Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A quick trip to Gotham City.....

Yesterday I flew to Chicago, or Gotham City as the new Batman movie would have us believe. Thank god I showed up to the airport early as the U.S. customs was backed way up (took almost 2 hours to get through) and only one security line was in use. Other than that, the flight was normal. I arrived at around 8pm and was given a lift to my hotel.


Since my meeting was downtown Chicago I did a little pre-flight checking and found a reasonable rate at a hotel 1 block away. The lucky hotel that was graced by the glory that is ME ? The Hard Rock Hotel.

As I said, the rate was reasonable for a downtown Chicago hotel during the holidays (149$). The service from the concierge and front desk clerk was top notch. They went through the usual formalities, and once informed by me that I had forgotten my Blackberry charger, they rushed off to see if they had one I could use. I was given room 1002, which was a simple room with king bed and "modern" decor. Everything was in its place and very clean. While I was getting 'put away' the concierge arrived at my door with Blackberry charger in hand, and to my shock said "please keep it on us".

After I plugged in the thirsty blackberry, I grabbed my jacket and headed out for a bite. I checked in with the front desk to get a suggestion. I didn't feel like a "nice" meal. I was looking for casual. They suggested the Emerald Loop, an Irish pub around the corner and promptly gave me a coupon for a free appetizer. I made my way down the street and noticed very quickly the cleanliness. Downtown Chicago is CLEAN. Even the side streets.

The 'Loop' is fairly non-descript for an Irish Pub. The only real feature is the long oak bar, the Irish bartender from Limerick and the Irish waitress that served me. After a quick review of the menu I went with the fish and chips (of course) and passed on the free appetizer. I washed the average main course down with a Peroni Pint or 2 while watching the soccer highlites on the big screen. It seemed as if it was going to be a quiet non-eventful evening until the air was broken with a "HEY...HELLO?...DOWN HERE" call from bald drunk transportation guy from a pharmaceutical company trying to get the bartenders attention (he didn't have to yell since he was the only one sitting at the bar....he was one of those guys bartenders love...drunk...annoying....wants to chat). I got to hear all about his job and why he was there when he decided to chat up the two girls sitting at the table next to me. After rambling on about how cool his job is and the fact that he was from Indianapolis, he gave the girls money to buy a round and wandered off to the door (strangely walking around the perimeter of the room).

I figured this was my cue and I paid up the tab and headed back to the hotel. The room was nice and quiet...almost too quiet. I finally fell asleep around 12:30am and only woke up once during the night.

The following morning I was up at 8am, showered, shaved and headed out for my long 1 block walk. I hit the corner bakery cafe for an orange juice and muffin and met my contact and off to the 9am meeting we went. The meeting was interesting and productive. Could be a good person to work with in the future.

After the meeting my contact and I wandered down to Millennium Park. We wandered by the Frank Gehry designed theater and park. Walked under the chrome 'bean'. Watched the locals skate on the small piece of ice. The walking and watching built up a bit of an appetite. I was good to go for anything and the suggestion was "Chicago Deep Dish Pizza"...why not.


Off to Giordano's. We arrived before the lunch rush which was good (the place packed up after we ordered). We ordered a 10" deep dish 'special' and bruschetta. The bruschetta was piled high and was very fresh (not too much garlic). A very filling appetizer. The pizza was enormous. How they could say on the menu this would feed 1-2 people is beyond me. The two of us couldn't finish it and left 2 pieces behind. I would highly recommend this place, the food and service was great.


With lunch completed, and my contact had to run to another meeting, I really had nowhere to go but back to the airport. My flight home was scheduled for 5:50pm, but I thought I could find an earlier return. I wandered down the street, again amazed at the cleanliness and made my way to an "L" (elevated train). A quick conversation with the very helpful and pleasant ticket attendant and I was off. The brown line to Clark and the underground blue line to O'Hare. Pretty simple.

The train ride, like any other, was slightly boring. I passed the time texting to some of my friends and checking out some of the condo re-fabs going on next to the line. Made it to the airport by 1:30pm and changed my flight to a 3:35 departure.

Again, this trip to Chicago was way to fast. I will be returning this summer and I plan to spend a few days to get to know the downtown.

I got home to a smilin' big boy and a big bowl of soup.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Lazy Sunday Post.....



Stayed up late last night watching god knows what (i think at one point Tom Cruise playing "nondescript Tom Cruise character" was running from some Aliens...sort of the same way he ran in "The Firm", and in "Jerry Maquire" and in "Far and Away" and in etc etc....I think Cruise portrays the characters emotions by the fact that he RUNS). Because of the late night Cruise watching I slept in and missed my weekly update of Coronation Street. BUT, I'm just in time for my weekly EastEnders update (yes, another British soap). So it looks like my lazy Sunday morning is set; the wife is in bed catching a few uninterrupted Z's, the little big man is freshly changed (good god the boy painted the inside of his sleeper a lovely brown) and playing with his new Christmas toys, and I'm on the couch watching some engaging and mind expanding T.V.

Therefore, here is a new picture of the little big man and a few interesting story's since I'm obviously too busy to create my own post:

Fox Wins the Rights to the new Watchmen Movie: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/watchmen/news/?a=5679

Crazy Santa Dressed Guy goes on Killing Spree: http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/12/27/santa.shooting/index.html

Oscar possible for Ledger in Record Breaking Batman Flick: http://jam.canoe.ca/Movies/Artists/L/Ledger_Heath/2008/12/28/7864031-sun.html

Team Canada to Stay Humble at World Juniors: http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/Junior/WorldJunior/2008/12/28/7866516-sun.html

Recipe for Steamed Mussels: http://www.foodtv.ca/ontv/titledetails.aspx?titleid=90200

AND FINALLY....I'LL LEAVE YOU WITH THIS.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Out for a sled...



