Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pointy things fly...

Lastnight Cellar Rats played Rugby Mad - and we were pretty short handed, we had to forfeit one of our 4-handed cricket games and one of our doubles 501 games, in the end we only had six team members, but it was a lot of fun, I'm getting better and better, my aim is improving - and I even remembered to pay for my salad, woo hoo! I even got home before midnight!

Tonight S came in for a visit, which was really nice - but I actually did a bit of Xmas shopping first and got a few things, yay! *phew* I think I'll do a bit more on my lunch tomorrow...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Marketing lunch happiness

We had our Marketing Department holiday lunch today. We had tried to go out after work last Friday, but it didn't work out so today we went to Wayne Gretzky's for lunch - the food was great, but service wasn't so much. I suppose it's generally understandable this time of year, but there was hardly any customers, so that excuse doesn't really fly! Oh, and the water tasted... weird, overprocessed.

Anyway, we all made out like bandits - SS gave me a really sweet set of candy-striped mugs, I hope I can find space for them 'cos I love them!

Then I thought, okay, triple-bill night will be off again this week, I'll do more shopping! What did I get? Underwear. For me. *sigh* I suck.

One week to go, and no end in sight

Xmas is almost upon us. Am I done my shopping? Nope. I've been looking, sure, but I've been really uninspired this year. Gah.

So Friday night I thought I'd go out to Scarborough and get some shopping done. Went all the way out there, didn't buy a thing. What's wrong with me? I mean, I could have just picked up some stuff, but I was waiting for that inspiration to hit. Which it didn't. Damn.

Okay, so the annual party at the Brown's was postponed (for good reason, I hope their Mum's okay! Many hugs there...) so L and I went to his brother's place instead for cheese and drinks, all was nice, we were regaled with the tale of how S was charged with shoplifting (btw, everyone should boycott the No Frills in Markham, they're obviously lunatics, I mean who shoplifts cough drops after spending $130 on groceries?), had nice conversation and I met some family friends, and then we spent a nice evening together. Back to S&D's house on Sunday afternoon for lunch, they gave me a nice gift card that I'll definitely make use of in January, and I met L's baby sister (she's really cute, I remember being nineteen...) and then basically lounged around in front of the fireplace all evening. Really a great weekend. Ideally, I should have done more shopping, but I knew I wouldn't get anything, so what was the point?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Global warming weather?

What a week! Triple Bill night was off Monday, since Dr Who and Heroes are both on hiatus, so I bought a wee Xmas tree - I love it! And after having people ask me for weeks what I want for Xmas/Birthday, I've added a couple of wish lists (see the bar at the right) - check it out, you know, in case you wanted to show me how much you love me *grin*. Cellar Rats played the Bar Tools - again, we got trounced, but I'm getting better for sure. Didn't get home until quite late though, so tired! Lastnight a bunch of us went to see The Holiday - okay, it's a chick flick, but it wasn't bad. Not fabulous, of course, but not bad, enjoyable. And tonight I must make a dent in all that Xmas shopping I haven't got to yet, gah! Wish me luck!

The pathetic amount of snow we've had this yearOh, and we're back to balmy weather. December 4 was the only snow we've had here in Toronto that's stuck all season, and it disappeared a day later - lucky I had my camera, or you would have missed it! It was up to 10 degrees celsius today. This is insane - how can they say Global Warming is a theory when it's like this???

Monday, December 11, 2006

HTAD, and others

Oh man, what a week!

Thursday was our firm holiday party - and damn, I looked good! Seriously, I did! Blue crushed velvet dress with plenty of flounce to the skirt and a fair bit of cleavage *grin* - and then I went to Tavern afterwards and shocked everyone by being better dressed than them all! I even got stares from strangers at a booth - but I'm pretty sure that was the cleavage *grin* - a couple of friends were out who I hadn't seen in a while too, really nice to see them. But I have to say, that was a freakin' cold night! I know that's what I should be expecting at this time of year, but really it's just way too cold when we've had such warm days, we're not ready for it!

Friday I made it a half-day and left work at 1 - L and I drove up to KW for Antheras' birthday dinner, which was really nice, so good to see everyone again! It'd been way too long. Got lots of cuddles in with Mr Pants of course.

S decided Saturday would be a Hot Tub Appreciation Day, so five of us lazed in the hot steamy water with ice all around us and drinks in our hands while S stood on the deck and hosted *grin* and then we all went in, dried off, drank more and watched movies - Over The Hedge (which was actually fun, The Shatner stole it too) and the new Omen (I hadn't seen the old one yet - I know, I know - so I have nothing to compare it to, but it was good I suppose).

And then on Sunday we went to Oscar's. Oh, and I bought new winter boots. And a new blouse and necklace and winter coat and socks. Ahem. L and I had to leave relatively early though, I was supposed to be taking Antheras to see Ron James but she was sick so L came with me instead - funny guy, good show!

rescued from Draft purgatory

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I have sharp objects, watch yourself...

Queen Street Dart League logoHey, I joined a Darts league! Yep, I'm the newest member of the Cellar Rats! We played against Armed & Hammered lastnight, and they clobbered us of course. But that's okay, I had a great time! They're a great group, I feel like I've really fit in with them already. And I improved vastly over the course of the evening, so that's all good *grin*

And then... my Stitch & Bitch! Yep, I finally made it out again! And there were 27 of us, it's nuts! I'm going to quickly make a garland - it's really ugly as a scarf, but as a garland it'll totally work! It was good to see them all again...

rescued from Draft purgatory

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sloan and Bond

Sloan promoSloan! Yep, saw Sloan at the Koolhaus, they were making up for missing the show in October. Pretty good overall, but uneven really. The new album is actually pretty uneven, but the performance was at times amazing and at other times 'called in'. The mics weren't balanced very well either, which was annoying, and my back was totally killing me on Friday from standing on the concrete. But they played my favourite (Money City Maniacs) so it was all good.

Casino RoyalePretty good weekend though! Friday we went to see Casino Royale - BEST BOND FLICK EVER! Daniel Craig looks like he kills people for a living, he's grittier than the previous Bonds. No invisible cars, no laser beams from space, no big dudes with dubious dental implants - just a slick guy who has a defibrillator in his car. Way cool. The freerunning sequence at the beginning was excellent - but presented me with the only thing in the whole movie that was absolutely unbelievable: he wasn't out of breath at ALL at the end of it! *grin*

J*&P&A managed to make it in on Saturday, so we spent the day wandering around the Eaton Centre and thereabouts, eating at The Pickle Barrel and then walking around - we went to Old City Hall so I could show them the light show... which didn't happen, there was a band! But just as we gave up and started walking away... fireworks! Yep, fireworks right there in Nathan Philips Square! I haven't put my pix up yet but they're coming! After that L and I were off to the Black Swan on the Danforth to watch our friend's band The Raging Butanes - rockin' blues, mmm!

And then another lazy Sunday watching videos and napping and such, aaaah...

rescued from Draft purgatory

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Fountain and Lights

Okay, so a bunch of us went to see The Fountain lastnight. Beautiful movie, gorgeous, well-acted, good effects... but really, what the hell was that? Honestly, the movie was over and everyone just had that deer in the headlights look, including me. Don't get me wrong, I liked it - but really, I don't feel like I ever need to see it again. Kinda like Solaris - beautiful, well-acted, and what the hell was that?

Right, so after the movie, L and I walked over to City Hall to get the car, and Old City Hall looked kind of odd, like someone had painted it, so we walked over and realized it was lights projected onto it, very cool! We stood and looked at it for a while, and then turned to go and then some music started and the lights changed - we stood and watched for fifteen minutes while the lights and music animated and changed all over the place, it was so cool!

Of course I didn't have my camera with me, so tonight I went back instead of going to my stitch and bitch, and spent and hour and a bit taking pix - got about 140 of them, the best are on my flickr page (link on the right folks!)

