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

Monday, July 31, 2006

Drive-In Movie Madness

You, Me and Dupree, as viewed from our Insight.

One summer night, between my last year of high school and my first year of college, I witnessed a drive-in movie screening of the worst movie ever made in the history of moviedom: Baby's Day Out.

The movie was so moronic that it actually infurated me to the point that I had to get out of the van, go to the washrooms and smash my head against the concrete wall, which was a billion times more fun and a billion times less painful than watching John Hughes' creation.

Thankfully I did not gouge my eyes out with forks that evening, which would have disabled my vision, and thus, not allowed me to watch the late night feature: True Lies.

That was 12 long years ago. I'm happy to report that the Drive-In theatre has survived, however, the calibre of movie being made by Hollywood has not improved.

Last week I ran into our old next-door neighbour. We only spent an hour catching up, but a lot of ground was covered. Listen, I know this might seem boring to you, but stop whining and keep reading. There is a point to this and here it comes: Her boyfriend, whom we had only met a couple of times, owns all of the drive-in theatres in the Toronto GTA and a few beyond. He is in the middle of converting our nearby drive-in to a multi-screen drive-in theatre. They were looking for some honest opinions on the condition of the theatre, and gave Suz and I a complimentary pass in exchange for our observations.

We arrived at the drive-in around 9:20 p.m for a triple showing. 3 movies? Madness! Approximately 5 minutes later the first movie began. Although Owen Wilson is an annoying knob, You, Me and Dupree was extremely amusing and receives one medium-sized thumb up. Had someone like Steve Martin replaced Owen Wilson as Dupree, I'm confident that I would have given the film two medium-sized thumbs up.

The second movie of the evening, which I was looking forward to the most, was difficult to watch. No, not because of fogged-up windows, but because it was so incredibly boring. Miami Vice had no style, no suspense, no great music, no emotion, no feeling at all. I felt dead watching it. Michael Mann did a fabulous job making Miami Vice so boring and lifeless.

At least a quarter of the movie was filmed with a shaking Handycam. I suppose this was supposed to make it feel more gritty and raw, but in actuality, it made the film feel cheap. Kind of like a really, really bad episode of COPS where your mom gets arrested for stealing cheese in her night gown.

More disappointment is coming your way if you were a fan of the character Tubbs, as he's barely in the movie for 15 minutes. Crockett is the focus. And it is a boring focus. This suspenseless movie will have you shaking your head, wondering how it ever got the green light. Michael Mann, if you are reading this, TAKE A FILM CLASS, PLEASE.

Sorry. Heat was great. Collateral was great. Miami Vice made me wish I was still watching You, Me and Dupree.

We would have loved to stay for the final feature: The Break Up, but Miami Vice drained us of all our energy. We were zombies and all we wanted to do was go home, fall asleep and try to forget what we just watched. Or didn't watch. I don't know because nothing happened.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Martini's Guide To Eating Twix

Shouldn't the 4-pack of Twix be called Quads? or Quix?

There is an art to eating Twix, as Patti-Cake subconsciously pointed out in a comment yesterday. I thought this was a shocking coincidence to the way I eat Twix, so today I present: How To Eat Twix, Martini-Style.

There isn't really an improper way to eat a Twix bar, but there are a number of ways so boring or mainstream that they are frowned upon by the Twix-eating community. This guide will help you be more awesome in your daily Twix eating adventures.

Once you've purchased your Twix bar, keep it in a cool place until you arrive at home. If you've purchased the dual pack, two thumbs up. If you've purchased the Quad pack, four thumbs up. Don't ask where the other thumbs came from.

Everything is better cold, right guys?The first thing to do is place your Twix into the fridge for about an hour. Any fridge will do, so long as it's not working in reverse. During this hour, you could sit down and watch a rerun of Star Trek: The Next Generation or perhaps Xena: Warrior Princess, or any other TV show that might have a colon in the title. (On a personal note, the "Time Squared" episode of Star Trek: TNG is a particular favourite. Double the Picards = double the awesomeness.)

When the show is over and you've learned a valuable moral lesson, go to the fridge and take out your Twix bars. For the first few minutes the Twix will sweat. Eating the Twix during the sweating phase is sticky and rather unenjoyable. Therefore, you must let them sit for about 10 minutes before you eat them. This will allow them to acclimatize to your eating environment.

You can make the typewriter 'tik tik tik tik, DING' noise if you want.Has ten minutes passed? Good! Now it's time to eat. Take the Twix and hold it like you would a cob of corn. Make sure the caramel side is pointing upwards. Take a bite mid-Twix, carefully using your bottom teeth to scrape the caramel up from the cookie. DO NOT BREAK THE COOKIE!

With practice, this will become second nature and you won't have to look or guess where the caramel starts. Continue eating the caramel, being sure to leave a small ball of it on each end. Now, start at one end, and eat the rest of the Twix the way you would normally eat a chocolate bar, bite after bite. Caramel, cookie, cookie, caramel.

Great! You've done it! You have learned how to eat a Twix: Martini Style. And I am very proud of you.

If any of you would like to post pictures of yourselves eating Twix, I would not be opposed to that.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Twix Ice Cream Review

In Martini-land, this box contains about 15 minutes of ice cream.

