Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Night Of The Living Dead

Even Zombies need rest.

It's October 31st. And what makes a Happy Halloween even happier? A sweet Halloween party. And what makes a sweet Halloween party even sweeter? The Living Dead.


This year I organized Hamilton's first-ever Zombie walk, through a popular section of the city. I had no idea that my friends would be this enthused about it. Our success was measured by the screams, the cars that avoided us, the groups of staring, excited teens, honking horns and complete strangers photographing us.

Here come the Zombies!We started right by our old house, with Tracy, the one-armed Zombie bride leading the pack. For someone who doesn't like Halloween, this was like witnessing a miracle and she truly deserves the award for best-dressed. The pack, approximately 12 Zombies strong, made its first attack inside the TD Canada Trust, and was captured on video. One driver trying to pull into the parking lot witnessed our attack, declared "I don't need money that bad!", backed out, and fled in terror.

Zombies had no money to buy nice things.
With a larger, more powerful group of Zombies, we slowly made our way down King St., stopping to do some windowshopping along the way. Most of the stores were closed and offered no one to eat, so we continued until we came across some unsuspecting victims having a rest on one of the numerous benches along the way.

This is not enough food for 20 Zombies. We need the supersized combo!The Zombies were growing increasingly hungry during the long walk to the Snooty Fox. We began attacking random people along the street. Few were spared. Jason was not one of the lucky. The Zombies dug in, and he was turned. But this didn't quench our thirst. Dozens of us pressed against the windows of The Second Cup, our bloody smears and moans scaring many of the patrons enough to seek safety away from the windows and doors. Others laughed at the complete absurdity of it all.

Zombies don't obey traffic signs.The Zombies' numbers reached 25, and suddenly we realized beer would quench our seemingly unquenchable thirst. Holding up traffic, we crossed the street and headed for the bar, Shaun-of-the-Dead-Winchester-style. Before we made it to the door, we swarmed a minivan trying to make its way out to the road. The driver & passenger laughed, but I detected great fear in them. They had no beer, so we went inside the bar. As we entered, a few onlookers took pictures of us, possibly to prove to the police that it all really happened.

Group shot - about half the Zombies.
In the end we had about 40 participants! What a huge success, despite the media not wishing to cover the groundbreaking event (Pun intended). Thank you to all my friends, and their friends, who joined us for the Zombie walk. Without you, it would have been a bust. And thank you to Kev over at the Archies, who first put me on to this idea. And a huge thank you to Toni, and RainyPete, for photographing the entire walk. Pete even took a couple of videos that everyone is dying to see. Pun intended.

For another pic, click here
Bar Zombies here.
Radical Rappin' Rock-Star Zombies? Click here.
For more great pics, links to more pics, and the videos, click here.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Tis Not The Season

World's Scariest Tree? No. Not even close.

The office Christmas tree went up last week, indicating the change in season. And it's wrong.

I really get upset when I see Christmas decorations going up before Thanksgiving and Halloween have even passed. In fact, this offensive action upsets me so much that I actually dislike Christmas now. Their efforts to get me into the holiday spending spirit have backfired, and the malls will not be seeing me at all this year.

Corporations who put up Christmas decorations in October show disrespect towards Thanksgiving, and as we all know from our black friends, dissing is bad. I think there should be a rule put in place to stop this very stupid behaviour. At the very least, Christmas decorations should have to wait until November 1st, and at the very most, there should be a fine - a monetary penalty - for those who disregard this new rule.

I will dress in an appropriate uniform and begin issuing tickets to businesses displaying Christmas gear prematurely. The ticket will include their address, the day I witnessed the offending display, a time limit of 24 hours to remove said display until November 1st, and a fine of $50 per individual Christmas item, to a maximum of $100,000, to be paid in full before November 1st, to my address. Individuals will have a maximum fine of $5,000.

I don't think that's going overboard.

October is a time to celebrate the harvest with Indian corn, gourds and other items associated with autumn, not plastic Santas and fake snowmen. When you were a child doing your trick-or-treat rounds on Halloween night, did you ever see houses decorated with snowflakes? And if you did, were they scary?

Tis the season.... for Death.This time of year we should not be forced to gaze at twinkling lights, white snow and shining stars. We should be seeing spooky red lights, hazy white fog, and a shining moon peeking through the bare, crooked tree branches. Instead of nativity scenes, we should see skeletons, werewolves and the undead roaming our neighbourhoods. And instead of jolly old Santa, we should be trembling before the Grim Reaper!

Halloween is a time for fun, and for scaring. It's one day a year that can barely hold off the overpowering forces of Jesus. Halloween needs our help.

My proposal:
This Devil's Night, if you feel like having some fun, target the houses decorated with icicle lights and reindeer on the roof. You will be rewarded with candy the following night. Not just any candy, but creepy, fun Halloween candy! This is my promise to you.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Duct tape stops the screams for help: Abductions made easy.

Today's regularly scheduled blog has been post-poned due to the events that happened last night.