Tomorrow night is Sloan! And my last Digital Photography class - I think I'll be skipping that actually, or ducking out early at least...

rescued from Draft purgatory

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lazy days

Another lazy couple of days - J*&P&A were supposed to come in but a family emergency called them away, so L and I spent Saturday wandering around, eating gelato and windowshopping, which was nice. Met up with Xognya and went to Flo's for dinner - and took some really super cool pix of some guys working on a building (there are three more on my flickr page, see the link on the right-hand bar), then back to Xognya's to play with the kitties and watch Firefly, woo hoo! Overall, a really nice, lazy way to spend the weekend. L and I had a nap on Sunday - again!

rescued from Draft purgatory

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy 43rd Anniversary Doctor!

Yep, today is the 43rd anniversary of the first broadcast episode of Doctor Who, way back in 1963, can you believe it? Who's your favourite? What was the worst story? Who screamed the loudest? What baddie had you hiding behind the couch?

To celebrate, we held the Torchwood House Party last Saturday, which was fun and raised a bunch of money towards putting on a new convention, there was a darts competition (which I got beat at in the first round, but it was close!), trivia, animation, and carousing of course, yay!

What else did I do?

Friday night I went to see Flushed Away with T and Xognya - we were actually trying to see the new Bond flick, but it was all sold out of course! Anyway, Flushed Away was really funny, full of little in-jokes - I think my favourite thing was the casting of Sir Ian McKellen as The Toad and Jean Reno as his cousin, Le Frog *grin* I'll likely be buying this one the moment it's out on DVD, yay!

Sunday I went with L to a family thing, his cousin's baby's baptism, which was nice if a wee bit awkward (I felt a bit like I was under a microscope) and then we went to see my parents since we were more than halfway there already. Man, my Dad looks odd without his beard & moustache! He has to keep it shaved off until the radiation treatments are done so the mask fits him, see - and he's been hiding his chin for the past two decades! He really looks like his Mother...

Monday Xognya came over for TV night - Dr Who, Heroes and Life On Mars - and general lazing around. We're gonna keep that going I think, far too much fun.

Tuesday, however, wasn't as much fun - I was at the office until after 9:30 at night just trying to get stuff done, I'm drowning!

So yesterday I deserved fun - Sarah and I went to see Billy Connolly at Massey Hall! He's such a funny man - almost 2-1/2 hours straight, I don't know how his throat handled that! But I have to say, we had REALLY SUCKY SEATS! Yep, I know in the past I've said that there are no bad seats in Massey Hall. I guess that's because I'd never been up in the top tier, off to the right, with the chairs ahead of me kneecapping me - I didn't need a trip to the gym either, the stairs up to our level were a workout in themselves and after sitting for almost three hours with my legs stuck in one position I feel like I was on that adductor at the gym the whole time...

Friday, November 17, 2006


So I'm taking an introduction to digital photography course with my co-worker SS. Last week our class was cancelled as our instructor was off sick, and the week before that we spent the whole class learning how to get pictures off our cameras and into the computer. So basically I was falling asleep for the whole class, as this is something I've known how to do since about five minutes after getting my camera. Anyway, this week we reviewed that (*yawn*) and then talked about how to do basic manipulation of the pix in Photoshop (again, *yawn*), so that's four hours I'll never get back. I think next week I'll ask her right away what we're going to be learning, because being there for two hours to be shown how to do really basic stuff I can already do is just a waste of my time. At the beginning the class was good, I was learning stuff I didn't know before about composition and technical stuff, but at this point I'm feeling like I either need a more advanced course or none at all.

After class L and I went out with a selection of the Kitchener Contingent - $3.50 chocolate martinis at Wide Open and boogying at Velvet Underground! If I hadn't broken out in hives, we could have stayed very late, but as it was we left at 12:30, ah well.

So I've been quite tired at work today, but at least I got one good thing - we had a United Way bake & book sale so I bought Léon The Professional on DVD for $1!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

And so we catch up!

Okay, so now that's done... what, exactly, have I been up to?

Well, August was a bit of a whirlwind, I took cM to see Spamalot as a late birthday present, visited my doctor and my dentist, reaffirmed my fondness of kissing *grin*, went to see The Descent (oh man, that was spooky - well, same director as Dog Soldiers, so only to be expected - my heart didn't calm down until I'd been home for two hours!), and had drinks with friends, some old and some new, until the wee hours. Of course, I came down with something just before leaving on vacation, but I fought it!

Then came September - after I got back from vacation, I found out that the temp that was in covering for me didn't work out (in fact, she had to go after only a few days) so there was lots for me to do (and, in fact, it hasn't slowed down since, I'm exhausted!). But that didn't keep me from being a bit more social! Had a great Tavern the very next night, no rest for me! Went to a fun housewarming party, visited the ROM with a new friend, went on a bit of a camera safari with S, bought a new printer and an old tape deck and iron (yay, I can finally iron things!), went to the Clothing Show (new t-shirts and shoes for me!), went to see Crank with T - which was SO MUCH FUN! One big goofy adrenaline rush! I love Jason Statham... um, what else? Oh, my grandmother turned 90 on October 1 so I went to see her and some other relatives for a few hours, that was a nice visit.

Which brings us to October - the month of me not having the house to myself! PK came to visit from London for a week, completely on the QT, we didn't tell any of the Tavern folk he was here, he just showed up, it was hilarious! We went over to the island his first day here and wandered around, and I took a day off work and we went to Niagara Falls, which was really cool. We saw The Illusionist, which was really cool - Ed Norton just rocks, period - and then went to see my brothers play (they rock as well - every Wednesday at the Unicorn, folks!). Topped it off with a trip up the CN Tower, and of course we *tried* to see Sloan but the show was postponed.

Is that enough? Nope, 'cos then it was thanksgiving and I was in Welland visiting my folks, which was a nice couple of days just lazing about *phew* - but not for long, 'cos as soon as I got back I had EC in visiting from London as well for a week! We went to see Regina Spektor, what an excellent show! Only Son opened, and he was fun too. I decided I needed to have darts again, so I bought some and we played a couple of nights, and I must say my luck is improving (not my aim of course)... Went to see Man Of The Year (pretty good), had brunch with Xef, went up the tower again, went out to Neu+ral with Xog (very cool, must do that again), visited with J* and cM and eBaby and QoWP, and had a final lunch before he had to go - overall a nice visit!

In the middle of all that, I started a digital photography course with my coworker SS, which has been cool but a bit hit-and-miss as I know lots of the things our teacher's telling us. But I've decided I need to buy a new camera, the low-light performance of my current one is driving me nuts and the battery door is chipped anyway, so I'm researching...

Let's see, what else? Got together for late-night drinks with some friends, hassled some camels at the zoo, wandered through an old graveyard, had lunch with an out of town friend, went to see The Prestige with T (also good, but of the two I think I liked The Illusionist better - although it should be pointed out that any movie with Nicola Tesla as a character automatically gains coolness points with me), went to Kitchener to visit with everyone there and see M&N's new house (which has the coolest attic space ever, it should never ever have furniture in it!), went to Aberfoyle and bought a bunch of zinc printing plates with insects on them (yeah, I know, but I like 'em), went to a friend's engagement party (which was really nice, go them!)

Oh, and I finally got to see a specialist. She had them take blood from me for 11 different tests and I still have to go into a clinic for an 8am bleeding *grin* to top it off, but I haven't been able to shift myself early enough...

Which brings us to November! I've been stuck in the office quite a bit this month - I've made it to Tavern of course, and saw some faces I haven't seen in a long time, and went on a fun photo safari with S over to the Brickworks, and my ex-roomie and his bf hosted a Guy Fawkes party that was quite cool - but of course I've come down with something again! This time it's been really nasty too, I'm just getting better now but I spent a whole week feeling like death. This past weekend I went to a very relaxed birthday party and made banoffee pie (mmmm!)

See? Now we're all caught up...

...or are we? See, I've been sort of seeing a friend of mine now for about a month, it's been nice. Not sure how serious it is yet, but I'm enjoying it, we have odd things in common and we like slouching together on the couch watching BBC stuff so it's all good.

Oh, and photos of the touring about with PK and EC can be found on my flickr page, link on the right-hand side there - those flying pix, see 'em?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Um... and the rest of the UK trip

Okay guys, I totally suck. Yep. I've been back for two months and still haven't finished blogging my vacation. And the whole point of the damned thing is that I could have done this while I was there!

