Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I want a cool car

Amber and I went and saw The Green Hornet last night.  It was great, once again my ability to choose awesome movies to see in theater comes through with a winner.  It was hilarious and action packed.  It also featured a very cool car, Black Beauty.
A little bit boxy but just plain awesome when it came to the outfitting, the black and chrome with green highlights really made the car pop on screen.  Seeing cars like this just makes me lament all the more the sub-par cars I have owned, especially when you consider my beginning.

The first car I remember riding in was this:
That's not a picture of my dad's car exactly, but it's the same car. In the picture is an '83 Camero, if we owned an 83 then my dad bought it new, but that's the design.  Tres cool n'est pas?  I know that my dad also owned a Thunderbird and a Firebird at various points as well.

During my teenage years when cars of course became cool to me we owned this abomination:

A Pontiac Parisienne, ours was baby blue though.  It even ran on propane instead of regular gas.  It was such a crappy car my dad never even bothered to lock it when we parked it somewhere.  No one was going to bother stealing from a car like that.  To be fair we did own a Saturn during my later teen years as well as a succession of different trucks that were simply utilitarian.

I look back and wonder how I missed out on all that owning a cool car-ness.  My current car is neat, but we'll get to that.  My first car was cheap and short lived, though I did put a lot of Kilometers on it during the short time I had it.  It was cool that I had my own car, but my car was far from cool!
A Sunbird wagon, I don't think I even have a picture of my own first car, maybe because I figured that it was kind of a false start.  Like actually everyone owns a crappy car to start with because they need it to work, and then they use that money to buy their "real" first car.  Mine was dark blue, and I don't think the front end looked quite the same.  The complete lack of pictures of '89 Sunbird Wagons on the Internet says to me that very few people were proud to own this car.

My particular Sunbird was ten years old when I bought it, it drove about 4000 Kms for me, and then died in a plume of smoke and a dashboard full of flashing lights, at least it died in a memorable way.  Not bad for $600 though I will say that.

My 'real' first car, meaning my own insurance policy, my name on the ownership, I went and bought it myself and all that junk wouldn't come for about five years after the purchase of that Sunbird (though I did drive a Ford Taurus Wagon between the two cars).  I got a job fixing computers, and selling them and whatever else as well.  It was a traveling around town job and during the interview I admitted that my only transportation was a bike.  I must have made a good impression otherwise because I got hired and during the week in between my interview and start date I did the leg work on finding a car.  Day two on the job I left early to pick up my car.

 And this is it.  Back when the height of affordable digital photography was like 2 mega-pixels.  My 2000 Saturn Wagon (see a pattern here yet?)  It was a good, functional car especially for my job, I could put printers in the back, four or five computers, tube monitors et cetera.  I did like the plastic body on it, but the colour was kinda lame.

Eventually  the transmission went and I traded it in just in time before it died to get my second Saturn branded vehicle.

Finally a car that's not a wagon, except that really it was a wagon, just a bit bigger.  This is a car that I chose because it fit two things though, I liked the style of it and I liked the colour.  On a sporty car the orange would have been even better, but with a family at the time this car seemed like a very logical choice.  Logical, but not cool.  Funny thing is this car succumbed to the same fate as it's predecessor, transmission failure, which I learned when trying to be rid of it was a common problem in this year of Vue.

The car I have now is pretty cool, except for the colour.

My current car, a Sebring.  I like this car.  Buying a car this time around I had a limited budget and the choice was actually between two Sebrings when it came down to it.  This one was four years newer, the other had way cooler rims and a whale tale.  I nearly died when I had to pick this one.  Once again my desire to have a cool car was shot down, not by anyone else, just by practicality.

I have told Amber on many occasions that my next car will be  'the Batmobile'.  Clearly I do not mean this literally, any of the Batmobiles featured in the movies or on TV would be ridiculously impractical for anyone to use as a day to day car.  I do mean however that it will be a car that looks awesome, has all the bells and whistles and is black and mean looking.

 This car with some red highlights will be my next car.  Because..  well because it's cool, and I think it's about time I owned a cool car.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


As many of your are now aware if you have looked at my vacation pictures on Facebook, I have a tattoo.  This is not a decision I made lightly.  I hear from so many people how they got their tattoos on a dare or because they were drunk or whatever.  To me, that is ridiculous!  It's a permanent mark on your body.  I generally feel the same way about piercings, even though they do fill in.

I've been asked about my tattoo by several people, what's it mean and why did I get it and so on.  I guess a visual aid would help just in case you have not seen it.

I got this:

And I got it here:

On my left shoulder.

The keen observer will notice that is it the same as the logo for the blog and also very similar to the painting I hung on my wall after painting it only without the Kanji characters on it.  I left out the characters because power is supposed to be on the top, but all the 'official' images I have found of a Triforce with writing, if I am reading the Kanji correctly power is not on the top, even on my painting (because I followed an 'official' image without checking what's what first. Silly me.  So to avoid a permanent mistake, I left out the characters (there are not characters on it in the Zelda games anyway.  I think it's just a way for Japanophiles to make the symbol seem more ancient and important or something, plus the artist that put it on me might have put "This guy is an idiot" in Japanese on my arm and I would have no idea! )

I symbolizes Wisdom, Courage and Power, and how without equal amounts of each one is without balance. And as I stated way back here, it's kind of the philosophy I took on leading up to my Black Belt.

