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

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Football Game Surprises

John Travolta nearly mistook the stadium lights for landing strip lights.

Generally, I dislike sports. I used to enjoy the Paris to Dakar rally, long before it became popular. And as much as I love mountain biking, I can't stand watching it. That's due, at least in part, to the big green monster. It really bothers me how lucky riders are today, how they take for granted the opportunities they have that simply did not exist for me back in the early 1990s.

But there's one sport I can tolerate, and enjoy, to a point. Football. The circumstances have to be right, though. It has to be a night game, with its totally cool ambiance, and there can't be anything even the slightest bit more interesting going on.

Suz hates sports. All of them. But she was willing to sit through a football game, on a work-related matter.

It was great. We had tickets to one of the corporate boxes where they surprised us by feeding us all night long while we watched the entertainment below. And the entertainment has certainly increased since the last game I attened, about 20 years ago.

Is he in the army?Where once there was only one set of cheerleaders, now there are 3 different sets of Cheerleaders: the team's, the local University's, and some junior Cheerleaders. On one end of the field a stage was set up and a band, probably some local band, rocked. The mascot made his rounds and the ever-cool t-shirt bazooka guys fired swag into the stands. Not only was the bazooka super awesome, but it made a really sweet POOT! sound when it was fired. Definitely better than the t-shirt slingshot, which was kinda disappointing in both its aural performance as well as its actual performance.

While we watched the excitement below (which contained both cheering and booing), we chowed down on super yummy nachos. These were followed by dual pizzas at half-time and if that wasn't enough, baskets of chicken wings and chicken fingers rounded out the evening.

At the end of the game, as we were beginning to head out into the snarled traffic, I was again surprised when I learned our alcoholic beverage tab was covered.

But the biggest surprise came the next morning when I learned that far below the comfy box we sat in, my pal Jodster, of Useless Advice From Useless Men, was working the field collecting balls and providing general assistance for the refs.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Toner Explosions Are Bad

Terrorists have resorted to embarrassing their victims with magenta-toner grenades.Accidents happen. That's a pretty lame statement, but it's true. However, accidents aren't the only thing that happen. Pretty much everything happens. In my case, it was an accident that happened to happen.

My accident involved a big toner cartridge. Not black toner. No. My accident involved coloured toner. And it was the worst colour possible: bright magenta.

The entire right leg of my pantaloons and my right shoe got poofed with magenta toner. The floor also received much of the toner. The diameter of the magenta toner-stain was 16 inches on the shortest axis and 21 inches across the longest, making for a gosh darn big circle of pink.

I tried to shake the toner off, but, despite being a powder, it was surprisingly sticky. Not sticky sticky, but it just.... well.... stuck to my pants. The result of my shaking efforts was dismal.

The mesmerizing tumbling of clothes.... cluck cluck cluck! I. am. a. chicken.Back at home, Suz and I decided this would be a very good test for our new front-load washer. We had already done one or two loads, but they were mostly towels. Our washer was a jeans virgin; we had not done a load of regular clothes yet.

For the test outcome, we expected clean jeans. Any hint of pink, and the test would be deemed a failure. A successful result would indicate that our washing machine was doing a nice job.

With the dial set to Normal we started a load of darks, which included my magenta-stained pants. We used the bonus pack of Tide "he" (high efficiency) liquid detergent that came with the washer. It was in a little packet. Isn't the word packet so cute? The high efficiency detergent is supposed to be less sudsy and is the recommended detergent for front-load machines. Unfortunately, we already had two big bottles of liquid Sunlight - and we've been using it, even though it's not he. It has very low sudsness, so I can't see the harm in using it.

Anyway, after 13 minutes of reverse-tumbling wash action and 3 rinses, my jeans came out looking spanking fresh, with no sign of the nasty magenta toner. Conclusion: The test was a success. Two thumbs up for Frigidaire front-load washers. Two thumbs down for magenta toner explosions.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

We Ran Out Of Milk

Dr. Martini performed a successful enema on the Coffee Crisp wrapper.

Around midnight I was going to bed. Somehow I realized we were out of milk and I didn't want to eat stale bread for breakfast. Our Barn Supermarket is now open 24 hours so I thought I'd zip over and pick up some cold, 1% moo juice.

When I got to the store, it was as I suspected: desolate. I grabbed my milk, fresh from the bulging udder, and headed to the cash. I should have put my milk down and left when I saw the line in front of me. But I naively assumed that the one cashier on duty could ring through 2 people with a reasonable amount of speed.

I was wrong.

The old lady in front of me absolutely refused to let the cashier touch her cakes "because they're very delicate." On top of that, the cashier was so damn slow that I think he was actually a mannequin. It took the poor, brainless twit 20 minutes to ring through 5 cakes. I wish I was joking.

While my milk soured I had a chance to look around. I spotted a super deal: Coffee Crisp Café Caramel, two for 99¢. Wow! I totally grabbed two of the sweet, sweet chocolate bars, one for me and one as a nice little surprise for Suz.

I went to bed late, anticipating the moment I bit into the nice, light snack and discovered where they hid the caramel.