The temperature outside wasn't frightful so we bundled up the lad and took him for a sled around the neighborhood. As usual with all traveling, the little-big-man passed out within 15 minutes of the adventure. The sled, a summer garage sale free find, fit him perfect and slid almost as good as Clark Griswolds Saucer.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Valkyrie - or Jerry Maguire Starts a Coup


Since the malls were a ridiculous mess of people, we decided to take in a movie this afternoon. We had a few choices and decided on Valkyrie. I had heard some rumblings about this movie while in production so my expectations were low, although I was interested enough to check it out.
Valkyrie, the Tom Cruise vehicle, is the true story of the 15th and last attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Cruise plays Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, a loyal-to-Germany soldier who doesn't see eye to eye with the Fuhrer or the SS and is a person who will commit treason to see that Hitler and the SS are removed from power.
Screen writers Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander do a good job of creating the suspense and tension that go with trying to assassinate a dictator. They don't spend a lot of time on the 'why' all these men plot together to remove Hitler other than the fact that they are passionate about Germany and that they are 100% against what Hitler and the SS represent. They are all willing to give up everything for their cause.
The movie is well shot, intriguing and informative [like a 'coles notes' history lesson] and made me want to look up details on some of the other attempts on Hitler. Where this movie falls is purely with Cruise. It's near impossible to suspend belief and view him as a German Soldier and not as Maverick or Jerry Maquire. You almost expect to see him bust out some silly move with a hand bag, like he's flipping booze bottles in Cocktail, or bust out some crazy spy stunts like in the Mission Impossible licks. Also, thank god he didn't try to throw on some silly German accent, which would have failed like his awesome attempt at an Irish accent in 'Far and Away'. This movie would have played better with Clive Owen or Daniel Craig.
Not sure if it's worth full price, but it is worth watching.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Rivers First Christmas



Just a quick update. Big boy was awake at 10am this morning (I'm sure this will be one of the few Christmas mornings he'll be asleep past 7am). It didn't take him long to figure out how to rip the bright colored paper off the presents, and he enjoyed every minute. Of course the little man has made out like a bandit and was all smiles and laughs (thanks to all for the gifts). Mom and Dad have done pretty good too (you'll notice some fancier pictures on the wife's blog since Santa left her a new fancy camera in her stocking). It's time for eggs and bacon !

Merry Christmas to all !

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lucas needs to give his head a shake


I now know Lucas' whoring of Star Wars knows no bounds. I thought it was bad when he re-released the originals with "new" scenes (freaking Lucas, we all know Solo shot Greedo before he could get a shot off...this will bug me to the grave). Then the new trilogy seemed like it was rushed to the box office only to capitalize on nerd dollars. I've heard he's in the works or re-releasing the entire 6 movies in 3D. Star Wars has spawned a animated movie and T.V. show, and soon to be a live action T.V. show. There are countless board games, video games, card games, action figures, et al.


Now....Star Wars the musical. According to the BBC, Star Wars:A Musical Journey, will play a live score as excerpts from the 6 movies are shown on a screen. The show has been put together by Lucas and John Williams has "painstakingly rewritten" the music to fit the edited format. The show, thank god, will not have characters singing, however it will feature live narrators.


I'm hoping sooner than later that Star Wars fans revolt and stop giving Lucas their hard earned Nerd cash.

Wolverine Trailer



hard to tell if this will be a great movie or a big mess. There is already rumblings that they strayed from the true Wolverine history.

Next 3D Dreamworks Flick - I think they're making these movies for people like me

New Jan 09 Holiday Plans


OK. Without getting into a whole lot of detail, it looks as though the trip to Cancun has been put on hold. Maybe we'll do that next year. We're now planning more of a 4 day get-away. And the lucky destination is ? HOLLYWOOD !....hurray for Hollywood...something something something...Hollywood...
Flights around the first full week of January look reasonable so the wife and I will be heading down to see if we can get a glimpse of Vincent Chase, Drama, Turtle and E. Or in the least see 1 of these crazy wacked out attention whores (Lohan, Spears, Hilton...I'm looking at you).
While in LA LA Land, I'm going to hook up with an old pal who now resides there and see if we can get up to no good. I'll be sure to take pictures.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Neat Product - Zuca

I travel for work and find that my luggage is sometimes a pain. I've started using a back-pack since the handles on my rolling bags always seem to break and the half the time they don't roll all that well. Also, sometimes I can't find a place to sit at the airport when waiting at the gate. I came across this little gem that might solve both issues. I think I might give it a try.

http://www.zuca.com/

Christmas Shopping......


I know I shouldn't bitch that much since I left some of the Christmas shopping until last minute. But if people followed some simple rules, shopping would be so much easier. Here are a couple things people should do which could possibly lower their blood pressure and stop people from using curse words and violence.


  • Most obvious, start shopping earlier....easier said then done

  • See if your mall is offering a shuttle to other parking lots (don't use this will a full family)

  • Use mass transit if possible

  • drop your wife and kid at the door to the mall and park a few blocks away, then go and get the car and pick up the wife and kid at the door (this will also score points with the wife since she doesn't have to walk in the cold)

  • When doing the endless circles to find a parking stall keep a look out for families (little kids are crazy at this time of year so they're not paying attention to cars). Also, when you spot a person leaving, have a look around at all angles that approach the stall so that you don't waste your time if someone was already waiting (I got scoped today by a young jack-ass in his truck because 2 cars were leaving side by side and the dude in front of me had the first one, and I should have gotten the second, but the young ass came from a different direction and couldn't see me waiting so when the car backed out he sped into the spot so I couldn't get it...jerk...or as I called him !#*k face)

  • when in the mall, do not decide to have a long conversation in the middle of the walking path of people, move to the side dummy

  • do not walk on the heels of people, it annoys the piss out of them and you'll be thought of as a pick pocket and might find yourself with a punch in the mouth

  • when ringing out your stuff, be sure it is yours and not the persons behind you...use the grocery store logic here...people do not want to stand for hours while you and the clerk sort out your shit with the other persons...ass

  • when in the food court, decide what you want in the line, do not review the menu, think and decide when you get to the clerk...are you new ?