Many people have said that they figured that I was not the type of guy to get a tattoo.  And for a very long time I would have agreed with those people.  Mainly because the main examples of people who I knew that had tattoos were my uncles and their tats are self inflicted monstrosities that are neither art nor representative of themselves in any way other than as a badge proclaiming their self-destructiveness.

I got the tat I got because I felt that I had earned it, and it was something that I was happy with living with for the rest of my life, it symbolizes my philosophy, and it's a philosophy that I spend a great deal of time putting into perspective.  It's a personal thing, which is why I did not brandish it about to everyone that wanted to see when I got it.

I have a friend that has a lot of tattoos.  She directed me to where I should go to get mine done.  I think her tattoos are amazing.  I got it done at Adrenaline in Toronto.  Frankly I think it was a wise decision to go to someone who has a lot of great, professional, original art tattoos for tattoo advice.  I was asked the other day about getting a tattoo and the only advise I had was:  'Get something that represents you".

Monday, January 24, 2011

Push Through It

If something is worth doing, it's likely that obstacles are going to come up.  Nothing is easy forever, there will be days when you stand there and look around and think to yourself 'I should just give up, there is no point!"

Pushing through adversity is something that must be dealt with, in some cases it's frequent.  I was having a conversation with someone about their exercise routine and discovered that I have apparently become akin to some sort of bumper sticker saying "What would Chris Barnes do?" After asking that question to themselves the person in question set aside the issues troubling them during their workout and finished what they had set out to do.  Another person this past week asked me about workouts and I've had a couple requests to be someone's trainer. I'm still a bit shocked, but flattered at this revelation.  I never set out to become some sort of inspiration to others.

I maintain that I would be a poor trainer as the expectations I had of myself are not something that I would assume others had.  Really the only advice I can give that people can take or leave as they see fit is to 'Push through it'.  Feel like quitting 10 minutes into your workout?  Got a stitch in your side while working your cardio?  Don't want to drag yourself to the gym? Push through it.

In the end it's not what a trainer wants you to achieve that matters, it's what you want for yourself that matters.  And make no mistake, you have to want it for yourself, whether it's the high-score in Donkey Kong, a fitness goal or the ability to win an eating contest, if you don't want it for yourself, no one else can make you want it enough to get it done.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I have now been to 3 in my life.  That is fortunate I know.  I'm not a big fan, I mean all the ones I have been to have been lovely with family and friends remembering the departed in thoughtful, memorable, genuine and heartfelt ways.  I just don't like the idea that one day it's going to be me everyone is (hopefully) saying nice things about and I won't be able to hear it.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Much like our cruise last year on our most recent cruise Amber and I got asked many questions about Canada.  And with the snowfall over the weekend and the freezing temperatures today I thought I may be appropriate to explore a few things that make Canadians, Canadian.

I know that most of the readers of the blog are Canadian so feel free to add things in your comments please!

- Our Money

Canadian money is fun and colourful, currently it's worth almost as much as the U.S. Dollar but we should get points for design I think.  Pictures make things better, and we have lots of cool pictures on our money, also the colours make it easy to see if you are rich or not just by looking in your wallet.  When I stayed in the US for a summer I always thought I was loaded because my wallet would be so fat, unfortunately it was usually with $1's   Our $1 are coins, so are our $2!

- Food
Most folks figure the Canada is pretty much like America North.  Turns out it really isn't.  Food is actually a fairly large separator for us.  Like most of the world we have plenty in common, when it comes to both homemade and restaurant food.  We do have a few notable exceptions and exports.

Beavertails - I unfortunately have never actually had a beavertail :(  they do not sell them nearby, but they sounds and look delicious.  It is not actually a beavertail of course, but pastry, coated in sugar.  Find Details here!

It's probably for the best they don't sell them in Peterborough or else I may not have lost all the weight I did.

Poutine - Fries, covered in cheese curd (some places use mozzarella cheese bits) and then doused in beef gravy.  Clearly this concoction is terrible for you but that is what makes it so delicious.   It's a creation that comes from Quebec and if you get the chance to try it don't pass it up.

Chip trucks - it's come to my attention in the conversations I have had with Americans that the notion of a "chip truck" is foreign to them as well.  Almost without fail the best fries in the area (unless you live in a major urban center) are from a chip truck.  In Peterborough from the people I talk to the Hippie Chippie at Beavermead park is the best.  But I love the fries at Brown Eyed Susan's in Bailieboro too.  Basically a chip truck is some sort of converted old mini-bus, trailer or van that has had fryers installed that specializes in one thing:  Fries.