Okay, anyway, quick recap of my last few days overseas:

Monday, September 4 - I took it generally easy, went for a walk into Sowerby Bridge (very very hilly, I should point out!) and then went into Halifax. Very pretty little town - bought books and walked through Woolshops lanes with a ham & cheese pasty, sat down and people watched for a while, then bought the coolest ever brown jeans - for £5! How cool is that? And after saying I didn't need anything else brown... I got a t-shirt and a bag in brown too, and a tote bag! After all that financial flooding, I found a Nero and sat with my book and a mocha, mmm... Then I was VERY bad and bought DVDs (Twin Peaks and Allo Allo) and Tigermilk on CD! But they were cheap, so it's not that bad. I even managed to get back to L&O's house on my own without getting lost, flaked out on the couch with my knitting and went to bed zzzz...

Tuesday, September 5 - I went to Leeds! Yep, got up early, took the train into Leeds, planned on meeting up with MT but we missed each other - but that was okay, I ended up wandering around downtown a bit, bought another DVD (My Kingdom) and snapped some pix and then got back on the train - but stopped in Bradford to go to the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, which was very cool! They even had a Dalek! By the time I got home I was so exhausted I thought I was going to pass out! Liza had gone into London while I was gone, so Ollie and I got pizzas and watched TV. Packed everything up and went to bed...

Wednesday, September 6 - Time to go home! Ollie dropped me at the train station in Halifax and I took the train into Manchester Airport. There the confusion started - the check-in desk told me I could take my purse and my backpack, so I checked my luggage and looked around the shops, then went to the security check area. Where they told me I could only bring one bag. So I had to go back to the check-in desk, where they put a sticker on my backpack and directed me to the luggage inspection counter - where I was told their machinery was broken and directed me to another inspection counter at the far end of the entryway. Where they told me theirs was also broken, and directed me down a hall, around a corner, through a room and down a flight of stairs to yet another inspection counter, where they took my bag. Okay, away I went! Got on the plane after milling around for a while, took off. Found that my headphone jack wasn't working, of course. Figures. Other than that though, the flight was nice, got home with no problems... and that was the end!

It took me weeks to get over not being there anymore - don't get me wrong, I love it here, I love Canada, but I had such a wonderful time! I want to go back!

And don't forget, there are pix from my entire vacation on my flickr page, see the link on the right-hand side of this page...

Okay, coming soon - an update on my life since then, I promise!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

UK Trip! Sun Sept 3/06

A trip to the Lake District!

It was quite a long drive, and at first I thought we'd end up in Penrith, which made me grin, but it was so worth it! The scenery is just gorgeous, green green fields and hills with stone walls going up and over and across everywhere, and twisty turny roads everywhere, smatterings of sheep, etc. It rained early, but it had cleared up by the time we got there - but that meant the grass was still wet, so I actually ended up slipping and landing on my butt really hard! First real injury of the trip, not bad!

But of course that meant I had a headache. And I later realized it had shook my stomach up quite a bit - and the twisty turny roads and hills didn't help, so we had to find a pub. Not the easiest thing in the middle of the Lakes, but we managed it after passing through two towns. Sat down, had some chips and a drink, and felt much better.

The drive back was nice too, we stopped a few times to take pictures of the heather on the hill and windmills and such, and got home around 6ish, and relaxed for the rest of the evening, what a great day!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

UK Trip! Sat Sept 2/06

Ah, Sowerby Bridge...

O had to get the car looked at in the morning, so he got up 8ish (on a Saturday, that's just nuts, surely) and took it in. They repaired it quite quickly actually, but then closed up the shop without calling him, so it took him quite a lot of tracking down to get someone to come and open the garage for him so he could get it again! Meanwhile, I slept in and missed the first half of the Rush Bearing Festival, which is something they do up here every year - a bunch of guys get together and drag a cart covered in rushes up and down and around all the twisty turny streets, replacing the rushes on the floors of all the area churches and stopping at every pub on the way.

L made me some breakfast (ooh, bacon & eggs, what a treat - no seriously, it is, I never eat that stuff!) and we relaxed until O came home around 2ish FINALLY with a car that wouldn't kill us, and then we were off to York, a longish drive in the rain, but pleasant.

We parked right beside York Castle - basically a short, squat cylinder - and started wandering the town. We got to the abbey eventually - where they LET YOU take pictures inside, see my Flickr page! - and got our tickets.

Before going around the cathedral itself, we decided to go down to the crypts - not long ago it was discovered that the whole place was in danger or imminent collapse, so they dug down around the foundations to attach these monstrously huge buttresses around the base of each wall with enormously long nut-and-bolt arrangements piercing through the walls, very cool - but while they were doing that, they unearthed all the old walls from the original Roman structures and stuff, so that was great. And of course, no photos allowed in the crypt. Damn. I mean, I could have snuck some photos, but you all know my guilt complex.

So we came back up and meandered around the interior of the church. Except for the lack of murals on the ceiling, it was just as impressive as St Paul's - AND I got to use my camera! I think I took about 150 or so shots just inside the cathedral. Can anyone tell me what's the deal with the headless chicks with the plates doing semaphore? We wanted to climb it too, would have been something like 200 steps, but they were closing soon-ish and we wouldn't have had a good view because of the rain, so we decided against it. So when we DID go outside, once they kicked us all out, of course the weather cleared immediately. Gah. But that's okay, we enjoyed it anyway.

Wandered the streets again for an hour or so, stopped at a café in a teeny little alley for lunch/dinner, got lost trying to find the castle, found it again, and drove back to Sowerby Bridge. Took some photos of the night view above Halifax, but it was really windy so they all turned out somewhat blurry. They still look good though!

When we got back we went to a couple of pubs - the first one was too tiny to move in, so we went to a second one, took quite some time to get something I'd want to drink (you all know I'm fussy) and then relaxed, very nice. Then a rapier dance troupe, complete with travelling musicians and an irish stepdancer, came in and shouted until we all stopped to watch, and they were pretty impressive actually so we all gave them money when the head of the troupe came around with a box on a stick. This never happens at home - if men come into a pub, shout, stomp on the floor and fling each other around, they don't get paid - they get bounced.

When we got home we watched a couple of DVDs and totally fell asleep to them *grin*. Ah, what a place...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

UK Trip! Fri Sept 1/06

Goodbye London! *sob*

I'd already told J* I'd take the train to Gatwick with her in the morning. I didn't want her to have to go all the way there by herself, but she kept telling me that it'd be too expensive for me to go out there only to come all the way back downtown, so she finally convinced me to just say goodbye at the station - which I did when the three of us left DK's in the morning. This left DK and I to go downtown together, and we parted ways rather swiftly when we got to Waterloo station, so I was then on my own.

L had told me that I should bring my luggage to her offices near Moorgate, so I hopped the Tube over there - and dragged my suitcase up fifty million steps until I thought I was going to pass out - and gave her a call, she came to meet me and walk me to her office, and I was off for my last day in London!

I went down to Soho and found an internet café to see if anyone was available to meet up, and I ended up with plans to meet EC for lunch, which was cool - we actually went to Fopp (where I bought a CD and a couple of books, gah) and then to a pub for a drink (where I had to settle two bets for a couple of guys, fun!) and we talked about his upcoming visit - that's right, he's coming to visit, he'll stay at the Bowlie Hotel (i.e., my house) for the week after Thanksgiving, how fun! Anyway, we had our hugs and then I wandered some more.

I ended up buying some touristy stuff and a DVD at Forbidden Planet before MMM called me and said he'd meet with me to wait for L to be done work, yay! I was, of course, about 15 minutes late to meet him (sorry!) which I HATE to do, but he was understanding. We got a couple of drinks and sat in a park chatting - and avoiding the eyes of a local freak of nature who was amusing himself fondling the local flora - before meeting L when she came out of her office with my suitcase. He came to the rail station with us too, and dragged my case up and down all those stairs, what a sweetheart (he's my new hero by the way, he should have a fluttery cape magic boots or something). We were a bit early for the train, so the three of us sat in a pub and had a drink, and talked about movies, and then L and I had to get on the train, so I hugged MMM and we boarded.

