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

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Free Stuff

No more annoying tags to rub on your skin tags.

Why do alcoholic beverage institutions believe that only portly gentlemen consume their intoxicating products? I think it's because they're not afraid of the little guys they offend when they offer free t-shirts in XL sizes only.

My story starts at the Duty Free. The Duty Free was giving away free 1 litre bottles of Southern Comfort about 3 weeks ago. Well, they were practically giving them away, at the bargain price of $16.

Along with the bottle of yum, they gave away a free Southern Comfort t-shirt. I was truly excited to see this promotion because I had just missed the opportunity to get a free t-shirt while we were in Vermont.

When I unrolled the quality Hanes product I was shocked by its enormousness. I was quite upset that I'd never be able to wear a shirt this elephantite, so I thought I would find another home for it, but I didn't want to do a lot of asking around. I decided to give up my brand new Southern Comfort t-shirt as an integral part of the next Useless Prize Package over at Useless Advice From Useless Men.

If you'd like a chance to win this sweet, huge torso-covering, you'll need to follow the contest instructions. Don't worry, they're easy to follow. Simply submit a question to UselessAdvice at hotmail.com after November 30, 2006. Or if you'd like a chance to win what's in the Useless Tin, go ahead and email your question before Friday.

I know you want it. You know you want it. After all, free stuff is awesome, whether it fits or not. Hey, I think I just figured something out.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Playing God

Cut down in the prime of its life.Suz and I were saying our last goodbyes to summer on the weekend when we made an unfortunate discovery. We were busy packing our patio furniture away and raking leaves in the balmy weather when we had to say goodbye to something else as well - our Trumpet vine.

Our neighbour had a massive trumpet vine growing up a trellis last summer and it climbed over the fence to our side. We loved it, and enjoyed its massive amount privacy for the summer. When summer ended, so did our neighbour's love affair with the pretty plant. She decided it had to go.

Our neighbour is very generous. From her we have received bottles of wine, mini-bar bottles of Vodka, pumpkin pie, and many a plant.

When she dug up her trumpet vine, she offered part of it to us. We loved it, so we accepted the small bit of root. She asked us not to plant it near her trellis, and we agreed. We planted it at the back of our yard, against our fence.

For the rest of the summer, the little trumpet vine grew and grew. We were happy. One day it would grow as big as tree, and our yard would fill with the happiest hummingbirds , elves and wood sprites. We would trap them, and sell their taxidermied carcasses on eBay.

But it was not to be. Our neighbour, ripping out a dump truck's worth of dead Morning Glory growing on our shared fence, came into our yard to finish her work. She spotted the trumpet vine at the back of our yard, and with a quick snip, snip, stole the life of the plant she gave to us.

The trumpet vine was dead. And I couldn't even yell at my neighbour, because she was the one who gave that plant to us. And because I feared her power. And because I'm not entirely sure the trumpet vine is dead. We'll find out next summer.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Cold Christmas With NOMA

Those folks at NOMA are getting coal for Xmas.

For the last couple of years a fad has been sweeping the Christmas aisles at product distribution centres across the land. Aimed at the environmentally conscious, as well as the super tight penny pincher, LED lights are being advertised as an incredible way to save electricity.

These things are so damn efficient, they're Scrooge-approved.

LED lights use approximately 90% less energy than other forms of Christmas tree lighting, including the popular mini-lights. Light Emitting Diodes aren't any sort of standard light 'bulb' with a filament. Instead they contain a semi-conductor chip which is divided into two sections. One region, lets call it North Korea, contains negatively-charged electrons while the other, South Korea, holds positive electrons.

When a strong enough electric current is applied, the North Koreans invade the other side and attack their positively-charged cousins. This electron war results in light.

When I was a kid, Christmas tree lights were huge, and contained no Koreans. They were made in the good ol' USA, and burned your flesh off if you touched them. Now-a-days they're made in places like China, and only get really warm, while creating a warm ambiance.

But LED lights are slowly replacing them. And that's fine for some people. But not for me. I am returning our "warm white" LED lights from NOMA, and the 9 dollars of Canadian Tire money we received with our purchase.

Why? Because those folks at NOMA don't know the difference between "warm white" and "light so cold it sends a chill down your spine." I mean, these lights are so full of evil they make children under 10 burst into tears as they suck the souls out of everyone in sight.

I'm all for the environment. Seriously. But not when "warm white" lights send a horrible chill down my spine, make my cry tears of blood, and utterly destroy the warmth of Christmas.

Two Martini-thumbs down to LED lights.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Disney Christmas

Teaching girls what's important: The Disney Princess Kitchen.

