Thursday, June 29, 2006

Copycat post - The All-Powerful Google

I had promised myself that I wouldn't copycat other people's blog posts, but this is way too good to pass up. I found this blog in my random wanderings, found it fun to read and even more fun to post a comment in (since whoever posts a comment is told they're "totally hot", which appeals greatly to my sense of vanity).

As a scrolled through the more recent posts, I came upon this. Described as something old (but of course I haven't heard of it until now), the idea is to enter your name and the word "needs" into Google to see what Google thinks you need. It sounded like fun, so I tried it.

The results were pretty funny. I didn't realize I needed all of these things, but as this other blogger said - "who knows us better than Google?"

For the film to connect, Melinda needs to be a mixture of sexual predator and sympathetic lost soul
Melinda needs: to get back into the social scene but she’s intimidated to do anything in that regard – she just wants to dump all of her emotional baggage on a guy
Melinda needs: to figure our her financial priorities
Melinda needs: to grow a little to become a better person and get over her fears
Melinda needs: to drive
Melinda needs: to build her business.
Melinda needs: a lot of care
Melinda needs: to help a girl in a psychiatric hospital
Melinda needs: someone alive to hang with and do each other's hair and stuff, right?
Melinda needs:out before she breaks down.
Melinda needs: a date
Melinda needs: a supportive figure, especially since she had such a difficult early life!
Melinda needs: to come with the Canfield Crew to Idaho to play in the Pokemon State Champs

Forget teaching! I'm off to become a championship Pokemon player!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The battery incident

Sometimes I'm not as smart as I think I am.

For the last couple of weeks I've been having trouble with my camera. Since we're moving soon to Europe, I didn't want to spend the money on rechargable batteries and a charger because they won't work in London. So I went to the dollar store and spent $8 on 8 packs of batteries - thinking they'd last me at least a month.

At this point some of you might already be questioning my intelligence (yes I did graduate from Teacher's College with honours) of putting $1 batteries in a $600 camera. In hindsight, I realize that this was not the best choice to make - but the dire state of my finances tends to affect my brain once in awhile.

You might guess where this is going. The camera started burning through batteries at an alarming rate, making me wonder if there was a problem with it. I'd put in a new pack of 4, take 10 pictures, and the camera would turn off. Even with cheap batteries, I figured that this shouldn't be happening. Jeremy mentioned that i might want to try not buying cheap-ass batteries for my camera - to which I rolled my eyes and said "batteries are batteries".

It happened like this:
Step 1. Insert new batteries in the camera
Step 2. take a few picturs
low battery icon
Step 3. sigh of frustration

Step 4. switch the batteries around / insert new batteries
Step 5. take a few more pictures
low battery icon - camera shuts off

Step 8. repeat process several times over, resulting in high levels of annoyance and the need for a strong drink

As I turns out - batteries are NOT just batteries.

After going to the fireworks last night on the Detroit river, I finally got annoyed enough with the reloading-batteries-only-to-watch-them-die process and decided to email Canon with my question. I also went so far as to pull out my receipt and warranty statement "just in case". I'd be lying if I didn't admit to a little temper tantrum over this possibly broken, month-old camera.

Just in case you haven't already guessed the problem, I'll share it with you now. I used to work in the techology field (sigh, yes I know - I don't always believe it either), and during my time there, I learned how to search the internet for answers to tech questions. One of these helpful sites is, where you can literally learn about how ANYTHING works. Go ahead and try it - you can type pretty much anything and it'll tell you all about it.

I learned way more than I ever needed to know about how batteries work - most importantly that "inexpensive" (can't hide the word CHEAP here) batteries are not in fact made out of alkaline - which is required for digital cameras and many other devices. Jeremy went to the store and bought a pack of alkaline batteries - which after taking 30 or so pictures still have not died.

I guess I should have listened to him in the first place.

