Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Odds and sods

Having been absent last week and also having a brain that is on vacation has meant that I haven't had much to say these last couple of weeks... and I still don't have much to say. So here are some odds and sods that I picked up these last weeks.
A couple of days ago I was riding my bike through Ste-Anne de Bellevue near the locks between Lac St-François and Lac des Deux Montagnes when I decided top stop for a couple of minutes and admire the scenery. There was a big house boat parked at the entrance of the locks and on there were two couples about my age. Now boat owners are often my age, especially the guys. (From my small experience the gals seem to be much younger. ) Anyhow back to the story, on this boat they were having a party, at two o'clock in the afternoon, in front of a whole pile of people walking along the waterfront. Now having a party in itself is not a problem, but having a karaoke party when you can't hold a tune and having your friends dancing with a Labatt blue in their hands lacks a certain amount of class, especially when the singer ad libs words to the song. Now close your eyes and imagine, greying 55 + guy with a beer gut overhanging his speedo, crooning into a microphone with the volume turned wayyyy up. Shudder.... total lack of class. Obviously having a bundle of cash doesn't procure automatic class.
As you all know from a previous blog, I bought myself a new digital reflex camera and I've been taking pictures ever since trying out all the functions. Here are some of the pictures.

Lamp post near my place
Sunset in GatineauChutes de Coulonge

Chutes de Coulonge
Panoramic of Lac Pink
Parc de la Gatineau
Lac Pink

I love taking pictures of flowers .

Monday, July 16, 2007

My first award, I'd like to thank...

An award for me??? *BLUSH*, stammer, (insert tears here) really you shouldn't have... gimme that thing. I'd like to thank Ian for thinking of me, my parents for making me who I am, my family for believing in me and my dream, the blog sphere, the world, the ahhhhhhh. (Lapses into stammering gibberish and tears)
Ok back to to reality, Ian is a great blog writer (a great writer period) and to have him choose me with praise, well it's a great honour and made my day. Not that we write our blogs for praise or awards, we mostly write because it's a way of throwing our message in a bottle into the wide sea of the internet. By the way Ian here's a little piece of linguistic trivia for you, the word schmooze comes from the late 19th century Yiddish word shmuesn which means to converse or chat.
Am I a schmoozer? Yes sir, give a me table, preferably on a terrace, some good strong coffee (or a Guinness), and some friends and we'll re-wire the world in no time. Blogs are just another way to schmooze, except we are a little farther apart. We put out our ideas and comment on the ideas of others...we schmooze.
Now for my choices to get the schmoozer award.
Choochoo is funny, with an off the wall sense of humour, and lives in a pretty weird town. (I thought she lived in the USA, but I heard through the branches that it is in Norway. I didn't think Norway could be so strange.). I always love reading her latest adventures. So Choochoo gets one. Then I'll nominate Evil Spock because I'd like to sit down with him and plan his race to world domination. (Can't be worse than Bushie and he's a lot more intelligent and funny.) Dr. Deb is my favourite shrink in the blog sphere and I would love to sit down and schmooze with her about the human condition. Her posts are always interesting and thought provoking. There are many others that I'd give the prize to, such as Jazz (my lil sister, she's funny and irreverent and I made her what she is today...LOL), Ian who nominated me, Voyager with her backyard chaos, Tai with her superb photos and L.B.D. ;o), cs a blogger I've just started following who has a definite knack with a camera and tells it as it is and Em a dad like me but woe is me, they have already been awarded the prize by others. ;o(

Friday, July 13, 2007

Good vibrations et al.

meme |mēm|
noun Biology an element of a culture or system of behaviour that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by non genetic means, esp. imitation.

I've been tagged by my lil'sister Jazz as to the five things that give me good vibrations. My darling sister is always thinking up ways of complicating my nice smooth life. After much thought, head scratching and cognition, I have come up with the following five things.

The first and second are no brainers. The first is of course Mrs. BB who has put up with me lo these 31 years and believe me I am not always easy to put up with. After 31 years it is no longer a great emotional passionate affair, but has morphed into a lasting, comfortable, love. It is like the difference between a new snazzy pair of shoes and a well worn pair of slippers. Which is more comfortable? My wife completes me in a way that is hard to describe. When she is absent, there is a part of me that is missing, a malaise, something that is not right. When she is there, even if we are both doing our different things, I can feel her presence and that is an eminently comforting and wonderful feeling. So yes she is a big part of my good vibrations.