The next day we ate our Coffee Crisp Café Caramels, and we enjoyed them thoroughly. The caramel was so sublte, like the look a hooker doesn't give you when she wants your attention. It was totally 100% tasty and did not detract from the wickedness of the regular Coffee Crisp bar.

In fact, the Coffee Crisp Café Caramel was so damn tasty that we went back to buy two more, even though they contained a whopping 1.5 grams of trans fat. I usually avoid anything with trans fat in it, but in this case we agreed to make an exception. If I'm going to die, at least I'll die with a smile on my face.

Friday, August 25, 2006

My New Cabinet

Three doors, for triple door action!

After living in our garage for a year, my DeLorean finally gets to sleep next to a piece of "furniture" instead of an unsightly array of car-cleaning products and towels.

My search for a cabinet failed miserably yesterday. But my hopes were up a little when Suz suggested we try the one store we hastily skipped; Zellers. When we scoured the furniture department there last night, my heart sank. I couldn't find any utility-type cabinets anywhere.

But on our way out, I spotted a generic cardboard promo with a pic of the exact cabinet I wanted. Then Suz found it, in a long unremarkable box, on the bottom shelf. I had walked right by it, ranting about "no good furniture" or some bloody crap like that.

The miracle of flat-packing.I bought it, took it home, and ripped it open. Inside the cardboard box were the chipboards of possibility, and screws of happiness. I examined the pieces to make sure they were not damaged, gave Zellers a mental thumbs up, and began assembling my new cheap-ass cabinet.

I didn't care that it was bare, exposed chip-board on the insides of the doors. And I didn't care that the plastic handles were so thin I could almost see through them. The cabinet was the right size, and equally importantly, the right price: Cheap!

I like cheese.I plugged in the battery for my drill, and while it charged I started assembling the unit by hand. As convenient as cordless drills are, I still like doing things the old-fashioned way; the way my grandpa did when he built cabinets. I even have a few of his old tools, some of which belonged to his grandfather.

My patience grew thin, however, so I unplugged the battery charger and started using my cordless drill instead. With about 15 minutes of cordless 12 volt action, I had completed the cabinet despite the retarded instructions telling me to screw BF003748Ax into Board "D" then attach Board "C" using screw BF003748Fz. WHA?

Anyway, just before midnight my nice white CabinetWorks cabinet was complete. Now Gary Coleman can sleep over, undisturbed.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bad Day

Of all the messes one could find in a bathroom, this is the better kind.

Yesterday morning I woke up, ate breakfast, and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. When I opened the cabinet and took my toothbrush out of the ceramic toothbrush holder, all of the contents of the higher shelf began to tumble. In a small panic I reached up with both hands to stop the avalanche. My toothbrush, still in my hand, caught the edge of the ceramic holder and tipped it. In slow motion, I watched it topple out of the cabinet. There was nothing I could do but watch in horror.

The toothbrush holder bounced once off the top of the toilet tank and started spinning wildly. It hit the floor and literally exploded all over the bathroom. I said to myself "Today is going to be a bad day."

And it was. After staying late at work, I rushed home, excited to grab Suz and go shopping for my new utility storage cabinet for the garage. I knew exactly which one I wanted as I had seen it many times at Home Depot. Also, my dad just bought that particular cabinet for his garage a few months ago.

But it was starting to rain, so I had to install my new windshield wipers which I had bought a few days earlier. When I opened the first package I noticed something bad. Some jackass had already opened it, and the screws were missing. The wipers were "Precision Fit" and offered no alternative way to install them.

On our way to Home Depot we made a pit stop at Canadian Tire to return the wipers. The customer service agent told me to grab another set and meet her back at the counter. Suz and I sped over to the automotive section and.... couldn't find the wipers. They were completely sold out of that one specific wiper. Out of the five million wipers they offered, the only wiper sold out was the one I needed.

I returned to the counter and my money was refunded. She looked up the availability of the wipers and told me that every single other Canadian Tire store had between 5 and 10 in stock. Theirs was the only store sold out.

Dumbfounded at the near impossibility of the odds of this happening, I drove to Home Depot to buy the cabinet that would inevitably cheer me up.

However, it was not to be.

My bad day continued when we entered the giant orange store. It was under massive renovations, and the isle where I had seen the cabinet so many times before was replaced with appliances. When I finally found the utility cabinets, the particular one I wanted was nowhere to be found. I asked a store associate and he was of no help, stating that cabinets that sold in low numbers were discontinued.

Angry at the absurdity of the entire day, I left (again with Suz) for Wal-Mart and their furniture dept. I was blown away when I found they no longer had a furniture dept. even though they just underwent a massive renovation which tripled the size of their store. There were a few computer-type desks and such, but it was nothing like they used to have.

So I drove home, half-expecting to see our house burned down, and drowned my sorrows in a king-sized bowl of ice cream which, against all odds, did not explode or vanish right before my eyes.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Benefits of Speeding

'Sorry officer, I was trying to get better gas mileage. Seriously'

If you've ever wondered why people speed, I might have the answer. The benefits to speeding are numerous in amount: the thrill, getting there faster, and PC points on your President's Choice Mastercard!