It was a long but scenic ride up to Leeds. L and I hadn't really had a chance to put our heads together and seriously talk for almost a year, so we spent the whole trip catching up, it was really nice. In Leeds we changed for Halifax (to a cruddier train, but oh well), and O met us at the station and drove us straight to a great restaurant so we could eat and relax. He's just as funny and sweet as I remembered him to be, and I relaxed around him quickly (good thing, as they had me for five days!) and we had a lovely time.

Then we went home, which is in Sowerby Bridge, just outside of Halifax proper. Tiny place from the outside, but very well planned inside - and their master bedroom, really, has to be seen to be believed, they've done fantastic things with that place!

I got settled in, checked messages and went to bed - long day!

There aren't too many photos from this day, but there are a few on my Flickr page...

UK Trip! Thurs Aug 31/06

Last day of August - last full day in London *sob*

We'd made plans to meet MMM for pastries before hooking up with SJ&ST, so we left DK's place nice and early to get some shopping in. Oh, we were bad in Next, I bought four - yes FOUR - tops, and J* and I ended up with one the same! Have I mentioned that we're always drawn to the same clothes?

We met MMM in Soho as planned and strolled over to Patisserie Valerie, went upstairs and chatted - Pah met up with us there, so we were four, and when we were done we all strolled along Carnaby Street and met up with SJ&ST for some more shopping (oh yes) - ooh, tall socks! Along the way we somehow lost Pah, but he knew where we were going later so we weren't too worried.

It started to get late, and I had made plans to meet a group of folks at Shakespeare's Head in Holborn, so we said our goodbyes and J* and I headed that way - and ran into our friend Waz on the way! He knew as well that we were going there and decided to meet us for an hour or so, how nice! And my very good friend L came too!

Of course, now here's the dilemma - the friends I'd made plans with (let's call them Group Tavern) were from a completely different circle then J* and Pah and Waz and L (and they'll be Group Bowlie), and I really didn't know that they'd all mesh, so what to do? Well, I'd seen J* for the whole trip, I'd seen Pah twice already this trip, and I was going to be spending five days with L up in Yorkshire after today, so it was easy really - meet with Group Tavern briefly, spend time with Group Bowlie until Waz had to be off (since I'd only met with him briefly at the All-Dayer), and then move back to the Group Tavern. Confusing? Well, only now that I'm writing it down *grin*

Anyway, that's what I did. Sat with Group Bowlie for an hour or so until Waz had to leave - got some nice chatting in with them all, but more with Waz since I knew our time was limited (and ooh, got a Gresham Flyers '45 from him!), and then when he had to leave I walked him out to say goodbye and then re-joined Group Tavern.

And before you ask, of course my guilt reflex was screaming over this. But what could I do? I told the others I was going to move back over there, and they should come join if they wanted to of course - and they did, sort of, they came over and hovered a wee bit, and then kind of regrouped around the corner from Group Tavern, but I could tell they didn't feel like they'd mesh, so I got up and chatted with them. L had to work in the morning, and J* wanted to have an earlier night than I knew I'd be having, so the two of them walked each other out to the Tube, and Pah left shortly after that.

So anyway, that left me in the hands of Group Tavern, who were all a lot of fun - I'd only met one of them before, when he was in Toronto a couple of weeks earlier (and of course I haven't blogged that at all, man this summer's been insane), and I'd been chatting with PK (who actually found a maple leaf under the table, how weird is that?) a bit and texting so we could meet up, but everyone else was completely new to me. What a fun bunch of people! We drank and caroused until quite late - R showed up later as well, which was really nice, I was hoping I'd get to see him again before I had to leave! I left there, somewhat reluctantly, at 11 (S walked me to the Tube, what a doll) and got the last train of the evening, getting back to DK's house quite late - he was still up, but going to bed soon so I just said goodnight and retired for the evening.

Some rather silly photos of this full day can be found on my Flickr page...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

UK Trip! Wed Aug 30/06

We're up to Wednesday!

J* and I learned our lesson from the previous day and got up much earlier so we could be in town quicker. We had decided this would be our day to hang out with personal friends while in London (as opposed to people we both knew) and give ourselves a break from each other. However, it turned out that J*'s friend couldn't come - cancelled at the last minute in fact, which was really annoying - so she and I went into London together to meet my friend R under Waterloo Bridge (where they were having a book sale, got a paperback copy of Mapp & Lucia, yay!) and the three of us decided to spend the day together.

First we went to the Tate Modern. Interesting. They have something at the entrance, 'living bridge' or something like that, which is supposed to make you feel like you're on a real bridge. Um, there's a real bridge right outside, why not do that? Anyway, we wandered around there for a while, then across the Millennium Bridge to St Paul's Cathedral. The view from the bridge is interesting, since there's scaffolding all over the side of St Paul's right now so they've put up a tarp with a picture of St Paul's on it. Hrm.

So yes, St Paul's Cathedral. They don't let you take pictures in there, which is very annoying as it was absolutely breathtaking. It's one thing to paint in proper dimensions/trompe l'oeil on a flat canvas that you'll view from one perspective, it's another thing entirely to paint on a curved ceiling that is viewed from all over and still achieve that realism, really awe-inspiring. We wandered and sat for a while, then we climbed. 540 steps. I'm so proud of myself for doing that! I only had to stop a couple of times on the way up for a little breather. There are three levels, one is inside and the other two are outside, so I took pix from the outside stops. Very nice view - about as good as we would have had from the London Eye, but more fulfilling.

Okay, from there we walked along High Holborn/New Oxford (I think), past the courts, towards the National Gallery and Nelson's Column, and then over to St James Park, through to Green Park past Buckingham Palace, did some shopping at the BBC Shop (ooh, three seasons of Alexei Sayle's Stuff!) then out to Picadilly... and by this time we were getting pretty hungry, so we found a nice restaurant to sit in and relax with a really nice meal.

After dinner we walked back towards Waterloo Station - J* was going to go back to DK's house to let R and I have some time together, bless her - she didn't have to do that of course, we were all having a fantastic day together. So, of course, I broke out in hives. Gah. Every time I'm having a day that just seems perfect, something like that has to happen. But it's okay, J*'s seen it happen enough times that it doesn't freak her out, and it turns out R gets hives too so he was very calm about everything. We got J* on the train, I went into the washroom to splash water on myself and cool off, and R and I went outside and sat on a bench by the Thames for an hour or so, chatting and relaxing until I had to go back. That was really nice.

When I got back I realized that I was feeling slimmer in the waist - I think all the walking made me lose weight!

And, of course, some pictures of this fabulous day can be found on my Flickr page...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

UK Trip! Tues Aug 29/06


Yep, our first day in London. We got up a bit late - we left DK's place much later than we wanted to, and we had to walk to the tube station (about 15-20 minutes walk) due to the rail strike of course. J* knew where we were going though, so no problems. We rode downtown and came up right under Big Ben, what a great way to enter London!

London is just gorgeous. There's loads of history, just lying all around, you trip over it as you walk. And there's lots of great places to eat - just to grab sandwiches and walk. Pret a Manger, that place was fantastic, and they're everywhere - damn, we need those here!

Anyway, we walked all over, along the Thames to Cleopatra's Needle, which was really great (yep, it's that love of old architecture thing again), then back through some gardens and along curvy windy streets (they all are here, btw), ducking in and out of stores and through Covent Gardens, did lots of shopping (a top & sweater, a Tardis keyring and a magnet for my coworker, yay!), met K&G for a drink, and then went back to DK's place to unwind a bit. And, of course, I was taking pictures the whole time *grin*

After we were rested up, the three of us went out to a Pizza Express. I don't understand that name, really. You'd think it'd be a quick take-out place, when really it was a very nice sit-down place. Not very express-y. But such good food! mmm, pesto... we sat there, taking in the yummy food and chatting about our lives, for a couple of hours, and then got a double-decker bus back home - J* and I were determined to get an earlier start the next day!

London was fantastic - I've put some of the better pix up on my Flickr page...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

UK Trip! Mon Aug 28/06

Hey, we're in Windsor!

We slept in a bit, not too bad of course, and everyone had their showers and stuff, and then we hung out for a bit listening to music. Out for lunch then, to an Italian place in town - I had banoffee pie, mmm! Why don't we have that here?!?

