Monday, November 15, 2004
Friday, October 15, 2004
I've decided to 'blog' the euchre results, since the 'Boys from Wallaceburg' seem to conveniently forget when they lose.
For those of you who don't know, Euchre is a card game... VERY SKILLFUL game. Anyway, this has been a particularly good week:
You'll notice that the numbers don't add up! Well, let's just say the Wally Boys jammed out today, so Team Veg had to face other willing oponents (same result). Next week, the tournament moves to the US, where the Wally Boys will face off against team Veg at the Wyndham hotel in Pittsburgh.
I've had a lot of feedback on this one. 'Ed' is convinced that the guys aren't being honest (his response was 1 day... a throwback for the guys), at the same time, a female co-worker from our US office was quoted as saying:
My husband knows if he so much as gets sick... I'm outta here.
Anyway, I've been asked in the name of science to continue this research. I'll be polling our good friends south of the border next week when I'm in Pittsburgh.
[to be continued...]
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
In light of recent events, Sheila has purchased me a new helmet with a visor(full face). Here is the 'warning' that comes with the helmet:
Hockey is a dangerous collision sport. Participation in hockey implies the acceptance of risk of injury. These hockey helmets afford no protection from neck, spinal or certain types of brain injuries, including those injuries which may be caused by rotational forces. Severe head, brain or spinal injuries, including paralysis or death, may occur despite using any of these hockey helmets.
Okay, so it seems to be a toss-up as to whether or not hockey is dangerous.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Okay, today I performed a 'poll' at work. Actually, Sheila got me on this kick while we were watching 'Dead Zone' (movie with Christopher Walken, not show with Anthony Michael Hall)... anyway, the question asked in the poll was:
If the person you were in a relationship with (engaged or married) went into a coma, and the doctors held no hope, how long would you wait for that person before considering (and perhaps entering) another relationship?
Okay, so this was by no means a scientific survey. I polled 8 males (including myself), and 5 females (including Sheila). Responses from 4 females and 4 males (a poor showing from the 'boys', but I think they are probably scared to answer... similar to the age old question "Does this make me look fat?")
... anyway, one might think that the men would have the shallow answers (well, they did joke about '2 weeks' before saying that they were in a relationship until the 'end'...). All men that responded said they would wait forever... or until the person ceased to exist (no mention of pulling the plug was made).
Females were of a more "move on with life" viewpoint... with one response saying "as soon as I met the 'other' significant other". My favorite answer was "If it were my first husband, I would valiantly attempt to conceal my elation...", but then went on to say "I would wait until my beloved died (going on to say "I would not pull the plug, I know how your mind works").
Anyway... there you have it. Men seem more committed.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
We've had requests to see the full size pictures (secretly, I think people want a better view of the statue with Sheila... nudge, nudge).
Anyway, the pictures are available here for better viewing. These are not all of the pictures from the vacation, but a select few. Perhaps in the future, we will release more... perhaps.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Well, our vacation is officially over now. We go back to work tomorrow. Had a nice 3 days off at home after returning from Paris.
Hockey started up today (with the 'gang' from work). Only took about 2 minutes to get my form back... by the third minute, I had broken Abe's nose in three places. It took the joy out of the game today.
Now, for those of you who know me, I swear this was an accident. I may seem uncompassionate, but I really do feel bad about it...
Sheila is on the couch at the moment... "I said hockey is dangerous... I said! Why doesn't anybody listen to me?" Greg, I told you this was coming...
Friday, October 01, 2004
In any case, we got in the shuttle which the driver then drove like a bat out hell, presumably to get to the other hotels on his route on time (or maybe that was just the way he drove).
At the airport we made the decision that we would quit second hand smoking. During our time in Paris we had been chain second hand smoking on a daily basis and this seemed as good as time to quit as any, since the airport did have no smoking signs around (not that common in Paris).
The three hour wait in the airport is tiresome. Only thing of note was a fight about what we would do if instead of going home we were now headed to London for a week. (I want to sight see, Sheila does not). It was similiar to a fight we had several years ago about what sex of puppy we would get if we got a Yorkshire Terrior. (We do not, nor did we then, or at any time, have any intention of getting a Yorkshire Terrior). Sheila is still ranting about travel.