Suz got caught speeding the other day. She was driving the Insight, and doing nearly 30 over the limit. I know a few people out there are thinking the Insight can't possibly go that fast. But you'd be surprised how fast you can go in an aerodynamic wedge that only weighs a few pounds more than a Harley (minus the fat guy).

Anyhoo, Suz was pulled over by an officer of the law. He told her he caught her speeding and asked if she wanted to see the radar gun. She knew she was speeding so she calmly said "No" and gracefully accepted the ticket for $135.

When she got to work, she went online to www.paytickets.ca. There, she used her President's Choice Mastercard to pay the ticket in 3 easy steps.

With the President's Choice Mastercard, you get 1 point for every dollar you spend. By paying the ticket, we accumulated another 135 points to our card, which allows us to get free stuff, like anything in the President's Choice catalogue, as well as free groceries.

Although this by no means validates speeding, it sure brings a roll of toilet paper to the otherwise crappy moment when you receive the ticket.

From this negative action we were able to find a positive. Although it's not the best thing ever, it's still a reward. And I wonder: should we be rewarding people for speeding, or other ticketable offenses? I don't think a Peeping Tom should be able to pay his $5,000-invasion-of-privacy fine and use his Sony Mastercard points to buy a digital camera with 12x zoom.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New Frigidaire Gallery Washer

Washer hook-ups require camouflage T-shirts. You must blend in to avoid death.After our old Maytag bit the big one, Suz and I began researching different washing machines from different companies. We took a lot of advice from a lot of people, added it all together, and concluded that a front-load washer was the only way to go. We did not forget our first washer/dryer combo unit - a Frigidaire Gallery series set which gave flawless operation - and weighed that heavily into our decision.

I am partial to Frigidaire for various reasons, so we decided Frigidaire was the way to go again. As a bonus, they were all on sale at Leon's, so we knocked about $250 off the price of our new Frigidaire Gallery Series Super Capacity washer. And Leon's gave us free delivery to boot.

I knew that front load washers used up to 60% less water, and far less energy than top-load washers. However, knowing that bit of information still did not prepare me. Our new Energy-Star washer uses a mere 215 kwh per year.

Just how low is 215 kwh per year? By comparison, the power consumption of all 2006 models of washing machines ranged from 113 kwh/year to 680 kwh/year, including top loaders. So 215 kwh/year is pretty awesome, especially considering how much energy our beastly, 25-year-old Maytag was using.

Still wondering how low 215 kwh per year is? The Energy Guide system estimates this washing machine's yearly operating cost at a mind-blowing $11, based on eight (8) loads of laundry per week and 91.0¢ per therm for natural gas. But Suz and I only do 1 load of laundry per week. Hmm. Let's do some math and figure it out.

215/8 = 26.875 kwh.

Our yearly operating cost drops to 26.9 kwh per year. And since we do most of our laundry in cold water, the natural gas price doesn't really affect us. Well, that $11-per-year operating cost must drop as well. Hmm. More math!

$11/8 = 1.37

So, because we only do one load of laundry per week, our yearly operating cost drops from $11 to a jaw-dropping $1.37. That's $1.37 for 52 loads of laundry. MORE MATH!

$1.37/52 = 0.026¢

What does that mean? Each load of laundry we do costs us approximately 2 and a half cents, and that includes any hot water we might use. I cannot even fathom how this is possible.

Especially after seeing how fast the drum spins after the rinse cycle. When we removed our first load, the towels were dry. We don't even need a dryer any more! The only thing we have to worry about is buying the expensive high-efficiency detergent. And Zombies. You always have to worry about Zombies.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Rainy Weekend Activities

Honey bee crossing the rudbeckia flower bridge, in my backyard.

The weekend was crappy and rainy which took away the fun backyard lounging action I had planned. Instead, Suz and I decided to do regular stuff, like grocery shopping and the like.

During our grocery-shopping trip, I missed out on a sweet car accident photo opportunity. I always bring my camera with me everywhere I go. So, when we were driving to the grocery store, and approached the smashed Volvo and Camaro, I tried to pull out my camera, only to find that it was MIA.

Suz spent the next 10 minutes trying to calm me down. The little tantrum I threw was befitting of a 3-year-old. I was really mad. Mad at my stupidity and forgetfulness. And our drive home wasn't any better. We passed the accident again, and found that the cars were still in prime photo-snapping positions, with clusters of teenagers standing around their crunched cars.

The rainy weekend continued taunting me, as it layed out another accident before my eyes. I found myself sans camera yet again as I headed to a bar to watch my buddy Krevin sing some karaoke. The accident this time, was a vehicle spun around backwards, stuck in a ditch beside the off-ramp which was my destination. With numerous cars blocking the ramp, I had to keep driving.

I like rainy days. And I like taking pictures of accidents. But in the short days of summer I long for good weather and hot sun. I love the sound of the cicada, high up in the trees, its loud buzz informing us that summer is in full swing.

I wish I could have sat under my patio umbrella with a nice drink while the bees and hummingbirds shared the flowers beside me. I've always got my camera when I'm at home, so there won't be any tantrums thrown in my backyard. Unless I spill my Southern Comfort & Coke. Then there'd be a big tantrum. And a picture of it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Fortinos Customer Service

$1-off coupons are a better idea than taping Loonies to the packaging.