About 10 days has gone by since I last drove my DeLorean. I decided to start it up to ensure the battery would not die. Connecting the battery charger is a serious pain in the ass, back, and sometimes fingers. I hate doing it, and avoid it whenever possible.

So, just before bed, around 11 p.m., I ran into the garage, and started the ol' D up. After about a minute, the battery charge indicator rose to a good level. I ran the engine for another minute, then shut it off. As I've done in the past, I ran the engine without opening the main garage door. I've never had a problem before, so I had no reason to think I would have a problem this time.

Dang, I hate being wrong.

I settled into bed and tossed and turned for about an hour, which is typical for me. Then, just as I started to doze, the Carbon Monoxide Detector in our room chirped a warning, and the amber "warn" light illuminated. Suz buried her head in blankets and pillows, anticipating the next screeching chirp. I got out of bed, climbed up on a stool, and read everything I could on the cover of the CO detector.

There was no useful information on the cover. So, I waved towels around, and walked around the house looking for the cause of this mysterious CO emission. The furnace was off, the car had been off for over an hour, and the water heater wasn't running at this time. I was puzzled and perplexed, baffled and annoyed, all at once.

The incredible beeping continued despite my towel-waving efforts. I checked the unit, and discovered a "Test" button. Pushing the button reset the detector, and I happily settled into bed again. Approximately 10 minutes later the whole joke started again. I reset the unit once more, but it persisted.

I climbed on the stool again and discovered there were no batteries. It was hard-wired to the house! Furious, I began punching the CO detector as hard as I could, trying to break it. The tough little unit resisted my attack, and I ended up cutting my knuckles up pretty badly.

In a comical Steve-Martin-meets-The-Three-Stooges kind of way, I ripped the detector off the ceiling. Instructions on the inside told me to open all windows, call the fire department and kill my neighbours. I followed the first instruction, and reset the unit again.

With perfect, fresh air pouring into our house we again went back to bed - only to be awoken by the ear-splitting, red-lighted, full-stage alarm. I ran downstairs and grabbed the essential "Duct Tape" and my tool kit. The tape was ideal to cover the alarm as I unscrewed the detector from its base-plate. Knowing now, that the detector was defective, I disconnected the wires, but not before suffering some hearing damage.

Most people would think this to be a very stupid action, similar to disconnecting a smoke detector that is trying to warn you there's a fire raging just outside your door. But the difference is this: neither of us had a headache, nausea, or any sign of CO poisoning - coupled with the fact that the Jameson CO detector was made in Mexico.

At 1:30 a.m. I finally went to bed, sweaty and angry.

This morning I called their 1-800 number, which directed me to their website, www.icca.invensys.com, which could not answer my question:
Why would fresh, outside air trigger a full-stage alarm?

The only useful bit of information I found was that the hard-wired type of detectors become more sensitive with age.

That's no consolation to my left ear, which will be happy once I smash the detector into pieces.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Fog!

Glowing red eyes belong to Satan himself.Last night I ran a few tests with the Fog Chiller. For the most part, it worked very well, but there are a couple of problems with it.

I started off with a mild dose of 8 ice cubes. This paltry number of ice cubes had a noticeable, but quite pathetic effect on the fog. Once it rolled out the end of the Chiller and down the first two stairs, it began to rise again. I figured I would see a huge improvement when I added two full trays of ice cubes. With 32 ice cubes, the fog rolled down all 5 stairs. When it hit the landing in the dog-leg in our staircase, it began to rise again. Suz convinced me that the Chiller would hold hundreds, if not millions, of ice cubes, so I started cramming them in. This is where RainyPete's idea of using an old cooler would have come in handy. I wish I had heard of this more efficient design earlier. Step 1: Slit open bag of variety-store-quality ice. Step 2: Dump into the cooler and enjoy.

But I was stuck with my inefficient, good-looking design. After 5 minutes of stuffing ice cubes into the Chiller, my fingers were numb. It was worth it. 105 ice cubes filled the Chiller about half-way. 105 ice cubes also cooled the fog enough to roll down the stairs, around the dog-leg, and down the rest of the stairs. But this is where I encountered the first problem. The breeze created from walking upstairs blew the fog around too much, and it filled the front hall with a grey haze, which, although radically spooky, was not the effect I wanted this year.

The 'full-blast' hissing sound scares my kitties.So I tried my second idea and brought the fog machine into the basement. The fog rolled out of the Chiller like white soup, spilling onto the pink 60s tiles like an ever-expanding puddle of blood. It looked totally sweet! A few short blasts covered about half the basement floor. But this is where I discovered another problem. Allowing the fog machine to perform a full power blast did not give the fog enough time to cool down inside the ice-chamber. This means I probably won't be able to leave the machine on with the adjustable timer. I will likely have to manage the fog dispersal manually.

Spooooooky!I was also able to test the mobility of this basement-fog when the bloody dehumidifier came on right in the middle of my photoshoot. By the time I ran to the other side of the room and unplugged the infernal device, it was too late. The fog had blown everywhere, filling the basement in the standard, unchilled way. Although this upset me at the time, I realized it was a good real-life test, simulating someone running through the creepy mist. A few more short blasts of fog, and the floor was out of sight again.