So anyway, YSR had to go meet a friend, so the rest of us went on a bit of a walk and then into Windsor Castle - oh, and lucky E, she got in for free 'cos she lives in Windsor! Why don't we get perks like that here? *grin*

The castle was quite beautiful but crowded - we went through the cathedral, around the outside and then inside and saw the dollhouse, but there were always lots and lots of people around. I think if there were less people around, and if we had got there earlier, we could have taken our time a little more. But it was still cool. Ah well, I'll just have to go back!

We met up with YSR again and went home, and decided that it would be better if we went into London that night rather than the next day, since the rail line we'd take was going to have a one-day strike the next day! So we packed everything up, rushed out, practically ran to the station and made it with five minutes to spare! Said goodbye, had our hugs, and then J* and I were off to London!

Our trip was something like an hour, not bad. The doors on the train had buttons for the doors, so if the door didn't open you needed to press the button. So when we got to our stop, we were all set, pressed the button... and the doors didn't open! Gah! The train started off for the next stop! I left J* by the door with the cases and ran down the train two cars to find a conductor and tell him what happened, and he was so nice and apologetic, he came up and put the key in the door to make sure the door opened for us at the next stop, and called ahead to let the train know we were coming across for it, we were so grateful for that!

So off the train we got, ran up the 30 or so steps, across and down again, and then onto the train that was about to leave the station! Not the easiest thing with a case that weighs probably 40 pounds! I was shaking so bad when we got on the train, J* was worried for me I'm sure, but the conductor there was really sweet too, he had got the call and made sure that he was there for us to get us to our station. 'We don't see many people with luggage at this station,' he said *grin* DK was waiting for us when we finally got to the station and we walked back to his place, not very far and a pleasant night.

DK actually gave us his bed and bunked out in the living room for our stay, which was really sweet, and I feel guilty about it, but he was very cool about the whole thing. The three of us sat and chatted about all the new things going on, and then I talked to PK on the phone, making plans for Thursday night, for a while (which was really nice but I totally felt guilty - you know, when you visit someone, you shouldn't be on the phone to someone else, right?) and then we went off to bed, ready for our first day in London!

I took lots of pictures in Windsor, and there are a few up on my Flickr page...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

UK Trip! Sun Aug 27/06

J* and I had lots of fun trying to get checked out of our B&B - we couldn't find our room key! We didn't want to leave our stuff in the room unlocked, but eventually we thought, well, we'll just bring our stuff down to breakfast with us.

Then I said, 'J*, did you lock the door lastnight after we got in?' She said yes - so this meant we couldn't even get OUT unless we found the key! We found it eventually, though, and went down for breakfast. Ate relatively quickly, came back up and got our stuff, and then met MS&R outside. On to London!

We did want to stop at a Caerphilly Castle on the way, can't remember what one it was, but MS said we might be really late to the All-Dayer if we did that - so we decided not to. I was sad for that though, because J* really wanted to see it, and I had got to see Tintern Abbey. But she seemed okay with it, if a bit disappointed.

Anyway, the drive was long and uneventful, we made a long-ish stop for food (which is why we couldn't stop at the castle), which MS really needed, as he'd been chauffeuring us around since we landed *grin*.

London - we got to London in good time, but there was an enormous fair or something going on so it took us 45 minutes to move about two miles, after which we zoomed over the north end of the core and down again, and parked and got to the club in good time - around 5ish, when it started at 4, not bad! J* is quite proud of my mapreading skills. This is, of course, because she was napping during the kerfuffle going into Swansea *grin*

So it was held at Buffalo Bar in the basement of The Famous Cock (yep) and we drifted in and out of it all night - went to a restaurant a few doors down for dinner with some of the Bowlies, hung out outside the pub chatting, went in and watched some of the bands and met more folk, it was all good. I met so many people I hadn't met before! I can't remember half of them, actually, there was just too much. I doled out more hugs too, which is always good.

Anyway, at the end of it all, MS&R were going to have to drive us all the way out to YSR&E's place in Windsor before they could go home to Brighton, but YSR&E figured out how to fit all their stuff in the trunk along with our cases (they're both in one of the bands - Gresham Flyers, folks, snap 'em up!) so MS&R got to leave early, and I gave them lots of hugs and wished them well on their upcoming marriage, 'cos we weren't gonna see them again for the rest of the trip, aaaw!

When it was time for us to go to Windsor, we all piled in and started driving. Seemingly in circles, as there were tons of people out and lots of cars on the road, and YSR was getting pretty stressed out - but once we finally got out of the core we had no trouble getting home. And once there, we basically collapsed. End of day.

There are a few photos on my Flickr page from Sunday, but not too many...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

UK Trip! Sat Aug 26/06

Saturday! Saturday was a good day. J* and I got up early and went down for breakfast, which I finished pretty quickly, so I went back up and had a shower while she was still downstairs - you know, since the shower stall was BESIDE MY BED so we didn't have any privacy - and then when she came up I went outside for a bit of a walk so she could have the room to herself. That was nice, there weren't many people about yet, so I wandered a wee bit and sat on a bench in town, writing in my book a bit and soaking in the air outside a student club. I was worrying though, that maybe J* wasn't going to get enough sleep on this trip - having to share a room with me wasn't something she'd had to do before, and I have chronic rhinitis so I turn into a mouthbreather at night (yep, I'm a mouthbreather, but don't hold it against me!). Ah well, if I was dead by the end of this trip, then we'd know *grin*

After J* was ready, we walked to W's place, as it really wasn't that far. We ended up walking right past the venue for the meetup without even realizing it - in fact, we stopped at a store RIGHT BESIDE IT so I could get water!

Okay, so we got to W's house, and we all went into the downtown area of Swansea and did a bit of shopping. I got a new pair of shoes and some fun undies at TK Maxx (the US/UK equivalent to Winners) and J* got the cutest ever shirt with flying v guitars all over it, and I managed to get a new memory card for my camera (yay!), and then we all piled on a bus and went to Mumbles.

Mumbles. Named after a couple of islands, that look a bit like breasts. "Mammelles", as the French say. Oh my.

Mumbles. Sure, that's how we spell it. But how do the Welsh spell it? Mwmbwls. That's right. Apparently that's okay, though, as 'w' is a vowel. Or something. Hrm.

Right. So we went to a lovely place called Verdi's, which had a great view of Swansea Bay, and had the most fabulous hazelnut ice cream ever, and a really good chicken sandwich with sundried tomato and pesto and mozzarella - and TOO MUCH CHICKEN in it, who'd have thought? We were met there by some more Bowlies in for the meetup, and eventually there were 16 of us sitting around a few tables on the patio, just chatting away and generally getting to know each other. We dispersed finally, so we could all get back to our respective bases of operations in anticipation of the evening's festivities.

The original gang of us went back to W's house, where a couple more who hadn't made it to Verdi's met us, and eventually J* and I had to shift ourselves so we could get food and get changed. Of course, we took forever to figure out what the hell we were going to eat - in the end, settling for some less than inspiring falafel - and walked back to the bed & breakfast, got changed and all prettified, and then went out to the club - Inferno.

It should be said here that I had some misgivings about the venue - as we ate our falafel, we sat across from the club, and the people going in the doors did not appear to be indie-type folks. In fact, they were all black-leather-jacket types. So when we finally got there, we were happy to go through the leather-clad crowds, past the pool table, down a hall, around a corner - and into our own room, with our own music and our own silliness!

The evening turned into a smashing success, with 20 of us in the end, and a few different deejays over the course of the evening, plus some leather-types who wandered in and asked if we had any Megadeath (!) before realizing we weren't going to be able to help them and wandering out again. I'd thought we might be leaving early, but we ended up closing the place down, yay! Had a drink, chatted and danced with people I'd never met or only just met that afternoon, including a fella who wasn't yet a Bowlie - but was by the next night!

J* and I walked back to the bed & breakfast with Pah, who was staying just down the road - we knew Pah already, he'd come to stay with me for a week the previous summer, and he's a nice fella, if a little odd. We got to bed, wearily, around 2ish.

And, yes, there are some pix of Swansea, Mwmbwls and Inferno, and new friends, on my Flickr page, with updates coming soon...

UK Trip! Fri Aug 25/06

Gather 'round, children, as I tell you the tale of Going To Wales.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...

