYWAY. A senior's discount DOES NOT MEAN discount items off your total item count. NOW MOVE ALONG!


2. Old people have waaaaay too many coins.

Why the frigg do old people empty the piggy bank before they do groceries?

"That'll be $11.43 please"

"Oh my, i think I have that hang on.."


"Here you go.."

"That's only $11.00"

"Oh dear, I have some pennies"


"there you go..hehe..got it now.. hehe..oh dear I'm missing bob barker"

YEA PRICE IS RIGHT FINALLY! HOLY! EVER HEARD OF INTERAC? CREDIT CARD? NO? HOW ABOUT A TWENTY DOLLAR BILL!!!!???

Coins are meant for two things: Vending machines and Parking meters. NO ONE CARES IF YOU HAVE EXACT CHANGE! NOW MOVE ALONG!


3. Old people can't make up the mind.

PLEASE!! DECIDE IF YOU WANT THE ITEM BEFORE YOU BRING IT TO THE TILL! Although the checkers are very nice people, they are paid to smile and be nice and to make sure you pay for what you buy. THEY ARE NOT YOUR PERSONAL GROCER FRIGGEN THERAPISTS, THEY DO NOT WANT TO HELP YOU DECIDE IF YOU WANT THE ROMAINE LETTUCE OR THE..WHATEVER LETTUCE. What they SHOULD do however, is HELP YOU COUNT YOUR ITEMS so you can MOVE TO ANOTHER LINE!


4. Old people buy weird things

They come to the till with stuff like diet ghostberry prune juice and ectoplasmic powered jelly powder and bulk particle accelerated antacids. The friendly checker has no idea resulting in probably one of the biggest fricken time wasters of all time, THE PRICE CHECK!

Checker: "I've never seen this before, it's not scanning"

Old person:

Checker: "I'll get a price for you, hold on"


Checker: "It's $4.23"

Old person: "Oh dear, I can't pay that, I only have about $3.00 in change"

Me: "MOVE A-FRICKIN-LONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"