Friday, August 31, 2007

Reflection on long weekend grocery Shopping.

People amaze me, you know that?  The Stupidity, I mean. Today on my break I took a jaunt over to the GCSS, as it's friday, and friday means sushi day.  The place was a friggin madhouse.

Anyhoo, it inspired me to compile a list of simple rules for grocery shopping.

- First and MOST IMPORTANT.  If you lack the mental faculties necessary to grasp the subtle intricacies of the Self-Check out, then please, for your own health and safety, move over to another check out and let a TRAINED PROFESSIONAL help you. It's what they're paid for.

- I don't care if it says 1-8 items, 1-10 items or even 1-16 items.  If you have enough groceries that you feel it necessitates a cart... GET THE HELL OUT OF THE EXPRESS LINE.

- Bulk items are complicated.  All that weighing and typing of numbers at the check out eats up precious time.  So instead of going to the bulk aisle to buy SIX FUCKING M&M's*... Throw caution to the wind and buy a bag. 

*Combining this with irresponsible use of the self-check out nearly resulted in grocery related homocide today.

-Don't be a Hero. Don't invite people from other lines in front of you.  No matter how nice you're being to that person, you're still a jerk to the 17 people behind you.

-Tourist dollars and local economy be damned.  If you're a cottager, do your damn shopping in the city BEFORE you come here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The wild are strong, and the strong are the darkest ones

Occasionally, just once in a while, it's fun to have a blog title that has nothing to do with the blog itself. I just happen to have that particular song in my head right now.

I had a pretty fantastic birthday, went out to Shananas with some good friends, as well as my sister and pseudo sister, let loose for the first time in quite a while, and then got to drive to Port Perry the next day whilst hungover to go wedding dress shopping with the sisser(s) and de mudder.

My actual birthday was pretty quiet, although I did get cake as the communal office birthday party was that day. Four out of five august birthdays were amalgamated into one to save on cake costs and time spent away from the desk (the fifth one was the bosses, so he got his almost-own party... although it was a shared birthday/going away party for another co-worker). So that worked out nicely for yours truly. Helps to have a sister as an a office manager ;-)

Thursday night I went to Tonys to pick the girls and got the shock of my life. In a moment of frustration over the prospect of another year battling headlice from school (what happened to the days when kids would get sent home?) the boy got creative and shorned the children. To his benefit, he made an effort to make the girls new haircuts at least stylish, if really really short. So after my initial shock wore off, I had to admit, they look pretty darn cute. Little punkish pixieish type cuts he gave them. Just wish he would have warned me, I could have done without the coronary.

That weekend was the big family birthday party for me, Reagan and Dad. It also marked the beginning of me getting sick as hell for the next week. I was felled by a throat infection, ear infection and eye infection all at the same time. It was not pretty. Now that the eye infection has mostly gone away, I only have to deal with being unable to wear eye make-up (similar to taking heroin from a junkie) and being asked constantly if I am stoned.

Got better in time to play in our year end baseball tournament, and WE WON! We won the semifinal game 26-7 and the championship game roughly 9-3. Went out to the bar that night with Kaylee and Lisa, and the next day made the long trek downtown to get my car.

Oh, an update on the school thing. My OSAP funding got cut in half, so I've decided the stress around going to U of T (not to mention that less OSAP meant that I couldn't get the new vehicle necessary to get dwon there) is too much, and I'm going with my original plan to return to Laurentian PT and I'm staying on at Labx to work my way through the next year. Booyah.

Night all.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cue the Go-Gos Day five and six

Okay, so Monday was pretty uneventful. I get up, say my goodbyes to Sammi and Anthony, and head off down the road so I can return the rental car. Place isn't open yet, so I go grab a starbucks (okay, but it's got nothing on my timmies) and drive around looking for a gas station. By the time I do all that, the rental place is open.