- Milk in a Bag
Yes you read that right.  Back when I was about 18/19 I had a picture of me holding milk in a bag on my computer as a quirky way of showing myself to Americans on ICQ and as a good conversation starter.  "here's my pic"  "what are you holding?"  "milk in a bag!" "what?!?!"  Digging up pictures and such for this little blog I have discovered that milk in a bag pretty much only exists in Ontario and eastward (Quebec and the Maritimes) and out west they have milk in jugs and cartons. We can get milk in jugs in Ontario too, but typically you buy it in bags.  You buy a big bag that hold 4 Litres and within that bag are 3 smaller bags that you then place in a holder so that you can pour it out.

-We say "Eh"
Canadians tend to do this more than we think, but not as much as the rest of the world seems to think we do.  Eh is a funny little word that we typically add to the end of questions "It's cold out eh?"  Or to make a statement into a question "We're going for lunch, eh?"  or as an affirmative "That's awesome eh!"  Eh can also be it's own sentence meaning  "Did you hear me or what?"  For instance you ask someone a question..  "Do you want a drink while I'm in the kitchen?" and you wait and get no response, so you go "Eh?!" to try to get an answer.  So in some cases it functions like "right" that a lot of people use "I know right?"  and as "huh?"  That's cool huh?"  We just put it all into one word.

To some Americans it's "Ice Hockey"  for us it's just hockey.  Because all Other types of hockey get the prefix (field, ball, roller...)  Most Canadians love it, an it seems that most Americans are hardly aware of it's awesomeness, except during the Olympics if they happen to win.  Like Bowling draws higher ratings in the US than Hockey, which seems odd to me because it has most things that Americans seem to love otherwise.  High speed, Big hits, Fights.  Maybe it's because it's played on ice?

-An ability to drive in the snow

Over the weekend where I live we got about 1/2 a foot of snow, in March 2008 we got this much snow
It was enough that the snow was higher than my front porch, so over a foot at least.  Now this is a large, all at once snowfall, but besides having to shovel out the driveway I drove through streets with that much snow to get to the store to buy Smash Bros for Wii (awesome).  All the stores were open, even though it was Sunday.  Life just was delayed for people by about 30 minutes because it took  a while to get where you were going.

Miscellaneous items
We don't have yoo-hoo (thank god!)
Our Ice Tea is sweet to begin with
For our high school sports it's mostly about 20 people that show up and they know the players somehow
In order to compete in trivia games we have to know lots of American things

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm Back

So I had a bit of a trip eh?

From here to Florida, San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola, Nassau back to Florida and then home.  What an amazing trip.  We ate great food, saw amazing things and met new friends!

I cannot advocate for traveling enough.  You see so many things and learn so many other things not only about the where you go but about your own home and how you interact with the people around you. On our first cruise we went to see the Mayan ruins of Altun-Ha.  It was a spectacular sight to be sure, walking among and on top of structures that had been built ages ago, you could feel it in the air, the energy of the place.  Our tour guide explained what happened at the site we were at all those ages ago an some one, an American, said "I hate learning about this stuff, why don't they tell us American history?" Or something of the like.  I was aghast at that.  How could someone book an excursion of this nature and not understand that what they were hearing about and seeing was amazing.

Thankfully on this trip we did not encounter that.  We did however find that the people of the Eastern Caribbean especially those that ran tours work whose work depended on tourists not only loved to have people come but also did their utmost to protect the areas they took tourists to.  A perfect example of this was Captain Jim whose took us on our Underwater Adventure excursion to Buck Island just a 30 minute boat ride away from St. Thomas.  He made it very clear that sure you can smoke, but if you flick a butt off the boat that he would exercise his right as Captain to flick a butt of his boat as well.  I thought that was fantastic.  He also made sure to mention about the reefs and fish and such to leave them be so that they would not be damaged.  This message was repeated by nearly every tour operator.

The sights of the trip were amazing and I encourage you to check out the photos on my facebook page if you have not already.  The views were awe inspiring and I can understand why so many people wish to travel to the area and stay.  But the best part was the local food.  Amazing to say the least.  If you ever get the chance to eat Mofongo, do it.  It is wonderful. Conch Fritters are also nice, as is Roti.  I'd LOVE to stay down there just for the food alone, I'd have to be at the gym whenever I was not eating though because I would want to eat soooooooooooooo much!

I cannot recommend a cruise enough.  For me it is perfect, I would be bored to tears at a single resort I think where you sit on the beach all day.  There was so much to do, so many people to meet and new places to explore each day and if you can somehow get around the flight to Florida the cruise itself is cheap!  Also there are tings to win on a cruise and we did win.  Six trophies in all we won over the course of the cruise, something considering that during all the trivia contests Amber and I were up against teams of 4 or 5 and most of the questions were geared towards Americans, is quite significant.  I bet we won more than any other team did.

I am glad to be home and ack! back to school.  I missed my kitties and my friends.  One day when I am a Billionaire I will vacation in the Caribbean once a month and take everyone with me.