Christmas is getting closer and the 47 lb. flyers are landing on people's doorsteps across the land. People may not have time to flip through 599 pages of awesome prices, but doggone it, they're making the time.

Why? The sales are on, enticing people to part with their green, or in Canada, their bright rainbowy money, which may or may not be confused with Monopoly money. Parents are hoping to create cherished memories with their little ones, perhaps even celebrating their very first Christmas with little Clint.

Suz and I were flipping through the flyers the other day, looking for deals, and ideas, and stuff to make fun of. We always look through the local flyers. It's fun. And sometimes we find sweet bargains or Canadian Tire 10%-off coupons, which we used Tuesday night.

Anyhoo, Suz hit the jackpot when she found this "Disney Princess Kitchen" for half price.

The pink plastic Disney Princess Kitchen is a steal at $49, but raises some questions about what we teach our children. Forget for a moment that the image of a little girl sends a message that women should be in the kitchen, cooking. Forget that it brainwashes little girls to think they ought to start at the tender age of four and a half.

The worst part is that this particular kitchen, as opposed to a Fisher Price kitchen, sends an extremely socially-incorrect message. Princesses do not cook for themselves. They have servants. Shame on you Disney, for not calling it the Disney Servant's Kitchen for Snotty Little Snots, in Pretty-Princess-Castle Shape.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Night of the Many Pylons

Festive replacement traffic pylons for the Christmas season.You know you're getting old when you want to take off your belt and whup someone's ass.

Yesterday, on my way home from work there was a particularly unusual traffic jam. It stretched an entire industrial block. When the stopping and going finally landed me at the other end of the block, I discovered the problem.


Yep, some punks had placed orange traffic pylons across one of the left turn-lanes, forcing all of the cars to turn from one lane. However, the idiot drivers who encountered the pylon blockage were also trying to turn left from the straight-thru traffic lane, which was essentially causing the massive vehicular clog.

Half of the pylons were even knocked over, partially blocking the only left-turn lane. This was forcing cars to drive around them, into the on-coming traffic, causing an entirely different set of problems.

It was a total mess.

When I got home I immediately telephoned the police and reported the shenanigans. Then, Suz and I left for the Christmassy wonders of Canadian Tire and, using a 10%-off coupon, we purchased decorative gold Christmas trees that resemble traffic pylons.

Upon our return, the traffic jam was gone, as were the offending orange pylons. I was very happy that my phone call resulted in some corrective action. I just hope the pylons who put the pylons on the road are caught, and taught a lesson.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

DeLorean Winter Storage

Taking pictures in the dark sucks.

Like a dopey, fat, tired grizzly, the DeLorean crawled into its cave on the weekend, fully prepared to doze the winter away.

November is a sad month. Not only is the sky bleak and trees bare, but it's the month I put my DeLorean away. The process is simple, and quite the opposite of how bears hibernate. Where the bear stuffs his belly with cute things like dimple-faced fishies, brown-eyed squirrels and pink-nosed bunnies, the DeLorean's fuel tank must be emptied almost entirely.

Emptying the tank on Sunday was easy enough. Suz and I hopped in and took the D for a spin. Against my own anal rules for taking the car out, we drove on a cloudy day, which turned to dusk, and then to darkness. Except for the three separate groups of cerebrally-challenged teenagers who walked across the street directly in front of us, the drive was mostly uneventful. Odin did appear in the sky for a few minutes to whip lightning bolts down at us, but he was no match for the handling prowess of the DeLorean.

When we returned home, I poured the STP fuel stabilizer into the tank, and following the instructions on the bottle, ran the engine for exactly five minutes. Martini Fact: I pronounce engine as "injin".

The bottle has two measuring lines on it, one for 5 mL, and one for 10 mL. The bottle doesn't say how much to use, so I always use 10 mL. It's probably too much. Overkill is cool.

DeLoreans and their fuel system components are very vulnerable to the ravages of fuel gone bad. It's extremely common for DeLorean owners to have replaced some, if not all, of their fuel system. I don't like to take any chances with my baby since I replaced my fuel injectors, so every year I follow the same procedure.

Bears don't. They eat what they catch. One year it might be baby bunnies and the next, it might be some campers. If the bear is really old and slow, coolers full of beans and beer might be his only meal - which is not all bad. After all, beer makes big beer guts. And the more "insulation" you've got, the warmer you are in the cold.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Ben & Jerry & Dave

A healthy way to start the day.

I've never seen such a tiny carton of ice cream before. At least, not until I walked into the Gift Shop at the hotel Suz and I stayed at in Vermont.

