Saturday, December 25, 2010

Yeah, I Be Jumpin' On Santa's Sleigh, too!

A Bahamian Christmas Carol
(sung to the tune of "Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire")

Tourists roasting on the ocean's beach,
White sands warming up their toes,
Surfside drinks are always in reach
Dissolving all of their thoughts of snow.

Everybody knows pineapple juice and some coconut,
With some rum makes a tasty island brew.
There will be parties here and some over there, but
Don’t forget to visit Junkanoo.

But wherever you may find yourself on this day,
Be it in temps from 80 to -42,
Its been said many times and in many ways,
A very Merry Christmas to you.


However and wherever you celebrate,

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It Reach!

Well, I actually stayed awake to witness the totality of the lunar eclipse last night (this morning).  This was not an easy task for me.   I got very little sleep afterwards and I am now practically fighting the Sirens of slumber.  Having said that, I apologize, in advance, for the length of this post.

There is something mystical about a full moon:  some say it's romantic, others say it brings out the craziness in people.  Wolves, coyotes and dogs are known to howl at the moon.

And, with it being eclipsed last night, I can certainly say it brought out my 'crazies'.  In the hope I could capture a video of the event to show all of you who were under cloudy skies, I decided to stay awake and set my laptop outside, pointing skywards, to record the event.

I also grabbed my camera to take a few stills however I do not have a tripod and I knew the pics wouldn't be great, but I took some anyway.  With the laptop recording, I snapped a few shots and, suddenly, the camera's battery was about to die.  This was about 2:15 a.m EST.  I grabbed my extra battery and plugged it in hoping to charge it up enough to catch a shot or two of the total eclipse that was supposed to occur around 2:45 a.m.

Since the moon was so high in the sky and, in order to steady the camera, I had to lie (lay? - I still can't get that one right) down on the bench that surrounds the pool.

Click, click, click.  Battery dies.  It's 2:40 a.m.  I run into the house to grab the other battery and head back outside.  Apparently my dogs - four in all - heard me in the backyard and came running.  I didn't have time to click another photo since all of them were mugging me, whining and wondering why I was still awake and lying on my back outside, in the cold.

I quickly secured my laptop from becoming the latest of dog toys and headed back into the house with the mutts in tow.  I tried to go back and grab a few more photos but Chase (my youngest dog) was stuck to my ass like Velcro (also one of her nicknames) and I knew that there was no way I was going to be able to lie (lay?) down and take any more shots.

Wait.  It gets worse.

After pouring myself a nightcap, I sit down to take a quick look at the video.  Suddenly, I hear a key turn the lock in our front door.  WTF?  It's just after 3 a.m.  In walks Josie, our Haitian gardener who works for us on Sundays.  Josie is also a loyal and dear friend.  Since my stepfather passed and we are two "vite vimen living alone", he looks in on us almost every morning - usually at around 6 a.m. - starts the coffee and takes the trash out to the curb on collection days.

I ask why he is here at 3 a.m. and he said it isn't 3.a.m. (we argue a lot, by the way).  I assured him that it was.  He checked his cell phone.  Oh, no! he groans and then laughs at himself.  He thought it was 5 a.m.  It was pointless to drive him home at that time of day/night and since it was rather chilly and he'd only have to start walking back as soon as I dropped him off, I stuck him in my car to catch a couple of hours of sleep and, of course, to keep warm.  It would appear that the time on his clock at home was incorrectly set.

So, back to the laptop I go.  By this time I was sooooo tired, all I wanted was to go to sleep.  When I went to turn off my computer, it asked me to save the video.  Fine.  As I am changing the folder location for the file, the video disappears!  There it is - gone!


So, as not to disappoint, here are a few of the 'best' pics I got with my camera, sans nose prints from my dogs.  They are not great, but hey, I gave it a shot.


The ghost reflections from the lens gives them a bit of an omnious appearance.
The bottom left shot was taken just before the total eclipse (when my battery died).

Murphy leaves on Thursday.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"There is no dark side of the moon really.

Matter of fact it's all dark."
- Pink Floyd

In case you have nothing better to do before Christmas (yeah, right), there is going to be an eclipse of the moon Monday evening or Tuesday morning (depending on your time zone).  The good news is that it's going to be a total eclipse.  The bad news, at least for us Easterners, is that the totality doesn't occur until about 2:45 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Even though I would like to, I doubt that I will be camping out with beer and popcorn waiting to witness this rare sight - my 'pumpkin time' rarely lasts beyond midnight.  I've only seen one total eclipse many moons ago while camping in Algonquin Park and it was quite awesome to watch the shadow slowly pass over the orb.  The colour is as equally striking.

If anyone - and/or your kids - hasn't seen an eclipse, it's worth the look.  Who knows, you might just see Santa testing out his new GPS.