Twix has always been my favourite chocolate bar, followed closely by Cadbury's Crunchie. And Breyer's, in recent years, has become my favourite ice cream. So what happens when an 18-wheeler full of Breyers Vanilla ice cream collides with a transport truck full of Twix bars? No, not two dead truckers.....

Twix Ice Cream.

I bought this carton of Twix ice cream on sale for $3.99. The regular price is well above $5, so this sale price was a deal. However, it's not quite as good of a deal as one might think. Yes, the price is great, but a close inspection of the carton reveals that it's not the standard 2 litre container. Nope, it's only 1.89 litres, and that's how they get you.

Regardless of the size of the carton, it's still full of sweet, cold Twix ice cream. The packaging reads "Vanilla Ice Cream with TWIX® Caramel Cookie Bar Chunks, Caramel and Fudge Swirls, and Cookie Pieces"

As a lover of packaging, I usually spend a few minutes admiring the artwork and reading even the most unimportant print. But not this time. Before I could even get the carton out of the grocery bag, I was digging in. As an ice cream junkie, the withdrawl is unbearable.

The jitters soon stopped and I was able to control myself long enough to inspect the ice cream properly. Here's what I discovered:

Twix ice cream is mostly standard, non-all-natural vanilla ice cream. Which is fine. Because Breyers makes some damn good ice cream. Throughout the vanilla swirls a stream of goopy caramel. Alongside the caramel is a thin swirl of fudge. Mmmm, fudge-a-mo! And deeper inside the ice cream are many small balls of Twix cookie.

There are no cookie bar chunks AND cookie pieces. There are only these cookie balls. Breyers seems to have named the same thing twice, tricking consumers into thinking there's more in the box. But it doesn't really matter, as there are balls-a-plenty, coated in chocolate to prevent the ice cream from penetrating the cookie and sogging it all up.

If you're lucky enough to get all four sweet ingredients in your mouth at the same time, you will explode with joy. Unless you hate Twix bars. In which case I ask you: why are you eating this ice cream, you twit? On the other hand, if you don't get all four ingredients into your mouth at the same time, you might be disappointed. It doesn't taste like Twix unless you have everything in your mouth. In fact, most of the time you'll just get a great big mouthful of plain vanilla, which is fine if you like vanilla.

But be patient. The bottom of the carton holds the treasure. At least mine did. The entire bottom was full of Twix cookie balls and the chocolate ribbon. It was like eating freezing cold Twix bars! Which is another reason I loved this ice cream so much.

Whenever I buy a chocolate bar, I stick it in the fridge for a few hours first. In fact, I do that with almost everything. Cold food just tastes better. If Breyers were to make vanilla ice cream with brussell sprout swirls, I'd probably love it. I know. I'm weird. Deal with it.

Also, check out this Skor ice cream review.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Cadbury Crunchie Con

The mice are getting bigger. And smarter. And now they're on a sugar high!

I'm tired of corporations cheaping-out on their products. At this point I'm not saying that Cadbury, once an A+ company, has cheaped-out on their fabulous Crunchie bar, but let's look at the overwhelming evidence against them.

In recent months Suz and I have noticed something. The chocolate surrounding their Crunchie bar has diminished in quality severely. It tastes like the "water chocolate" Easter bunny that your cheap uncle Stan used to buy for you when you were nine.

However, the Cadbury website claims that the chocolate surrounding the Crunchie bar is "rich, creamy 'Dairy Milk' milk chocolate."

What a load.

Suz and I purchased a Dairy Milk bar for testing purposes. It was a 100 g. bar, and it cost $1.77. Our objective was to determine if the chocolate on the Crunchie bar is what Cadbury claims - "Dairy Milk" chocolate. We tasted the chocolate with a scientific mindset and told our tastebuds to judge it fairly. We quickly realized it was far superior to the Crunchie chocolate, and that the two were not the same at all. The Results of our Experiment: It was most definitely not the same chocolate enveloping the Crunchie bar, and Suz had something to say about that.

To: Consumer.Relations@brandspeoplelove.com
Dear Cadbury,

Your chocolate is the most delicious in all the world, but sadly I've recently noticed a change in my favourite bar, the Crunchie. It seems the chocolately coating is not the same Cadbury chocolate that it used to be. Is a different, inferior chocolate now being used to coat the Crunchie bar? If so, please add my letter to the pile that I can only assume is growing, and once a sizeable mound of mail has accumulated, please heave it onto the president's desk.

In all seriousness, can you tell me if this is a permanent change or if there is some hope for the original Crunchie's return?

Yours truly,

And their reply, which they should be thoroughly embarrassed about:

Dear Suz,

Thank you for contacting us about Cadbury Crunchie. Your comments and inquiries are appreciated because they provide valuable feedback about our brands. Cadbury Schweppes has been making great brands that people love for more than 200 years. We are proud of our family of beverage and confectionery products and are committed to providing a wide range of choices for all individuals.

We will forward your comments to our Marketing Department for review.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We hope that you will continue to purchase and enjoy our products.

Consumer Relations


Um, what? We didn't ask for a history lesson here. What kind of customer service is that? The nameless customer service rep, probably afraid to be fired if he used his real name in that ridiculous excuse for an answer, sidestepped the issue entirely. But the rep made an even bigger mistake. He didn't deny the chocolate recipe change. And we all know what that means... It's true.