So, the Chiller works! Its effect won't be as creepy once the drunks start falling all over the floor, but I can look foward to using it on October 31st, and I can look forward to possibly building a larger, more efficient Chiller next year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Fog Chiller Construction

I ate half this bottle of cement before I finalyy degoblmugaduuuuuuh......

Ever notice how fog is so........foggy?

About 5 years ago I bought a "Skull Fogger" smoke machine from Wal-Mart. It cost me $69.97, while the exact same Fog Machine, sans Skull attachment, was on sale at Party City for $250.00. Ouch. No wonder Party City went bye bye.

My Skull Fogger has served me well. It creates a thick fog which instantly adds eerieness to any setting. Blasting the fog for too long, however, creates a hazzard. Especially to those wearing Halloween costumes which include masks and long robes which can entangle even the most agile feet.

I finally decided to build a "Fog-chiller". It basically cools the hot, atomized fog particles so that they become cold & heavy, and sink to the ground. This has an entirely different, but equally creepy effect. The fog is so dense, and so close to the ground, that you cannot see your feet, or anything else that might be lurking down there.

Here is how I created my Fog-Chiller.

6 feet of plumbing can contain 18 litres of diarrhea.I purchased two different sizes of ABS plumbing, and two ABS adapters from Home Depot. Each pipe is 3 feet long, so the total Chiller length is just over 6 feet. (That's the tip of my shoe on the right.) I used a standard saw to cut the small (approximately 2-1/4" diameter) pipe in half. I used standard ABS cement to join the small pipes to the adapter, and then to the larger (approximately 5" diameter) pipe. Total time of construction: about 7 minutes. Total cost: About $22. Having Fog stay on the ground: Priceless.

How it works:
The smaller pipe leads from the fog machine to the large pipe, which is the chamber that holds all the ice. Then it leads back into the small pipe. This way, when the ice melts, it doesn't spill out onto the floor. The fog passes through the cold, ice-filled chamber, cools down, and comes out the other end heavy and thick.

First I will freeze a few dozen ice cubes, and give it a try. I don't know how many ice cubes it will hold, but I'm going to cram in as many as possible, for the coldest, heaviest fog possible! Muhuhahaha!

Idea #1: Fog rolling downstairs from the 2nd floor.
Idea #2: Six inches of fog covering the basement floor.

DeLorean poll results!
Tingles candy poll results!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tingles, Where Are You?

Actual letter to Cadbury not exactly as shown. Please see blog for details.

All this talk of Halloween candy has really got me in a proactive mood.

In my excitement, I searched for my favourite candy of all time: Allan's Tingles. After I couldn't find their website, I discovered that Cadbury had taken them over. In the hopes that it would be forwarded to the Trebor/Allan division, I decided to write a letter to Cadbury:

October 14th
For years my friends and I have been struggling to find Allan "Tingles" candy, the best candy ever made in the history of candy! Even though the Allan candy factory is located only a few blocks from my house, I haven't been able to find Tingles in the stores.
From research I've done, I found that Cadbury owns Trebor Allan. Although Tingles have not been available in my area of Ontario for about 8 years, I have found a website here, which indicates that Tingles in fact, were still being produced as of the year 2000. Can you please provide me with information of how and where I can purchase Tingles?
thank you very much,


Last night I shed a tear as I read the reply:

Dear Mr. Martini:

Thank you for contacting us concerning the availability of Trebor Allan Tingles.
Unfortunately, we no longer produce this product. Sales studies indicated that there was insufficient consumer demand for the product; therefore, production was discontinued.
Although we are no longer making a product you once enjoyed, your interest is truly appreciated. Your comments will be shared with the appropriate staff members so they are made aware of your inquiry.
We hope you continue to purchase and enjoy our other brands.

Consumer Relations


Despite Sarah's forwarding skills, and the anonymous writer's pleasant nature, I could not help but be overwhelmed by this devastating news. Tingles slipped out of the consumer world without so much as a goodbye.

I sincerely hope that one day Cadbury/Trebor Allan either creates another fantastic candy that can fill Tingles' shoes, or revives Tingles from their candy grave for another shot at Halloween candy fame.

Should I start a petition?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Halloween Candy Oscars

Dentists, like Steve Martin in Little Shop of Horrors, love candy.
There should be certain rules, or laws, that candy manufacturers must adhere to in order to call their sugar "Halloween candy."

Sadly, these days, Halloween candy is nothing more than regular candy packaged in bags and boxes with pictures of bats, pumpkins, ghosts and the occasional dilapidated, and therefore haunted, Victorian-era houses.

Shame on you candy companies!

That is why I specifically go out of my way to ONLY purchase novelty Halloween candy - ie, candy that is shaped like something spooky, or has something directly related to Halloween printed on it. These very few companies are tops in my book, and I have invented the Halloween Candy Oscars to honour them and promote these fantastic treats.