  • if you're in line at a cash register..GET IN LINE..don't stand 4 feet back, and roll your eyes at people who scoop you...who knows why you're standing there...if there is enough space for 2 of me to walk between you and the cash line, then you're not in line....you're just loitering

  • [for the younger crowd] if you and your 4 buddies decide to have a conversation in the DVD/CD store, get the hell out of the way when the guy with the baby stroller comes down the aisle. Go discuss the 'hot chicks in the mall' at the food court or Starbucks.

  • When in the food court, eat and get the hell out. This is not the time of year to have an hour long coffee and meaning full discussion about the current political situation. This is the time to eat your taco, finish, and get up and gone. Have your discussion as you walk away (find one of those comfy chairs the grampa's and dad's usually are in)...AND CLEAR YOUR DAMN TABLE...is it really that hard ????

  • if you are not in a wheel chair or do not have a kiddie stroller, DO NOT TAKE THE ELEVATOR. Use your legs up the stairs or escalator you lazy mess.

These are just a few suggestions after just returning from the mall.



Saturday, December 20, 2008

We are still in an iceberg


It seems like we've been living in an iceberg for the last year...at least that's what it feels like. The current temperature outside is -28C [without the wind chill]. It looks as though tomorrow and Monday will be the same with Tuesday getting colder, and then back to what we have now for the rest of the week. This sure does make the days activities limiting.
[does anyone else think the thermometer has a.....similarity......to something?]

I had a few plans to some stuff today...but it's not going to happen...well, any time soon.

Let's hope the weather man is out to lunch and this cold snap is over soon. At least we're not flying though Eastern Canada.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ghost Town - oh ricky you're so fine you're so fine....you get it


On my flight from Chicago to Denver I got stuck in the E seat of a 777. Typically this is the dreaded middle seat with 2 people on either side. In this case we were in row 41 so it was only a 4 person row. I had a work colleague in F and a young kid in D so I was OK. This 777 had the little video screens in the backs of the seats so I had a choice of a few movies to watch. I selected Ghost Town. I'm a Ricky Gervais fan ('The Office' - British Version - and 'Extras' kick some serious ass) and all the other movies were trash.
Knowing that this movie did not blow away the critics I went in with low expectations. It's the story of Betrum Pincas [Gervais] a Brit transplant dentist in New York who hates people. He dies for a few minutes during a surgical procedure and after can see dead people. Once the dead people realize he can see them they want him to do things for them [clear up unfinished biz so they can move on]. One of these ghosts, Greg Kinnear, wants him to break up his wife and new fiancee. Of course, it takes a while to get Gervais to do what he wants and when he does he falls for the wife, Tea Leoni, and the fun begins. The story is a typical Hollywood romantic comedy and there is absolutely nothing new in this movie, however, Gervais, with his 'Office' like persona, is quite funny. Not a bad introduction of Gervais to the masses of North America. I wouldn't say run out and rent this movie. But if you like Gervais you may enjoy this one ( I would wait until it's on Movie Central ).

Just arrived from Denver......


Well...it wasn't so simple getting home. After waiting for a number of hours in the Red Carpet Fancy Pants lounge, we headed to our gate only to find our flight delayed. Not by weather mind you, the dreaded mechanical delay. At first it didn't seem so bad, a 30 minute delay was no biggy. Then it was 45 minutes, then it was 1 hour. At this point our layover at Denver was pretty much gone. Then the delay was 1.5 hours, which put us in to the land of SOL. We finally left Chicago with no real explanation (other than some weird comment that the plane we were on dumped passengers on the other side of the tarmac and had to travel to our gate....wouldn't it be easier to move the passengers ???). We arrived in Denver and joined a bunch of other people at the United customer service desk where they were calling out names. Once I heard mine, I was off to the Crystal Inn for the night and booked on a flight at 8:30am this morning.
At least I didn't have to kick and scream to get the free hotel and food voucher. Although, my vanity pack was in my checked luggage and the hotel ran out of tooth paste and other bits I needed....lets just say that my mouth feels like a cat litter box (I haven't made it home yet...I'm at the office which is between the airport and my home, so I stopped in to do a few things).
I attached a nice picture of the Denver Airport....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quick Trip to Chicago....

Chicago...Chicago >singing< class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_0">O'Hare right now waiting for my flight. It's too bad I didn't have more time to really get into the core. I've been here a couple times, but have never really visited. This time, I stayed at a Baymont Inn in Alsip (I was told this is where Al Capone grew up, but I haven't checked that yet). The meeting was in Whiting Indiana (right next door next to the lake).
There's not too much to talk about since this is such a quick trip. We flew in last night, took almost 2 hours to drive a 30 minute distance (I was being a funny guy to the gal at the Hertz desk...she asked if I wanted an upgrade to a 4x4 and I said "nah, being from Calgary I'm used to driving in this weather"...she then asked if I wanted this insurance, and I said "yes, I don;t think anyone else is used to driving in this weather"...ha ha....ok, it was funnier at the time).
Got to the hotel at around 11pm after stopping for supper (ate at a place called Uno's....I think it's a bit of a chain place...I had a deep dish Chicago style pizza...it was alright). Finally got to bed around 1am.
Woke at around 5:50am, in the car at around 6:20am and arrived at our meeting at 7am ( the drive was better).
Meeting was productive and quick (most of the people were leaving for the holidays after lunch).
Since the meeting was completed early we went straight to the airport in hopes of changing the flight to and earlier departure. NO SUCH LUCK. So....now we're sitting in the Red Carpet fancy pants lounge for the next few hours (we've already been here a few hours) until our flight leaves. We should get home at around midnight with me getting home at 1am. And I hear the weather at home can be again compared to what we find in River's diaper.....nice.
Next time I come to Chicago (this summer in June ?), I plan to stay for a couple days and take in the sites downtown (at least to see where they filmed Batman Dark Knight).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Life can't get any better.....

my boy just had a bath and mom, dad and son are sitting down to watch his first 'Grinch'. Life can't get any better.