So, what did they think? That they could quietly slip this inferior chocolate bar onto our shelves? Did they think their life-long customers were a bunch of stupid twits who wouldn't notice? Did they think we would still buy their crappy chocolate bar? Well.... yeah, I guess they did. Boy, were they wrong.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Why The Geese Died

Goose-a-mo's! Or Goosingtons. Whichever you prefer.

Sometimes I'm wrong, and sometimes I'm right. I was wrong about Chocolate Lucky Charms, but I was right about the dead Canada Geese that I wrote about two weeks ago. Pesticides did not kill the 14 Canada Geese and ducks that died so tragically that weekend.

The "experts" suspected the birds had eaten grass soaked in pesticides. I am not an expert, but I knew this was practically impossible. Why? Because I use a thing called logic.

First of all, what are the odds that the 14 Canada Geese and ducks happened across some tasty grass which had, just minutes earlier, been sprayed with pesticides? I'm going to be extremely conservative here and say it's 1 in 1,000 - assuming that, out of about half a million people in the surrounding area, a mere 1,000 of them sprayed pesticides on their properties that day.

Now, what are the chances that those same 14 Canada Geese and ducks who ate the above-mentioned deathgrass flew to the exact same location and then began dying? Let's say that's also 1 in 1,000.

And finally, what are the chances that I could get a guest-spot on Lost?

Okay, seriously now. What are the odds that both of these events happened? No, it's not 1 in 2,000. It's actually 1 in 1,000,000. Yes, one in one million. Here's how you do it (according to Jodster, who only got a 52 in grade 11 math). You take 1,000 and multiply it by 1,000 to get the correct, combined odds.

One in a million? Yup. Now check this out: The odds of you being struck by lightning in your lifetime are 1 in 5,000. Yes, you read that correctly. If you don't believe me, check it out here. The odds of fataly slipping in the shower are 1 in 2,232. The odds of getting Hemmorhoids? 25 to 1. Odds of having your identity stolen? 1 in 200.

So much for the experts.

Tests were conducted on the dead birds last week, proving my correctness. The tests were done at the University of Guelph by Dr. Doug Campbell. The tests ruled out pesticides as well as many viruses. There was no conclusive result, however, it is strongly believed that Botulism, specifically type C, killed the Canada Geese and the ducks. Botulism is caused by bacteria which produces a nerve toxin that paralyses muscles, which explains why the Geese could not keep their heads above the water.

Humans are unaffected by type C botulism. But sadly, adorable little fluffy guys like this gosling are, and there's nothing we can do about it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Chocolate Lucky Charms

If you aren't this excited before you start eating them, the sugar will take care of that.

I need to apologize. In a previous post, here, I stated that we Canadians were not lucky enough to get Chocolate Lucky Charms; that we were stuck with the original frosted format only. I was in a mild slump about being wrong, so I travelled up to Georgetown for cereal jollies.

Seems that we cereal-loving Canadians just had some purple horseshoes shoved up our collective ass, because we are now able to purchase the amazing new Chocolate Lucky Charms in local food emporiums.

But don't be fooled. This cereal is not a sugary blast into the past. It won't bring back warm memories of watching the short-lived "Rubik's Cube" on Saturday mornings, or even "Thundarr The Barbarian". This is a new cereal, and what it will do is create new memories.

The box, which is now brown instead of red to represent the cereal's unknown chocolate heritage, has a small banner which says "New!" I read the box backwards and couldn't find any subliminal messages or any indication that tiny Irish Leprauchaun's actually enjoy this cereal. But I can assure you that it's chocolately deliciousness will be enjoyed by children everywhere.

The marshmallows are the same you'd find in a standard box of Lucky Charms, or 'Frosted' Lucky Charms for you old-schoolers out there. The cereal bits are the same odd shapes that make no sense to me, however, the frostedness has been replaced by chocolate. And for an extra little treat, the chocolate turns the milk into chocolate milk. It makes left-over milk-slurping extra delicious.

When I first saw Chocolate Lucky Charms in the U.S.A., I wasn't sure if it would be good. I wasn't sure if the sugary flavour of the marshmallows would blend well with the chocolateyness of the cereal bits. But luckily, the 'mallows aren't fruity. They're just sugary. And everybody knows sugar goes well with sugar.

General Mills suggests 125 ml of milk. I suggest you combine Chocolate Lucky Charms with cartoons as soon as possible.

New Chocolate Lucky Charms: Nine drunk, gold-hording Leprauchauns out of 10.

Friday, July 21, 2006

I Found Ten Dollars

No, this colourful bill is not Monopoly money.

With Suz's bro in town, we needed to do something neat-o instead of hanging around watching TV. So we all decided to see Superman Returns at the Super-Mega-UltraPlex.

If you're expecting a review of the movie, sorry. Okay, okay, if you haven't seen Superman Returns yet, here are a couple of tidbits: The CG is extremely good, unlike 99% of all movies that use it. In terms of CG, My biggest qualm was Supes' cape. The glossy CG cape was lameass, and looked practically like leather. Don't expect a big action-packed blockbuster here. The movie is more soap operaish. However, the plane scene: PHE. NOM. E. NAL.