I get to the airport to discover I miscalculated when my flight left, it was at 11:20 instead of 10:45. No biggie, just meant I had an ass-load more time to kill. I almost got in shit at Customs because I claimed to have no liquids of any sort with me, but I forgot about two tubes of lipgloss and a thing of wedding bubbles. I didn't get in any trouble for it.

While I sat at the gate and read my book, I was witness to a older man in a nice suit going to sit down and missing the chair altogether. It was funny and disturbing at the same time.

Flight was long, needless to say. Someone fainted while on board so they had the attendants all up and down the aisles for the last hour and a half of the flight.

Got back into TO and back to my car and set out to find a hotel room for the night, which I eventually did. After checking in and calling my mom to let her know I was alive and well, I went out to eat. I could have ordered room service but it was from MR. Greek, and A) It looked Expensive, B) I'm not big on greek food and C) I had the kind of hunger on that could only be satiated by hard core fast food.

While on my way to find a McDonalds, I observe that the car in front of me is very loud. I figure this is on purpose, since it appears to be one of those souped up little civics. Then I realize, that's not the car in front of me.... It's ME.

Now, when the bearer of a loud effin engine is some sort of cherried out hot rod of some sort, it's cool. When the bearer is a rusted 91 Sunbird, it's merely another thing to draw attention to how fucking shitty my car is.

I get back to the hotel and look under, and sure enough, my muffler has detached from the exhaust pipe. Not cool. I'm in Toronto, I still have to go to U of T the next day and I'm thinking it's gonna be at least a 500 dollar repair.

The next morning, I head down the 401 to the University, and my motor is drowning my already poor stereo that is no longer enhanced by the power of my missing MP3 player. I can hear the clank of metal on concrete every time I hit a bump, and in my rearview, I can see the look of terror on the drivers face, as I am sure that I am sending up sparks with every bump.

By the time I get to the Campus, the metal on concrete clanking is almost a constant. Pulling up to the parking arm, I am appalled to see that the fee to get in the lot is TEN EFFIN' DOLLARS. I pull back, throw my hazards on, and take a look under the car again. Sure enough, now the muffler is hanging on roughly a 70 degree angle from the car. It is at this point I sit down on the curb and weep, while rummaging through my wallet, hoping to god almighty that I have ten bucks in change. When I put my 10 dollars in, nothing happens. A campus cop comes up to me and asks me if everything is okay.

I LOST IT.

"NO! EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY, I JUST PUT TEN DOLLARS IN HERE AND THE ARM WON'T GO UP AND MY MUFFLER IS HANGING ON BY A THREAD. EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY!"

To his credit, he calmly says 'I'll lift the arm' and I start through. There is a beep behind me, and I notice the conspicuously absent clanking noise. Looking back, there is a sad little rust-brown heap in the middle of the road, the pathetic remains of my muffler. I park, and walk back to retrieve it, as I hate to litter.

Incidentally, the fact that it fell off in the parking lot and not on the 401 was not only a possible lifesaver, but it also allowed for the little bit of comic relief when I finally got to my mechanics place, walked up to the counter, plopped the piled of rust down and said 'JiM! I think there's something wrong with my muffler!"

Yeah. 260 dollars (thank gawd it was so much less than I had anticipated) and a visit with my friend Becky to kill time later, I finally got my kids from their dads and got home. I delivered souvenirs to the family and went to bed.

Thats my story. Cheers.

Cue the Go-Gos day four

We woke up at 6:15ish in order to throw some clothes on and head over to the salon to get our hair done for the ceremony. We make it there for around 7:30 on the dot, yet the lady doing our hair (one hairdresser, four hairdos... let's do the math-timewise... =NOT A HELL OF A LOT OF TIME) as the ceremony is at 11am. So needless to say, we were a little worried when it got to be about 7:50 and the lady had still not shown up. Amy and I walked down the road to look for a coffee shop, as by this time I was getting to a point where I was gonna get really effin ugly if I didn't get some caffeine into my system, stat.