The week before Christmas



We're now at the week before the big boys first Christmas. He hasn't been up close to the snow just yet since the outside temperature is 'ass snapping'. Presently it's about -30, -stupid with the wind chill. For those of you in warm climates, this means that exposed skin can freeze in about 5 minutes. This is not normal temps for this time of year, we usually get this around February. I will have to brave the cold though to finalize my Christmas shopping. Ha...finalize, I really haven't started so this weekend will be full of circling parkades looking for parking stalls, trying not to get into fist fights with people who will scoop the spots, battling the other last minute shoppers, dealing with bad customer service from the temperary holiday staff. Ah...tis the season.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Company Christmas Party

River's Grandma & Grandpa are braving the highways and coming to baby sit tonight so mom and dad can hustle off to the company Christmas party. I think this year will be a bit more subdued (some of the entertainment from last year no longer work for us). We'll see, an open bar always has an interesting effect on people.

Here are a few links with tips and comments about the Company Christmas Party.

http://misssymartin.blogspot.com/2007/12/christmas-party-survival-guide.html

http://www.therecruiterslounge.com/2007/11/30/too-many-drunks-and-lawsuits-are-ruining-christmas/

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Night - 8pm - IFC


December 12th Calgary. The weather gods have decided to treat us like a diaper and poop snow and cold on us in a big way. It began at noon and has continued, and supposedly will continue until tomorrow. It took me well over an hour to get home which is usually a 20 minute commute. It took me about 20 minutes to shovel the 10" of snow on my drive way (and it's still snowing). On a good note, our street looks like a Christmas Winter Wonderland (did George Bailey just run by screaming something?). This kind of weather means only one thing on a Friday night...I'm going nowhere, so there better be something good on T.V.
THANK GOD THERE WAS/IS.
After flipping through the listings, I came across 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' on IFC (yes, I skipped over Jason X and Rounders...although Rounders isn't bad). I haven't seen 'Kiss Kiss' so I thought I'd give it a try. Immediately I was surprised. Not that Val Kilmer isn't a fat pig in this movie, no, it was because this movie is funny. I am openly laughing, not just inside laughing. The acting is typical for Robert Downey Jr. and Kilmer. What makes this movie stand out is the writing. Simple things that in other movies would be lame, in this one are funny. Like the scene where Downey tells a guy he's going to F**K him up for trying something with a passed out girl, and the next scene is Downey on his back getting his ass kicked, and the scene when he's peeing in his bathroom, and notices a dead person in his shower and in his shock turns toward the body and inadvertently pees on it. Ok.....maybe the 'funny' doesn't come through in what I just wrote...just take my word for it. I'm about half way through the flick and quite enjoying it. Right after is Johnny Depp in 'The Ninth Gate'. I think I'll pass on it (seen it) and maybe watch Oceans 13. Looks like my night is planned.
LET IT SNOW !

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Today


River had another first today. Unfortunately it was his first funeral. It was for a close personal friend of my wife's family and very close friend of River's Grandmother. She passed away on December 8th after a brief battle with cancer. She was only 45. She was way to young to be taken and it is a shame that River will never get to know her. It is days like today that a person needs to put things into perspective and really evaluate the life you lead. Am I smelling the roses enough ? I have a very good friend that came close to death from cancer a few years ago and managed to beat it. He eloquently summed up what he sees in a lot of people by the statement "Our friends aren't living their lives, they're waiting to die". Today has made me realize I need to make some changes in many aspects of my life. You never know when it will be your time, so you might as well LIVE. (The person who passed away is in the photo second from the left....and for those that don't know, the people in the picture are Super Nova Rock Star...and yes, that's Tommy Lee on the left).

Monday, December 8, 2008

The new week...and, how I wasted 2 hours on Saturday


Only 17 days until the big boys first Christmas and 16 days until he's 6 months old. He's continuing to grow and find his voice. He's just spent the last 15 minutes telling mom and dad wild tales (or was he singing?). He still seems to have trouble going to sleep and usually winds down around 11:30pm. We hope that changes soon.


So....the little man's Grandma came by on Saturday to baby-sit while mom and dad buggered off to do some shopping and stuff. Well, the shopping was fine, but I decided to convince the wife to go to a matinee. After looking through the paper, for some stupid reason, I drove us to the cheap theater and made us go see Max Payne. Look, I knew before hand that this was not going to be Mark Whalbergs oscar pitch, but I thought there would at least be some fun action and cool effects (especially since this was made from a video game that stylized itself from John Woo flicks). Let me say this....this was one of the worst movies I've seen in a while and I apologize to my wife for wasting 6$ and 2 hours of her life that she can never get back. Usually after movies like this I can find some redeaming quality, and maybe some of the texture of the cinematography was cool, but over all this movie was comparable to what I find in the little mans diapers. It actually makes me a bit mad thinking about it again. So...DO NOT GO TO THIS MOVIE...let's hope Punisher War Zone and The Day The Earth Stood Still are better`;-)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Satriani sues Coldplay.....

I had no idea that Coldplay were fans of Joe Satriani. They obviously thought that he has such an obscure limited fan base that would never cross paths with theirs so why not rip off a melody. This one is even more obvious than the Avril Lavigne 'boyfriend' and whatever other tune she ripped off from Peaches. Well, have a listen and watch and make up your own mind, even though there's only one conclusion...I hope ol' Joe makes a bit of $$$$.