When the show ended at roughly 1 a.m., the herd of moviegoers exited the theatre and poured into the washrooms, which left us at the front of the pack. Right in front of the desolate exit doors I saw a nice purple 10 dollar bill laying on the floor. I picked it up and smiled. "This just paid for my movie ticket," I thought.

The 10 dollar bill has a picture of Sir John A. MacDonald on it. This Scotland-born dude was Canada's very first Prime Minister, from 1867 to 1873. Even through personal tragedy, he worked very hard to build our country. In 1878 he was reelected and served as Prime Minister until 1891. He died, while still in office, June 6, 1891.

I'm glad I found 10 dollars. Sir John A. probably wouldn't approve, but I'm going to spend my 10 dollars on candy. He can't stop me. He's dead.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

An Injured Bird

Holding a small injured bird is like holding a small injured beaked mouse.

Who would have thought that the simple act of opening their back door would result in the chaos that could inspire an Itchy & Scratchy script? Not me. That's who.

Upon opening my back door to allow the kitties to romp in the grass, I unleashed a murderous black beast, known as Roner. She scampered down the hot concrete stairs, chasing a hopping brown blur. The blur turned out to be an injured bird.

After a brief chase, I was able to catch the bird. I don't know what kind of bird this is. I'm totally dense when it comes to these common brown birds. There are just so many, and they're so boring, that I've never been inspired to learn what any of them are. Suzanne told me what it was, and the word sparrow faintly drifts through my grey matter, but now I can't remember what she said. It might be old age setting in. I am 30 after all.

I brought the bird inside to surprise Suz. I named him Sir Birdington. I showed Suz the reason why he was hopping instead of flying. His wing wasn't exactly broken, but it appeared as though the muscles had torn away from the side of his body. There was a round spot of exposed, dry muscle, about the size of a quarter. There was no blood.

Tossed Bird Salad: First, in your kitchen sink, wash the dirt from the fresh bird... Sir Birdington squirmed and squiggled. It was difficult to hold onto him so I dropped him into our sink, where he sat contently. I was hoping he would drink some water out of the ice cream scoop, but he decided to stand on the giant spoon instead, with his left wing hanging low.

We had recently been to the vet because stupid Roner went and got her ears all bit to hell by mosquitoes. She scratched until she bled and we didn't know what was going on. The vet sold us a tiny tube of (insert scientific word here) which is a steroid and antibiotic specifically manufactured for animal use. We glopped some of this goo onto Sir Birdington's exposed muscle and I walked into the back sunroom, heading towards the back door.

Disaster! Sir Birdington shot out of my hands like a wet bar of soap and plopped onto the floor inches from Roner's face.... and I have (almost) never seen anything so scary in my life.

It took 0.2 seconds for Roner's eyes to turn solid black and her claws to shoot 5 inches out of her paws, as she transformed into some bulging werewolf-like panther-thing. Sir Birdington frantically hopped into the corner while Roner pounced. Death was immenent. I lunged at the same moment, and grabbed her normally flabby body directly out of the air. Her claws dug in and she squirmed free and charged again. I grabbed her again, fearing there would be a revolting decapitation in the next moment, and squeezed. Her claws scrambled and she flailed around erratically.

Holding her away from my body, like a baby who was just about to blow milk chunks everywhere, I tossed her into the back hall and closed the door. Sir Birdington was saved! I set him outside and let him hop through the fence into my neighbour's sanctuary-like yard, loaded with bird feeders and other birds.

The SPCA told us they would have simply put the bird to sleep if they came out there. So we did what we could and we now hope for the best. I'm pretty doubtful the poor bird will live. I think we only postponed the inevitable. How do you save an injured bird?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Our Insight Passed Inspection

Aluminum doors and plastic panels require desolate parking.

It's official! Our U.S.-spec Honda Insight has officially met Canadian safety standards according to Canadian officials, and our papers were stamped - officially! A round of Yays!

Saturday morning we brought our 2006 Insight avec CVT transmission to Canadian Tire for our Federal Inspection. We were very worried since some of the Canadian government's requirements were absolutely absurd, laughable, and contradictory to the Insight's entire design.

For example, the government required us to install a child seat safety-tether anchor. This requirement is ludicrous for exactly 2 reasons, the first of which is that the car already came from the manufacturer with one, and secondly, because it goes against all recommendations to put an infant in the front seat of a car with an airbag. Since the Insight is only a two-seater, common sense dictates that no child should ride in the Insight. Even the Honda manual states that no child under 12 should be riding in this car. Honda knows it's dangerous, yet the Canadian government, despite acknowledging the danger, still says it's okay, and even requires a tether anchor in place making it all the more easier, tempting even, for brainless mothers to strap in their unfortunate offspring.

What makes this tether anchor rule even more insane is that it only applies to non-convertible cars. Yes, that's right. We Canadians are allowed to endanger the life of our young 'uns in a convertible, but not in a roofed car. If this car were a convertible, it would not require the child seat safety-tether anchor. Babies everywhere are allowed to go flying out of crashing convertible Saab 9-3s, Mustangs and Sebrings, but must be strapped safely in place in all other cars.