So to my camera I apologize - and add a few more pictures that it took for me during our camping trip.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Disneyworld's got nothing on this

Top 10 Reasons why Pelee Island is Better Th
an Disneyworld:

10. It doesn't cost hundreds of dollars to get
9. Ferries are way more fun than planes.
8. It
doesn't matter if you smell like campfire or burnt hotdogs
7. A traffic jam on the island is made up of 3 cars and
several birds crossing the street. (I'm still a little bitter about the 2 hour trip to Disney when we were in Florida the last time)
6. You
can buy ice cream for less than $10
5. The people on the island actually feel bad when you spend $30 in thei
r stores - apparently this is a "lot" of money and leads them to give you free stuff
4. No crowds of people everywhere (or lines)
3. You can still have fun there during a thunderstorm

2. free wine samples

1. you can stay there for free!!

Yep, you heard it here first! Staying in this gorgeous place didn't cost us a dime (well except for the ferry costs and usual camping expenses).

The catch?

You have to actually FIND this place before you can stay there for free. If we hadn't looked on the map of the island before leaving on the trip we would probably still be looking for the campground. After driving around for awhile, we asked for directions and were told to "look for the Bell payphone". That's right - no sign, nothing to indicate that there was even a campground at all. Thankfully Jeremy spotted the payphone (which was positioned way down a dirt road, so we figured we were in the right place. We drove around for awhile, scouting out the campsites and wound up settling in the best one since there were literally no other people around at all.

The tent went up right away, mostly because of clouds that were getting darker and louder by the minute. Finally the storm arrived and we hung out in the car, drinking rum and cokes and joking about how we could be in completely the wrong place for all we knew. I never thought it would be so fun to have to hang out in a car in the middle of an empty campground during a thunderstorm.

When the rain ended, we finally got to the real camping. It was definitely entertaining to watch the new arrivals show up at the campground. Each new group of campers would drive by looking utterly confused, making several laps through the campsites before finally settling down somewhere. The lack of signs or any people appearing to collect money was a great icebreaker between us and the other campers - every one of us had been surprised that the owners of the campground (apparently the municipal government) didn't seem to care about us being there.

It was so great to get away from everything for a few days and be out in nature for awhile. It's actually hard to think of what my favourite part of the trip was - the beach, our campsite, the winery, the wine tour, campfires and playing water frisbee, oh and of course the FOOD! Any camper will tell you that nothing tastes better than food cooked on a campfire.

I'd recommend this place to anybody who doesn't mind being in a place with no showers or running water and a fair amount of friendly mosquitoes.

This post would not be complete without a description of...

The Winery
I should explain that the Pelee Island Winery is not located on the island - it's actually on the mainland, in Kingsville. It's the vineyards that are found on the island and the pavillion (a tourist area, gift shop, outdoor stage and restaurant.

Imagine this: couples, groups of people, families, tour groups, etc., all wandering around a fairly small area, while trying to buy souvenirs, bottles of wine and partake in wine tours. You'd probably expect to hear children crying, see people arguing or getting annoyed with one another for grabbing the last bottle of Pinot Noir. Some kind of agitation is usally found when large groups of people are found in small spaces.

Not here though.

This is literally the happiest place on earth. I swear it's true.

The first time we drove past, there was a couple walking crookedly down the road carrying armfuls of wine bottles. They were grinning like crazy and looked very close to dropping their huge paper bags.

I'm not sure why the winery provides paper bags for their customers to transport bottles of wine since these types of bags are not very strong, and bottles of wine are pretty heavy. Maybe they've got a hidden camera or something down the road because it was definitely fun to watch people try to hold onto their bottles while they ran to catch the ferry.

The first thing we saw during our visit was a group of people in their forties who were singing an unintelligable song as they stumbled to their bus. I didn't question the existence of the bus at first until somebody mentioned how funny it was that a bus was needed to transport people up a road that only takes 10-15 minutes to walk down (about the distance from the vineyard to the ferry). As the last member of the group ran past, tripped over his own feet, dropped his bottles of wine, then jumped up yelling "hold the bus!!" I realized why the bus was so necessary.