Beyond the car rental, I have no idea how I spent nearly 400 bucks while I was down there, considering I don't think I paid for a single meal, large or small while I was there. Someone was always buying, and insisting on it. Even for the coffee, I had offered to get everyone's coffee, then Amy plunks a 20 down at the coffee shop.

We get back, and Vina is there and has already begun working on Sammi's do. But it's looking nothing like she had said she was getting. She had described some sort of french braid thing, but mean while, Vina has pulled it all up on one side and is teasing the shit out of it, and poor Sammi looks ready to cry, either out of fear or pain, as Vina was not particularly gentle with the brush. Wendy pulls me outside and we have a moment of 'Oh my GOD, what is she doing to her? What if she hates it? Do you think we'll be able to find a Supercuts to fix it?'

FORTUNATELY, Vina's vision was true and gradually a lovely do came out of all the curling and pinning and teasing. We each got our turn, and despite worries to the contrary, we actually got to the ceremony site right on time, with time to spare to check out the reception room, and toast a glass of wine, as Sammi's nerves were getting little shot at this point I think.

The ceremony was very moving, and I kind of wish I was Jewish, or that I didn't feel bad about appropriating the customs of other religions (although I don't know if I can say 'other' if I don't belong to one to begin with) just because I like them.

The reception was fun, food was AMAZING, and all in all everything pulled together nicely in the end. After the reception was over, Sammi, Anthony and Amy took off so they could take pictures, so I took Ian and Wendy back to their hotel room then headed back to the apartment. I pulled up the same time as Mike (groomsman and downstairs neighbor) and Brian (from the rehearsal dinner), and they said they were gonna come up later when everyone got back, so I said cool and went upstairs, figured out how to work the DVD so I could throw some music on, and went to work cleaning the apartment, which sammi and anthony seemed very appreciative of when they got home. I said to consider it similar to the ancient traditon of preparing the bridal suite.

We ended up going down to Mikes place and watching the remainder of Tommy Boy, and Sammi and Anthony decided to upstairs to lie down *snicker snicker* seeing as Sammi didn't sleep the night before, as she was up doing the playlist for the reception. So I stayed downstairs and hung out with Mike, Brian, Scott, and .... Ed? I think the other guys name was?

Funny story. I really am a social retard. So Scott comes in, and he's there for a few minutes and I introduce myself, not recognizing him as the guy I talked to at the reception for like A HALF AN HOUR. Dah, dumb. But yeah, hanging out with these very fun people I have known for less than 24 hours -- Score One for the normally socially inept and painfully shy. At around 8ish we pile into Mikes car and take off for Mexican food -- The dirtier the mexican restaurant, the better the food, apparently :-D

The more you know.

Again, I got treated, which was pretty cool. And then I got mildly groped by Brian in the car as he was 'searching' for the seatbelt in the very crowded car. Yup.

There were plans to go to a bonfire at the beach but as my plane left early the next day, I decided it would be better if I just went to bed instead, as I was pretty beat by that time, although I was very tempted by the knowledge of possible campfire jamming.

So I went back, packed all my stuff up and crashed on the couch for the final night.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cue the Go-Gos Day three.

Saturday morning I expected a rental car to be showing up at the apartment around 9ish. The others had made plans to go to home depot to get supplies for the making of the chuppah for the ceremony. Myself I had plans to drive myself up to Riverside for a visit with MySpaces own Chris aka AvantPunk, or the 'notaninja' and the lovely Sarah. There had been calls back and forth all weekend to nail down a time, but frankly, I never knew what I was doing. So the plan was saturday for lunch as Chris and Sarah had places to be later that afternoon, and this would be the last chance before I got home. So friday night after dinner I had gotten on the comp and made myself a reservation for the cheapest compact I could rent in all of San Diego. On the site, there was a section to fill in asking where you wanted to be picked up. So I assumed that they would be picking me up.

Imagine my suprise when at 9:30 there was still no car. So I call the 'wrong' rental place to see if my reservation was on file. Now, since I called the wrong place, of course it wasn't. I ended up having to wake sammi and anthony up so I could hop on the comp and figure out what the hell company had my car.