But this is moot. The anchor was already in place. Which brings me to the second point of my worry: Quebec. Another requirement was to add or replace all Airbag stickers with French ones - but only if the airbags required periodic maintenance, by a French Airbag Technician. Thankfully our Insight did not need us to check the airbag lubrication or top up the pressurized inflation tanks every 6 months, and therefore did not require the sticker change. Whew.

Finally, we were worried about our headlights. After the lil' mini-fiasco we had last week with the Daytime Running Lights modification, we were not sure if we'd pass this portion of the test. However, we did, to our immense relief.

The Canadian Tire employees, like much of the world, were unfamiliar with hybrids and did not know that all hybrid cars are exempt from Emissions tests. After a short explanation of the car, they cancelled the E-test and knocked $35 off the price of the Federal Inspection.

Paperwork in order, Suz went to the Ministry of Transportation, happily forked over about $2,000 in PST, and slapped her new Ontario plates on the Insight. The forking over of the $2,000 would not seem like a happy moment to most people, but another unique Hybrid-rule comes into play which not many people know about. The Ontario goverment reimburses all PST paid on hybrid cars as an incentive to purchase them.

Amazing. After all the backwardsness and insanity that the goverment is famous for, it's encouraging to know they've done one thing that makes sense.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Krazy Karaoke

Karaoke performed in perfect Japanese tradition: with plenty o' alcohol.

This past weekend Suz and I grabbed our friends Guy McDude and Krevin, and headed deep into the studenty realm of Waterloo for a night of drunken Karaoke. We joined forces with Suz's cousin Vicki and her guy, Ryan, first.

Before we headed out to the Silver Spur, Mr. McDude and myself enjoyed a high-scoring game of Baseball on the sweet Atari 2600. With a score of 27-15, we flipped it off, left the house, and headed over to the parking garage. Since it was after 10, the blast doors were down. Using our cunning, we snuck inside the barricaded garage and were able to spring one of our cars.

Ryan and I were the unfortunate ones who got locked inside. The doors were down, and we could not acquire another ticket to use for an escape. A quick phone call to the emergency number posted on the wall, and Ryan was able to set us free.

A few minutes later we rendezvous'd at the Spur and Krevin began pouring over the song lists. I didn't really notice what anybody else was doing, as I was distracted by all the flashing and glittering lights.

Yaaa!Vicki took the stage early and cranked out a super wicked No Doubt song: Sunday Morning. It's one of their most awesome songs for sure, and Vicki's version was kickass. I know when something is sung in a goodly manner because it makes my feet all tappy.

Not long after it was Krevin's turn to take the Karaoke stage. He sang a couple of songs, in some order that I'm not sure of, but at one point he did a slamming version of Better Man, which garnered my approval large. And that's saying a lot since I'm not typically an Alternative Music fan.

In between the good songs, there were a few jokers who vomited out horrific renditions of whatever songs they were attempting, making the good singers seem all the better. I took it all in, along with some nachos (Mmm, nachamos!) and potato skins (Mmm, taytamo skins!) for prices so rock bottom they were subterranean.

Slowly and slowly our table filled with beer bottles. Some were bought, some were singing prizes. The night went on and the Spur filled. Krevin showed us the pair of Wakestock tickets he won. Then Vicki scared us all by revealing her hidden talent. First she bent her thumbs back. Then she bent all her fingers sideways. Then, under her command, we all took turns playing with her thumbs.

It gave me the willy nillies, like when you chew on the sleeve of a cotton sweater and it squeaks. AAAAH! At least if her singing career doesn't take off, she can always join the Freak Show at the circus. Yowza!

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Cereal House

Cereal: the perfect Saturday-morning-cartoons companion.

In a world of global warming, deadly war and oil crisiseses, The Cereal House is an oasis that will bring you back to your childhood, where your worries were much more piddly: missing an episode of The Smurfs, your sister stealing your Big League Chew, and getting smacked.

Cereal Cafés are becoming huge in the U.S., but here in Canada, they haven't quite caught on yet. The Cereal House is one of the first - and - as a cereal freak, I am proud to say that, after waiting outside their door for 20 minutes, I was their very first customer, ordering the very first bowl of cereal, and handing them their very first $3 bucks.

On Friday, July 14, 2006 I walked through front door of The Cereal House, along with about 8 others. I approached the counter with adrenaline coursing through my legs and said, "I'd like a bowl of Lucky Charms, with 1% milk please." They didn't have the 1% milk yet, so I settled for Skim. (2% just tastes like cream to me). It was all very official. The girl behind the counter asked if I'd like the regular bowl or the junior bowl, and if I'd like any toppings.

Toppings included fruit, like blueberries, and candy, like M&M's, gummy bears, and almost anything else you can imagine. As a cereal connoisseur, I didn't go for the toppings. I decided on the Junior bowl, as I suspected that my cereal would begin to sog too early in the enormous "Regular" bowl, and sog is bad. The girl, proudly smiling away, poured the milk into my bowl, and handed it to me.

I sat down at the back of the café, admiring the interior design, and watched as the staff of four served the line of customers who came after me. The café was much like a kitchen, with beautiful, classy cabinets and amazing rich colours on the walls. The atmosphere was warm and happy, and way tons much more pleasant than the Second Cup down the street which was utterly ruined by a horrific renovation/"rejuvenation" which backfired.