The second thing that is a part of my good vibrations are my two children, BB's daughter and BB's son. They are now adults and are flying by themselves, but when I look at them my heart swells with pride because they have become adults to be proud of. It's funny because when I give them a hug, I do not just see the adult they are, but the baby smiling at me, the small child showing me the carrot from the garden, tears because of scraped knees, the children doing their homework, the ados going to their first dance, their prom night, his face lighting up as we discuss programming and OS systems, university graduation (my daughter winning the two prizes for micro-biology). I see their whole lives go by and that definitely gives me good vibrations.

The third is trekking in the mountains. I love trekking because of the sense of solitude. Making it to the top of a mountain with nobody around gives one a feeling of peace that is hard to describe. The wind whistling across the rock and remnants of winter snow, the austere beauty of the surrounding landscapes, the solitude, the stark white of a cloud against the deep blue of the sky, the chill of the air at altitude. It all makes me think of a line from the poem "High Flight" by Pilot Officer Gillespie McGee; "Put out my hand and touched the face of God." This line of poetry pretty much says it all.

Here is my fourth, books. I love to read and I probably have more books at home that many bookstores. I love to read and regularly have to bring boxes of books to my local library since they have taken over every possible nook and cranny in the house. Thank goodness that Mrs. BB also loves to read because this could have been a definite problem. I can read for hours at a time and get through a 300 page book in less than a couple of days. Love of reading and books is one of the greatest gifts my parents gave me. When I was young they would always find some money to buy a Scholastic book at school. Books are a great invention, hours of pleasure, easy to carry and use, never need batteries. They can be taken anywhere and when trekking in a lost land can be used as fire starter and toilet paper in an emergency. LOL ;o)

My fifth is travelling. We love to travel, not go south to a Club Med, but really travel and get to know the people and culture of the country we are visiting. Since we usually stay for quite a few weeks and we are not rich, we usually end up camping most of the time. In England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, they have a well organized system of camp grounds. Staying at a camp gound permits us to meet the people of the place, talk with them and learn how they live. If you want to know how people live, go grocery shopping at their local Tesco or Morrison's. Travelling like this has permitted us to meet so many fantastic, helpful people and see things that ordinary tourists just never see. The local people are always willing to tell you about this great place that you must visit. Travelling opens our horizons and makes one realize that under the skin we are all the same, all having the same hopes, loves and fears no matter where they are.

Now to whom should I pass it on?
First of all to Em, who as a dad often makes me laugh and think.
Second to Evil Spock, just to give him an opportunity to do some PR for his run to POTUS.
And last but not least Tai, cuz she doesn't have enough to do with moving into a nice new house.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My new gadget

As everyone knows, we guys just love the latest gadgets. Yesterday I decided to buy myself a new SLR digital camera. I had been wanting one for a long time and when I stopped off at our neighbourhood Dumoulin store I checked their camera section and lo and behold they had an Olympus Evolt E-500 camera with two lenses for only $580. Now this is a REALLY LOW price. At Costco they had the Canon Rebel xt with 2 lenses for $980 (The two cameras are equivalent in features etc) So after having thought about it and talked to my better half (Mrs. BB) I bought the camera. Turns out that they had got the price wrong but their loss was my gain. ;o)
I can now hear my little sister Jazz saying to herself..."What the hell does he need camera for?" Well I've always loved taking photos, I started off with an Olympus Trip 35 then graduated to a Minolta SRT 201 35 mm camera way back when. (Both cameras still work after 30 years now that's quality.) The Minolta was completely mechanical and almost indestructable but it's heavy and bulky and 35 mm film is getting harder to find and costly to process. So I when I calculated what it cost to get pictures developed versus buying a new camera I decided to buy digital since just the cost of the film and developing paid for the camera. I bought an Olympus Camedia 575 zoom (my son is using it now) and last Christmas I got an Olympus FE-180 (it's small enough to fit in my pocket). These point and shoot cameras take good photos but aren't very flexible, so yesterday I got the Olympus E-550 which gives me much more flexibility than the others.
Taking photos is about as close as I get to being artistic, since I'm pretty much the un-artistic one in my family. I can neither draw or paint like my wife or my sister, nor can I play a musical instrument like my daughter's violin or my wife's classical guitar. Even Jazz used to play the tenor recorder. Hell, I can't even carry a tune in a bucket. So that being said, taking pictures is my way of expressing the artistic yearnings of my soul. (Boy that sure was a load of crap, I just like taking pictures.) So here are a couple of my better ones, enjoy. (The first two were taken with a 35mm film camera and digitalized)

Amadablam with Lhotse in background, Nepal

Gargoyle, Notre Dame de Paris

Beaumaris Castle, Wales

Twighlight on the beach, Achille Island, Ireland

Mountain top, Achille Island, Ireland

Sunset, Tewksbury Abbey, England

York Minster, York, England

PS: If you want to see our other pictures go to our picture site.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sillines, just plain silliness

It always strikes me as strange how a nation of stiff upper lips like the English can produce such off the wall humour. They bring silliness to a high art form. Of course by now you have probably figured out that I've been watching Monty Python. Though it was made in the 60's it never fails to make me laugh. I've always wondered what it says about my character, after all British humour, from what I can gather by talking to my friends, is either a love it or hate it proposition. It seems to leave nobody indifferent. I admit freely that I find British humour irresistibly funny,
Now for your viewing pleasure, are two of my all time favourite sketches. One of them even has a Canadian connection. ;o) I love the Dead Parrot sketch because of the myriad ways John Cleese finds to tell the clerk that his parrot is demised, deceased, passed on, no more, expired, gone to meet his maker.

