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Archive for November, 2010

Mouse Poop

My co-worker found some mouse poop on her desk today.  I have to admit there was a certain relief when I found some mouse poop on my desk too, I wouldn’t want the mice to think more of my co-worker then they do of me.  If they are giving gifts, don’t I deserve some too?  For me it is no big deal as I live in the woods, mice are just part of the lifestyle. You regular readers already saw the throw up mouse.  The other day I did find a tiny liver, (or kidney, or something) in the bathtub, pretty darn gross. I looked for the rest of the body but found nothing.  I worried it may have been behind a piece of furniture and it would be smelling in a day or so.  Lucky for us neither the body nor the smell ever materialized nor did any of the cats throw it up and we have seen no sign of worms, all in all an excellent hunt.

So why am I telling you all this?  My co-worker and I took this as a sign and decided it was a good time to wipe down our desks.  I cleared mine of clutter got some sort of germ killing cleaning spray and coated the top of my desk  and got it all nice and sparkly clean, (including cleaning out my keyboard) and then proceeded to put all the clutter back on my desk.  A few moments later my co-worker was doing the same.  While Steph is quite tolerant of bugs she draws the line at mouse poop.  Half way through her cleaning she said; “You should blog about this.”  My first reaction was, why?  My second reaction was what could one possibly say about finding mouse poop on one’s desk especially seeing as my faithful readers have already seen the really gross projectile vomited mouse. (clicky clicky, to get another delicious view)  As I sat here thinking about writing my next post her suggestion became a challenge.

So here I sit at lunch eating a Turkey sandwich, (yes still scrumptious leftovers from Thanksgiving) and blogging about my co-worker finding mouse poop.

My clean desk, after I put all my crap back on it.

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I simply don’t understand how people stand in line for hours if not days to simply save a few dollars.  After I eat a thanksgiving meal that my wife has beautifully created, running out the door to wait in line till 4am is simply not on my list of things to do.  Let me break this down.  An Xbox 360 with Kinect I can find not on sale for $300.00.  For Black Friday I’ve seen them offered at $169.99  a savings of $131.00.  Of course the doors opened at 4am and you needed a ticket to qualify to purchase the item. You got a ticket by being first in line when the doors opened at 4am.  I have no idea how that makes any sense, but it is what it is!  Did I mention the add also stated that there were only going to be 15 available?  Is that really worth 130.00 bucks? Especially seeing as we are going into the holiday season in which there will be more sales? 

Friday, Black Friday I woke up at 5 in the morning and took the dog out for her morning walk.  I stepped out the door and laughed as I imagined all those people waiting in line, in the freezing temperatures and driving wind and rain.  Is it really worth it?  Really?

Last Black Friday my wife and I just happened to be up and out in the afternoon and we decided to stop at Best Buy to look and see if they had any laptops.  We didn’t expect much but we were in the area and at this point the lines were gone.  Much to our surprise we found what we were looking for.  They had a Sony gaming laptop and it was under a thousand dollars.  They were actually under $700.00, we each wanted one.  The sales clerk went to get them but he came back empty-handed, they sold out.  When we got home my wife decided to try best buy on-line, sure enough best buy on-line had exactly what we wanted.  unfortunately you could only order one per household.  But they offered a bundle package which offered the computer in question, a printer and some external speakers for just $50.00 more.  We decided to go for it,  We ended up with two gaming laptops, (exactly the same) a set of speakers and a printer for $1,114.00. 

We love our computers and I have no regrets.  But the process turned into such a hellish ordeal I will never shop on Best Buy online again. I won’t go into the months of grizzly details, but the following was one round. 

We had already received one of the computers, plus the speakers and the printer.  We paid for everything using a best buy line of credit, and upon checking the account we found that they had charged us for everything even though one of the computers was on back order.  I get an email saying there was a problem with the method of payment.  The following is basically the conversation that was had after waiting for an hour for an operator even though the call was important to them.

Me “Hello, my name is Brian and I got an email from you saying there was a problem with my payment method.”

Them “Okay what is your account number?”

“I already supplied my account number to the computer while I was on hold, but here it is again.”

“Mr. Brian I am looking at the account and we need another payment method from you.”

“Excuse me?”

“Perhaps another credit card?”