Afterwards, I took my empty bowl to the counter and placed it into the sink where the owner, Nazli Eroglu, was standing. She asked me how I liked everything, and we chatted a bit. I told her the place was beautiful, and asked her if she could get cereal from the United States. She said she could get almost anything.

"If you could get Frankenberry, and advertise it, I bet you'd get a ton of Mac students in here." I said. "It's usually hard to get because it only comes out at Halloween, but you can order it on Amazon.com" I told her. She seemed very enthusiastic about the idea, and said she would try.


If The Cereal House lasts, they'll probably look back 2 decades from now and say, "Thank you to all our customers over the years. It's been a long journey. Twenty years ago, the very first bowl of cereal we sold was Lucky Charms.... We didn't know it would kill you back then."

Then they'd lower my casket into the earth, with my grinning lifeless body clutching boxes of Lucky Charms and Frankenberry.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The DeLorean Prototype

DeLorean Prototype 1. Please don't have sex on the hood. Or touch it.

I'm one year old today, and because of how it all began, what better way to celebrate my blog's 1st anniversary than to showcase the DeLorean Prototype that graced the carpeted floors of the DuPage Expo centre at DCS 2006, after being 'lost' for 20 years in Bill Yacobozzi's garage.

This blog was originally intended to chronicle my DeLorean-related adventures, but since they are few and far between, I've found other interesting and personal things to write about in times of DMC drought.

The DeLorean Prototype unveiled at the 25th anniversary of the DeLorean was Prototype 1. There were a couple others, but this was the original. It was purchased by Tony Ierardi in 2004 for an undisclosed price, but estimated at about $102,000 U.S.

Tony spent two years restoring the car to its current super-awesome condition. According to Tony, parts had to be carefully disassembled and restored, as most components on the car a)have no replacements available, and b)were not designed to be taken apart.

Citroen = Citroawesome.The engine is still rear-mounted, and still French, however, it's not the familiar PRV V-6 that were used in production cars. I asked Tony about it. It's a 4 cylinder kickass Citroen engine, pumping out an economic 102 horsepower.

Okay, okay while 102 horsepower might seem utterly sad, the car only weighs 2,200 lbs, so it accelerates at approximately the same rate as the production cars according to Tony, who owns DeLorean Motor Company Florida.

The Prototype is insured for half a million dollars, and Tony is not allowed to drive it. Personally, I wouldn't be able to resist. I'd be as nervous as George Dubya in hell, but I'd simply have to drive it.

Interior designed by a Halloween lover??Although the stainless body panels and wheels are relatively different than those on the production DeLoreans, it's the interior that is the most drastically different. A sharp orangy tan, a go-kart-esque steering wheel, seats with tan fabric inserts, and a padded dashboard shelf are strikingly odd.

John DeLorean's daughter, Kathryn, knelt beside the driver's door and admired her father's work as I took her photo from the opposite side, through the open doors.

Prototype one is a one-of-a-kind part of automotive history that deserves every ounce of energy Tony has poured into her. All DeLorean owners should feel proud that Tony has restored the mother of their beloved DMC-12s.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Dark Side... Of Daytime Run Lights

Hamsar Daytime Running Light module. Not available in designer colours.

Come on try a little, Nothing is forever. There's got to be something better than in the middle. But me and Cinderella, we put it all together. We can drive it home with one headlight.

- The Wallflowers

Our poor U.S. spec Honda Insight suffered at the hands of an automotive electrician yesterday. The electrician was attempting to install Daytime Running Lights, as required by our stodgy Canadian Government, which resulted, basically, in one working headlight.

The Daytime Run Light law is retarded at best. The Canadian goverment decided to make it law that every car manufactured after 1989 had to have Daytime Running Lights. This "law" is obviously quite flexible, since my 1991 Talon does not have daytime running lights, nor do any cars with pop-up headlights. Furthermore, people continue to drive 1980's cars every single day. None of these cars have D.R.L., and the government is not forcing them to add that particular feature. So I have to ask... Why me? Why only new cars? Why aren't pop-up headlights illegal?

I don't know the answer to that question, but I'm sure it's just as shite as the D.R.L. law. Regardless, we still had to have Daytime Running Lights installed on our 2006 Honda Insight. We purchased the only kit available, made in Canada by Hamsar. The installation was done by experienced professionals at "Auto Electrics" as Suz likes to call them.

 'Made in Canada' means about as much to me as 'Made in Kabukistan.' When we picked up the car we noticed the lights were not working properly despite what the Auto Electrics guys told us. The driver's side D.R.L. was twice as bright as the passenger side, the lights on our gauges flickered on and off randomly, the tail lights did not function, and when we turned our headlights to the ON position, nothing changed. So, we left the car with the electrical gurus again.

When we picked up our car the second time, they assured us that everything was installed correctly, and that in its current state, the Insight would pass the Federal Inspection on Saturday. The tail lights were working and the dash lights stopped flickering, but the headlights remained compromised.

The Hamsar package states that the kit does not work with Geo, Mitsubishi or Subaru vehicles. It makes no mention of Honda. So, was Honda accidentally left off their list of incompatible cars? The electrical geniuses spent many extra hours double-checking their wiring, and they're brilliant, so it's doubtful that they've installed it incorrectly.