Mr. Christmas.....my first week as an investor


I'm pretty sure the big boy will be mobile by Christmas. He can sit up and roll over (no, not on command like a dog). His legs are getting stronger and soon he'll be able to stand while holding onto a chair. Crawling should be next. And yes, we will have a much more 'man sized' tree next year. And Powell, yes....he is mine....I'm quite certain.
Dec 5th marks a week and a bit of investing. What did I see ? The market got stinkier, the dollar dropped due to lower commodities and a bunch of grade 7 school girls at Capitol Hill, and I found out one of the stocks I'm investing in, although a good deal, does not fit my model for continuous dividend pay outs. I will put together a post with a few links and "how to get started" strategies/tips that, to me, make sense and that anyone could follow if they were so inclined (keeping in mind I am not a professional and this stuff is just the rants of some guy hangin' out on his couch and learning as he goes).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

January Vacation - Mexico


Mexico. That's where we have decided to spend our week in January. Where in Mexico you might ask ? It seems like Cancun is leading the pack. We're looking for nice beaches, clear water, fun, and Cancun seems to have the best of all of these (or at least that's what we read on the Internet). At this point we haven't settled on a resort, just reviewing the comments about each offered place on Trip Advisor. I know I have to take some of the posts with a grain of salt, but I do like to hear what people think. I did find another place that was useful. YOUTUBE. People post their videos of their vacations and it gives you a good sense of the location, the resort and the drunks that you might encounter. We could use some help narrowing the selection. If you've been to Cancun, could you comment and let us know where you stayed and what kind of experience you had. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Canadian Politics...what's in River's pants ?


I was going to blog tonight about the childish behaviour of our Prime Minister and the Opposition and how the Liberals, NDP and Bloc are acting like grade 7 be-otches and are planning to overthrow the government and install Dion as the new Prime Minister even though he was set to resign as leader of the Liberals in Jan or whatever, but I was interrupted by something that was very similar and just as smelly and greasy.
We have been introducing solid food to little big man, and today he feasted (well, ate some, and smushed some all over the place as the picture shows) on carrots and spinach. We were quite happy that he seemed to be taking to the new food unaware of what was to happen later. River was enjoying his nightly romp laying on his back playing with some toys when he started to fuss. I went over to see what was up and when I picked him up realized quickly his back was wet. When I got him on his changed table I yelled to my darling wife "something smells like ass in here" thinking it was the laundry, but I was soon to come face to face with what was creating the vile stank. I unzipped the big man's sleeper and quickly saw the nasty business which was all up his back. He began to cry, rightfully so, wouldn't you ? I have never seen anything this huge....and boy, did it stink. Is this what is to be expected when he gets into real food ? I'm not sure if I could handle worse....>ack<. We swiftly wiped off the screaming lad and hustled him into the waiting bath. Brook bathed him while I attended the soiled sleeper. I think the kid lost about 5 lbs with that movement. He's much happier now.
So, is it possible I could correlate the above story with the current Canadian Political situation? I can try. People are always trying to introduce new things into a system that might not need or be ready for it, and all you get is crying babies, a shitty situation and huge mess which will require double effort to clean up. How's that ?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hangin by the Christmas Tree



The big man hung out on the couch on the weekend and watched his dad put up the 'massive' tree (yes...that's the tree overwhelming the background of the picture...I vow for next year, it will be a big - reach the ceiling - tree).

River has kind of figured out what happens when the camera comes out so he'll stop everything and stare at it. This time it was as if he had a modeling gig...he was all smiles...not to mention sitting up like a big boy.

Monday, December 1, 2008

December 1st....2008 comes to a close




It is now Dec 1st, the beginning of Winter. >ack< Since we're planning a get-awayI was flipping through old travel pictures and found this one of Venice Italy (it's also a nice picture to look at versus a winter one). After we went we vowed to go back...it's been almost 7 years, so I think we're due. However, next year already has us booked, so I think our next trip to the land of pizza will have to be in 2010.

So, what can I expect from December ? Well we have already put up the outside lights and tree, there will be a company Christmas party, a big family turkey dinner on the 25th, our son's first Christmas, possible last minute travel to the US for work, and Christmas Specials on T.V. (Charlie Brown, The Grinch, Rudolph et al). I'm sure it will go fast and we'll all be screaming "Happy New Year!"

Even though I crapped out at the end and missed blogging the last 2 days, I think I will try to keep this trend up. Cheers to all.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mr. Stock Market......?


Nov 27th marks my first foray into the land of investing in the stock market. With stocks at incredible lows that haven't been seen in some cases since the 1930's it seems like the best time to get involved. I will be posting some of my findings, investments, strategies, lessons learned (I hope there aren't any hard ones) and I would love to hear people's comments and opinions as well. Since these investments are not short term the goal initially is to look at dividend paying companies that should stand the test of time. This means that financial outlets should be in there prominently ( regardless of the current condition of the financial sector and Citigroup )Also, whether we like it or not the world is addicted to oil and gas, so in my life time this seems like a safe bet.
The companies that I'm looking at right now are the following: Bank of Nova Scotia (although I was told yesterday that TD should be a better performer), Talisman Energy, H&R real Estate Investment Trust, Nexen, Boyd Gaming (this is a favourite of a friend of mine as it's related to construction in the gaming industry in Vegas), Citigroup, Aecon Group, and Encana. ( there are others) Of course investing in all of them at the same time would require a lot more capital than I have, so I have to keep my picks limited and maximize the investment (what I mean is, it makes no sense to put >1K in 8+ investments - it will take too long to see any results - as an example, If I invested 500$ in Nexen on Nov 2th at 16.50, today at 24.50 I saw a 50% increase and my investment is 750$, but had I invested 10,000$ I'd now have 15,000$. Also, since I'm after dividends, the more shares I own means more dividends I receive...as a side note - I met an investment broker through my partner that doesn't even speak to new clients unless they have 250K to invest...)
So....wish me good luck and who knows, maybe I'll write a book about how Joe Everyman can do the same thing and become wealthy (let's hope the book I write is not entitled "How I ruined our lives and became a bum by stupid investing")