Everybody leaving this place was in some state of inebriation. The most sober ones were parents with little kids, but even they looked way too happy on a hot day with kids whining about going for ice cream cones.

During the wine tour, there were two different groups of people who actually opened a bottle of wine and DRANK it as they followed the group. The tour guide didn't appear to take any notice of this at all - until the end of the tour when she asked them if they enjoyed the bottles. We enjoyed several wine samples before and during the tour and happily wandered around taking pictures and talking with some of the other people in the group.

Maybe there's just something in the air at this place because I'd only had a glass & a half of wine (approximate total of the samples I'd tried) yet I still felt like we should wait a little before driving. Waiting was fun too, because there was a musician performing all of these old classics on his guitar - so we listened to that for awhile, when went on our way.

I guess we learned a lesson that day - it's not necessary to spend tons of money to have a great time...

especially when there's wine involved.

Smelly Melly

I wasn't planning on writing about our trip until later on today, but I must comment on how much worse everything smells the morning after getting back from a camping trip. Our sheets, clothes, pillows, even the cooler bag - everything smells pretty nasty. Having gone camping before, we expected this to happen, but it always seems much worse the next day.

When you're camping, you KNOW you smell, but it doesn't matter and you don't care. The only time in the 3 days we were gone that I did care was at the winery - thankfully we had "good" clothes (jeans & t-shirts) in the car so they would not be infused with this lovely smokey perfume.

I was hoping that this odour was limited to only our stuff and that while we were on the ferry last night that we didn't smell like this...

yep wishful thinking, I know :)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The biiig 100

Well it's taken me almost 7 months, but I've finally made it to my 100th post! When I first started writing in this blog, I had no idea who much fun it would be, and I feel like I'm getting to be a better writer too (although some people's blogs remind me that I'm not as good as I want to be). The occasion calls for something creative and fun, which of course means that I'm suffering from writer's block (do they call it blogger's block??? sigh - sorry couldn't help it).

But I continue anyway, in hopes that those reading will enjoy this post, yet knowing that certain bloggers (cough cough... KIM) will probably have some amazing 100th post that people will be talking about for ages :)

Having been inspired by the great Dave Letterman, I decided to post ten "top 10" lists...

Top 10 Goals I want to accomplish in the next 100 days
Okay, I know this doesn't sound that ambitious but with all of the planning for our move I decided to be realistic... Major kudos to all of you 101 in 1001 people - I hope you're all having good luck getting through your lists.

10. Finally get rid of the clothes in my closet that I don't wear anymore
9. Learn the major areas of London before we move so I can at least have some idea how to get around
8. Get back into taking vitamins everyday
7. Lose 10 pounds (and keep it off for good)
6. Get at least a halfway decent picture of lightning (been trying for ages)
5. Read Anderson Cooper's book
4. Send at least 5 letters (via the MAIL)
3. Put a binder together with good lesson plans and activities for each grade level
2. Consistently eat enough fruits & veggies each day
1. Go on a spa day and get a pedicure (with the girls)

Best Songs to bring up memories
10. New Orleans is Sinking (or anything else from the Tragically Hip during the 90s): always takes me back to summers during high school

9. We Belong Together (Mariah Carey): driving down the highway in North Carolina. It was the first song I heard on the radio when I got there (BOTH times).

8. Oh Carol (Engelbert Humperdink - heehee hope i'm never too old to giggle at his name): reminds me of "popcorn" and Kimberly Dawn (before she became Mrs. Loney!)

7. Be Faithful (Fatman Scoop featuring Crooklyn Clan): if you're confused, just think of the song that played every single night in all of the good bars (at least in Sudbury) during the end of the 90's. Still played pretty often too... "You gotta hundred dollar bill put your hands up!"

6. You Were Meant for Me - Jewel: This was the very first song that people actually asked me to sing for them. Brings memories of campfires and acoustic guitars and feeling confident about the sound of my voice.

5. River of Dreams - Billy Joel: a white baby grand piano in a hotel... singing along with a crazy dude from St. Charles high school and being kicked out because "song time is over". Oh those band trips...