So we got up relatively early, maybe around 8:30, and packed up our luggage into the rented car and set off. Now, there were three ladies in the car, so T knew he'd have to make plenty of stops along the way.

Our first stop was a washroom break when we'd barely left Brighton - at a golf course! R felt no shyness about going through the lobby of this posh and exclusive place to get to the washroom (go you!) so she did that while MS was turning the car around. This, of course, took way longer than R's washroom trip, as it seems that people who frequent posh golf courses don't know how to park properly, and left such tiny spaces between cars that MS had to do something like a 40-point turn to get us out again! Serves 'em right to have people only there for the washrooms!

We made a stop or two more on our way, availing ourselves of the roadside Marks & Sparks outlets at the petrol stations. And, oh my, they have some fabulous sandwiches! Oh, and chocolate desserts too, of the most decadent kind. Man, when we had M&S in Toronto, they sucked! Why can't they have been like this!

So anyway, when we got to Tintern Abbey we got out and stretched, and I took Plushtoy Cthulhu and my camera and stand and headed into the site. Good lord, it was fantastic. Sooooo old - built in the early 1100s, we just don't get that over here. Huge arches and pillars, leafy imbellishments... I could just feel the age oozing out of the stonework. I spent over an hour I think, just moving around the space and taking photos. Cthulhu got in on the act of course, MS helped me there *grin* I bought the guide book for the place and a few postcards, so pretty.

Fair warning, lads: I think my love of old, crumbly places might be turning into a fetish. I'm not kidding, if there'd been any cute, available boys there, they'd have been in SERIOUS trouble! The vibe there was just so amazing.

So okay, we left there, and went on to Swansea. R and J* managed to nap, so I was helping MS by navigating from the back seat - we were fine until we actually got into Swansea, at which point we went the wrong way THREE TIMES! However, we got to the Bed & Breakfast on Mansel Street eventually, MS dragged my suitcase up the stairs for me, and J* and I went into our room... which was TINY. And, because we needed an ensuite room, there was a shower stall, right there, beside my bed, and a teeny room behind my bed containing the toilet and sink! But really, I suppose that was the only way to organize it, right? Anyway, we dropped our stuff, freshened up a bit, and then went on to W's house. And went way past it again. That's what, four times we went the wrong way in the same town? *grin*

We finally found W's place - after calling him a couple of times (his directions included "turn right when you get to the incredibly hideous protestant church" or something like that), and were welcomed in like old friends, aw, bless. He and Mrs W made us a wonderful dinner of homemade lasagna and bread from scratch, and W didn't stop bounding around the whole time we were there - I think he was just so excited to have talked people into visiting Swansea! We chatted and listened to music and played with Baby W until late in the evening, while W planned his deejay set for the following evening's meetup, and then W drove J* and I back to the bed & breakfast (MS&R stayed at W's place while we were in town) around midnight . So a long, full day!

pix from Tintern Abbey and Swansea can be found on my Flickr page...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

UK Trip! Thurs Aug 24/06

Right. So where was I? Oh yeah, Gatwick airport. No photos though, it was pretty overcast. Too bad.

So we landed just fine, and got off the plane. The lineup for customs was enormous - but we got through it in about 45 minutes, and we had the nicest customs officer on the planet, seriously! Luggage showed up pretty quickly too, and then we were out to the public area, where MS was waiting for us - aw, MS, bless you! He rented a car for our stay with him and R, so of course he had a bit of trouble finding it in the parking lot, but it wasn't so bad.

The drive to Brighton was uneventful, relaxing even. We got to their place, went in for a little bit to settle down and put our luggage in the bedroom, then the four of us went downtown to have lunch at a pub, wander through the streets, the shops and the seaside!

Started my shopping of course - bought a fun new wallet, black with white skull & crossbones, with the reverse inside, with a chain on it, so I look well 'ard *grin*, and I also got a polo-ish shirt that looked fun. Horizontal stripes, might not be the best idea, but I like it anyway, too bad. Also got an emergency rain poncho to keep in my bag, as I didn't have anything like that - and this was England after all!

Then we walked down to the seaside and sat for a coffee break before wandering along and taking pictures and such. The West Pier is just the coolest thing ever - I have a great love of falling-apart places, and that's definitely a place that's falling apart! Age, fire, and a badly-piloted speedboat have all taken its toll on it, and it's now a hulking skeleton, just gorgeous. We walked between the West Pier and Brighton Pier, just ambling and taking it all in, and I stopped to buy some postcards and a magnet, which were just gorgeous. Brighton Pier is huge and gaudy, in a great shiny way, such a summer seaside kind of place!

Anyway, we wandered for a while, and then we got a cab home - the cabs are so cool! Really, they're huge inside! We need those here. We had pizza and ice cream on a stick (MS is a doll), and then MS asked if I had my cable for my camera - I'd taken about 120 pictures or so - and I said no. This was an assumption, which I should have checked. Anyway, he had a card reader, so he said I should pop my memory card in and we could transfer the pix onto his computer.

Popped out my 1G card from my camera and slid it into the card reader. A program started on the computer, to read the card, and it tells me there are a bunch of folders on it, but no photos! NOOOOO!

So I pop the card out again and put it in my camera... which tells me it can't read the card! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Panic set in, wobbly chin, the whole bit! MS came and did some online research, went through my camera book, and after an hour declared that the pictures were still on my card - but my camera wouldn't be able to use the card. If I had the cable, I'd be able to get the pix off. So off to my suitcase I went... to find that I had, indeed, brought my cable. Damn, if I'd only thought to look first, this wouldn't have happened! So the pix were still there, and we downloaded them with the cable - but this still left me with an unusable 1G card and only an emergency 64M card, which would be good for maybe 100-150 shots, for the whole two weeks! No way! I decided that, once we got to Swansea, I'd need a new card. Damn, it was going to be expensive too. Unwound with a some episodes of Coupling and went to bed, to rest up for our drive to Wales...

Oh, btw, pix from Brighton are up on my Flickr page...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

UK Trip! Wed Aug 23/06

Alright, it's been a month - I've been on my UK trip and back again, so I'm going to try to backtrack. I'll post about the cottage trip later I think.

So the day before I left on my trip, I was chatting with my Mum and she gave me some VERY bad news. My Dad has been diagnosed with throat cancer. They've caught it early, and he's going to need radiation treatment, but both of my parents are very positive and so is the doctor - 95% treatable he says - so I'm not supposed to worry. He feels just fine, it's just his voice sounds funny. They don't need me to come home or be there for anything.

That's not stopping me from worrying, of course. I was an utter wreck for hours after that. Mum was saying oh, I shouldn't have told you - EXCUSE ME, of course you should have! And no, waiting until I was back wouldn't have been good either! I was shakey and had sore eyes for a day or so afterwards, but I think I blocked it off in my mind, there's just been too many bad things lately, there's only so much I can take.

And also, a minor annoyance - when I woke up Tuesday morning, I had a sore throat. Fine timing. Gah.

So that was Tuesday night, the 22nd. The 23rd was the day I was going on my trip. Convinced by Mum that I wasn't needed at home, the trip was still on. Of course, I worked a full day that day - and half of it was taken up by training a freelancer who was coming in and making sure I had full instructions written out for her. I knew I couldn't stay late as I had to catch the airport shuttle right after work, so I did my best to get it all sorted - and surprised myself with how quickly I got everything together - and I and my suitcase were off.

Got down to the shuttle area, outside the Royal York, and no one was there to sell me a ticket. I had another ten minutes before the bus came though, so no worries. Other people were milling around, waiting as well. When the girl finally showed up to sell me a ticket, the bus hadn't shown up - and was about five minutes late - but no worries. Got my ticket. Stood around, with everyone else.

Noticed there seemed to be a lot of construction right on that corner.

Checked to see if there were any notices about a change of service, there was none. Waited a little longer, then asked the girl, 'the bus still stops here, right?'

'Oh no,' she said brightly, 'you need to go across the street, over there, beside the hot dog vendor.' GAH! I told her that maybe she should tell the other people waiting for the bus, and rushed over to the corner. Got a red light. Watched the bus come. Got a green light, rushed across the street... and watched the bus pull away.

No problem, I thought, I'm frustrated, but I was planning on being super early for my flight anyway. Of course, a couple of other people had to get a cab to the airport because of this, as they were now going to be late for their flights.

