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

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Handle

1. Heat water till boiling. 2. Throw at intruder.

I don’t normally write about work, partially because I don’t want to get dooced, (Google it) and partially because there’s nothing worth writing about, but it does need mentioning.

My job function has shifted dramatically in the last few days, and as a result it’s becoming difficult to find time to blog.

Some people from work have left, and their jobs have been shoved into my face and up my nasal cavity. Currently they’re poking me in the frontal lobe and it tickles. And smells like burnt toast.

Posts may or may not become shorter, or, occasionally, I won’t update for a day or two. At least until I get a handle on things.

Speaking of handles: in the 1980s we used to drive to Florida and stay in my grandma’s condo. Our Oldsmobile had a CB radio, and we used to talk to Truckers to avoid traffic jams and dodge the Smokies. Our handle was, appropriately, "Florida".

When my grandma died, we got her kettle. It has a nice, thick, rubbery handle.

Friday, February 16, 2007

So Fragile

He went belly-up, literally.My 50 gallon aquarium is home, primarily, to Sir Glubsalot, my Sailfin Gibbiceps pleco from South America. He is one-and-a-half feet long (a bit longer than a keyboard) and 5 inches wide. 2007 marks his 13th birthday. I doubt I will have a party for him, although, I might pour some Jack Daniels into the tank for him.

But I also have some smaller fishies which I take care of as well. I think a lot of people take fish-owning too lightly. If a $3.00 fish dies, the consensus is usually “who cares? He was only $3.00.” He then rides the porcelain bus down into the city’s bowels as a final farewell.

I feel differently. Just like any pet, I am responsible for their lives. I am responsible for the environment they live in, and if they suffer, it’s entirely my fault.

When we returned from our trip, I decided to relive my childhood by purchasing a pair of dwarf underwater frogs to enhance the lives of the small amount of fish I have. I didn’t realize this was an instant death sentence.

My filter is an Aquaclear 200. Although it’s a reasonably powerful filter, I have, on a regular basis, watched it struggle to pull even the smallest shit particles in. Any living creature with fins or webbed feet could escape its pull.

Sadly, Frog #2 wasn’t so lucky. It’s not that he couldn’t resist the pull of the filter, but rather, an unfortunate case of bad luck.

One day, after work, I discovered his lifeless body wedged into the filter tube, head first. My conclusion? He either had a catastrophic webbed-foot malfunction, or, swimming up to the surface for air, he must have slipped into the suction of the filter and swam straight up into it.

Hopefully, he died instantly, and didn’t suffer. Suffering sucks.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007


Don’t worry. Not an ancient Aztek or Mayan figure.

Buying souvenirs is difficult. I never know what to buy. Bits of jewellery sell in abundance along tropical beaches, but I don’t know anyone who wears bright aquamarine stones, seashells and shark teeth.

Even though my mom is difficult to buy for, I still do my best to bring her back something. And this year, that something happened to be a small clay figure that was really quite neat looking.

The problem with clay is that it’s sort of on the fragile side. And, unfortunately, airlines are not famous for gently stowing traveller’s luggage.

Our luggage, probably stowed beside the landing gear, was crushed to atoms by the hydraulics when the wheels were retracted. We were able to salvage my Scooby Doo boxers, a shoulder strap, and my mom’s headless clay figure.

Saddened by the demise of ‘Roger’, I printed a photo of us standing in front of the mountains, put it into a nice frame, and gave that to my mom instead. To explain the situation, I showed her the above picture of what her souvenir should have been, and she actually asked me to print it for her.

The best thing about a photo of the obliterated ‘Roger’ is that my mom will never have to worry about knocking it over.

But the next time I visit my parents, I hope I don’t find ‘Roger’ sitting in that frame instead of me and Suz. That would just crush me.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Are You Missing Something?

Someone in Lara is gonna be mad.

Unknown to my dad at the time, his licence plate collection started in the early 70s when he acquired a Bahamas licence plate off a junked car during a vacation there. What gives the unique plate 82% more awesomeness is that it’s a rare “Out Islands” plate.

About a decade later my dad picked up a standard, boring Florida plate. He didn’t do anything with these plates, and they remained relatively forgotten until a long-lost relative in Arizona rejoined our family. Soon my dad had an Arizona plate.

After seeing dozens of painted licence plates being sold by beach vendors during my vacation in the Dominican Republic, I decided to bring one back for my daddy as a souvenir. I asked the vendor if he had any that were unpainted, and he presented me with a glorious orange plate which even had the stickers on it.

Remembering my dad’s excitement at the Dominican plate, I set out to find a Venezuelan plate for him when we visited Margarita Island last week.

To my surprise it proved impossible to find any vendors selling licence plates. After days of searching, I finally asked one of the resort employees, who made a few phone calls. His friend, another employee, stated he could get me one if I was willing to pay $60,000 Bolivars. It seemed a little shady. But I had enough plausible deniability to ease my conscious so I said, "I’ll give him $75,000 – but I want two."

On our last day, at a predetermined meeting time of 8:00 a.m., I met the guy in the lobby of our hotel. "Dos Benezuela" he said to me.

Perfecto!” I replied, sounding exactly like the tourist I was. I handed him the money, watched him flip through the bills nonchalantly, and hobbled away with the biggest smile on my face.