Once we pass the Federal Inspection for Imported Vehicles, I'm pulling the fuse on the Hamsar D.R.L. module. It just doesn't work properly and I don't want to risk an electrical short, fire or burned out headlights. If the government requires headlights on, I will bloody well turn on my headlights. It's not that complicated.

In the meantime, I've emailed Hamsar and asked them why this is happening. I await their reply.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Dead Canada Geese

Like, zooooooom!

Back in high school and college, I used to ride my bike every day. During the summer months I would wake up and be out of the house by 9 a.m. and wouldn't return until it was dark. I'd ride about a 100 kilometers a day, 7 days a week, even in the pouring rain. Over the course of 3 months, I would accumulate about 9,000 kms on my Rocky Mountain.

I stopped riding once I started working. I simply didn't have the time any more. But now that I live so close to conservation area, and a sweet path leading to our city's waterfront, I try to ride more and more.

The city planners made a smart move to enhance this area of our city. The path is always crowded with people walking, roller blading, and fishing. They're all smiling and enjoying the water and wildlife.

But this weekend during my bike ride, I saw that the people were not smiling. Some were crying, and some were in shock. If you read the newspaper the other day you may have seen the story about the dead Canada Geese and ducks. Well, I was there, and I saw the bodies. It was heartbreaking.

At first I was confused. I saw a group of 5 teenagers standing over the bodies of two dead Canada Geese. The teenagers were holding fishing rods and spoke solemnly amongst one another. The huge black & white geese, at a glance, looked like curled-up sleeping husky dogs. But as I got closer, I saw the sad truth.

I began to wonder if these teenagers had accidentally hooked the Canada Geese in their necks, and killed them. But that seemed extremely unlikely. I couldn't come up with a reason why the geese would be laying on the side of the path, dead.

Continuing on my way, I rode down to the Yacht club then began my trip home. When I approached the area where the geese lay, I saw they were gone, along with the teenagers. In their place was a police officer. He was putting something into the back of his police van. I almost stopped to ask him what happened, but figured he didn't have the time to talk.

The next day I read the news in the paper. Fourteen dead Canada Geese and ducks. The article stated that the birds died in great agony. Possibly from eating pesticide-soaked grass from another municipality. I find that hard to believe, but hopefully we'll know the truth soon.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Celebrating Italy's Win

Plenty o' flags today. Tomorrow, flag sale.

Along with the rest of the world our city celebrated Italy's World Cup win against those baguette-eating French dudes on the weekend, albeit in a smaller fashion. The Italian insanity clogged our main streets with pickup trucks full of flag-waving fans, and crowds of pedestrians revelling in Italy's glory.

It was too quiet where we live, so Suz and I decided to take a trip downtown to participate in the green, white and red craziness. Surrounded by deafening honking, we couldn't help but smile at all the screaming fans. My smile was a nervous one, as I worried incessantly about the T-boning I was certain we were going to experience in the maddening chaos.

"Hooray for us! Hooray for Italy!" came shouts of joy.

"Yaaaaa!" screamed others.

Fans celebrating Italy's world cup win, with strangers.People were hanging out of their minivans, standing up through their open sunroofs waving various sizes of Italian flags, and blasting their horns. Traffic barely moved. With severe intersection-blockage, we couldn't tell if people were honking in celebration of Italy, or in anger at the road-blockers.

In fact, there was so much horn action by the man behind us, that his horn actually died. It sounded like a teenager whose voice had just changed. The poor horn just couldn't handle the joy it was supposed to convey.

Behind us, a family of confused asian people seemed to be in quite the panic. After nudging their Toyota minivan back and forth, they finally were able to squeeze out of the jam, pull a U-turn, and blast off in another direction.

Suz hung herself out of our Insight to snap pictures of the overjoyed fans, even a few who posed for us. Friendliness and camaraderie were the words of the day in our downtown core. Strangers shook each other's hands and many a fist were shook - in happiness, not anger.

It was very exciting, but strange even more so, to see our depressed downtown transformed into this busy, friendly atmosphere when it is typically avoided by some, and feared by many. It's too bad the world cup doesn't occur more often, as a city like ours certainly benefits from the outcome.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Mystery Dumper

Mmmmm, poopalicious!

Now I know where my strawberries went. A close inspection of this rancid, mealy, mouldy, maggot-infested, George Dubya-esque pile of raccoon crap reveals a quantity of tiny strawberry seeds embedded within.

Roughly once a week a pile of fresh, steamy brown crap finds itself resting under my crabapple tree in my backyard. It is always in the exact same spot.

Because of the size of the pile, I estimate that a raccoon is doing his business rather than another animal such as a squirrel, deer or my eldery neighbours. I suspect this racoon is climing up the tree, and using my backyard has his personal shitter.

Colonal Coon to base camp: 'Target acquired sir! Bombs away!'The coon is a presicion pooper, for sure. With his astounding ability to hit the same target week after week, the RCAF would have put him to good use in WWII. The coils of crap, always in the exact same spot, result in one small area of thick, lusciously green grass.

The raccoon, with bowels-a-bubblin', probably climbs the tree and scampers along one of the more horizontal branches, squats, and squirts his unwanted load.

The image on the right shows how I think it's done, with the location of the offending racoon in red, on the branch I suspect is his toilet seat, followed by red arrows indicating the direction of his anal projectile. The small red circle on the ground is roughly the area where I always find the turds.