Final Mini count: Matt: 56 Sheila: 26
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Last full day. We are sad to be leaving. Lunch at a Falafel bar in the Latin Quarter, then off for a boat cruise on the Seine. The sun is shining. Sheila remains awake for entire cruise.
Stopped for a beer in the Latin Quarter. Realized belatedly the place we were at did not have a Happy Hour in effect. Bargain price of $30 CAD for 2 beers.
Ride the Metro back to the hotel for the last time. No buskers.
Mini count - Matt: 53 Sheila 23
Supper at an Indian/Pakistani restaurant at Montparnasse. Excellent food and the best espresso we've had so far. Funny conversation at the next table. Two 'anglophone' ladies were with a 'francophone' man, two more arrived (francophone men). They asked the ladies if they spoke french (The ladies claimed they did). It very quickly became painfully obvious that they DID NOT in fact speak french... beyond saying "Ree Guard" (regard). To add to the pleasure, their voices sounded like nails on a chalkboard.
After supper we go up the Montparnasse for night time views of Paris. Not many people, there actually was no queuing.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Managed to get Sheila up at 8:30 this morning. Breakfast was interesting. At one point there were no clean plates, cups or utensils. People were becoming desperate. Sheila witnessed a man bathing in orange juice.
We visited the Pere Lachaise Cemetary and found Jim Morrison's grave - a bit anti-climactic but I'm not sure what I was expecting. Oldest legible grave we saw was from 1609.
In the afternoon we wandered through a few shops. Found some great clothes but prices here are very high, even BEFORE you convert from Euros to our puny CAD dollar.
A footnote here about buskers in the Metro. They're GREAT. Some of them are really talented and either entertain you while you wait for the train, or are actually performing on the train. There seems to be a standard gizmo they use for this consisting of a small luggage cart, an MP3 player and a battery powered amp, along with a mike or whatever instrument they use. The whole thing is held together with a reams of duct tape.
Mini count by 4pm is 39 for me, 12 for Sheila.
Sheila is napping right now, in a few hours we will attempt another visit to 'Au Grain Folie' and a visit to the Erotic Museum in Montmartre.
Back at Hotel - managed to finally eat at Au Grain Folie - was very good but they didn't take credit cards so we are out of cash. Went to the Erotic Museum - very interesting (no, I'm NOT putting any of those pictures up). As usual, you end up in a gift shop. No money left for Christmas gifts though, shame. Subway home included more busking, a flutist (not skin).
Important note - Sheila is not tired. Seems she has finally adjusted to the time change. Shame we go home day after tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Busy day today. We've booked a bus trip to the Palace of Versailles and we leave around 9am. After informing me she is looking forward to getting a glimpse of the French countryside, Sheila goes immediately to sleep on the bus and remains comotose for the entire 50 minute trip.
The Palace is VERY crowded with a lot of tourists but luckily we have bought our tickets in advance so we are directed to the 'non-queuing' area where we stand in a long QUEUE waiting to be admitted.
It's pouring rain but luckily I am dressed for the day in shorts and a T-shirt. Sheila informs me she doesn't want to be in any pictures because her hair 'looks bad.' I said that didn't make sense because (and this a direct quote) "it wasn't going to get any better". Turns out that was NOT the right thing to say.
After we tour the palace (at a cost of about 70 euros) we were fortunate enough to queue for toilettes where the privledge to use them cost only .5 euro.
The gardens were truly amazing and even more amazing, the garden toilettes were free. (A German lady was proudly pointing them out to all who passed).
After napping on the way back to Paris, Sheila was exhausted so we returned to the hotel so she could have a 2 hour nap.
Supper at the Grenier de Notre Dame where I accidently grabbed the waitress by the thigh. Startled us both. I gave her a huge tip.
Sheila came up with 'Mini counting' game where we each count how many Minis we can spot. End of the night I'm ahead 5-1.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Very uneventful day. Despite my best efforts, Sheila refuses to get out of bed until 11 am. Claims she is still 'tired'. We go back to Montmartre and hang out there for a while. We have a second aborted attempt to eat at 'Au Grain Folie', which is again closed. We start to wonder if it's ever open, or just some practical joke the Parisiens like to play on visiting vegetarians.