I experienced some good customer service, and because I was expecting some bad customer service, it made the experience all the more gooder.

Suz and I were grocery shopping last week at a store we usually don't frequent. It was one of those mega Fortino's grocery stores with six billion square feet and two levels. The upper level doesn't have food, but it's still a large, accessible part of the store.

Sarcasm alert: The following single paragraph contains sarcasm, defined as mocking, contemptuous, or ironic language intended to convey scorn or insult.

Being a weekend, the store wisely opened a whopping two checkouts for about two thousand customers, which allowed for the creation of pleasurable long lines weaving throughout the store in a very desirable way. The lines blocked off many undesirable areas and isles preventing customers from buying all sorts of things they didn't really need anyway.

As much as we despise them, Suz and I decided to use the self-checkouts instead, mostly due to my foot pain. We scanned all our items, which took about twice as long as it would have taken a cashier, paid, and left.

When we got home we noticed that two of our products, Maple Leaf Prime Chicken and Shneiders Oh Naturel Chick'n burgers, had $1-off stickers on them. We were supposed to peel them off and scan the bar code on the back right at the checkout to obtain our discount.

That's two bucks! What does two dollars buy? Well, at $1 per litre, we could have bought 2 litres of gasoline for the Insight. That would get us about 60 or 70 kilometres. I could drive to work for almost three weeks on that! I couldn't let those coupons go to waste.

I phoned the store and asked for Customer Service. The manager came on the phone. I explained that these coupons were supposed to be scanned at the register at the time of purchase - and we didn't know that, but a regular cashier would have. She understood completely, agreed with me, and told me to bring the coupons in along with our bill so that she could honour them.

Wow! Three cheers for good customer service!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Free Ice Cream Day

Attack the iced cream!The other day, a very hot day, everybody at work was treated to a nice surprise. And nice surprises really are the best kind of surprises, aren't they? Much better than those rotten surprises, like when your parents say, "Hey kids we have a surprise for you! We're going to the doctor for booster shots! Yaaaay!"

Well, this particular nice surprise was in the form of the ice cream truck and the ice cream that was inside of it. And it was a welcome treat that (sort of) boosted morale, at least temporarily.

A big white Grumman truck parked in the side parking lot, and the line of ice cream-wanters formed almost immediately. Considering that the tasty, dripping cones were handed out free of charge, quite a variety of flavours were available including that old childhood favourite: tiger stripe.

I myself partook of the funky chunky chocolate. It consisted of chocolate ice cream filled with fudgy swirls and delicious soft chunks of chocolate. Orange chemicals and black chemicals swirled together just doesn't appeal to me any more.

My coworker Jodster, who you most likely know from Useless Advice From Useless Men, or not, avoided the Tiger Stripe as well but still decided to be slightly daring. The upper level of his two-scoop tower of deliciousness was Creamy Carmolate, supported by a round ball of Butterscotch Ripple on the bottom.

Unfortunately, only cardboardy-tasting standard cones were available instead of such luxury options like sugar or waffle cones. But I don't think people cared. They were just happy to be eating ice cream. Or avoiding work. Yeah, probably the latter.

Usually I take ice cream-eating very seriously. But Jodster and I were having too much fun taking pictures, and the solidity of my ice cream suffered as a result. My dripping cone was not only a treat for me but probably kept an entire hive of wasps in high spirits and nourished thousands of lil' antlings as well.

Yay, ice cream. And who wouldn't prefer ice cream to booster shots?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Maytag Washer Woes

Step 3: Insert six Gremlins and shut the lid. Step 4: Tun on and wait a few minutes.

I've come to a conclusion. I don't ask "why me?" any longer because I know the answer. It's not me. The question now, is not "why me?" but rather, "why do people lie?"

My entire life I've been told such absurd things like, "oh dear, that's never happened before. You're the first person ever to blah blah blah."

Or: "That's impossible. I've never heard of that blah blah blah."
Or: "Wow. That's a first. During 30 years of business nobody has ever had that problem blah blah blah."
Or: "We may just name this disease after you blah blah blah."

Well, it happened again. Our washing machine broke. Our stylish white Maytag Fabric-Matic, model A182, is a timeless 70's design. Possibly. Or possibly not. We don't know. In fact, nobody knows how old it is.

My dad is wise appropriately to his years. Not wise beyond his years - because he is very old. In his many years he has encountered many a problem with many a machine; some that wash, some that don't. He told me to call Sutton & Son as they were, in his words, "appliance geniuses".

But when I phoned and explained the problem, the first genius had no idea what was wrong and transfered me to another technician. So I explained, for a second time, that after the wash was complete and the washer is expelling the soapy water, it would shut off with a loud Ker-bang! The only way to start the machine again was to open and close the lid. This gave me another 5-6 seconds of soap drainage followed by another Ker-bang!

Annoying as it was, I had to get all the soapy water out. So I sat there for 20 minutes opening and closing the lid. Once the Maytag filled up with fresh water again, the rinse mode worked fine.

That's when it happened again.

The geniuses at Sutton & Son told me that in all their years they have never heard of such a thing happening. In complete disbelief, the tech tried to research the problem on their system. When I told him it was a Maytag model A182, his computer yielded absolutely no information on such a model.