Now, my plan had been to leave around 9:30 so as to get there for 11ish. But since they didn't pick me up, I had to get a ride to the rental place when everyone else left to go home depoting. So I didn't end up leaving SD until about 10:30. I had my directions and whatnot and I was off. Incidentally, the guy in the rental place recognized my drivers licence and mentioned that he used to live in Toronto. Small world.

About halfway there, I see a sign on the I-15 that tells me the highway is going to split. According to the sign, 1-15 heads to Los Angeles, and the I-215 heads to Riverside. The Google map had said to keep taking I-15 to CA-91 or some such thing like that. I think to myself, oh the google map must be wrong. I don't want to go to LA, I want to go to Riverside. It only makes sense to take the sign that says Riverside. Now think back to day one, and the important lesson I learned then, as it applies here.

ALWAYS TRUST THE GOOGLEMAP. NEVER PRESUME TO THINK YOURSELF SMARTER THAN THE GOOGLE MAP. YOU ARE NOT.

I find the cut off to the CA-91, but I think it was one of those 'exit up ahead' signs, because the cut off I took did NOT take me to another freeway, but to a residential area. I drive down the residential area, thinking that maybe I can rely on my natural sense of direction to take me where I want to go *snickers*. As I notice the residential becoming progressively more industrial and sketchy looking, I also notice I'm getting low on gas, so I pull over at a gas station and try to pump some gas. I can't seem to get my gas tank open. I pry with my fingers, I pry with my keys. Not something I recommend doing to a rental car. Giving up, I move the car and with one bar left on my phone battery I call Chris. The gist of the conversation:

Me: Chris, the inevitable has happened.
Chris: you're lost?
Me: oh, you betcha.
Chris: Where are you?

I look. Me: I'm at a gas station on the corner of Riverside Ave and Agua Mana (something like that) Blvd.
Chris: *silence* Where?
Me: Riverside Ave and Agua Mana Blvd.
Chris: Heh. I don't know where that is. Wanna spell that for me?
Me: R...I...V...E...

OKay, I never said that, but it always makes the story sound funnier.

So, we figure out where I am, and Chris tells me to go back where I came from and to keep the mountains behind and to the left of me. I look. The mountains are in front of me and to my left. Buh? I say. How does THAT work. How that works is that what I was looking at weren't mountains, but mere hills. It was too hazy that day to see the actual mountains.

Anyway Chris directs me to the highway, and helps out with the gas tank problem by suggesting a looking for a button release. Durr. You see, driving my piece of shit Sunbird, I don't have all these fancy gadgets and buttons. You wanna roll down your window? You turn the crank thing. You wanna pop the trunk? you stick your key in the trunk lock. Wanna open your gas tank? you use your finger to flip the little door open. Simple. I faced further frustration when I couldn't get the pump to work. Apparently the petrol industry is not so trusting in the U.S. and you have to pay first, THEN pump.

So back on the highway. Chris had told me to get off at Van Buren Street. The google map told me to get off at Arlington/Van Buren st. I see an exit for Arlington street and figure THAT must be what they meant.

DO NOT PRESUME TO THINK YOURSELF SMARTER THAN THE GOOGLEMAP OR THE GUY GIVING YOU DIRECTIONS WHO HAS LIVED IN THE AREA FOREVER. YOU ARE NOT.

Adding insult to injury, I kept missing this exit that I thought was the right one, so I had to keep turning around, thus going around and around in circles. Cell rings. Chris. "Where are you?"