4. Groove is in the Heart - Dee-lite: reminds me of every wedding I've ever been to

3. Joy to the World - Three Dog Night: Our family took a lot of road trips. The soundtrack for every one of them was 50's and 60's music. This particular song reminds me of driving with parents, brother, and Uncle Jerry, singing at the top of our lungs while we drove down the Ella Lake road.

2. Time of Your Life (Good Riddance) - Green Day: Our grade 13 class sang this song to the rest of the school during our final assembly. I can still remember wondering about the direction my life was going to take back then, and hoped that the choices I was making were the right ones. Now it reminds me of every good-bye I've had to say since then.

1. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers: Another high school thing - this one reminds me all the girls at MMC and my closest friends during the teen years. The reason I loved high school so much was definitely because of them.

Weird blogger topics (collected over a couple of weeks)
10. Why I can't have sex with the ex anymore. (main reason cited being his WIFE)

9. Confessions of a maintenance man who steals women's underwear and porn from apartments in the building he works in.

8. My friend Oxanna bet lots of moneys on bear fight and lost. Now people with bats are coming.

7. My mom wrecked my dinner of pig trotters by adding bittergourds - which i hate. So I had rice and chocolate for supper instead.

6. I am God and nobody knows it

5. I am in a place where I feel and I know. I am in a place where I notice and I know. I am in a place in which I was born into and hence, I succeed. The place where I know, I notice and was born into is here. I am unique.

4. Preparing for the Christmas season- advice on cards and decorations (this would be a perfectly normal topic if the date of the post wasn't JUNE 21st)

3. And your name will be "one who flings poo"

2. Paris Hilton is my sister Goddess Angel and Goldie Hawn is the devil.

1. I had a conversation with God today. We talked about robots, Star Trek, and He told me He's too busy to have his own blog.

Ten Great Places I've been
10. Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C.
9. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
8. Providence Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario
7. Kure Beach, North Carolina
6. Sea World, Florida
5. Newport, Oregon
4. Pike's Market, Seattle, Washington
3. The Lincoln Monument, FDR memorial, and back door to "The Farm" (CIA training grounds outside the city), Washington D.C.
2. Manhattan, New York City
2. Raleigh, Durham, & Pittsboro, North Carolina - yes, all three are fantastic places
1. My lake (nowhere fancy, but still my favourite place in the world)

Ten Silly, Dumb, or Crazy Things I've Done (and may regret admitting)

10. Sang (and performed a little) "King of Spain" along with a group of girls in the middle of downtown Philadelphia

9. Walking out of a restaurant in Manitoulin Island without paying. They charged $18 for 6 shrimp and an ice cream scoop of rice. This was most definitely not what was advertised in their menu, which they refused to bring back for me to point out. So I walked out. The big rebel move that cost them less than $2. I should note that I'm enough of a nerd that I considered going back in and just paying for it, but the people I was with refused to let me.

8. Going out every night of the week for an entire summer, even though the bars close at 2am and I started work at 8:30am. (I guess I'm getting old now because even the memory of this is pretty painful.)

7. Leaving the Saddledome arena during a PLAYOFF GAME because we figured it was all over. Only to find out later that said game went into overtime.

6. Taking my 17 year old brother's advice about making a watermelon bomb - as mentioned in previous posts, it did not work out well.

5. Eating a gross tasting watermelon just because a 26er of Silent Sam vodka had been jammed into it. And using beer to wash the taste away. Lots of beer...

4. Wandered around Montreal for over an hour looking for the LCBO. I don't think this needs further explanation, c'ept to say that I was not the only one involved in this.

3. Going on a road trip to Temiskaming for my 18th birthday just because I was "legal" there. When the store didn't card me, I immediately produced my ID and proudly insisted they look at it. Must have thought I was nuts...

2. Got lost in Washington D.C. (for the 8th time in one night) and wound up taking pictures of the gated fence (complete with floodlights, signs demanding ID and guard tower) of the CIA training grounds with a digital camera. The stupidity of this didn't dawn on us until much later...