Remember those orange gumballs that had jack-o-lantern faces on them? Allan's candy Kisses? "Monster" candy? And the most recent candy demise - Charm's Dead Heads? Ah, those sweet skull-shaped grape suckers.....White skulls that turned your mouth blood red. What a fantastic Halloween candy! Now, just a memory.

Anybody can buy any kind of chocolate bar or candy year-round. WHY would you want the same boring stuff at Halloween? You could've bought the same thing at the corner store the day before. Tell me, what is the appeal?

Muhuhahaha!Thank evilness there are still companies like Concord (who?), yes, Concord Confections, who have filled the Halloween niche with products like their collection of gumballs: Count Blacula, Slime Balls, Pumpkin Seedlings, and Horror Eyes. And hooray for Gummy Zone's Gummy Fangs. Not only can you eat them, but you can pretend to be Dracula for a little while first. What a bonus!

Pretty much everybody out there likes chocolate, and thankfully Hershey's even offers pumpkin and ghost-shape-stamped chocolates. Two skeleton thumbs up Hershey's!

2004's Halloween Candy Oscar most certainly goes to Charm's for their Dead Heads. But this year it is a tougher decision. After carefully weighing the criteria for "Halloween" candy, the board (me), has decided to award the 2005 Halloween Candy Oscar to Concord for their gumballs. The reason they beat out Gummy Zone for this prestigious award is because they offer four different gumballs, each with their own uniquely creepy properties.

Like blood, slime, seeds, and... um, horror.

Thank you to all 5 companies that qualified this year. I hope to invite you back again next year!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

October 19th

Back when I was in college, we had to set goals. Except for one, mine were all, in some way, related to cars. The one that wasn't, was about increasing the strength of my heart, and lowering my heart rate into the 40 bpm range. My teacher wrote a comment on that project that said something like this:
"That's impossible. You will die if you heart rate drops that low."
"Explain that to Olympic swimmers", I thought to myself.

That's when I realized that teachers do not know everything. They're not stupid, but they're human, and therefore say stupid things sometimes.

One goal I had set for myself was that I would own my dream car before I turned 30. Luckily, my dream car was not overly expensive. However, it was incredibly rare, and very difficult to find, especially in Canada. I'm quite happy that I was lucky enough to find a DeLorean for sale in British Columbia.

Last night, at 12:01 a.m. I silently celebrated turning 30 by creeping downstairs into the garage, and getting into my DeLorean. I sat in the 24-year old leather for an hour, just holding the steering wheel, and shifting the gears.

When I woke up this morning, I felt kind of sad. Part of that sadness was for one of my best friends, who is holding a funeral service today for her dad.

As you can see, today's blog doesn't offer much. So, how about a survey?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Doors open?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
...or doors closed?

Just click the link here and the poll will open in a new window. It's very short, and will probably take you less than 10 seconds to complete, since it's just one question. If I remember, I will post the results on Friday. If I don't remember, I'll post them sometime next week.

Oh, and incidentally, my heart rate is 56 bpm.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Corporate Halloween

The best Mother's Day presents you will ever find.

If you've been reading my blog lately, you are probably aware of how much I love Halloween.

Another love I have is a ghastly website called HorrorFactory.com. In my many years of procuring Halloween paraphernalia, I have made some mistakes, and discovered some rare treasures. This website is most definitely the latter.

Years ago there was no place to buy anything Halloween-related, save for the local Big-V Drug Stores, and only during the month of October. Occasionally, they actually had some great stuff. At nine years old I used to whine and cry that there wasn't enough Halloween stuff around.

My whining stopped when I discovered "The It Store..." and my dream had been realized. At that age, and at their prices, I barely had enough money to buy one bag of seven-dollar spiderwebs. But just like clockwork, that glorious day would come where everything was 70% off -- November 1st.

I didn't understand why my mom cringed at the life-like skulls, and severed arms and legs that I brought home each year. I was further baffled as to why I was not allowed to do my homework under the light of candles that I melted onto those skulls. And I didn't understand why my mom kept taking my red lightbulbs out of my lamps.

The It Store... finally outgrew its usefulness, and succumbed to whatever it was that caused it to go bankrupt. When it disappeared from Canada, another store sprung up to take its place. Party City was even more expensive, but had 100x more stuff. Their merchandise was so incredible, and so unique (and by then I had a good job) that I didn't mind paying their exorbitant prices. Once in a while Wal-mart carried the exact same product for about 75% less, and of course, I would buy it there. Over the years Party City slowly became more and more expensive until they had become synonymous with Greed.

That's when the bubble burst.

Party City's own greed did them in and the chain vanished. If a completely devoted Halloween freak like me wasn't willing to pay their insane prices, then nobody was. By then, I was glad to see them go. Like I mentioned before, I hate businesses that take advantage of the season.

This is when I started to discover the plethora of online specialty companies. HorrorFactory.com is one of them. Fright Catalogue is another. But HorrorFactory is different in that they create their own designs, from the moulds to the detailed and incredible paint schemes. You can even contact James to have something custom-made. The stuff is top notch. And above all, they are far from greedy.