So I waited on the corner, along with a bunch of other people. Cabs pulled up and parked, illegally, right in front of us, blocking us from boarding any bus that might want to pick us up. We all glared at the cabbies and motioned for them to move, and they all ignored us. When the bus did finally arrive - fifteen minutes late on the new run - the driver had to make one of the cabbies back up so we could fit between the cars to get on the bus. But then we were off, and got there in good time.

Got to the airport, found J* waiting for me in line right away, went quickly through the queue and checked our luggage, and then went in to wait for our flight. The family ahead of us at the security check had their carry-on stuff emptied, and we saw the mother lose her mascara and stuff, but we got waved on just fine - and we both had our lip balms with us, yay! I had an empty water bottle too, so I filled it a couple of times from a water fountain. I warned J* that I had a sore throat, but the way she saw it, we were going to be sharing a bed for nine days so if she was gonna get sick nothing would stop it, so we didn't worry about it. I did have some mint Halls with me though, good thing.

We boarded fine. J* had booked us bulkhead seats, thinking we'd have better knee room, great idea! Except of course, a) we don't have better FOOT room, unfortunately, and 2) beside us, in the third seat, was a woman with a baby - the baby wasn't bad, but the FUCKING GREAT BASSINET they attached to the wall directly in front of us was! No standing for the entire flight. J* almost couldn't put her tray down for the dinner. And the steward-folk were almost non-existent. Seven hour flight, ONE TINY GLASS of water, for the whole thing. Thank god I had the Halls or I'd have died!

We managed to sleep for about four hours on the flight though, so we were somewhat awake when we landed at Gatwick. Yep, Gatwick, in a whole different country!!!

More to come...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Another absence

Right. So I went up to my friend's cottage in Killarney for five days, it was just wonderful - got back on Tuesday afternoon and I was getting ready to post all about it, when I got a call from my Mum.

My uncle Ronnie passed away on Monday.

I'm okay now I think, but at first I was in shock, and on Thursday I went to the viewing with my Mum and it all hit me. I couldn't stop crying - well, I'd almost stop, and then I'd start again, I was just a wreck. I didn't really know his family, so I met them all then (Mum's family is all in New Brunswick, so this was Lil and her kids and grandkids) and they were all really messed up over it, not surprisingly. He was just the best guy ever, everyone loved him so much. The funeral service was on Friday but I just couldn't do it - my brother Danny and his girlfriend met Mum for that. My eyes were still sore that day.

After the funeral they flew him back to New Brunswick, they're having a viewing today and the actual funeral tomorrow I think, he's going to be interned beside his father.

Ronnie is the baby of the family - he was not yet 55. He had a massive heart attack, but he was home alone when it happened. He and Lil were moving into a new place, and he had moved in first - she was at her son's place - so no one was there but him, and when they couldn't get a hold of him, they ended up calling the police to get in. The coroner said he went fast though, so there wouldn't have been much pain, and that's a blessing. He'd been taking good care of himself lately too, going for long walks every day and eating better, not drinking as much either, and he'd lost 35 pounds this year as a result. I'm so proud of him for all that.

Ronnie took me to see Tron for my birthday when it was out. Ronnie came to see me when I had tonsilitis. Ronnie danced and sang and caroused and called me My Love. Ronnie's favourite song was Only The Lonely. Ronnie gave my brothers Beatles 45s when they were little and probably caused them to become musicians. I hadn't seen him in probably three years, but it doesn't matter, it's like yesterday and I'll miss him terribly.

Ronnie LeBlanc 1951-2006

Friday, August 04, 2006

August already!

I can't believe it - it's already August! The heat the past couple of weeks has been terrible - worse yet is the summer cold I'm fighting off, which has left me with a sore throat, so I can't use the a/c in my room or it gets too dry, gah! At least today the heat has broken *phew*

This year's deck party has come and gone, and it was really nice - less people this year though, I think because the forecasters were calling for thunderstorms (we got a five minute sprinkle and a ten minute light shower all day, no problem!) but that was okay, I got to visit with everyone and sit and enjoy the day. Folks sat on the roof, drinks were had, food was nibbled, all good.

Tin BangsSo this week has been crazy. I'm going to T's cottage tomorrow, so I've had to make sure all kinds of stuff was done in advance of my going, which has made for a hectic schedule! But I got to relax - lastnight I went with A and C to see The Editors at the Opera House!

The openers were a local band, Tin Bangs. They weren't terrible, they weren't even bad, but they didn't do much for me. They fell into the 'if I play it louder it'll sound better' trap. Really, they just reminded me of my brothers playing really loudly in the basement before they knew what they were doing.

Lake TroutSecond opening band - Lake Trout. These guys were actually quite good, and I'd buy a cd. The one guitarist totally had what we like to call the 'Shawn Shimmy' (if you knew, you'd know). Much better than the first band.

The EditorsAnd the main event - The Editors. Man, what an excellent show. Great energy, great sound, the singer seems to have Joe Cocker trapped in his body (he thrashed around a LOT), played all the great tunes. It was SO HOT lastnight, but I couldn't stop myself from dancing all over to them! I'm so glad I got talked into this show!

And then on to Tavern night tonight, which oddly turned into an 80s songfest *grin* My visit to Sonic Boom was relatively short too, since I've been a bit poor lately, so I came away with Japan (Souvenir From Japan), Florent Pagny (Bienvenue Chez Moi) and Sondre Lerche (...and the Faces Down Quartet: Duper Sessions), small haul but quality!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Okay, I've been absent...

...but I have several good reasons.

One: I have been stupid busy at work. Seriously. It's been insane. I've been physically and mentally exhausted for the past two weeks. I made it to a birthday party on the 15th, which was a lot of fun, but I was really tired there even. I was supposed to go to a friend's house for his housewarming last weekend and I couldn't make it, I just had to stay here. Which is just as well, as...

Two: I've been sick. Yep, Sunday night I had an insane fever and shook all over, so weak and bleary and numb. It's settled down into a summer cold now (today I'm at the coughing a lot phase) but it's been an uphill climb. I even had to come home from work on Monday. To be honest, if it wasn't for the proposal we were finishing up, I never would have gone in that day. Which means I had to postpone my dental appointment, do you have any idea how long it takes to get in to see that guy? Oh, and...

Three: I've been distracted. I've made a new friend just recently, and I feel like I've known him for years and years, and in between preparing for the party on Saturday and chatting/e-mailing with him at all hours, I haven't had much time to even think about posting.

I'm sorry. Can I make it up to you? Here, have a muffin...

Okay, so what have we missed?

I bought some new DVDs when I visited my folks (a few Dick Van Dyke episodes, a double disc of Gothic (cool) and Chiller (an unknown element), Yellowbeard ("us pirates are never more dangerous than when we're dead!") and the third and final season of Titus), went to see Superman Returns with my Dad (I dunno, I liked it, but I know a lot of people who didn't - it picked up right where the second movie left off, I think the new guy did a good job filling Christoper Reeve's boots, and I love Kevin Spacey no matter what, so there), went to Bingo with him and lost, of course.

My Dad went in for surgery to fix his double hernia, and he's recovering nicely now - he's not allowed to pick up basically anything for another month or so, an I'm sure this is driving him absolutely bananas *grin*. The same day as his surgery, I went to the pub again with the gang and got to meet, albeit briefly, one of the authors from the new series, Rob Shearman. Very nice guy (not sure why I was so surprised by that), he looked a little overwhelmed by all the young fans crowding around him.

My ex-roomie's boyfriend has finally arrived! He's here for a year, so I'll get to see him lots, yay! He gave me a DVD box-set of The Pink Panther movies, what a sweetheart. The three of us sat on the deck and drank alcoholic milkshakes, mmm - summer's definitely here!

Okay, what else? Oh yeah, I've seen a few movies too - An Inconvenient Truth (very cool), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (ooh, Johnny Depp in eyeliner *grin*) and an advance screening of Young Triffie's Been Made Away With, which was also quite good - Newfoundland, 1947, murder and mayhem...