Thursday, November 27, 2008

U.S. Thanksgiving - and why Canadians eat the turkey in October


Happy Thanksgiving to our neighbors to the South. Enjoy your Turkey and NFL !
And for those that had no idea why we as Canadians have the turkey in October:
The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. "Canada's first Thanksgiving: Frobisher set stage for our celebrations in different spirit than U.S.The first Thanksgiving celebration by Euro-peoples in North America was not in New England but in Newfoundland (Canada) by Martin Frobisher, 42 years before the Pilgrims." Frobisher's Thanksgiving was not for harvest but homecoming. He had safely returned from a search for the Northwest Passage, avoiding the later fate of Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. The feast was one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in North America, although celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops had been a long-standing tradition throughout North America by various First Nations and Native American groups. First Nations and Native Americans throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Cree and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America. Frobisher was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him — Frobisher Bay.
At the same time, French settlers, having crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer Samuel De Champlain also held huge feasts of thanks. They even formed 'The Order of Good Cheer' and gladly shared their food with their First Nations neighbours.
After the Seven Year's War ended in 1763 handing over New France to the British, the citizens of Halifax held a special day of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving days were observed beginning in 1799 but did not occur every year. After the American Revolution, American refugees who remained loyal to Great Britain moved from the United States and came to Canada. They brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada. The first Thanksgiving Day after Canadian Confederation was observed as a civic holiday on April 5, 1872 to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) from a serious illness.
Starting in 1879 Thanksgiving Day was observed every year but the date was proclaimed annually and changed year to year. The theme of the Thanksgiving holiday also changed year to year to reflect an important event to be thankful for. In the early years it was for an abundant harvest and occasionally for a special anniversary.
After World War I, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11 occurred. Ten years later, in 1931, the two days became separate holidays, and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day.
On January 31, 1957, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed:

A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed … to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.

Wikipedia is so informative...........

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Crazy s**t going down in Mumbai



If you haven't seen the news, there is some crazy terrorist s**t going down in Mumbai right now. According to CNN there is 87 dead, 185 wounded, the five star Taj Mahal Hotel is on fire, there are hostages being held and terrorists have struck at popular tourist locations. See the story here http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/11/26/india.attacks/index.html

One of those days........



Everyone has one of those days where all around you seem to be born without their brains intact; and my day was yesterday. From beginning to end...all culminating in a massive headache that kept me from getting to sleep until after midnight. It started like this. I drove to work at my usual time - got behind a guy doing 50K in an 80K zone (not due to safety reasons mind you...just driving slow). Arrived at the office to 5 voice messages from the same guy asking the same question that he already had the answer to (funny, he was aware we start after 8am, but his calls started at 6am and he commented "why hasn't someone called me back?"). Then calls from customers asking ridiculous questions "I'd like this to be white - but black...small - but large...heavy - but light". Another asking me to stop everything I was doing to complete something for them that was critical - so I did. Then once completed and emailed, they immediately asked if I was also finished the original request and that what I had just done wasn't really all that critical as it was due in a couple weeks - and then got bitchy when I told them it would take another day to finish. nice - business would be easy if it weren't for the customers. While driving at lunch I was cut off by a guy texting while driving with his knees and took a couple nice rocks to the front of my car (thank god only rocks and not his car...this is when my headache started behind my ears...mild at first, but I knew it was going to be a doozy). The rest of the afternoon was spent arguing with multiple vendors about the wrong products they had sent, and more conversations with the aforementioned customers with more comments/questions that at this point were going in one ear and out the other (I'd tell you what they were, but remembering them is making the headache come back). The icing on the cake was the notice that an important transport truck wouldn't arrive until 8pm. So I volunteered to stay (since I had to finish the work for the customer who interrupted me all day). At 8pm the truck was no where to be seen and the dispatch guy, who for convenience sake, nicely gave us his cell phone number...decided to turn it off. My freight forwarder and I spent the next hour and bit trying to track the driver down. Finally he called at about 9:15 (i guess that's close to 8pm, right?). We loaded the truck...faxed the documents and I got to go home. Arrived at home with a pounding headache at 10pm. For the next 3 hours I sat there in silent pain as my head throbbed...I contemplated eating a couple Tylenol 3's we had in the medicine cabinet, but settled for an Advil and a glass of water instead. Finally somewhere around 1am I managed to fall asleep. Needless to say right now I'm a bit sleepy and cranky (and hungry...thank god it's lunch)

You can begin the 'awwww, you poor thing...' comments now. ;-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Big Laughs for Itsy Bitsy Spider

I managed to catch a few seconds of Mama's rendition of Itsy Bitsy Spider that was quite the entertaining ditty. The little guy almost blew a gasket laughing....until he realized he was on camera and that was that...ended with a look at the paparazzi (darn paprazzi ruin all the fun stuff...just ask Lindsay Lohan). The lights were low so it's not a great video (I had to act fast..no time to turn on the lights), but you can hear him laughing which is great. Enjoy.

Big Boy is 5 Months Today


Big Boy turned 5 months today and showed off by sitting on his own and played with his feet. He's pushing 20 lbs and at least 28" long. He's getting strong enough that if you hold his hands he'll sit up and then push up into a standing position (of course with a bit of help...he usually smiles and laughs at this). He's passed a new milestone; that being, when he's tired he doesn't just fall asleep....he gets crazy cranky with screaming and kicking...and then after what feels like hours (more like 5 minutes) passes out and 'sleeps like a baby. He's starting to get the hang of 'napping' so hopefully the crazy freak out tired thing will start to disappear.....let's hope.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

STAMPS WIN !


Stamps have done it. Final Score 22-14. Looks again like the Stamps defense is what kept them in the game. Although Burris did do a great job staying calm and doing what he needed to do to advance the team down the field. River woke up to watch the final quarter. And now ? River and I are watching Star Wars Clone Wars TV Series........big night....