Check out their catalogue. If you're like me, you'll be impressed. If you're like my mom, you'll run away, screaming.


Friday, October 14, 2005

The Joy of Heads

No boss, this is just a box of jumbo paper clips. Honest.Yesterday was just another normal day at work. Actually, it was a little better.

I didn't bring a lunch because Pizza Pizza was celebrating pizza being in Canada, officially, for 100 years. For this celebration, they were offering their large pizza slices for 100 cents. What a deal! So Jodster and I went across the street, and filled our tummies for $2.14 each. I suspect he was still hungry after his 2 slices, but they filled me up the same as 2 Big Macs and a large fries does.

Later in the afternoon, my day got even better. My package arrived!

Typically, the packages we have delivered at work are work-related. They are boxes of markers & highlighters, paper & envelopes, toner cartridges and photocopier parts. You know....normal stuff. But me? I had a head delivered to me. A head in a box.

About two weeks ago I ordered a 'Rising Ghoul' aka 'Groundbreaker' from a Halloween/latex prop website, HorrorFactory.com. I have ordered from them in the past, and due to their incredible attention to detail, I was excited to order from them again.

(To see what I ordered last year, click here)

The girl who brought the box over to me was totally intrigued by the shipping description, "Latex Halloween Prop" and refused to return to her duties until I showed her the head. Boy did it feel great to inject a bit of bloody-head-joy into someone else's life.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Counting Candy

Sorry, these do not taste like real Rockets.

Halloween candy is the greatest! Unfortunately, these days, most companies don't produce novelty Halloween candy any more due to the expense. They simply offer the same candy they sell year-round, albeit in smaller sizes.

Does anyone remember Tingles, by Allan? A far superior candy to Rockets. I'm not sure why Allan stopped making this Rocket-style candy, but you can be sure it was not because Rockets were destroying them in sales. In fact, it seems that Rockets only took off when Tingles dropped out of the scene. My search for the Allan candy website has resulted in nothing. It was online last year, but is gone now, just like the candy itself.

However, there are Rockets-a-plenty, and the closer we get to Halloween, the larger the bags seem to get. Suz is a Rockets Freak, and therefore persuaded me to buy this 4 pound bag of Rockets.

The bag states that it contains 4 lbs. of Rockets, or 1.8 kg of Rockets, and displays "240 rolls" in the corner. I am always suspicious of these types of claims, so I decided to do what has probably been done a million times before. I counted.

These Rocket soldiers had proper army training.I dumped the Rockets out of the bag, and they instantly fell into formation, obviously due to their army training. Separated into groups of five, these candies were easy to count. My guess at the total was 239 rolls. Why? I just figure, if they're out to make a buck, they're going to try and rip us off. By ripping off the public by such an insignificant amount, nobody will complain, and they'll get away with it. With that extra profit, they'll produce more Rockets, and start ripping off kids in Australia.

After a short time, I had my answer, and I was wrong! There were 246 rolls. Then I remembered that the number of rolls, even though it is advertised on the bag, doesn't matter. Why? Food products are sold by weight. So that number, 240, was irrelevant. But either way, I was impressed that we got extra rolls.

That being said, if the bag stated 20 rolls, and I got 226 extra rolls, I would not be impressed.

Now, each roll of Rockets contains 15 candies. I used my grade school math skills to determine that 15 candies x 246 rolls = 3690 candies. Then I used some different math (division) to determine that if you were to eat one Rocket per second, it would take 61 and a half minutes to eat them all. But I don't know anybody who can eat 4 lbs. of anything.

A challenge:
Buy a 1.8 kg bag of Rockets, and eat them as fast as you can. Don't stop until they're all in your stomach. Post a comment with your results.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

An Annual Problem

Radical orange flowers remind everyone it's autumn.

Driving around this time of year, most of us are familiar with the roadside displays of fall goodies. Mostly it's pumpkins and bales of straw and cornstalks, but there are also people selling colourful fall flowers: Mums.

Suz grew up on a farm so she scoffs at the people selling bales of straw or hay. It's cow food. It's dried grass. It's practically garbage to a farmer. But here they are, selling cubes of it for $4.99. I can appreciate it because I'm a city boy, and a Halloween fanatic. If you have 4 jack-o-lanterns side by side by side, it looks boring. A bale of straw acts as a platform to raise one above the rest, creating interest. I'm willing to pay a paltry $4 or $5 for something that not many people get to see in the city.

I'm not willing, however, to pay the outrageous prices that Fortino's charges for those beautiful fall annual/perennials: Mums.

A recent trip to Fortino's for Halloween candy was a complete bust. Not only was their candy selection sub-par, but their flower prices were insane! $12.99 for a 12" Mum. Now, that price might seem normal until you drive around and see that literally EVERYONE is selling Mums for $4.99. Sometimes they are 2 for $10, which is a deal because it usually means no tax. $12.99 might also seem like a pretty good price for a 12" pot, if that were actually true. The pots we saw at this grocery giant were no larger than 8 inches. So is it $12.99 for an 8" Mum? And are these Mums annual or perennial?