$2.00 will buy three quarters of a gallon of gasoline. Or, this miniscule, Gary Coleman-sized, 106 mL tub of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Two 1-dollar bills for 3.6 fluid ounces of sugary, iced cream. That's 55 cents per ounce, or 2 cents per gram.

Okay, so it's not exactly on par with Powdered Cocaine which averages about $650 per ounce, but it's still darn expensive for one mouthful of ice cream. I would have expected the ice cream to be much cheaper, considering the Ben & Jerry's factory lay just up the road from us. If you think about it, the ice cream should be a bargain, what with no transportation costs.

Tiny spoon will help you lose weight!Alas, I spent two whopping dollars on it, so I couldn't go nuts. I tried to go slow, using the tiny plastic spoon that comes with it, tucked beneath a cardboard flap on the plastic lid. But it was no use. The spoon was too small, and my mouth was unsatisfied by the microscopic amounts of ice cream it was receiving. So I ended up using the spoon as a kind of forklift, hoisting the ball of Cookie Dough ice cream up so that I could bite a hunk off. It was a delicate operation, as lifting the frozen ball of ice cream too high would allow it to topple out onto our hotel room floor. And only God knows all of the unholy things/body parts that have touched that carpet throughout the years. Jesus might know too, but I'm not sure if he has the same super-powers as his dad.

Even though I've decided I pretty much hate Ben & Jerry's ice cream, especially Dublin Mudslide, which tastes more like sugary bile than coffee and chocolate, I still like their corporate policies and ethical values.

They oppose Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, use natural milk & cream from untreated moo-cows, support Fair Trade, and have joined forces with Dave Matthews Band to stop global warming. That's pretty darn sweet, even if their ice cream isn't.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Not Your Everyday Taurus


The Ford Taurus has long been taunted. After all, it's a reasonably boring family sedan. But there's an impressive version that's more Yamaha than Ford, and deserves kudos instead of insults. The SHO.

For anyone who doesn't know, SHO in an acronym for Super High Output. The V6 engine was developed by Yamaha. Back in the early 1990s, 220 horsepower and 200 ft.-lbs. of torque was pretty awesome for anything but a sports car. What's even more impressive is that the car, looking a little different, debuted in 1989.

This SHO is my dad's. But he bought a new car about 2 years ago, and the Taurus, with 325,600 kms, was restricted to pick-up truck duties such as hauling lumber and ladders and whatnot.

325,000 kms is impressive enough. But what's more, is this SHO still has its original timing belt, which was supposed to be changed every 60,000 kms.

Even with a new car, my dad loved his luxurious SHO so much that he decided to keep it as a winter beater. The problem was, he didn't use it. With pressure from my mom, he put it up for sale. But there was a problem with that too. The only people interested in it didn't know what it was and were utterly confused when they came to look at it.

Ultimately, my dad decided to let me borrow the car as he'd rather see it put to use than keep trying to sell it. With my foot problem, it's getting nearly impossible to push in my clutch, so the Taurus (an automatic) will really help me get through the winter.

Who would've thought, back in '89 when the Taurus SHO debuted, that it - with its sweet JBL sound system, wicked factory sub-woofer and eighteen-billion way power leather seats - would someday serve as a winter beater?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cocoa Krispies: Krazy Delicious

So delicious, it made my eyes pop out and fall into the bowl.

Travelling home from a vacation is usually a sad thing. But for me, it's nearly as exciting as the whole trip itself. That is the time when we stop off at grocery stores and mammoth Target stores looking for deals.

On our drive home from Vermont, travelling along small 2-lane highways twisting through tiny, desolate towns, Suz and I came across an Oasis. Amongst the plethora of abandoned businesses and decrepit, collapsing houses, a brand new plaza containing a brand new Price Chopper suddenly appeared before my brand new eyes.

It was a spontaneous decision I made - to slam on the brakes, then coast silently into the well-paved parking lot. I parked in a far corner, and Suz and I ran through the rain, into the Price Chopper.

Inside we found some delicious things to eat, including a seasonal cereal: Cocoa Krispies, with Eye-Popping Marshmallows. At the cash, I was quite confused when I only had to pay $1.50 for the Halloween breakfast. I thought there was a mistake. Cashier #035 could see it in my face. "We're clearing those out." he said.

Once home, I could not wait to dig in. Inside my mouth, the amazing Cocoa Krispies didn't stand a chance. Move over BooBerry . Sayonara Frankenberry. You too, Boookenberry. I have discovered my new favourite Halloween-themed cereal, and it comes in a poop-brown box avec giant monster-eye.