“I’m not sure I understand, the purchase has already been made, I checked with the card company and they confirm that the full price has already been deducted so I’m not sure how there can be a problem.”

“Well Mr. Brian there is no date of expire on your credit card and without that we cannot process the order”

“Again, I’m not sure I understand.  I purchased two computers a printer and speakers.  I already received one computer a printer and speakers and my card has already been charged for two computers and the printer and speakers, so again I’m not sure why you need to charge the card again.  Secondly this is not a Credit Card purchase.  It is a Best Buy line of credit purchase so there is no expire date.”

“I’m looking at your account and we need an expire date, without it I cannot process the order”

“Okay then tell me how did you process the first computer, after all it was purchased at the same time without an expire date”

“Mr. Brian I see there is a phone number here I can give you if you need more information”

“Wait a second, I got an email telling me to call this number.  I waited an hour on the phone for something I already paid for and now you want me to call another number?”

“Mr. Brian, I am not sure I can make you understand the problem so all I can do is give you this number.”

“Alright, give me the number”

“814-xxx-xxxx” At this point I could not believe my ears

“I’m sorry could you repeat that number?”

“Yes Mr Brian, the number is 814-xxx-xxxx”

“I’m sorry I can’t call that number”

“Why not?”

“Because I will get a busy signal, that happens to be my HOME NUMBER!”

“I’m sorry Mr Brian, I apologize for that, what I need from you is an alternate payment method to…”

“Can I speak to your supervisor?”

“No I am sorry they are all busy.”

I would love to say that the problems started and ended there but sadly they did not.  The problems actually started the night before when my wife noticed there was no ‘ship date’ but they had already taken all the money.  It ended months later with the help of one of the managers and a salesman from the local best buy store, the issues were mostly resolved and we ended up with two awesome computers at a fantastic price. 

Even with all the headaches and frustrations it would still not have been worth it to stand in line for two days to receive these computers.  Of course I will never again shop Best Buy online.  Just so you all know, Best Buy, and Best Buy online are two different companies and if I had not learned that little fact, I would probably never darken the doors of Best Buy either.

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If you haven’t read part one, I’d suggest you do.

So we did our research, which meant going to the store, asking a few questions and making our purchase.  We decided on a Garmin.  A decision I will never regret.  I’ve been to Harrisburg a few times and I always get confused because as you reach the outskirts everything tends to bottle neck and if you are not on the correct side of the highway who knows where you will end up.  Garmi takes all the stress out of the ride, Garmi tells you what side of the road to be on.  Garmi is brilliant.  When I started training at work I had to travel to Philadelphia.  Garmi got me there and back without any glitches, without any of my usual find a new place stress. I’ve learned a few times, Always trust Garmi!  The first time I was in the warehouse van just pulling out of the Huntingdon office which is about an hour away.  The most direct route home entails pulling out of the office crossing a double yellow line and making a left hand turn.  Before making my illegal move I checked my side mirror, and there standing outside the door talking to a technician was our safety officer.  My choices were two-fold, make the illegal turn and know where I was going and suffer the consequences of the illegal turn when I got back to the office or take a chance and turn right and be pointing in a direction I had never been.  Really wanting to avoid conflict I decided to go on a little adventure.  I didn’t cross the double yellow.  Garmi who was set to Halloween mode started giving me directions in his haunted vampiric  voice. “In two hundred feet turn right” I made the turn like a good little follower and it took me up a little hill at which point Garmi said “In fifty feet turn left”…”Turn Left now” The problem was turning left meant turning into somebody’s driveway.  I continued to go straight, Garmi objected, seeing as I have Garmi set to no u-turns it resorted to “Let me consult my magic book” which in Halloween mode means re-calculating.  Much to my horror it repeated itself “Let me consult my magic book” I kept going straight and Garmi repeated himself again.  Was Garmi lost?  Eventually Garmi said, “Continue on route” I was getting a little nervous.  There was no sign of human life.  I was surrounded by woods and while I was not on a dirt road, the road was so narrow the branches were scrapping along each side of the van. My only consolation of being lost was at least I was lost in an absolutely beautiful spot on a magnificent fall day.   If you have never been to central Pa you should really make an effort to come down in the fall the scenery is simply majestic.