My dad loved the thick, old galvanized Venezuelan plate I gave him. And I’m enjoying the beginning of my collection with my new-style Venezuelan plate - which may or may not be stolen.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Venezuela is Socialist? Whaaa?

Part of LagunaMar, surrounded by mountains.

Our resort, LagunaMar, featured a fairly common form of entertainment each night. After the sun set behind the mountains, dancers and comedians would take the stage, a plywood & particleboard masterpiece, and squeeze laughter and smiles from the audience.

One night they shouted to the audience only in Spanish.

Upon hearing "Benezuela!" the Venezuelans erupted in cheers. The Columbians took their turn when "Columbia!" was shouted. And, as Chile, Argentina, Brazil, U.K. and Canada echoed across the stage, each corresponding nationality cheered for their country. Even Germany was mentioned, to the joy of two.

Two Venezuelans and a ghost.The United States, where half of my family lives, was never mentioned. And during our stay we didn’t come across any Americans. But Suz and I did meet a couple from Venezuela, on a 3-day vacation from Caracas. We learned a lot from them, including the astonishing price of gas. At 2 cents per litre, they filled their tank for less than $2.00 U.S, and drove 3 hours to the ferry which took them to the resort. Gas in Venezuela isn’t taxed, and is among the cheapest things they can possibly purchase.

So what’s the deal with Venezuela and the States? Why were there no American tourists? Why wasn’t the U.S. even acknowleged at our resort? It’s no secret that Bush hates Chavez and vice versa, but are flights from the U.S. actually restricted from entering Venezuela?

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Bush was unable to supply enough oil for his own country, prompting Chavez to swoop in on his golden oil barrel and donate in the neighbourhood of one million barrels. It’s been said that the only reason Bush accepted Venezuela’s offer was because they already had a network of Venezuelan-owned distributors in place: Citgo.

Yet, despite this act of kindness in a time of devastation, Bush has put Venezuela on his blacklist of countries not cooperating with the war on drugs. The two are not related, unless you consider Bush’s double standard when it comes to Venezuela.

The U.S. relies heavily on Venezuelan oil, but at the same time tries to de-legitimize Venezuela’s government due to their close ties with socialst countries like North Korea and Cuba. It’s really too bad, because Cuba isn’t a threat to the U.S.

Of course, that’s debatable.

Bush’s administration tries so hard to protect their country from terrorists, but can’t protect them very well from hurricanes, as evidenced by the Katrina fiasco.

Hurricane Charley caused only 4 deaths in Cuba, yet was responsible for 30 deaths in the States. Wilma caused only 4 deaths in Cuba, but 36 in the States. And Ivan was responsible for a mere 3 deaths in Venezuela, zero in Cuba, and 54 in the States.

During our ‘orientation’ on our second day, a fellow Canadian asked our Venezuelan guide whether or not Venezuela was socialist. He replied, "we are leaning towards that direction… but we should not talk politics," then nervously laughed, and went on to the next question.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Venezuela Is Neat

Beaches, mountains, ocean. Neat.

Eight lazy days later, Suz and I returned from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. We stayed at the LagunaMar Resort on Margarita Island, which is almost like a desert island.

The plane trip to Venezuela was 4 hours and 47 minutes, aboard a supercool Airbus A310. When we landed, the temperature was 31C. We then travelled 45 minutes by bus to our resort.

Employees of the resort worked daily, doing their best to keep the grass and the palms nice and green, as green is the preferable colour of tropical lushness. The resort was surrounded by scrub, cacti and mountains, which seemed to have plenty of plants growing on them.

There were 6 pools scattered across the land including a wave pool and a kids’ pool with very large waterslides which taunted me with their curves and trickling water. Children laughed with glee upon splashdown, while I hid my resentment deep inside.

Instead, we spent our days laying on the amazing beach and watching the four-foot waves roll in. On the more windy days we lounged by the main pool, which had a swim-up bar and a waterfall. The bar was frequented by us, frequently.

Cool-a-roo.Occasionally a big iguana would wander up to our poolside lounge chairs, triggering camera-hysteria. He would beg for food while keeping his distance. (Thank goodness for a 12x zoom lens!) When I got too close to ol’ Jub-jub, he would spit at me, and thrust his head into the air indicating I had either overstepped my boundary, or had bad breath.

The resort was large enough to require shuttles that would take us from our building to the restaurants, pools, watersports lagoon and beach. There were no emission controls on the shuttles, and my life has been shortened dramatically, but I still enjoyed their services.

The food at LagunaMar was typical. Some was very good, while some was very spit-outable. I enjoyed pollo on a daily basis, and nearly convinced Suz that it was “kitten” and not chicken. There were only two à la carte restaurants, one Mexican and one Italian, and both were excellent.

The five and a half hour plane trip home was uneventful, except for the two movies we watched: The Guardian, and Man Of The Year, some of which was filmed a couple of minutes from my house. It was during the filming of this movie that my old pal Kev had a conversation with Robin Williams.

When we got home the temperature was negative 10C, a difference of about forty degrees.

Here I am, giving my approval to a local Venzuelan.
Here is a nice shot of pelicans and far-off islands.

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