Sunday Night - Grey Cup...


Sunday action is in Montreal with the Stamps facing the Als. 1:54 left in the 1st half and the Stamps are suckin' the hind tit losing 3-13. River seems unimpressed and has passed out on the couch. Maybe the half time show will get him (and the Stamps) going. Although, doesn't it seem strange that Theory of a Dead Man are playing? They usually hire some bigger names. We'll see how they do. FYI - while I was typing Calgary scored a touch down bringing the score to 10-13 with 44 seconds left. I'll update when the game is over.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mr. Fall Catalogue Guy


River is getting ready for a lunch date today and was showing off his fashion sense. Today he is Mr. Fall Casual Outdoorsy Guy. Also today, he's showing off his Brad Pitt hair a la "Burn After Reading". I'm sure he'll charm the pants off all of the waitresses.

Better video and update of Meteor crash

Here's a link with a much better video of the meteor. It looks like something out of a movie.

http://www.globaltv.com/globaltv/national/story.html?id=978054

Friday, November 21, 2008

LOOK ! UP IN THE SKY ! METEOR OR UFO ???


All over the news was the reports of a large fireball jetting across the skies of Saskatchewan and Alberta. It supposedly is confirmed that it's NOT man made (not a plane or space junk). Was it a meteor ? UFO ? Superman falling to earth ? Starman ? E.T ? We'll see if they find the impact point. Have a look....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Um........yah....


So....I guess this my Seinfeld post...a post about nothing...or maybe it is about something...just nothing important.
Here's a couple news items from today.
So...big story...the stock market tanked today. The TSX plunged to a 5 year low. See the canada.com article here http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=5a971002-b24d-4a07-b938-4dc5e6d37c4f
Oil dropped below 50$
Here's something that happened today.
Big boy spent the day with his Mom and Grandma and went shopping at Costco and IKEA.
And...what I did...
Went to work a bit late after dropping the wife and little man at his Grandma-ma's. Made it to work around 9ish. Spent most of the morning cleaning up jobs/projects. Did a few errands at lunch and had a pizza at CoCo Brooks (actually it was a Calzone...a Big Al's Calzone to be exact) because I left my delicious lunch my wife made me, in the 'fridge. Headed back to the office. Got into some new project work, closed a deal, finalized details on another project, sent a couple faxes. Left the office at 5:30. Drove home. Got Home. Carried in 2 boxes of MALM's from IKEA. Made a 0 calorie carbonated water and lime juice. Watched Coronation Street (I love that show), while putting together 1 MALM. Ate lasagna (very tastey). Played with the big boy. Watched Kitchen Nightmares (Love Ramsey...starting to dislike the American Version of the show..they're all the same), watched the office and chatted with wife while she calmed the possessed kid, started posting while 30 Rock started and am now watching the wife snuggle with a sleeping/quiet baby and listen to her make inappropriate comments >wink<. It's 10:38 and I think I'm going to bed.....soon. Actually....now it's 10:43....10:44
thank goodness tomorrow is Friday......

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Star Trek Trailer

Spock, Scotty, Sulu, Bones, Uhura and of course KIRK are back for a re-boot of the of the Star Trek franchise. First thoughts after watching the trailer.....wow ! ( I wonder how many red shirts get it in this movie )

What do you think ?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

First Flames Game a Success for River and the Flames

Dressed in red we ventured into the Sport Check seats to watch the Flames vs. The Avalanche. For those of you who don't know, Sport Check Seats = nose bleed section. The big man was all smiles and wide eyes watching all the fans move to their seats with their $7.25 draught beers. During the first period the action on the ice was mild so River entertained himself by pulling the hair of the nice lady next to us and flirting with the British woman behind us. He didn't seem to be too concerned that the Flames were losing by a goal at the end of the period. In fact, he seemed confident the home team was ok and he showed his confidence by sleeping throughout the uneventful second period (it should be noted that Calgary hit a solid Avs post with a fraction of a second left in the first). River awoke for the third period and was ready for excitement , and the Flames did not disappoint. The explosive cheer from the fans when the Flames tied up the game gave him a bit of a start, but eventually he was all smiles listening to the crowd scream. He played paddy cake to the chant of "GO FLAMES GO" He was glued to the ice when the Flames went ahead 2-1 and was all smiles again when the Flames clinched it with a third empty net goal and a fourth in the last 9 seconds.

Even though the game was over the little guys night of flirting certainly was not. He gave all around us smiles and while we waited for an elevator ride to the main floor (no, not lazy, just worried about the spilled beer on the 'ladder like' concrete staircase and the 'stumbly' drunks around us....the stairs seemed steeper going down than going up) he entertained a blue haired lady who was quite taken by the boys blond locks and big blue eyes.

I think all in all the Saddledome NHL experience was a good one for Mom, Dad and Son and I'm sure we'll do it again.

Now...we'll see if we can get the man to sleep.....

First Flames Game.....


The little big man will join his parents tonight for his first Calgary Flames game. The game starts at 7:30pm and is against the Colorado Avalanche. Let's hope there aren't any melt downs and we get to stay and watch the whole thing. It should be a good game. I'll let you know how we made out when we get home.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Vacation....where to go ?


So we're planning a vacation for mid Jan 09 but haven't 100% decided where to go. We're pretty sure it will be somewhere hot with a beach and serves those fruity drinks with little umbrellas in them. So the question is where. Mexico ? If so...where ? The gulf or pacific side ? Or do we go to Barbados ? St. Lucia ? Dominican ? The Bahamas ? Puerto Rico ? Virgin Islands ? What do you think ? Leave a comment with your suggestion or experience if you've been to a place you liked.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hello Mr. President...Good-Bye Mr. Blackberry...