Cocoa Krispies danced on my tastebuds. I was dazzled by their deliciousness. On one hand, I didn't want to swallow them, but on the other, I didn't want them to turn to a disgusting mush in my mouth. When I was finished, I immediately poured another bowl, and fought my urges to pour a third.

The "Eye-Popping" marshmallows were strong. They were crunchy and firm, the way cereal 'mallows should be. Only the final few, sitting in the milk for a while, began to show signs of sog. They were perfect.

In fact, the entire cereal is perfect. Kellogg's is a good company, as is any company willing to make a limited-edition food product for the Halloween season. But really, for a buck fifty, it could've tasted like crap and I still would've been happy. Because the box is pretty snappy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Senator Peter Welch.

Not exactly. But Senator Welch's party room at the Wyndham Hotel in Burlington, VT was still full of interesting things. It was probably full of interesting people too, had we gotten to know any of them.

Even though Suz and I were invited into their room to hang out and have a good time while they celebrated, we didn't really talk to anyone. I am not sure I would know what to say to any of them, besides when I congratulated the victorious Senator Welch. I am not sure they would have enjoyed talking with me after they found out I didn't vote for their beloved Mr. Welch due to my Canadian status. And even if I did vote, they were far too busy high-fiving the new Senator, and imagining how they could ask him for favours.

Pistachio shells.When they weren't shaking each other's hands, patting each other on the back and giving camera crews a big thumbs-up, they were busy knocking pistachio shells on the floor for the cleaning staff. It might seem horrific and insensitive, and it might cause anger to rise up in some people, and offend the older generation of grizzly, crotchety pistachios, but that's what they call "Keeping jobs in America".

The staff in our hotel was very stealthy and efficient. During our week, I spent a lot of time watching TBS on the bed. Around 2 o'clock I would head out for something to eat, and optimistically turn the doorknob card to "service please". When I returned about an hour later, the beds were made and new bottles of shampoo and conditioner graced our bathroom counter. Amazing.

Beer bottle.Inside Senator Welch's party room, the mess was also amazing. While wooden tables were the preferred resting spot for many a plastic cup or wine glass, the floor found itself as second choice when table-top space ran out. And run out it certainly did. Beer bottles, emptied of their intoxicating contents, rested on the comfy carpet in the same position as many of the people who are known to drink from them.

What exactly would the housekeeping staff do if they found someone face down in a pile of beer bottles? Are they trained in CPR and other such important things? Or are they simply trained in the art of dialing 911?

Water bottle.People like you or me might cringe at the sight of an empty water bottle lying on the floor, but the housekeeping staff knows how to deal with situations like these. It's not uncommon for Senators and their teams to create messes during their celebrations. This kind of thing happens on a four-year basis. When it happens this often, the housekeeping staff just kind of goes numb.

But for all of us who aren't used to seeing this senseless mess-making, we can ease our queasy stomachs and calm our crying selves with the same kinds of yummy drinks that littered Mr. Welch's hotel room. And if you look closely, you'll see that it wasn't just juice they were drinking. Mmmm! That's my kind of Senator.

Click here for my last Senator Welch post.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Peter Welch in Vermont

Peter Welch is now a Senator.

Suz's business trip to Burlington Vermont, which I tagged along on, turned out to be an extraordinary event.

This is Senator Peter Welch. I met him Tuesday night during an important and significant election, where Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House in the history of the United States.

The group that Suz was with, for business purposes, booked the Presidential suite at the hotel. After dinner Tuesday night we met with the rest of her group in the suite for a night of fun. We didn't know just how fun it would be until we discovered that Peter Welch had booked the room directly across the hall from us.

Our hotel was besieged with news stations like NBC, and hundreds of people involved in the political scene. I don't know what any of these people are called, as I don't really know much about politics. Regardless, Suz and I got caught up in the excitement Tuesday night.

Crowds of volunteers dressed in suits and other formal-type clothing congested the halls of the hotel while news crews squeezed in and out of the different rooms. Suz and I, giddy at the sight of all the action, stood in the background while Mr. Welch's sister was interviewed.

Soon we were invited into their suite, even though we couldn't possibly squeeze into the crowded room where the very pleasant Mr. Welch was giving interviews. I quickly switched my camera from video to still-photo mode when I was given the thumbs up to take pictures.

Mr. Welch, victorious in his run for congress, asked me to get a picture of him posing with his umbrella gift. People I mostly didn't know gathered behind him with a massive 'Thank You' banner. The entire time I found myself impressed with how nice Senator Welch was.