Annual or Perennial? Which is the right choice?

Last year Suz and I bought 4 annual Mums for less than $15.00. We planted them. They were pretty. They died. And we didn't care.

This year we decided to buy perennial Mums. We found 12" pots for $5.00 at a roadside set-up. We're happy to support these little businesses. Not only were their prices excellent, but their plants were twice the size of the pot, and about 3 times bigger than the wilted Mums at Fortino's.

What balls Fortino's must have to charge 138% more for plants that are a third of the size. And it's not like these other Mum's are some secret. They're on every street corner! The Fortino's owner and Managers must drive by half a dozen of these places on their way to work.

I don't know how they sleep at night, but I bet it's on a bed stuffed full of money.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Fall Harvest

Always remember to lift with your legs.

Reading Stephanie's blog last week, really got me in the Halloween spirit.

Suz and I had no plans for Thanksgiving this year, for the first time ever. We decided this would be a great weekend to partake in the fall harvest, so we drove up to Carluke Orchards to pick apples and pumpkins. Normally I would buy pumpkins from a roadside stand, but I've recently discovered the joy of wandering a mucky, weed-infested field in an attempt to find the best pumpkins I can for $5 each.

It beats paying $7 or $10 for a pre-picked monster-sized gourd. I don't know why some farms charge such an absurd amount for a pumpkin. Has the cost of pumpkin-growing gone up? Has the price of rainwater risen? What about the cost of sitting around and doing nothing all year while the orange guys grow all by themselves? Nope. That bothers me, and that is why I will gladly spend my money at a farm that does not take advantage of the season.

The first thing we did was hunt for pumpkins. We decided three would be good this year. After the cart was loaded, we went off in search of the sweetest, ripest, juiciest apples in all the land.

MacIntosh are my favourite, and I think they make the best pie, and apple crisp. The MacIntosh was first bred in a small town called Dundela, near Iroquois, Ontario. I have driven past this forgotten orchard numerous times when visiting the in-laws. The old trees are still there, but the land grows wild. There is a decrepit building on the property, abandoned. It's sad to see the birthplace of the MacIntosh apple so desolate.

But Red Delicious apples were in season this weekend, so with our basket loaded in our cart, we headed off into the orchard. We picked about 10 pounds of apples. One pound for pie, one for apple crumble, one for apple crisp, one pound for eating, and 6 pounds to chuck at passing cars.

For 20 bucks, we got away with 3 big pumpkins, 10 pounds of wasp-free apples, and 90 minutes of harvest fun in the warm sun. And we didn't have to fight the Thanksgiving grocery store chaos.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Landfill of the Future, Today

Freshly baked each morning!

Fresh from the computer farm, my workplace recieved about 56 Compaq Pentium IIs and PowerMac 8500s.

Still wrapped in glistening shipping plastic, these brand new state-of-the-art computers are sitting in a hallway in our building. I wish that I could take one home to replace my ailing Pentium II, which didn't boot again last night, causing me to relive the horror of Monday.

Again, I ripped the case open and fiddled with wires for about 45 minutes. I basically have no idea what I'm doing. I unplug wires, then plug them back in. I smack the computer around, and push the button. I jam forks into ports and whisper things like, "I'm going to lick your USB port!"

When I finally got it booted again, I decided to leave it on. I HATE wasting electricity, but I do not want to lose this information, or my ability to blog.

Approx. 6,000 lbs of garbage.In actuality, these computers, their respective monitors, printers, external thingymadoeys and assorted computer stuffs are being thrown in the garbage. Sort of. Really, they're being recycled. Any reuseable parts are being reused, and the rest.... garbage. The funny thing is, some of these computers being tossed are faster and newer than the one I have to work on. Remember 1991.... Anybody?

It's funny how thousands of dollars worth of technology can become landfill in only 2 or 3 years. Who would have thought the future could come and go so quickly?

I have never thrown a computer or computer part away. I have been able to sell whatever I had at garage sales to very young children. Even if I get $10 for my entire system, I don't mind, as long as it's not going to the dump.

Cellphones pose the same problem, but luckily, they're a lot smaller. After I cancelled my cell service (Read about that here), I kept my phone. I refuse to throw it out. I could possibly use it as a prop someday, or throw it at somebody, or something. Who knows.

We seriously have to find a way to recycle these millions of large, outdated computers efficiently. If not, I know a place we could dump them...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

RBG Gets Dumped On

Dinosaur poop probably looked like this, without the bricks.
It's a 6-ton slap in the face for the already cash-strapped RBG.

In yesterday's newspaper there was a story about a mystery dumper who dumped a second load of heavy clay and constuction debris on the beautiful RBG lands just around the corner from my house.