And I'm changing the quote at the bottom of the page, so here is the one it's replacing - an observation by Danny (Ralph Brown) in Withnail & I - just for posterity:

I don't advise a haircut, man. All hairdressers are in the employment of the government. Hairs are your aerials. They pick up signals from the cosmos, and transmit them directly into the brain. This is the reason bald-headed men are uptight.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Premature obituary

Because I can't be arsed to make a proper post today...

'What will your obituary say?' at

Thanks Tim's sweetie!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Publiness is next to something...

My monthly Sonic Boom/Pub trip was, once again, a success.

An hour at Sonic Boom rewarded me with (not one but) two Dead Can Dance CDs that I didn't already have, Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Ultra Lounge Cocktail Capers and Postal Service's Such Great Heights EP. Pretty sweet.

Then on to the pub. This also was good, lots of chatting, a couple of drinks - and I've discovered a way to not have to pay almost $9 for every drink, so I may be able to have more than one per month, woo hoo! My waitron rocks. Hmm. The bartender is still cute though, but I don't want to spend that much money just to interact with him *grin*, I think perhaps I'll buy my shot from him and get my mix from our waitron in future, best of both worlds!

Oh, and I forgot to mention, T and I went to see The Devil Wears Prada - it was a tossup between something intelligent and something fluffy, and I wanted fluffy that night. No deep truths here, but it was a lot of fun, Stanley Tucci stole every scene he was in, and Merryl Streep is EVIL.

My ribs hurt. I'm going to bed.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Canada Day!

Well, it's the day after Canada Day really.

Lastnight some friends came in and we all went down to the Harbourfront, had dinner (with a really good drink!) and bore the brunt of the schizophrenic weather *grin*


We got to see Jason Collett and also The Dears playing, very good! We were there for The Dears, but I was more impressed with Collett's performance - I may have to get his new album.

Today I have spent inside the house, puttering around...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Crazy-ass June

It's been a long time since I've posted. I've put a few things in draft, I might put them up live or not, we'll have to see.

June has been a crazy month. Visited my parents one weekend, visited Kitchener two weekends in a row, my friend's wife passed away, my neighbours had a baby, my godson turned one year old, I bought a bunch of 'previously viewed' DVDs (War of the Worlds, A History of Violence and something with Jean Reno), went nuts on Nick Bantock stuff, moved my storage cabinet, reconnected my stereo system - and through all this I still haven't been able to take out the garbage. *sigh*

Things are finally slowing down a little bit now.


Lastnight T and I went to see The Lake House. This was actually a pretty good movie, less schmaltzy than I expected, less a 'chick flick' than T expected. I would have ended it on the sad note they were aiming towards rather than making it a happy ending. Apparently this is a re-make of a Korean film. All I can say is, whoever wrote it, they had been reading Griffin & Sabine.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Olha Brown

I went to University with this guy named Colin. Real nice guy, always laughing and positive, the kind of person that makes you happy just to be around.

After we all left school, he met this really sweet girl named Olha, who was a perfect match for him - sweet, loving, open - and together they were just amazing. We were all so happy to see them together.

I went to their wedding a few years ago, which was an outrageous affair - cerermony at an elaborate church with gold and bright colours everywhere, reception filled to the gills with the best man having a shot with everyone who came in the door.

Olha's been in the hospital for a few weeks, suffering from pancreatitis. This morning she had complications, needed emergency surgery, and didn't make it.

I have to admit, I never knew Olha very well since I didn't see her and Colin much in the past few years, but she's always felt like a dear friend from the moment we met. My heart is breaking for Colin right now, I can't imagine how he's going to deal with this loss.

And also it makes me feel very odd, considering that I've just been to a funeral.

Anyway, I expect there will be a service this weekend, I know a lot of people will be there. I hope it's somewhere that will let me get to it okay, I want to be there too.

*rescued from draft limbo*

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

When you've got to go...

Well, today I had a pelvic ultrasound. I haven't had one since I was 18, when all this silliness began. And I remembered the drill, and it is the same drill - drink a very large amount of clear liquid, have it all drunk by one hour before the ultrasound, and don't let it out.


I borrowed a metropass from one of the girls at the office, as I wasn't going to walk for 20 minutes with a full bladder - what were they doing in the subway when I got down there, you ask? HOSING OFF THE RAILS. Damn, it was miserable.

I got to the clinic and checked in, ten minutes early, and sat down with my book. I had to go when my appointment came around, but I persevered. An hour later, I was in actual agony - I still persevered, thinking how lucky I was to at least be sitting! When they finally called me into the changeroom it was almost an hour and a half past my appointment time. I could hear the nurses arguing, one of them telling the other one "I don't care, you can't take walk-ins like that, there are people here waiting" - damn straight there are!

So the lady gave me the ultrasound (do you know what it's like to have to go so bad, and have someone put goo all over your belly and push? Gah...), then said I could go use the washroom - which seemed to be in another time zone - and then I had an internal ultrasound. I hadn't had that before, and I wish I'd been told it was coming! I mean, not that I would have done anything different or anything, a girl just likes to mentally prepare for something like that.

In the end? Well, I went back to work - they're not allowed to tell you your results.


Oh, did I mention I saw my folks last weekend? Yep, and they're good. Watched The Shining, had a rousing game of Canasta Caliente, visited my friend M and watched Mirrormask and Aeon Flux. Good visit.

*rescued from draft limbo*

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What's my job?

I am a helpful person, at least I try to be. I think this will eventually be my undoing, as everyone seems to have noticed. So, just an announcement:

I am a Desktop Publisher.

I am not the Help Desk.

I am also not Communications.

Nor am I the Copy Centre.

Please keep this in mind.

That is all.

**saved as draft while Blogger was down**

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Today was my Aunt Shirley's funeral.

I took the day off to be with my Dad. He came into town early in the morning, had a nap at my house while I went to see my doctor (for what, as it turns out, wasn't my annual physical but just a follow-up), and then we both went to my Aunt Patsy's to meet up with some of the family. From there we went to the funeral home (Scarborough) and then out to the gravesite (Markham) and then back to Patsy's for a family gathering of sorts. Everyone held together pretty well I think, Patsy had a bit of a weep at the cemetary, but that's to be expected.

I have mixed feelings about today. A lot of the people at the funeral, well, I just didn't know them - didn't recognize most of them.

My family, both sides, are from New Brunswick - some time in the 60s Shirley made the move to Toronto, and as the family came to visit, they all realized they wanted to live here too, so eventually everyone lived here in Toronto. But when I was two we moved out to Burlington - not very far really, but it meant that we never had the whole hanging out with family thing.

I've met my various cousins before but really I only truly remember Wilma's kids as they were the ones we'd come into town to see usually.

Anyway, at the funeral and at Patsy's later on, I felt like quite an outsider. I was comfortable chatting with my Dad of course, and my grandmother, and Wilma, and I was okay with my other aunts who were there and Patsy's husband and Wilma's and Patsy's kids, but I felt like I had no common ground with them at all. It makes me sad, by moving out of Toronto I lost a connection that I'll probably never get back. I don't think it was a bad decision to move, I just wonder what life would be like if we hadn't.

To be honest, though, some of the people there were, let's face it, people I'd never have any social connection to beyond blood relation, but some I think I'd like to connect closer with.

Shirley Murray 1936-2006

**saved as draft while Blogger was down**

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Well, I'm claiming success on my outing - lastnight I came home with the Philips DVP642. I hooked it up this afternoon. Popped in a disc with DivX stuff on it. Finally got to see DivX on my TV. Yay! Haven't tested out its PAL vs NTSC abilities yet, that will come soon.

But on top of the purchase, I also went with T to see Silent Hill. Verdict? Creepifying. Great atmosphere. Somewhat confusing at times, but that's okay - it is from a video game after all. My ex-roomie used to play it and I'd watch, it was just like watching a horror movie so this was bound to happen I suppose. It seemed a bit rushed. Good effects. Had the pilot from Pitch Black in it, and Sean Bean too, although his role was somewhat small, and also that guy Kim Coates who's in everything ever, for once playing someone not villainous. Oh, and Borg Queen chick too. Anyway, the movie was interesting, creepy, lots of 'what the hell is going on' moments. I read on a site just now the description "the best Clive Barker film that Clive Barker had nothing to do with" - won't be buying it, but it was worth the admission.