As the votes in the eastern states finished coming in, everyone filtered downstairs where the news crews were gathered. I realized this was a unique opportunity, and I snuck back into their suite to see what wild and crazy politicians and their posse get up to on election night.

Stay tuned to see what I found.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Our kitties like to climb into our suitcases, yet they hate to travel.

Vengelyne says she may be taking a leave of absence from blogging. Rainypete has been on again and off again in recent months. And now I'm taking a vacation.

Suz and I are leaving shortly for a week-long trip to Vermont. Yay, Vermont, the state with the dumbest slogan: Vermont, naturally. Okay, there are quite a few states with sad slogans, but Vermont's has to be sitting pretty close to the bottom of the barrel.

I'm fully expecting the state to be gorgeous, even though we won't see much of it. We're only travelling to Burlington, which, on the western border, is the closest to us, and is the largest city in the state.

Even if we don't see the Green Mountains, it will be nice to get away from all the traffic around here. Considering Vermont's entire population of 600,000 is barely 100 grand more than the population of my city, it shouldn't be too hard.

Also, with the United States of America's Thanksgiving just around the corner, everything will be beautifully decorated and as festive as can be. I can't wait.

Oh Margie, you came and you found me a turkey
On my vacation away from worky.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

More Halloween Surprises

Romantic blacklight photography.

It has been a few days since our Halloween party and I haven't found the time to get my pictures printed. Yes, I still enjoy sitting not by a computer screen, but on a couch, and flipping through a photo album. And yes, I still take my pictures in to be printed the old-fashioned way, as there is no home photo printer than can compare to the excellence of our local Black's.

However, this isn't one of the pictures I'll be printing. But it's still an interesting find on my camera.

During our 15th annual Halloween party, Duffman handed off his camera to anyone willing to grab it. So my first surprise was a number of shots that I didn't actually take, including mechanical Frankenstein hand copiously groping Rock-star derriere.

Always fun.

Suprise number two was that most of the pictures were out of focus. Or so it seemed. The pictures actually were in focus. But the giant, greasy fingerprints on the lens were interferring. It was almost like having a free soft-focus filter for my camera. Neat.

Surprise number three was a video of "Duffman... thrusting in the direction of the guy with the chicken!" That video will never be seen again.

Finally, surprise four was a series of pictures of the Vampire (you may remember him as Baseball Player Zombie from last year's bash). I took the pictures under the blacklight in the bathroom. But since I don't practice blacklight photography on a regular basis, I had no idea how to capture a proper picture.

Looking at the five pitch-black images on my camera, I decided to fiddle with them in photoshop. After adjusting the levels, the ultra-grainy image of the Vampire suddenly appeared - avec green hair! Which was the entire reason we were taking the pictures in the first place.

I'm glad those were the only surprises on my camera. It could have been much worse.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

We Bought Too Much Candy

Sorry kids. No eyes of Newt in here.

Trick-or-Treaters who were lucky enough to stray off course and wander down our quiet street were in for a nice surprise last night. Upon ringing our bell they were greeted with massive fist-fuls of glorious candy of all sorts.

Suz and I couldn't find our treat bags this year, and started wondering how to hand out the candy. We decided that we'd dump all of the Nestle chocolate bars, Cadbury chocolate bars, Gummy Body Parts, Rockets, Candy Necklaces, Candy Coins, Pumpkin Faces bubble gum, Chiclets, Terror Eyes gumballs and Boneheads candy skulls into our plastic witch's cauldron.

Curious, I waddled upstairs with my arms wrapped around the behemoth. I placed it on the white Ikea bathroom scale. I watched it teeter between 12 and 13 lbs.

>Last year we had around 45 kids come to our door. We were hoping for more this year, especially after we saw how much candy we really had. If we got 45 kids again, and we had 12 lbs. of candy, that would've translated to over a quarter pound of candy for every little goblin.

A quarter pound? That's a hell of a lot of candy from one house. Wait. That's a hell of a lot of candy, plain and simple. It's like a Wendy's 1/4 Pounder burger. Before cooking it.

More than twice I dumped handfuls of candy into little canvas bags, instantly doubling their weight.

By the end of Halloween night we only had 35-ish kids come to our door. And most of them were four years old or thereabouts. I don't know what a four-year-old Unicorn is going to do with sixteen pounds of candy, but that's the kind of haul I dreamed about when I was tiny little.

As for the older kids, it was great to hear them "Whoa" each time I reached into the bottomless candy cauldron. But there are some people who don't appreciate our misjudging of candy purchasing. Dentists have been sending me hate mail for 12 hours now.


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