Six tons of crap was dumped right on the heels of an expensive clean up of the same area. One week earlier the same mystery dumper broke the law, and dumped clay and construction debris here in this conservation area. The ground was flatted by heavy machinery, and the culprit's tracks blended in with the tracks of the clean-up crew.

Conservation land instantly turned into Tree Cemetery.From the road it doesn't look so bad, but up close, it's a mess. The ground is covered in crushed, dead plants. In this special reforestation area, tiny saplings lay in the grass, crushed, like murdered children. White plastic sheaths wrapped around their tiny trunks to protect them from hungry rabbits were no match for the industrial equipment that ravaged the land.

The police are appealing to joggers, bikers and rollerbladers who frequent this recreation area to come to them with any information. Somebody must have seen the truck that did this. It would have been very obviously out-of-place in our peaceful, quiet old neighbourhood, in the middle of these conservation lands.

Remember my awful Monday? Strangely enough, that night, when I drove off in my Talon, I stopped in front of this very same muddy, flattened area. I contemplated taking my all-wheel-drive Talon into the field to tear around in the mud to work off steam, hillbilly style. I assumed there was construction taking place, and no one would mind my little escapade. I had no idea what was about to happen that night. He came, he squatted, and deposited a load worthy of Al Bundy.

I wonder if I had hung around, would I have caught the evil dumper dumping his load of crap?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Here I Am. Learn About Me.

Death to Pineapple, Martini-style.

With all the troubles I've had this week, including my computer having a near-death experience, I have spent most of my time fixing things and working off steam instead of coming up with interesting things to write about. So here's something boring.

You can thank RainyPete for this.

7 things I want to do before I die:
(in no particular order)

1. United States Road Trip.
I would love to take a couple months off work, drive through every mainland U.S. State, and tack little red pins into a map of where I was.

2. Jump something big.
Knight Rider-style.

3. Visit Japan.
And take lots of pictures.

4. Carve a gun out of a bar of soap.

5. Write a Book.
My sister and I have SUPER ideas for kids' books. Even adults have read our little 'books' and loved them. I think we will pursue it.

6. Relax.
I never relax. Just ask Suz.

7. Fake my own Death.

7 things I cannot do:
1. Bear Children.
Oh wait. This actually may be possible now, due to the recent U.K. woman whose baby developed outside the womb.

2. Sit still.
I am a 'Pacer'. I can't sit still. I'm always doing something.

3. Lie.
I suppose I can twist things slightly, but every time I try to lie, I fumble and just fall apart.

4. Can't Stop Eating Ice Cream!
oOoOoOoOh, I love it too much.

5. Hang up on Telemarketers.
As much as they infuriate me, I can't do what my mom does. She slams the phone down, sometimes after yelling at them first. I feel bad that they have tough jobs, and even though I feel it is an invasion of privacy, I simply let them ramble until they're done, and say "no thanks."

6. Feign Intrest.
If you're talking to me about something I don't care about, I'm going to be bored. Deal with it.

7. Walk.
Okay, I have the ability to walk, but I can't walk far, without excruciating pain in my feet, which eventually forces me to crawl around like a baby, even in public places. So I sit a lot.

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex:

1. Intelligence.
I can't stand stupid people. I think Suz is smarter than me in a lot of ways.

2. Teeth.
There are a couple of different things I love about teeth. I have NO idea where this came from, but there is one particular 'style' of teeth I love. Kirsten Dunst has them. So does Avril Lavigne.

3. Girlyness.
I like girls who like to be girly and cute. I don't want a manly girl who can bench press me or beat up the guy who stole my glasses.

4. Eyes
I like eyeballs. Nice big round eyeballs.

5. Um... Physical Attributes.
Not talkin' about eyeballs.

6. Sense of Humour.
I'm funny. I'm sometimes a little wacky. It's nice when someone can appreciate those things with me, and not think I'm totally insane.

7. Voice.
Some voices grate on me. Some are so horrible they seem to attack my nervous system and make me want to rip my ears off and gouge my eyes out. If a girl has a rotten voice, I might as well be dead.

7 things that I say most often:

1. "Actually..."
I try not to use it so much, but it just works in so many situations.

2. "Oh, you gotta be kidding me!"
I say this when I have bad luck. Like when stuff happens that is totally impossible: Like when things seem to defy the laws of gravity, like when I put my keys down on top of my wallet, which is flat, but somehow they fall off, and land on the glass table, which is flat, yet they somehow are able to slide along the flat surface until they fall off the edge, as if the table is slanted, then land on the ground and somehow "roll" backwards 2 feet under the table, as if I put English on them. English. On keys. Yes, these things seem to happen to me a lot.

3. "The Internet eh? Maude eh?"
These Simpsons lines get triggered in my brain every time someone says "eh?"

4. "Unh!"
I grunt and point when I don't have enough time to say things like, "could you please pass me one of those coasters so that I can put my burning hot cup of tea on it?"

5. "Friggin Hell!"
I say this when crap happens. Crap happens a lot.

6. "I dunno."
This answer is unacceptable to Suz. But it's true. There are lots of things I don't know.