1. Tried to light my then-new BBQ while it was closed. (in my defense it was the first time I'd ever lit a BBQ.) This led to a huuuge ball of fire coming out of the bottom, accompanied by two booming noises - the first the gas being ignited and the second the BBQ landing back on the ground after jumping several inches into the air. Not my finest moment.

My 10 favourite things in my apartment
10. The kitchen table & chairs
9. The chairs from Goodwill that I bought for $35 dollars each
8. My box of teaching supplies (stickers, cardstock, markers, tons of fun stuff)
7. The big TV
6. Jeremy's couch
5. My ancient clock radio (that I've had since grade 8)
4. The pictures on the wall and my photo albums / my cameras
3. The bookshelf & my books
2. My plants
1. The sound of Jeremy having a conversation with our cat

Things I'll miss the most about Canada
10. Seeing Canadian flags and singing the national anthem
9. Being proud of the fact that I'm from Northen Ontario (and have people actually know where that is)
8. Believe it or not: snow.
7. Not having to explain what it means to be Canadian to other people.
6. The beer (need I say more)
5. Ice in my drinks and the fact that they don't serve blood pudding in our pubs
4. Really good thunderstorms! (and on the flip side - the fact that it doesn't rain for 4 months straight here)
3. Hockey Night in Canada
2. The outside - all of the lakes and forests here - I love knowing that I can go camping in so many places just in Ontario.
1. This one's a no-brainer: My family and friends (and kitty too)

Top 10 things I want to do before moving to England
10. Spend an entire day and night reading a really good book
9. Take the sight-seeing boat tour in the Detroit river (only $10 an hour!)
8. Spend an afternoon taking pictures along the waterfront
7. Discover a nice picnic spot along the river that nobody else seems to know about
6. Grill the perfect steak before giving up my BBQ
5. Actually have some friends visit us in Windsor
4. Do the last "girl days" with my friends (the spa is calling my name!)
3. Have a shopping day with my mom
2. Realize that everything is going to be okay, that we'll find a place to live, Jeremy will find a job he enjoys, we'll make tons of friends, and I'll love being a supply teacher in London, England.
1. Spend a day in the lake. Yes, a day. And yes, I've done this before.

10 things I want to do while living in London
10. Ride in the Milennium Eye
9. Go to the Notting Hill market
8. See Buckingham Palace and try to make the guards laugh
7. Buy one of those Union Jack hats (like the one Joey wore in Friends)
6. Go canoeing in Hyde Park
5. Learn how to find my way around the city without getting completely lost
4. Ride in a double-decker bus
3. Order a pint and real fish & chips in a British pub
2. Take road trips to Dublin, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, and Paris
1. Have family and friends come and VISIT!!

My 10 favourite pictures (sorry if these are repeats from other posts) as seen throughout this post.

That ends my 100th post - hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

oh the frustration

So for my 99th post I had this great idea. I was going to post 99 pictures that reflect my life. Unfortunately it doesn't appear that blogger likes this much, since somewhere around my 60th picture things went all wonky. I played with it for two days but things still didn't work out...

Since I do happen to have some great new pics courtesy of my new camera, I'll post some of them now...


Speaking of frustration...
I must add a quick note about the amazing hockey that has been happening during this year's Stanley Cup Finals. Both teams were well-deserving of willing it all. It was easier to say that when I thought Edmonton might win...
Carolina just scored an empty net goal, meaning they win, which I have mixed feelings about. This team is excellent and I have a lot of respect for THEM. I hate their announcers, their cheerleaders (yes cheerleaders in the NHL - ugh), their anthem singer (who also happens to be a cheerleader who can't freakin sing), and the fact that people barely went to their games until they were about to win the cup. AND they're not Canadian of course! It would be a lot better in my opinion if this team played in a different place.
Ah well - maybe them winning the Cup will generate some real enthusiasm for our sport...
i'm still annoyed though

My last hockey game for awhile... it's too bad that Cinderella stories don't work out in the NHL.