The other sketch with the Canadian connection (BC to be exact) is of course the Lumberjack song...the incongruity of a big rugged lumberjack in drag paints a picture that is hard to resist. So here it is, enjoy ;o)
PS: It's a sing along version so go right ahead...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Weird Canada

Since summer vacation is here and is conducive to levity, here is a collection of weird and wonderful little stories from our great country Canada.


In April 2001, police in Vancouver, British Columbia, ended a three-year crime spree when they arrested 64 year old Eugene Mah and his 32-year-old son, Avery. The Mahs had been stealing assorted lawn and garden items from homes in their neighborhood, including garbage cans, lawn decorations, recycling boxes, and realty signs. Why did they steal them? Nobody knows. Eugene Mah is a real estate tycoon worth a reported $13 million. One local psychiatrist said the thefts may be due to an obsessive compulsive hoarding disorder. They reportedly stole a neighbor's doormat ... and each of the 14 other doormats the neighbor bought as replacements.


In June 2003, two disc jockeys in Toronto caused a SARS panic in the Dominican Republic. Z103.5 Morning Show hosts Scott Fox and Dave Blezard thought it would be funny to call the resort where their co-worker, Melanie Martin, was vacationing. They told the desk clerk that Martin had smuggled a "rare Canadian beaver" into their country. But the desk clerk, who didn't speak much English, thought he'd heard the word "fever." With SARS (Severe
Acute Respiratory Syndrome) being big news at the time and Toronto being one of the cities where the disease had spread, the clerk panicked-and locked the woman in her room. The entire hotel wasn't quarantined, according to the station's news manager,' but staff were at the point of contacting medical authorities when the disc jockeys finally convinced them that it was all a misunderstanding. Martin was released from her room that afternoon.

Lucette St. Louis, a 66-year-old woman from Corbeil, Ontario, was rounding up three runaway pigs owned by her son, Marc, when she became the victim of a bizarre accident. One of the 180-pound pigs had wandered into the road and a passing car hit it. The impact sent the pig airborne, landing on top of Mrs. St. Louis and breaking her leg in two places. "Well, at least," she said, "I can tell my grandchildren that pigs really do fly."


Roman Panchyshyn, a 47-year-old Winnipeg retailer, upset some of his fellow residents when he started selling $65 sweatshirts that read "Winnipeg, Murder Capital of Canada Escape The Fear" in his store. The shirts showed the city skyline dripping in blood. "We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly to promote Winnipeg to the world," complained City Councillor Harry Lazarenko, "and I don't want this to give us a black eye." So he contacted the premier to see if Panchyshyn could be stopped. He couldn't-the shirts are accurate. Winnipeg has the highest murder rate in Canada. Said the unapologetic Panchyshyn, "The truth hurts."


  • On August 30, 1995, Sean Shannon of Canada recited Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy in 23.8 seconds an average of 655 words a minute.
  • On August 17, 1991, 512 dancers of the Royal Scottish Dance Society (Toronto branch) set the record for the largest genuine Scottish country dance (a reel).
  • In 1988 Palm Dairies of Edmonton created the world's largest ice cream sundae 24,900 kg. (54,895 lbs.).
  • In 1993 the Kitchener Waterloo Hospital Auxiliary filled a bowl with 2,390 kg (5,269 lbs.) of strawberries.
  • Four hundred mothers in Vancouver broke the record for mass breast feeding in 2002.
  • In Feb. 2000, 1,588 couples at the Sarnia Sports Centre broke the record for most kissing in one place at one time.
  • Dave Pearson holds the record for clearing all 15 balls from a standard pool table in 26.5 seconds at Pepper's Bar in Windsor, Ontario, in 1997.
  • In 1998 1,000 University of Guelph students formed the longest human conveyor belt, laying down in a row and rolling a surfboard over their bodies. In 1999 they set the record for simultaneous soap -bubble blowing.
Stories taken from the Bathroom Reader collection, a hilarious collection of strange facts and trivia. For lovers of trivia and weird miscellaneous information, it's a great read.