7. "Haro, Meesta Industry?"
I have many barrel for you.

7 celebrity crushes:
I don't think I have any, any more, but I used to. Let's see what I can come up with.

1. Kirsten Dunst. Pre-Spiderman.

2. Rachel Blanchard (and she's from Toronto!)

3. Gwen Stefani

4. Jolene Blalock

5. Rachel Leigh Cook

6. Bjork

7. Shirley Manson

7 people I want to do this:

1. Michael Jackson

2. David Hasselhoff

3. Professor Frink

4. The Cookie Monster

5. Mr. Nakamura

6. Your Mom

7. The girl on the Raisin box

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Monday to End All Mondays

STR-DE997 top left, and STR-DE925, a part of history.

Yesterday was a nightmare, and not the good kind.

After what I can safely say was one of the worst days I've ever had, I went home to relax and forget about the day's troubles, maybe with a drink. I never got around to that drink.

Upon my arrival I greeted Suz halfheartedly due to my complete lack of energy. That quickly changed as I discovered she was watching TV, and sound was only coming out of the right speaker. Three weeks to my big Halloween bash, and my Sony receiver, the first ever to have Dolby Digital and DTS surround processing, was shot!

Before I condemned the 5.1 receiver, I did a test. I hooked up the left speaker to the right side, and got sound. The speaker was functioning properly. I then put in a DVD to test the inputs. TV audio was screwed, but maybe it was just that input! Days of Thunder roared through 4 of the 5 speakers. The left one had nothing. I decided the receiver was shot, one year past its 5-year warranty.

Furious that my Sony STR-DE925 had become a $1,100 paper-weight, I drove off in my Talon. A good drive usually calms me down. When I came back I remembered that EHR had a 7.1 Sony home theatre receiver on sale for half price. It was 7:45, so I figured they were closed. I called them anyway, hoping for a recording that would tell me their hours. Instead I got a live person, and he declared that they were open until 9 p.m. to serve the late-night home-theatre crowd.

I jumped back in my Talon, with EHR as my destination. I begrudgingly bought the exact Sony receiver that was on sale and came home. I had spent 10 minutes buying it, and I hated every minute. I didn't want this receiver. And I didn't want to buy one in haste. Shopping for electronics is supposed to be a joyful occasion. I'm supposed to have butterflies in my stomach when I pick up my new technological wonder.

When I got home, I tried to hook everything up, and discovered, to my dismay, that this "technological wonder" did not have an optical input for DVD players! CD, yes. MiniDisc, yes. TV, yes. Satellite, yes. Tape - that's right TAPE DECK, yes. But not for DVD.

Except for that, things went smoothly, until I turned the TV on. My day just went from worse, to even more worse. No sound out of the left speaker. "What the HELL is going on here?!!" I screamed in my own head.

I plugged in a DVD, and got full surround sound from all 5 speakers. I pulled the audio cables from the Motorola cable box. They were fine. Conclusion? Motorola cable box, 11 months old, shot.

Coincidence? Both the reciever AND the cable box lost left audio at the same time. It's hard to believe, but apparently true.

At 12:18 a.m. I had dinner, exactly eleven hours since lunch.

I went upstairs to save a few pictures to my computer. I turned it on. Nothing. I pressed the button again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. 50 times, 50 nothings. Furious, but cautious not to wake Suz, I ripped the case open and began fiddling with wires. 40 minutes later, my computer booted. I saved a few pictures for today's blog, and maybe tomorrow's, then shut it off, putting an end to my wonderful day, and my ability to blog, possibly.

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Interac Cheaters

Always protect your PIN # by telling the people behind you to look away.Lately I've noticed a lot of commercials for Interac. Has anybody else?

It dawned on me after the third commercial, or thereabouts. "This is stupid!" I thought. The Interac people are advertising themselves. But why? That's like advertising money.

"Money! Use it to buy things."
"Is that parking meter flashing? Just insert some money, in round metallic form."
"Need milk? Don't steal it. Simply use money to buy it!"
"Want a Halloween costume? You can buy one with money."
"Don't forget about money. It is great for buying pie!"

The only thing more stupid than advertising money would be advertising air. "Remember to inhale air when you wake up tomorrow!" and so on and so forth. Who pays for this advertising? Who makes money off of air? Nobody.

Ah, so who makes money off of Interac? The Interac people. When I use Interac, I don't pay the Interac people. The business that I made my purchase at does. So, why are the Interac people advertising on TV, to me? Are they stupid?

I've decided they're not. And here's why. If people are always aware that Interac exists, they will likely use it. If Interac advertises, people remember. If people remember, people use. If people use, Interac makes money.

But then there are those few greedy businesses who actually charge you to use their Interac machine. They don't want to pay the Interac fees, the normal fees any business has to pay in order to compete in the modern world. That's completely backwards, and totally greedy.

To those unethical businesses who are "cheating" and making us consumers pay their normal business fees, I have this to say: Screw somebody else. I'll use this new thing called "money."


This many people accidentally stumbled upon my site
...while searching for porn.