He thought long and hard about the problem, then told me that what the machine was doing was impossible. "Impossible or not," I told the technician "that is exactly what the machine is doing."

Now - I'm not stupid. I know there are others out there who've had the exact same problems I've had in my life. So I don't want to hear some weakass explanation of how something has never happened before. I'm not that special.

Oops. I'm going off on a tangent, a relevant one, but a tangent nonetheless. So, let me conclude with this: tech wanted to come to our house with parts and attempt to fix the machine. But he wouldn't work after 5:30 p.m. or on weekends, which meant one of us would have to take a vacation day to accomodate the repair.

Since we are the first people ever in the history of the world to have this problem with a Maytag washer, Suz and I decided the tech would not be able to repair it - and our quest for a new washer has begun.

~ update! ~

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Jimmy Dillnuts: Luxury Slamajama

Just because you're rich enough to own the Mercedes, doesn't mean you're smart enough to drive it.

After a 5-month hiatus, Jimmy Dillnuts, idiot driver extraordinaire, is back in the news.

Snuggled down in the DeLorean's cozy leather seats, Suz and I were driving up to my parents place for a BBQ when we saw the mess on Sunday. Ah Sunday. That ominous day.

Noticing a vehicular diversion around an unknown obstruction, I anticipated an accident and whipped out my Sony. Suz is always worried when I bring my camera to my eye. She thinks that people will see us taking pictures and get upset. But I am convinced that the crowd is too preoccupied with the accident to notice what I am doing. Plus I just don't care.

I can't explain my obsession with accidents, but my twisted mind has always enjoyed the bent and crinkled metal and the emotions of the people involved. It's so real.

In the distance, through my lens I could see a gathering of people on the right. They seemed to be discussing the accident, which was directly in the middle of the lane. Nobody was crying. Nobody was screaming.

In my opinion, it was the ninny in the Mercedes who was at fault. The Maxima which plowed into the driver's side of the Mercedes was clearly on the road, travelling in a forward direction. The Mercedes was quite obviously pulling out from a little roadlet that intersected the main road.

It was the pulling out of the Mercedes which caused the T-bone action to take place. The Maxima suffered a munched front-end and some hood-bendage while the Mercedes was victim to metal crumplage, hood popage and a broken wheel.

Did I experience some good timing on Sunday? I wonder if I had been 5 minutes earlier, if I'd be crying over my DeLorean instead of eating yummy cobs of corn.


Monday, August 14, 2006

John Travolta's Boeing 707

Mr. Travolta has to put that sunshade in the window to stop the dash from cracking!

If you need proof that it is his plane, it's right there on the tail section of the Boeing 707. The call letters N707JT: JT standing for John Travolta.

You may know the actor John Travolta from such films as Face Off, Pulp Fiction, or possibly even that little-known cult hit Grease. Never heard of it? Sorry. Well, anyway, a few days ago Mr. John Travolta flew in to our small rural airport, where I used to work, waved to the small crowd, then hitched a limousine ride to Toronto where he is filming Hairspray. It's due out in 2007.

Anyhoo, not many can claim ownership of a quad-engined Boeing 707b (or any other 200ish passenger airliner for that matter) and actually know how to fly it.

He purchased the massive jetliner from those kickass Aussies at Qantas, and has kept the paint job the same. He, himself, pilots the plane to pretty much wherever he wants to go. I haven't read very much about his plane, or his skills, or his obsession, but I've heard that he has converted some of the interior into bedrooms and bathrooms. Wild!

John flew his bright red and white 707 from his home in Ocala, Florida a distance of about 1,200 miles, or 1,920 kilometres, using up many gallons of jet fuel. I could cover that same distance in my Insight with less than 20 gallons of 87 octane fuel, which is less than two tanks.

For me, two tanks of gas costs about $80, at $1 per litre. John would have spent a little bit more than that. Such is the cost of 2.5 hours versus 2.5 days of travel.

So I drove my Insight, the Cadillac of Hybrids, up to the airport that is seriously in the middle of the country and snapped a couple of pics of his unique mode of travel. Anyone catch my witty John Travolta movie reference quote?


The movie was Be Cool, which I never saw specifically because I didn't like Get Shorty. In fact, I didn't like it so much that I turned it off. Don't tell JT.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Me And The Cap'n

Capitaine Crounche Superman Edition is tres bon!Me and the Cap'n, we go back. We go way back. The Cap'n and I have been pals since my early childhood. He offers me sweet orange breakfast nuggets, and I eat 'em.

But ever since high school I've found a new friend. Capitaine Crounche. That's right, Capeetan CROOOONCH. Instead of bitterly hating the French on every product we have in Canada, I embraced it. While friends complained, I ran downstairs each morning yelling joyfully for the Capeetan. So I thought I'd post this while it's still timely: while Superman Returns is still in theatres.

I bought a box of Special Edition Superman Cap'n Crunch for $3.99. It's blue instead of red. And there's a picture of Superman punching some sort of red asteroid. The crumbling asteroid bits turn into Superman's chest emblem. It's neat.