It's quite gross to find this excrement each week, but thankfully it is rather odourless - fresh as a summer's morn! As well, the fertilization properties of the poop are actually helping my lawn look super-awesome in this area under the crabapple tree.

So thanks, mystery dumper, for all your butt-stuff, even though it looks like crap.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Remington Remedy

Remington Titanium electric razor with clogged trimmer.

I am overwhelmed by how much stuff sucks these days. I've always been a big fan of Remington, so when I couldn't get parts for my old, square, heavy, black, corded, manly Remington electric razor, I decided to buy this Remington Titanium.

After approximately 1 full year of regular use, this rechargeable Remington razor sort of broke. Kind of. What happened was that the trimmer, the only part that has any titanium on it, would not push back down. It was always engaged, always rubbing against my skin even when I didn't want it, like a Neanderthal hacking away at my face with a giant stone axe.

Remington with cutters removed.I got a bit frustrated with the trimmer constantly draining the precious electricity hidden magically within the battery. My electricity bills were soaring so I decided to do something. I hate doing nothing. And I hate when stuff breaks. I decided to take my Remington apart and fix it.

First I removed the foil, and popped off all three cutters inside, which gave me access to the four microscopic screws. If you're uncomfortable using a screwdriver in conjunction with a microscope, crack it open with a big rock, gorilla-style. It will likely void the warranty but it will certainly open up the plastic casing.

Ewwww! Lil' whisk-a-mo's!Once the screws are removed you can morbidly separate the head from the body. When I pulled the two sections apart I discovered a monster pile of my old whiskers jamming up the poor trimmer and the springs that make it pop up. For the next hour or two I cleaned the whiskers out of the tiny gaps in the base of the titanium trimmer. If you dare to have a close-up look at my grossness, click here.

So why did the Remington clog up?

Because the trimmer pops up, it has a tiny gap around it. Over the course of about 12 months, my lil' whiskers snuck their way down inside the razor each time I pushed the trimmer back down. With extreme whisker accumulation, the plastic trimmer wouldn't click back down.

I'm happy to report that the Remington surgery went well, and the trimmer works properly again. Sadly, I know this will happen again because modern companies prefer profits to happy customers which leads to disposability instead of reliablity.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Neighbourhood Fireworks

The 4th of July this is not!

Ever wonder why people set off their own fireworks? They simply cannot compare to the extravagant sky explosions that the city can offer. Yet people still try. Try to have their own personal fun with fireworks. It's that look-what-I-can-do kind of mentality.

My neighbour, the one who backed into my Talon, perhaps tried to forget the incident and have a little fun Saturday evening. Or maybe he was celebrating his successful destruction of my 15-year-old car. Maybe he hates Talons. Maybe he hates me. Maybe he is a secret agent working for Ford, and his assignment was to destroy all non-Ford vehicles in the vicinity.

Or maybe it was just an accident.

When I visited him last night to show him the estimate, he had a sort of philosophical "money-comes-money-goes-it's-just-paper" type attitude. Which is cool. The situation was far from awkward as we bonded over our love of B&W speakers, apple juice and comic books translated into big-screen blockbusters. It was bizarre.

Being a master electrician, he was excited to show me the incredible work he's done automating his house into a Robohouse. Not to reveal too many secrets here, but multiple Infra-Red cameras guard every sensitive area of his house.

And they're bulletproof.

Does that scare me? No. We don't live in a bad neighbourhood. Far from it. He's just having fun. Fun with electonics. Fun with electricity. Fun with fireworks. It's a guy thing.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A 'Smashing' Weekend

It's hard getting to work making right turns only.

Canada Day, July 1st, was celebrated this past weekend (in Canada) with delicious drinks, precarious partying and fancy fireworks. I almost had a lot of fun, but there was an air of depression in the air. Sparks crackled and skkkrrrrch'd when my nocturnal neighbour backed into my Eagle Talon Friday night and gave it a good crunching.

Suz and I were all settled into our old brown Ikea couch watching our Jumbo Video rental, Munich. Suddenly, around 10 p.m., my car alarm went off. It has been so long since someone set my alarm off that I didn't even realize it was my car at first.

I slowly walked out the front door to have a look. There was my neighbour, walking towards my Talon to inspect the damage. "You're not going to be happy with me." he said.

"Uh oh." I thought.

My neighbour has a large work van. It has numerous blind spots due to the large quantity of steel that was used in the construction of it instead of that transparent material called glass. It's no wonder that in the darkness, he hit my black Talon.

His rear bumper was perfectly aligned with my side markers. Luckily, that big block of steel penetrated the plastic lights, and only did minor damage to the metal. He grabbed his toolkit and began bending and twisting.

Things snapped. Things popped. I put my bowl of Rice Krispies down and gave him a hand.

After much cracking and crunching the metal was clear of the pop-up headlights, allowing for wicked-awesome pop-up action once again. After I tested the headlights and verified their popupability, we talked about cars and various things for a while. He apologized and told me he'd make sure the car was fixed right, no matter where I wanted to take it.

He gathered up the body parts and put them in a body bag. I took the bag inside and showed Suz. I lit some candles and we cried. The funeral is tomorrow.


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