We all know that if you;re a BlackBerry user, you find it tough to put it own, let alone quit using it. Well, what if you're the Commander and Chief ? Looks like the new president will have to learn to live without.
See the New York Times Article here

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bond....James Bond



Just got back from the new Bond flick, Quantum of Solace. Over all I'd say it was a pretty good show and Criag again does a great job of playing the "cool as ice" man in the tux with a license to kill...and kill he does. From the opening sequence car chase to each and every "bad guy" he comes face to face with.

Quantum begins immediately after Casino Royale so you'll need to have seen Royale to understand what is driving Bond throughout this movie. For the most part, this seems like the last chapter of Royale and almost like it was a chunk of the original movie cut due to time...so they released it later a-la Kill Bill. Quantum does zero character development and doesn't explain his past relationships with people like Mathis and Felix, so again, make sure you see Royale before seeing this movie.

I think it's a solid movie, albeit short (105 minutes) and will do well at the box office. The fan boys will like the action and the Bond girls. I did like the nod to Goldfinger in this movie (the bad guys dispatched one of the girls in a similar maner).

Speaking of action, I'm not sure why directors have this facination with filming action sequences with all these blurry/jumpy quick shots. The director of Quantum, Marc Forster, most recently filmed 'The Kite Runner', 'Stay', 'Stranger Than Fiction', & 'Monster's Ball' which by no stretch were action films. This might explain why that techique is used as he's not an old hand with this type of genre so he might have fell pray to using cliches.

All I hope is that they keep Bond in a world that's believable and not give him invisable cars and have him go into space again and I'll keep coming back for more. I would assume that if this movie does well this weekend, production will begin on the next one.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Star Trek Update


Here's a first look at the Star Ship Enterprise in the new Star Trek flick J.J. Abrams style. The look is classic T.V. Star Trek with a taste of the new updates.


As for the movie, there seems to be some rumblings. Have a look at http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2008/11/jj-abrams-previ.html


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Long Live the English Pub


Have I mentioned how much I love English Pubs ? Not the nasty clones found in North America mind you, although there are ones I like. I'm talking about the REAL pubs in the UK. I'm not entirely sure what the attraction is. I think it's the vibe and the coziness. I could sit and hang all day sipping pints and talking with the punters in their local. This is why I find it sad and odd that UK pubs are closing at an alarming rate. Some blame the recent smoking ban. Some blame the increase in booze prices and taxes. Some blame the recent credit crunch. Some blame the new generation who would rather sit at home than gather with their mates at the pub. In any case the stat I heard was somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 pubs a week.
I think it's obvious that the jolly ol' pub will never disappear from the English landscape. However, the look and feel is changing. A number of the pubs that close are being bought up by the chains and are becoming a bit like cookie cutter pubs. And in other cases they're renovating to become gastro-pubs, which isn't the end of the world. If you do get a chance to visit the UK, I encourage you to visit as many pubs as possible as they all have distinct feel and charm. And for the reason that if the current trend continues, they may not be as easy to find as walking a few blocks in any direction (which doesn't bode well for a lazy guy like me)
cheers mate

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A new picture........

I'm trying to keep up with the "post every day for a month" thingy....and really, I've got nothing interesting to post, so, here's a new picture of River from the weekend and here's what I did today.

I flew out to Vancouver for the day for a business trip. I decided to fly cheap and went with WestJet. I forgot how much they are like a "cattle car in the air". I'm not a super tall guy, but my knees ride close to the seat in front of me and thank god there was a small girl next to me so I could sit back and not have to sit sideways to fit. The flight is short and was uneventful. When I checked in at 'Budget' at YVR I thought I would go with a GPS (I used one before and it was really handy)...well, not this time...for some reason it wouldn't load where the car was and wouldn't update so I drove around for a while (got myself lost) then screwed withe the little garmin until it finally did what it was supposed to. Although, the route it created for me was a tour of all the back streets...and constantly had me turning left from a side street onto a major artery (painful). Then when I arrived at the address I realized that I just typed in Vancouver and not North Vancouver (in other words...I went to wrong address...duh). So, I figured that out and got back on route. All was good until I ended up in a cemetery and the GPS was telling me to go straight...unfortunately the dead peoples families would have been pissed with me if I did...so after spending 15 minutes finding a path around all the tombstones I made it.

I had a very productive meeting and got back in the Ford Escape and reprogrammed the garmin to take me back to the airport (god knows how I got where I was going with the path I took). Funny thing...the damn thing [GPS] must have remembered and figured that route was pretty neat, so it pretty much returned me to the airport the same way...and I can tell you...it was not the best way (I checked against directions from the google maps..had I done that route it would have taken 25 minutes...the garmin route was over an hour). Finally made it back the airport and after a very bumpy ride I'm home...put the little man to bed and now I'm typing while watching hockey highlights...exciting day huh ?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stupid Vibe 98.5 contest website.....


Well...the vibe site finally seems to working enough that you can look through all the cute kid pictures (and of course, they'll all cute)..but as we have now found...our little guys picture is no where to be found. We checked to make sure the email we sent was complete and did indeed have a picture attached...both confirmed. So who knows. I guess we'll wait until next year. Or, I could just submit his pictures to Kelly Streit of Mode models and get him a day time modelling gig :)

A Day to Remember



November 11th is Remembrance day. Take this time to remember the sacrifice of the people who have fought and are fighting so that we have the freedom that most of us take for granted. For those of you who don;t know the history or the info have a look at this site http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=history/other/remember

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Spirit - Frank Millers New Movie



Frank Miller, the man who brought us 300 and Sin City is now bringing us The Spirit. It looks, from the trailer, that this should be an interesting flick. My only concern is the visual similarity to Sin City. It's a cool effect, however, it could become stale if it's used too much. We'll see when it's released on Christmas Day.

Wolverine Trailer


According to www.comicbookmovie.com the trailer for the new Wolverine:Origins movie will be with the new Keanu flick "The Day the Earth Stood Still" which opens on Dec 12th.