I always play a little game that may one day get me a speeding ticket.  When I leave to go somewhere I always check Garmi to see when I’m supposed to arrive at my destination, and then I try to beat that time.  When I started the journey Garmi said I would arrive at my destination at 2:45 now, even lost Garmi told me I was going to arrive at 2:41, score!  Although I was pretty sure that in a few years time somebody was going to find a rusted out Comcast van with my skeletal remains hunkered down in the driver’s seat with Garmi saying, “Let me consult my magic book”! I continued to drive.

Finally Garmi told me to make a left and suddenly I was back in civilization.  I was still lost, but now there were other cars on the road so I figured I must be headed somewhere, chances of us all being lost was pretty slim.  A mile or two later I absolutely knew where I was (Pine Grove Mills)  I actually knew somebody who lived in the area.  I had no idea geographically where Pine Grove Mills was in relation to State College and Huntingdon in fact knowing I was in Pine Grove Mills was no help whatsoever because I was still lost, but Garmi wasn’t and I had found my faith in Garmi.

When I got back to the office, (ahead of time I might add) I was telling the story to my co-worker.  He informed me that I should have made that first turn onto the ‘driveway’ because it just looked like a driveway.  The reality was that once you got to the house the ‘road’ was leading too there was a slight drop not visible from the beginning of the road and from there it made a sharp turn which would have put me on the correct side of the double yellow and it would have been an easy drive home.

 Always Trust Garmi!

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I have a lousy sense of direction.  When I interviewed for the job I am currently in I was informed that we cover not only State College but Lewistown, Huntingdon, Lockhaven, Lykens, Tyrone and we help out our sister warehouse, (who my supervisor also supervises) Williamsport. I was asked if I had issues if asked to travel to any of these destinations.  I was perfectly honest about it and told them that I had no issues about traveling to any of the locations.  Lykens, being the farthest out is only two hours away.  So really it’s no big deal. 

“Nope, no problem” I responded.  However I immediately started thinking about the time I showed up to work at the bank and they asked me to help out in the Avis office. I wasn’t sure what a bank teller was going to do at a car rental agency, but what the heck. Then I remembered that there is a place called Avis Pa.  I had been there once before and my wife was driving.  I was told just go towards the mall and keep left, it should take an hour.   If you look at Google, to get from the State College branch of the bank to the Avis branch you would see it is a basically a straight line.

Two hours later I found myself at the Jersey Shore!  I had no idea when I crossed into Jersey, I didn’t even know Jersey was so close!  What I did know is that something went desperatly wrong.  It turns out that just as there is no Port in Port Matilda the Jersey Shore is not actually in Jersey!  Oh I’m sure there is a shore in Jersey but it is not this Jersey Shore which is probably a good thing because as much as I didn’t want to be lost, I really didn’t want to be lost in Jersey, (new or old) I didn’t have a GPS, I didn’t even have a cell phone, I was in the wilds of Pennsylvania and lost, eventually I had to (gasp!) ask a man at a local business how to get to Avis.  The man was very nice and pretended to understand how I missed the exit.  After all, it is really hard to see that large glaring Avis exit sign.  I think he saw my eyes gloss over as he gave me directions which were basically, ‘drive down this street and make a right’ And this very nice man got in his truck, yes a beat up red truck and had me follow him to the bank. 

In Montreal I never got lost.  Not that my sense of geography or direction was any better, I just didn’t drive.  I got from point to point by walking, transit, or bike.  And if I did get lost all I had to do was find the giant cross on top of the mountain and head for cross.  Once at the top of the mountain I knew where home was.

In Vancouver I never had to travel.  Everything I needed was in a four block radius.  And if I wanted to go downtown I took the skytrain which only went in two directions.  Even I could navigate that. 