Visit the Latin Quarter, fountain St Michel.
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Visited Notre Dame while mass was in progress. Amazing place. Climbed the 550 steps to the top of the Bell Tower. Some complaining from Sheila. Saw the Bell itself - it's HUGE. Clearly Quasimoto went to the gym regularly.
Had lunch at Le Grenier de Notre Dame - excellent vegetarian restaurant in the Latin Quarter.
We then wandered down the Champs Elysee eventually getting to the Arc De Triumphe where we climbed 295 steps to the top. MUCH more complaining from Sheila. The 360 degree views of Paris were amazing. Supper at Piccalo Teatro - another vegetarian restaurant. After supper we go up the Eiffel tower (thankfully there's an elevator). Sheila keeps complaining she is tired. I have no idea why.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Well, we walked more than 10 miles today, it is no wonder the people in Paris are so thin... Arrived in Montmartre, and walked along Boulevard de Rochechouart towards Boulevard de Clichy (I'm going to tell you right now that there will be no accents on any of the words that require them... I don't know how to do that on an English keyboard). We saw a fight between two men in the 'Porno' district, we think (based on my understanding of French) that it may have been about some grapes that were not seedless. Anyway, the man doing the hitting was slapping the other man (I've never seen a man slap another man before).
Went to Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, heard the choir singing - it was amazing (reminded me of Sister Act with Whoopie Goldberg). Sheila insists to this day that it was NOTHING like Sister Act.
Searched (in some desparation) for a public restroom, they are NOT at all common in Paris.
Okay, this is something that you are going to notice is a theme on this trip. Bathrooms will come up VERY often, and there are many humorous anecdotes.
This particular public restroom (very public actually) cost .41 euros for those of the female persuasion (or men who had to do something other than pee). Men paid .30 euros for the priveledge to have people watch them pee.
Afterwards, we found a fantastic Indian Restaurant on Rue des Trois Freres (it was actually our second choice, but Au Grain Folie was closed). Excellent spice level and flavor. This restaurant also took the award for "Best Credit Card Theatrics by an Indian Restaurant". We made the mistake of drinking over 1 Litre of water (see previous point about lack of restrooms).
From lunch, we walked towards the large departments stores, but in reality, it became a day of frantically searching for public restrooms... I did a LOT of loud talking and 'dancing' around. We determined at this point that the people of Paris do not use restrooms. They drink miniature (thimble sized) cups of coffee, and have NO fiber in their diets.
Visited Printemps (hot washroom) and Galeries Lafayette (nice washroom). We then walked down past the Ritz hotel (what must have the NICEST restroom in all of Paris). Not sure that we were actually supposed to be in the washrooms there, but again... I was desparate.
We then walked through the jardin des Tuileries (again, I was in desparate search of a washroom... NO MORE WATER). Found one in the basement of a cafe, many thanks to the dog that pointed it out to me
Returned to our hotel, then to a Middle Eastern restaurant for Cous-cous. It was very nice. Sheila had her first FULL conversation exclusively in French (even if the child only did have a two word vocabulary - Au Revoir... Bonjour). Tiny restroom.
Made a mental note on the way back to the hotel that much of Paris smells like a fart... probably due to lack of restrooms.
Friday, September 24, 2004
Sept 24: Arrived in Paris
It was a long flight to Paris from Toronto... didn't help having to stop in Montreal. Many annoying people were on the plane (mostly people from TO complaining about having to stop in Montreal).
Checked into our hotel (Bleu Marine at Gare Montparnasse), then went out to eat at an Indian Restaurant in Montparnasse. They were very kind... until we broke out the MasterCard to pay!
This became a common theme in Indian restaurants in Paris. They would have signs in the window saying they accepted Visa and MasterCard, but when it came down to it, they would say that "they have been experiencing problems with the machine". When you told them you had no cash, they would "try" to run it through (some restaurants would add dramatization by rubbing the card on their shirts... a nice touch I thought)... AMAZING... IT WORKED! Believe me, this was NOT an isolated incident, it was common (only in Indian restaurants)... we believe there must be a society for proprietors of Indian restaurants where they share trade secrets such as this.