"I'm going around and around in circles." Explaining to the spatial-retard that I am, that I still have to go another four exits before I get to the REAL exit. By this time, it's getting late, and we all have about 35 minutes to have lunch and chat and what not. When I finally got there, I was euphorically happy to be the fuck out of the crappy rental car and into the hot hot continental California sun. 100F baby. We piled into Chris's truck and took in a quick lunch at Del Taco, and chatted and their daughters bought me stickers! Family guy stickers, that are currently on my guitar. Sweet girls :-)

Despite the shortness of the visit, it was pretty cool meeting them. I had a great time, and when we came back to the house, there were pictures taken and whatnot, and if I make it back down to CA next year, I'd totally make the trip again, esp. since I know how to get there now :-P

We said goodbyes and I followed them out to the highway and headed back to SD for the 'rehearsal dinner' I guess you could call it, at the Cheesecake factory. I got back to sammi's place just as everyone was leaving, then they found out there was going to be a huge wait to get in (well I guess a table for 23 approx is gonna take quite a while). So I was able to lounge for a bit and take my time getting dressed and finishing harry potter 7. When we got the call that we were going to be seated, Amy (who had also stayed behind to get ready) and I headed down to the restaurant. I had a fantastic but ridiculously filling four cheese pasta, and spent much of the dinner flirting with one of the married groomsmen who's wife was conspicuously absent all weekend. Felt kind of bad about the flirting, but I had NO* actual intentions on following through. It was just hard NOT to flirt. Although it was funny, because he asked me if Amy and I were 'Together' I guess because of the showing up together, and being from the same area. I dunno, who knows how people's minds work.

Dessert was Oreo cheesecake (surprised?) and it was scrumptious, and huge portion so I shared with those around me. I tried to get some pictures of hot Brian eating strawberries provocatively, but none of them turned out well. He kept giggle when I said 'Eat that berry like you MEAN it.'

After dinner, the girls all went back to the apartment to work on all the last minute wedding details, centrepieces, playlist, looking for Tiara's gone AWOL. Passed out sometime around 1 I think. Maybe earlier.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Chris, Me and Sarah.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
One of the Family Guy stickers, the other one is on the other side of the guitar.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

* talk about the WORST TYPO EVER. Way to make yourself look like a big homewrecking whore with nothing more than one missing word, Andie.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Cue the Go-Gos Day two.

I love cereal. And Sammi and anthony had a veritable smorgasbord of yummy cereal. Cocoa pebbles, Cinnamon toast cruch, Apple Jacks, you name it. The wide selection of cereal made up for the lack of coffee. I brought Sammi a tin of Timmies, but neglected to bring a coffee maker. Here's hoping she got one in her wedding presents.

Friday mornings plan was to go to Pacific beach. I have never been to the ocean before. I was worried that I may have some kind of phobic incident, since as a child I may have read one too many books on creatures of the deep. Turns out the only thing we had to worry about was Jellyfish. There were a few out and about, including one about 6" across where Amy and I had ventured into the water. In all honesty, swimming in the ocean is way too much fun, I didn't want to get out, once we moved to an area that was crowded with people instead of jellyfish. Even when some kid nailed me in the ankles with an out of control boogie board.

While at the beach, something fun happened, but I'm not at liberty to discuss it until the information becomes 'declassified'.

The time came to leave, since we had a mani-pedi appointment for 2pm. the five of us got French manicures done, wondering if we could keep our nails nice over the next two days. BTW, this was all on Sammi's dime, she went above and beyond for us bridesmaids, I think. The one manicurist was some kind of Sadist I think. He kept tickling Tara and Wendy during their pedicures, until they were practically jumping out of their seats. The salon we went too was right next to a hookah lounge. Fun.

Dinner out again, this time to a place who's name escapes me, but it was a sports bar type place that was packed for the whole Barry Bonds thing. I had one crazy huge burger. Oh man, was it good. After dinner, half of us went to the movies to see Harry Potter. Me, I went home and read Harry Potter, then crashed out on the couch.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
This is about half the size of the one we say in the water. Ugly fuckers, arent' they?

Vacation - Cue the Go-Gos. Day One.

So, this week was the week of my big old trip to San Diego for Sammi and Anthony's wedding. I'm going to try and do a run down of the week, but it's late, and I'm remembering why I never ended up blogging my vacation last year. There's so much to SAY. So let's go Chronologically.