My wife and I were hesitant about a GPS. Our only experience with one was through my father.  My folks came to visit, my father had a Tom-Tom and loved it.  We wanted to go to a restaurant in Altoona called Don Pablo’s.  My father punched it into Tom, we explained it wasn’t necessary as the only reason we ever go to Altoona is to go to this particular restaurant and it is easy to get too, it is right off the exit.  But my father insisted.  I watched Tom-Tom as we drove and I too was soon in love with the machine.  But Tom got it wrong.  It had my father get off the highway an exit too early.  We told him no, but he was going to listen to his buddy Tom.  Fine, it was just going to take a little longer.  Then Tom told my father to turn Right.  This was totally the wrong directions.  Images of a cab ride of long ago came to mind.  We convinced my father to disobey Tom.  Lucky my wife has a great sense of direction because now I was as lost as Tom.  My father refused to admit Tom was wrong.  He informed us that there must be another Don Pablo’s.  Why yes, yes there is as Don Pablo’s is actually a chain.  The next closest one to us is in Virginia!  We got to the restaurant and my father still refused to admit defeat, (he is loyal that way) and told the waiter what happened and if there was another Don Pablo’s in the area.  Yes, yes there is if you consider Virginia part of the ‘area’. the waiter understanding my father’s predicament did offer a way out.  He mentioned that there is a Mexican community on the other side of town and perhaps Tom-Tom new a Don Pablo that lived over in that direction.

Of course my father only listened to Tom when it was convenient.  For example we knew how to get to Don Pablo’s but on that occasion my father decided Tom knew better.   However when we were looking for a restaurant in Lancaster Pa, a restaurant non of us had been too, in an area non of us had ever been before, a time when we were at the mercy of Tom-Tom to guide us through the back roads of the Amish country side was the time when my father decides to disregard Tom’s directions with all of Tom’s fancy global positioning.  Tom was telling my father:

“In 500 hundred feet turn left”

“In 200 hundred feet turn left”

     …no turn signal

“In 100 feet turn left”

     …no turn signal no turn.

“Turn Left now!”

     …No turn.

“Recalculating, make a u-turn in 50 feet”…Father continues to go straight. 

Eventually and with enough of us pestering him he makes the U-turn and Tom leads us safely to the restaurant.

I was offered, and accepted the job two days after the initial interview.  My date of hire was a few days before my birthday.  We also had made plans to drive down to California to visit my father-in-law.  All things considered it seemed a great time to purchase a GPS. 

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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Magic

This post is basically geared towards the magicians in the crowd, but I think you normal people will enjoy it as well. 

Not long ago I was asked if there were any magicians or effects that manage to impress me.  I’m assuming I was asked because I am quite ‘jaded’ when it comes to magicians.  The answer however, is a big yes. 

I still like finding clips of Doug Henning and Paul Daniels.  Watching Eugene Burger, Jeff McBride and Ricky Jay is always a treat. There are guys like Shawn Farquhar who I’ve discussed in these pages before.  Donovan, Tony Chris, Matthew Johnson, Ray Wong and of course the late Tony Eng and Sid Lorraine are also on my favorites list, all for different reasons, all are extremely entertaining.    Ben Salinas, here in State College is just a hoot to watch, his smile and enthusiasm are infectious.

Montreal is a mecca for magicians.  While there are many reasons for this, I honestly believe the majority or reasons can be attributed to Tom Auburn (Magic Tom).  It always amazed me how many people I have come across that had been on his magic show.  In University so many of my classmates would come up to me with the same, similar story: “…your family is in the magic business?  Do you know Magic Tom?  I loved magic Tom, I was on his show when I was a kid, and I never missed watching that show.”  Nobody showed any shock that my father owned a magic shop.  In BC, I got odd looks when people found out what I did. After Magic Tom passed away people would come to me telling me about the time they were on the show, eventually I would be asked if I could make an introduction, at which time I would have to deliver the sad news.  I always had a hard time telling my friends and acquaintances that Magic Tom had passed away, every time they would get that look in their eyes as if I had just killed off part of their childhood. 

Perhaps my father, or other magi from Quebec will comment on this post giving possible explanations as to why magic is so popular in Quebec.  Because of this popularity Quebec has produced some excellent magicians. There are too many to name but a few examples are

David Acer:  Unfortunately I can only watch him for short periods of time as my stomach and sides quickly begin to hurt from laughing so hard.

Richard Saunders:  Crap man, I hate this guy.  I once sold him an effect.  I saw him perform it a few days later and I had no idea how he did it!

Roger Benoit:  Never failed to amaze and amuse me.  Roger may find it interesting that he is one of my favourite magicians.  