For more information on this upcoming extraterrestrial event,
you can visit here for a related article.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This Just In ... Just Closer to Home

I mentioned somewhere awhile back that a friend was visiting from Canada. He not only brought my coveted Caramilk bars, he also brought me the nastiest cold I've had in years. The cold is gone but I still have one chocolate bar left, so I really can't hold catching the virus against him.

This friend, who I will call Murphy (not his real name, but it ought to be), has the most unfortunate luck. Years ago on a straight stretch of highway that was void of any vehicles, animals, ice, snow or other obstacles whatsoever, he rolled his car. (WTF??)

When he travels by plane, he's the one guy security always pulls over to the side for the 'frisk' - this was happening long before the current security procedures were in place.

Then Murphy extended his vacation here by two weeks which put him about eight days over his visitor's visa limit. I explained that immigration is not in the habit of kicking tourists off of the island for staying longer than permitted but, nooooooo, he got paranoid (he's like that) and had me take him to immigration so that he could inform them. He filled out the required forms and, after an hour or so of waiting, they told him it wasn't necessary. I swear I heard snickering as we left the immigration office.

If shit is going to happen it'll probably happen to him, which brings me to my story - just another one of Murphy's adventures - or should I say 'misadventures' (damn, I hope he keeps a diary).

Murphy has a small condo unit here that is within a complex which is part condominiums and part hotel. The management has keys to all of the units in case of emergencies.

I get an e-mail from his mom a couple of days ago. Call Murphy. He's got a funny story to tell you, she says.

Murphy is, basically, the only visitor to the condo who smokes and, in consideration of the family members that don't smoke and who are coming down in January, he's strictly been lighting up on the balcony. He's been here for one month.

Did I mention that it got rather chilly down here about a week ago??

So Murphy goes out on the balcony for his morning smoke the other day. He closes the sliding glass door to keep the cold air from invading the apartment. In doing so, the security pole (broomstick) for the door falls into the track on the inside of the unit, barring him from opening the door more than three or four inches.

He's stuck out on the balcony.

He calls out for help, but there isn't another soul in sight.

Having no other available options and the fact that he is wearing no shoes and only a t-shirt (I didn't ask about his pants - I was laughing too hard), Murphy drops from the second floor balcony to the ground and runs around to the entrance of the complex if not to get help but, at the very least, to get warm.

Now, one would think that re-entering the apartment would be as easy as asking for the keys from the management office. Two locks, two keys. Simple, right?? But, nooooooo, Murphy - in his infinite wisdom - decided to latch the un-keyed dead bolt on the inside of the unit before he went to bed the night before and, since he hadn't yet left the apartment that day, it was still latched.

I did say before that he was able to open the sliding glass door about three or four inches. Well, as Murphy's dumb luck would have it, Chuck the security guard (his real name is Charles - really) and the gardener, Miguel (pronounced "Migwell" - really, I don't make this stuff up) had a ladder and, of all things, a pitchfork, respectively.

Murphy climbed back onto the balcony with the pitchfork and was able to 'MacGyver' the security pole out from the inside of the track to regain access to his apartment.

I picked up Murphy yesterday to take him shopping.  Before he got downstairs, I stopped by the security office to thank Chuck for his help. Chuck was on the phone at the time but, as soon as he saw me, he busted out laughing.  I mouthed a "thank-you" and headed out to the car.

Murphy leaves on the 23rd of December.  He was expecting his nephew to pick him up at the airport but, apparently, that isn't going to happen.  Murphy lives near London, Ontario. London lives, geographically, in a snowbelt.  His plane arrives in Toronto.  For those of you who are not familiar with the distance between these cities, this is a four hour drive on a good day.  It will be December 23rd.

Need I say more?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

This Just In ...

I used to live in a small hamlet north of Trenton, Ontario.  Trenton is not a very large city but it does have its own newspaper.  Like most  publications these days, you are able to find the web based version of the news and I pop in now and again to see what's happening there.

Recently I found the following article - more precisely it just one part of the Trentonian's 'Police Briefs' feature - and I wasn't exactly sure what to do with it.

Deb over at Debbie Does Drivel posts "Clippings From the Fridge", her weekly Monday blurb of odd and bizarre news.  And then there's Frank Lee MeiDere's feature on "Why We Need Editors" in his sidebar (even at my age, I still learn from Frank - he's a teacher, after all).

What surprises me more is that, if one is going to publish web-based news, the content of same should be considered but, at the least, reviewed ("edited") before it is posted.

So, instead of sending it to Deb or Frank, I decided to post it here "verbatim", as it were:

By Trentonian staff

Posted [December 6, 2010]

Unlawfully in a dwelling

A 38-year-old Quinte West man is facing a handful of charges after an incident on Whites Road.