When I opened the Capeetan's treasure chest I found the cereal had changed. The orange chem-nuggets were about 1/3 the size I remember. The last time I bought a box of Cap'n Crunch, about two years ago, the pieces were huge and sharp and cut the roof of my mouth. Oh yeah! Such great memories.

Maybe Monsieur Crooonch offered us smaller treasure nuggets in order to make the Superman chest emblems look bigger and more impressive. Or perhaps it's possible that the Cap'n has changed his cereal forever. I should have bought a regular box to check.

But, je ne did that pas.

Anyway, what's tres awesome about the Capeetan's limited edition Superman cereal is the abundance of Superman's bright red chest emblems. They're big, red and super fruity. When mixed with many small regular Cap'n bits, they seem to blend in. However, when eaten in segregated clusters, the fruityness is sweet and wicked. I think they probably taste like the old Crunch Berries back when the Cap'n was more focused on being trendy than with being true to himself.

However, I can't be sure about that because I've never eaten any Capeetan Croooonch's Croooonch Berry cereal. Regardless, this cereal is tres formidable. Buy it toute de suite, before it's gone.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Reply Re: Daytime Run Lights

Kinda like 'Christine' only cuter, and more foreign.

Local stores carry only one Hamsar product, a universal Daytime Running Light kit that works with almost every car except Subaru, Mitsubishi and Geo. I bought it for our Honda Insight, but it didn't work.

I wrote them a letter:

From: Martini [mailto:bttflf@hotmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, 13 July, 2006 11:28 AM
To: sales@hamsar.com
Subject: Inquiry/Feedback/UserID Request Form

Hello. I'm having a problem with my D.R.L. kit professionally installed on my 2006 Honda Insight. It is installed absolutely 100% correctly, however, the driver's side D.R.L. is twice ad bright as the passenger side. In addition, when I turn the headlights on, nothing happens. The passenger light remains dim, while the driver's light stays bright. The high-beams function properly. The kit stated it did not work on Mitsubishi, Geo, or Subaru cars but otherwise worked with every other car. Was 'Honda' accidentally left off that list? Can you explain why the lights aren't working properly?
Thanks for your time,


A couple of weeks ago I received a reply from Hamsar regarding the universal Daytime Running Light kit. I was a little surprised:

Hello Martini:

Thank you for your inquiry. Probably your car has the wrong DRL installed. Unfortunately they are not universal and they can vary from one model to the other and from year to year. In order to advise you the compatible DRL for the 2006 Honda Insight, we will require a wiring diagram showing the head lamps back to the dashboard. I can then forward this to one of our engineers for review.

Please send the diagram to my email address or fax to my attention at
905 332-9020.

Thanks again for your interest in Hamsar,

Marcela Uribe
Bilingual Customer Service
Hamsar Diversco
Tel 1800-567-5483
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Okay, WHAT? A Daytime Running Light kit that works with every single car ever made except Geo, Subaru and Mitsubishi is NOT universal?

Let me get this straight. My kit is the ONLY kit sold in stores, and therefore is fully expected to work on any car, and yet it is NOT universal? If there is only one kit to buy, how can it be the wrong one? And why do I not have a choice of which kit to buy when I go to the auto parts store? If different kits work with different cars, why am I not able to purchase any of those kits?

Ms. Uribe, your company sucks. Learn some marketing skills. Geez. I'd cast a curse on you if I could, but it looks like I don't need to. Your company already doesn't know what it's doing and will likely fail without my curse.

Good luck.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Skor Ice Cream Review

Skor ice cream comes it it's own one-time serving bowl/carton!

It's summertime, it's hot. Time for ice cream! (and maybe a hose-down)

Skor ice cream is, according to Breyers, "Toffee Flavoured Ice Cream, Toffee Bar Pieces, and Caramel Swirls." Just like Twix Ice Cream, the container is a smallish 1.89 L, but unlike Twix Ice Cream, this chocolate bar ice cream contains actual chocolate bar pieces, which increases its relative awesomeness by 32%.

But Skor ice cream is not perfect. In fact, it's only about 12% perfect, which are your chances of getting a really big hunk of Skor bar.

Skor ice cream is both totally crap, and the best ice cream you could have hoped for as a kid. Real chunks of chocolate bar are mixed through the caramelly ice cream instead of some simulated Skor flavour. Sounds wicked-awesome eh? Well, the problem with Skor ice cream is that it doesn't contain enough Skor bar.

After eating an entire carton, I concluded that only one Skor bar was smashed up with a hammer, and sprinkled inside with the ice cream. However, whenever I did come across a piece of Skor, it was like heaven had descended to earth and punched me in the mouth with chocolatey-toffee goodness.

On sale for $3.99 instead of the usual $5-something, it's a slight deal. Considering that Skor bars are always on sale, 2 for $1.49, it's extremely sad that Breyers could only crunch one Skor bar (valued at less than 75 cents) into the ice cream.

The largest piece of Skor I found was a rectangular piece measuring exactly 1.5 x 0.75 inches. Sadly, I encountered this anomaly towards the end, and found no more pieces like it.

The ice cream itself is supposed to be Toffee flavoured, but it's so mild that it's practically vanilla flavoured. And since you rarely get a piece of Skor bar in your mouthful, it feels like a bit of a rip.