Gary Kurtz:  Gary would stand at the front door to the shop and call over to me.  ‘Brian Pick up that deck of cards you are using and spread them face up on the table and think of one card when you have the card in mind shuffle the deck”  That done he would then name the card I was thinking of.  Doesn’t sound like much but believe me it is nothing short of a miracle

I was in the Montreal shop practicing a small cups and balls routine, (Three balls penetrate three cups) a customer walks in and offers to give me some pointers.  I want to say it was Jean Boucher but can’t swear to it, anyway he has me set the effect up.  We go through the routine together very slowly.  I picked up the first ball made it vanish from my hand only to appear under a cup that is on the table.   The ordeal is repeated with the second ball.   I pick up the third ball and the customer says to me.  ‘We should change this up, pick up the cup first so we can see that there is nothing underneath”  I picked up the third cup and underneath it was my own wrist watch. Son of a Bitch!

Alain Choquette:  I’m not even going to discuss Alain’s magic.  He performed live on a popular french TV show and all the girls loved him.  He made me quite popular by association, Thanks Alain. 

Sorry there are just too many to name such as Romain, Carl Cloutier, Patrick Reymond, Blair Marshall, Ted Outerbridge, Lawrence Larouche and sorry to all those that I have forgotten to name here.

My point being is yes I am jaded when it comes to magic.  Yes sometimes I tend to run the other way when I see a group of magicians, yes I may break out in a rash when I see somebody with a deck of cards.  But in the end I can honestly say that magicians, despite their reputations as being complete nerds are some of the most incredible people around.

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I have a few good posts in the making, but they are taking some time to write.  So I wanted something quick and dirty for tonight’s post.  I resorted to my old friend, ‘Plinky’. Plinky is a website that lists scenarios that you are supposed to write about.  So, for tonight I chose:

 When was the last time you lost your temper in public?

This took place over 25 years ago in Montreal Quebec.  I was trying to get from the corner of Girouard Ave and Sherbrooke St to the corner of Van Horne and Victoria at around 2am.

By the time I left my friend’s house it was late and I didn’t want to take a bus and there was not a metro station close by.  I could have walked home, it would have taken an hour or so.  Stupidly I decided against it and hailed a cab.  I told the cab driver that I wanted to go to the corner of Van Horne and Victoria.  Understand, from where I was it was a twenty-minute drive max which included two turns, one left hand turn off of Sherbrooke and onto Decarie, and one right hand turn off of Decarie onto Van Horne:

“Hello I would like to go to the corner of Van Horne and Victoria please.”

“Yes sir, no problem”

“You know how to get there”

“Yes”

Off we went, we passed Decarie the first street we needed to turn on.  Okay he was going to make the trip a little longer and continue down Sherbrooke St to Victoria and then simply drive down Victoria to Van Horne.  Yes it would take a little longer, but it would also mean that he wouldn’t have to drive on Decarie which is really a busy autoroute.  Yes it would also pad bill.  I didn’t say anything because what he added to the bill was simply being subtracted from his tip.  Then much to my horror he passed Victoria!  Now I was confused but I had a thought, two thoughts actually.  The first was, he was going to go out of his way and take me downtown and turn up Guy St and then effectivly back track over Mt. Royal or as we Montrealers like to call it, ‘the mountain’ and really pad the bill.  My other thought was that he was lost.  So asked him, “Excuse me do you know where we are going?” 

“Yes Sir, Van Horne and Victoria”

“…and you know where that is?”

“Yes Sir”

Okay so he wasn’t lost, he was going to take me for a ride.  No problem it was going to be a free ride for me because I wasn’t going to pay him a cent,  so I thought to myself, drive on driver and learn a lesson about trying to screw a person.  So we finally made it downtown Guy St was the next block.  He didn’t turn! I was in shock, nothing made sense, he absolutely had to be lost.  Now we were downtown there were plenty of Metro stations.  By Metro, home was $1.25 and 10 minutes away.  As we passed the Guy Metro station I had worked myself into a really bad mood.

“Stop” I told him.

“We are not there yet”

“Really, where the hell are you taking me”

“Van Horne and Victoria Sir.”

“How?”

“Excuse me?”

“How in the hell were you going to get me to Van Horne and Victoria?”