Quinte West OPP report, in a release, officers were dispatched to a residence where a man was allegedly attempting to enter the house with intent to impersonate a male. The homeowner called 911 but the suspect was gone when officers arrived.

The suspect was later located in his vehicle on Highway 401 and arrested and charged with break and enter, three counts of assault, uttering threats and failing to comply with probation.

The man is being held for a bail hearing.

Really.  What was he thinking?

The article could qualify for either of the sites previously mentioned,  but I really hope all of the men I meet are actually males.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Bloggerhood of the Traveling Book Tour

The tale of the Bloggerhood of The Traveling Book (in case none of you are familiar with it), more or less goes as follows:

Unfinished Person (aka Unfinished Rambler or, “UP/UR” for short - he really needs to pick one name or stay on his meds, or something), sent the “Book” to Quirkyloon who forwarded it to Boom Boom Larew (aka Cat Lady Larew – again with the names?) who posted it to nonamedufus and then, finally (via conch-mail) it reach me.

And so the torch has been passed.

The “Book” to which I refer is The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. It’s the second book of the Millennium Series – a trilogy about the trials and tribulations of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist (aka “Kalle f*cking Blomkvist” - really? What’s up with the names already?? Oy!)

So, at the suggestion our resident schizophrenic (that would be UP/UR’s suggestion), we came up with the brilliant idea for each of us to write our own review of the book in question. Hence, the Bloggerhood of the Traveling Book Tour was born. In succession, the reviews are as follows:

Quirkyloon - Tuesday
Boom Boom Larew - Wednesday
nonamedufus - Thursday
00dozo - Friday (you are here)

Egad! It is now my turn to hand in my review. I wasn’t sure what to write. Having read the previous reviews of my predecessors (who have each done a fantastic job), I felt a bit daunted by this task. So, here it is:

The Girl Who Played With Fire
by Stieg Larsson

What can I say about Lisbeth Salander that hasn’t already been said. She is a definitely unique heroine but not so much of a heroine in the true sense of the word. She does not seek out those in need of help but, as a victim of great injustices herself, Lisbeth’s own twisted set of morals dictates who, why and how someone must suffer her unique methods of punishment, whether or not she likes or even knows the victim. This is a woman into whose cornflakes you do not piss.

Ah, Blomkvist – again, what can I say? He’s not a womanizer, but a charmer of women. His character offsets the theme of abuse and degradation of women by the other male characters in this story. He is humble and honest but a very determined journalist – a man into whose coffee you do not put milk if it is supposed to be espresso. Although, from his description (and despite his carnal tendencies), I wouldn’t kick him out the bed for eating kex*.

The book itself is full of it: intrigue, corruption, violence, many surprises, characters you love to hate, characters you hate to love, a lot of coffee and sandwiches, among other things. It even has some ‘naughty bits’.

Since no one has mentioned it, this book (as well as all three in the Millennium Series) has been translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland and I think he is worthy of a special shout-out. (“Hey Reg! How’s it hangin’?) They are wonderfully translated and very easy to read.

The trilogy consists of:

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl Who Played With Fire
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornest’s Nest

If you haven’t already, please visit the other reviews for their take on the book and a bit of additional information of the Millennium Series.

I hope that Reffie, the latest recipient of this book, will proffer her own review. If not, it’s always open for the next reader.

*kex: crackers

(Post publishing edit:  I forgot to provide a link to Reffie's blog - it's there now (sorry Reffie!))

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Girl Who Played With The Menorah (Fire is Involved)

Yeah, I know.  I'm not supposed to post my review until Friday - but I'm not posting my review yet.

Today is the first day of Hanukkah or, "The Festival of Lights" and in honour of my late step father (a.k.a. "Satan"), I dusted off the ol' Menorah to light the first candle of this holiday season.  Neither me or my mother is Jewish, nor are we otherwise religious, but we do and honour the rights of those who have passed.

Now, they make candles specifically for this holiday.  In fact, I think, they are also "kosher" (I'm not completely sure on this - I'll have to check the box).  The only problem is that the makers of these candles never thought to consult with the manufacturers of Menorahs - or vice versa, for that matter.   We've never had a Menorah that could properly accommodate these candles.  So on the eighth day, our Menorah generally ends up looking like this (except mine are usually broken somewhere in the middle):

I've seen many other magnificent candelabras for this holiday, but none that actually shows the use of these cursed fire sticks. The more 'perfect' sticks are usually of the tapered type (dinner candles), or even electric.  Maybe we should enlist the skills of ...

(Oh, look!  He's even wearing a yamekah!)

Seriously, it isn't about the malformed fancy Menorahs, nor the badly designed perfect candles.  It's about the human need, nay, the instinct, to persevere.  To say that I can (and probably will) burn my fingers for the next seven days should be celebration enough.  I'm sure I won't be the only one.

I respect all life.  I respect all religions.

Happy Hanukkah!