THURSDAY: I wake up to the phone ringing at 2 in the morning. It's Sammi with my wake-up call so I can get dressed and get to the airport for 5ish. I've gotten a decent amount of sleep, although my plan to go to bed at 7:30 had been thwarted by my need to be on the phone for an extra hour. I regret nothing :-)

I had printed out my directions to get to the Pearson International, but for some reason I decided I knew better than Google maps, which had told me to go down to 401 and take it over to Dixon Road. Well, the map showed the airport parking place to be just off the 427. So I figured, why not take 7 over to the 427 instead?

ALWAYS LISTEN TO THE GOOGLE MAP. DO NOT PRESUME TO THINK YOURSELF SMARTER THAN THE GOOGLE MAP.

After winding up in Brampton, I stop and ask for directions to Dixon road. The woman in the Tim Hortons actually directed me to Dixie Road, which is actually fairly near, but still not where I need to go. It's at this time that my parents answering machine got a frantic call from me for directions because my Dad professes to know every road in Southern Ontario. I forget that they are camping, and not home to recieve my call. After finding myself out by that giant bad omen known as Woodbine Racetrack (for some reason, I always end up there when lost in Toronto) I get some more competent directions and get to the airport.

While in line for customs, I give a dirty look to this woman who seems to be staring at me for no reason. Turns out, it's Sammi's mom. Gah, stupid me. Sammi's parents are at the same flight as me. Going through customs, the lady starts questioning me.

Customs: What is your reason for flying to the U.S.?
Me: Oh, I'm going to my friends wedding.
Customs: Is your friend American?
Me: well, sort of, I guess. Maybe. Well, she lives there.
Customs: Well living there doesn't MAKE you an American.
Me: Well, her husband is. Soon to be husband, I mean.

She asks me a bunch of questions about sammi's state of employment and what I do for a living. I guess they don't get a lot of terrorists in Data Entry, because she dismissed me soon after that.

I went and had some breakfast in the airport bar, but wasn't terribly hungry so I wandered around a bit -- I had time to kill, since going through customs took much less time that the three hours they say to give yourself.

I finally mosey over to the gate, and Sammi's mom rushes up and proceeds to tell me how worried they were when they didn't see me coming out of customs. I guess it's happened before where people they travelled with got detained. I just got breakfast. I felt kind of bad for that.

The flight was an interesting experience, although I snagged my earphones going to the bathroom and ripped one right off. Then I proceeded to leave my MP3 player on the plane when we de-planed.

Sammi and Ans came and greeted us all at the airport, and they gave me a ride to the apt while Sammi's parents waited for her sister Tara. Once they were all back at the apt, we went out to a fantastic italian restaurant, Phillipe's Pizza Grotto, and stuffed ourselves silly, taking home the mass amount of leftovers. I swear by the end of the weekend, there was no room in the fridge for all the leftovers. At dinner we also met anthonys' family, as well Wendy, Ian and Amy were all there as well.

After dinner/lunch (we ate around 3 PST) we went back to the apt and I decided to have a nap, that turned into a pretty big sleep, and I didn't get up until about 9:30. By that time, everyone else went to Target, left me on the couch. I apparently slept through that, Sammi's family returning, one of the groomsmen coming over and all manner of chaos.

After I got up, FINALLY, me, sammi, anthony, wendy and Ian went out for ice cream and hot dogs at the Weinershnitzel. I'd never been to one before, this was a trip of many firsts. I liked that it was a kind of a walk up place, with outdoor tables. Something like that would never fly here. What with the snow and all.

Oh yeah, Sammi gave me my birthday present the first day there too. Straight from San Diego Comicon, a special edition X-men comic, and a WICKED cool Wolverine glass. I'm thinking it might become my party glass. Its that cool.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
There's something on the wing!!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
WOLVERINE! FUCK YEAH!

Like what you see?