Martini commands Breyers to begin multiple Skor bar insertion sequence. Otherwise I give one medium-sized thumb, almost in the up direction.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Weekend BBQ Fun

'Oooh that looks tender and meaty! Time for ASS SMACKS!'

Hooray for the long weekend! Due to a Canadian Civic holiday, I was able to enjoy much lazing about and Stooge-like shenanigans while attending numerous BBQ's.

Suz and I were invited to a super-wicked BBQ at Ton-Ton's place. You may remember Ton-Ton from such posts as Moving a Mustang from a few days ago.

We were put to work as soon as we arrived. There were drinks to be drunk and chairs to be sat in. All of this work needed to be completed as slowly as possible, so we were ideal candidates. Unfortunately I drank my massive Gin & Tonic too quickly and was forced to drink another as punishment. This continued throughout the evening.

There was some wild swimming-pool action going on while Chef Ton-Ton prepared our tasty steaks. Imagine eating a 3-inch thick steak instead of working. C'mon! Imagine it! Again I say, hooray for the long weekend!

Smoking out the neighbours ensures a quiet afternoon.Distractions a-plenty endangered the deliciousness of our meaty dinners. Sometimes fire is good, but only when it's under control. With a bunch of easily-distracted men gathered around the BBQ, it's no wonder the plume of smoke rose 200 feet in the air. Reacting slowly, as men often do, we smartly avoided a 9-1-1 call by lifting the lid of the BBQ. Surprisingly, only one sausage got burned. Everything else turned out perfectly.

Soon the dinner bell rang. Candles were lit. Drinks were poured. Orders were given for everyone to evacuate the pool. In the bushes, blood-thirsty female mosquitoes prepared for their attack.

Ton-Ton brought the platter of meat around and everyone filled their plates with salads and bruschetta. As the sun began to set and the glow of the lightposts scared away late afternoon shadows, seven of us assembled under the gazebo for an awesome dinner.

Hooray for long weekends! Sure beats battling horrific traffic just to hang around some cottage somewhere.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Cake Rules

Mmmm, brown!

There's a rule in my car: No food. Ever. Suz has always thought that was a crazy rule, but then again, I'm a pretty crazy guy.

Last night we celebrated. After temporarily filling a supervisory position for two years, Suz was finally given the official corporate thumbs up. The job is now hers. We decided this was cause to spend some green, and so began our night o' fun, aka the night o' disaster.

When we finished our Casey's meals we ordered dessert. Had I weighed the piece of chocolate cake that Suz got, I wouldn't be suprised if it hit double digits on the scale. The thing was massive. It was the size of a baby. You could see it from space. It could have fed a starving Ethiopian village for a decade. Do you get what I'm saying? It's size was large in nature.

Knowing she was going to order this cake, Suz specifically ate a small amount of dinner, saving room for the beheomoth cake. The remainder of her weird Teriyaki/Szechwan/Noodle thingy was placed into a styroafoam container. However, this doggy bag was not destined to survive.

Soon realizing that complete consumption of the cake would likely blow an internal gasket, Suz stopped eating. She barely finished 1/3 of it. The cake was also placed in a doggy bag. The two styroafoam containers were stacked in a plastic bag, we paid our bill and left.

Outside, the rain caught us by surprise. But we got in the car with minimal wetness and I started the car. As we drove away diaster struck.

"Oh no." calmly came two not-so-calm words from the other side of the car.


"Oh no." There were those two words again. Words that, on their own aren't so bad, but combined, are not very good at all.

"What's wrong?"

"Oh no. I think I spilled."

Barrelling towards the parking lot exit, I took a chance and glanced over at Suz, who was holding her skirt in such a way as to catch the river of Teriyaki/Szechwan sauce while her other hand held the plastic bag in such a way that the massive pool of brown sauce did not spill onto the floor mat.

I cranked the wheel and we pulled into the very last parking space. Suz calmly opened her door and stepped into the rain. There, on the month-old seat of our precious new Honda Insight, was a gloppy brown puddle of spicy sauce.

Simultaneous "shit"s came out of our mouths. Suz ran all the way back to the restaurant in the rain while I made sure the bag didn't leak. She returned, soaked, with a huge handful of wet-naps which did an amazing job of getting the sauce out of the microfibre.

Inside the bag the sauce had penetrated the chocolately dessert. Suz decided to toss it all. The noodles. The 6 lbs. of cake. Everything. Garbage. All we had left was our memories...

And a new rule for the car.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Backyard Hummingbird Action

Flap, flap, flap, oh man, gotta keep flapping... Dang this is hard!

Hummingbirds infuriate me. Not because they beat their wings approximately 53 times per second, not because their hearts beat approximately 1250 times per minute and not because they can emulate the amazing capabilities of helicopters such as Airwolf.

I hate 'em because they're so dang hard to take a picture of! Last summer, with my old Sony P-52 equipped with a whopping 2x zoom, I was not able to get any pictures of the hummingbirds in our backyard. However, this year, with my H1, I have finally succeeded.

Attracted by 7 foot tall golden glow rudbeckia and the pink flowers of the sweet peas is this female Black-Chinned Hummingbird. I know what you're thinking: that this isn't a Black-Chinned Hummingbird at all - it's the most common Anna's Hummingbird. But look closer.

Ah-ha! No red spots in the neck region. I know it's a small pic, but trust me. There's no red. This means it must be a female Black-Chinned Hummingbird, one of the least spectacular. Regardless of her immense dullness, I'm still glad that my hummingbird stakeout was not a complete waste of time.

Sitting in a lawn chair in my backyard, sans shirt, in 40+ Celcius heat and no Southern Comfort is not my idea of fun. But this female hummingbird had no choice, as she needs to eat about every 10 minutes or she'll die. Kinda like Jodster!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Tuesday Night DeLorean Fun

Here I explain the length of the cross-stitched solenoid diaphram dooeys. Really.

Last night I rushed home in our 48C degree* weather, skipped dinner, threw a lawn chair into the DeLorean and high-tailed it over to Canadian Tire where, every Tuesday night, there is a car show.

It's not really a car show, but rather a large gathering of collectible cars. "Food" wagons prepare all sorts of greasy things for consumption and a sound system cranks out oldies while owners exchange thoughts on the loves of their lives.

Although there are some old, exotic and rare cars each week, like this Austin Healey, many of them are staples at car shows everywhere. The DeLorean, a rare car to begin with, is even more rare in Canada, and always attracts a lot of attention. Sometimes it's people who have never seen one before, and sometimes it's people who were fans of the Back To The Future movies.

I am always prepared to answer many questions about the car, its history, Back To The Future, and even John DeLorean. People ask the same questions over and over again and I feel really great when I can educate these car-lovers about this stainless piece of history.

Yes, stainless. Not aluminum as a few people thought. Yes, Ireland. Not built in Nova Scotia as a few people thought. And yes, DeLorean. Not Bricklin as one older fellow asked.

Admirers admiring the DeLorean at the show.For two hours I fielded questions and opened the doors so that excited attendees could take photographs using everything from professional-type cameras to cellphone cameras. In between questions like "Is this really the car from the Back To The Future movies?" I sat in my lawn chair and ate a congealed blob of grease which enveloped a small hamburger. It couldn't have tasted better. On a side-note, I did not see any Ham.

Our trip home was just as entertaining. Travelling in the opposite direction was a van driven by a dude so enthralled with the DeLorean that he stuck his head entirely out his window and, bug-eyed, yelled "Hoooooooly Shiiiiiiiiiit!"

Laughing with pure joy, Suz and I pulled into a gas station, filled up, then drove to the exit and waited to make a left turn. In the distance I could see the van approaching us again. He had pulled a U-turn and was heading back, determined to have another look. Not even the red light could stop him. He weaved through the intersection and pulled into the gas station with eyes bulging. He was so juiced up about the encounter that I couldn't resist answering a couple of questions before the blocked driver behind him honked. We both cringed. I took the opportunity to drive off, very happy that I made his day.

Continuing the drive home, we received numerous thumbs up and shouts of "Yaaa!" as we effortlessly united boys across the city.

*temperature with humidex.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Moving A Mustang

Ford: 'Puny human! I will run you down! Muhuhahaha!'

In the blazing heat of the weekend sun, the first episode of Martini's Man vs. Machine took place between a 1989 Ford Mustang LX, with 225+ hp and 300 lb-ft. of torque.... and a man.

It's a no-brainer who would win this battle under normal circumstances, but take the Mustang's fuel pump out of the equation and there are far less broken bones splattered in blood. With no way to propel its 2,800-lb. body towards the puny man, the Mustang is helpless.

My old friend Ton-Ton was storing his high-powered 17-year-old toy in his grandma's daughter's mom's neighbours' garage. But the time came for the Mustang to move into his grandma's garage instead. That time happened to be the blistering hot weekend. And with no fuel pump, there was much pushing involved.

I stood on the pavement and blocked the road so that local traffic wouldn't interfere. With a little momentum, the Mustang rolled well on its ancient, cracked tires. When things started to slow down, Ton-Ton's dad jumped in to keep things rolling.

I had successfully blocked zero vehicles and proudly walked up the driveway, where everyone struggled to keep the Mustang from sliding back onto the road. The consensus was that I weighed the least and, therefore, should sit in the car and steer it into the garage using the Mustang's useless, Twinkie-sized mirrors to avoid smashing into the garage door frame.

Keeping casualties at a minimum, I removed a large black ant from the path of the car, hopped in and released the parking brake. My whip cracked as my slaves pushed with all their might. The Mustang hit the lip of the garage's concrete floor and stopped. "PUUUUSH!" I bellowed, as I cracked my whip again. The car rocked, but did not advance. Again I commanded the three to push. I felt a small bump as the splitting tires boinged over the threshold.

On our hands and knees we pulled a blue plastic tarp under the car to catch any oil that might drip in the next few months. We continued the pulling action by yanking a grey car-cover over the Mustang to keep dust from getting out and dirtying up the garage. Or vice versa. I'm not sure.

With the mission accomplished, Ton-Ton and I went into his grandma's wood-panelled basement to play with G.I. Joe's, Transformers and Alpha Probe!!


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