I got the blank stare in return and I said nothing.  He looked at the meter, he then said okay, pay half and leave my cab.  I just sat there.

“How were you going to get me to the corner of Van Horne and Victoria?  Let me make it easy for you.  We should have been there forty minutes ago.  Two blocks after you picked me up you should have turned onto Decarie.  You didn’t.  I figured you were padding the ride or you didn’t want to drive on the autoroute, fine at that time you pretty much lost your tip but what the heck. (now I was starting to yell and I was getting louder with each word)  Then you passed Victoria and you didn’t turn.  I want to go to the corner of Van Horne and Victoria and you didn’t turn on Victoria?  Fine, you were going to take me for a ride and take me all the way downtown and then double back over the mountain, at which point I already decided you were not getting a dime.  Now we are passed any logical point of return and I am curious, how were you going to get me where I wanted to go?”

“Sir, why didn’t you tell me where to turn if you knew we should?”

“Because after we didn’t turn on Victoria I asked you if you knew where we were going and if you knew how to get there?  You answered yes to both questions.  NOW!  How were you going to get me to where I wanted to go?”

“Sir, just give me half the fare and get out of my cab”

“Half the fair?  Half. The. Fare!  I’m not paying anything”

“Sir, I will call the police if you don’t pay”

“You know what, I will give you half the fare…provided you can tell me A) Where the corner of Van Horne and Victoria is and B) How you were intending to get me there?”

“Sir, just get out of my cab.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think you had a clue, why didn’t you say anything?”

“Get out of my cab”

Oh, I got out of the cab alright.  I threw the door open so hard I heard the hinge crack on the door, then I slammed it closed so hard it bounced back open.  As I entered the metro station I saw him get out of the cab to inspect the door.  I heard him yelling at me that I was going to have to pay for the door.  To this day I wonder how he was going to accomplish that.  I didn’t live at the corner of Van Horne and Victoria, nor did he have my name.  I guess he was going to make me pay the same way he was going to get me where I wanted to go, he wasn’t.

 

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One day, knowing nothing about magic, Tony wandered into the magic shop in BC and simply never left.  Even though Tony and I don’t communicate much anymore I still consider him one of my best friends.  I have noticed that I  pick on my other best (and oldest friend) Richard quite a bit so I think it is only fair to have a pick on Tony post. 

I’ve never figured out if Tony was/is crazy, we are all crazy in a way, but if anyone marches to the beat of his own drummer it would be Tony. Speaking of drummers, while not a drummer Tony is one of the most talented people I know, he is a great magician, musician, storyteller, cook and as far as I can tell Husband and father.  Tony, his wife Penney and I were in North Vancouver and he purchased an odd-looking native flute.  In a day he was playing it beautifully.  He told me they were easy to play so I went out and purchased one with an ‘Easy Beginner Guide’  my neighbor thought I was skinning my cat alive.  Tony also plays a killer guitar and keyboards.  I know that when it comes to entertainment Tony is just one of those people who can do it all. 

Okay, so far this doesn’t sound like a pick on Tony post, but alas, now the tide turns.

Tony Time:

I quickly realized that Tony does not go by the regulation time zones.  He goes by what his wife dubbed, ‘Tony Time’ Tony and his wife lived about half a block from my house.  If I stood just right and angled my head out of my window I could see the apartment building they lived in.  At most it was a four-minute walk.   Tony would call on a Sunday so the three of us could get together. 

“Hey Brian interested in going to the stinky red barn today?”  Stinky red barn is a pretty cool flea market in BC.

“Sure”

“Penney is just finishing up a few things, how about we meet at your apartment in about half an hour”

“Sure”

An hour and a half later they would be ringing my bell.  I learned very quickly that this was not the fault of Penney, it was all Tony.  Penney, who I may be throwing under the bus at this point told me the best thing to do was make plans, decide on a time, but have Tony call me just before they leave the house and in this way I knew I still had about 20 minutes after the final call.

Bad Road Conditions:

You know how when the road conditions are slippery you are not supposed to jam on your brakes?  In fact you are supposed to ease off the gas and leave the brakes alone. Tony’s in-laws live at the top of a steep hill.  One thanksgiving night in snowy November we went to his in-laws to celebrate.  On the way home the weather conditions were pretty bad.  Tony was a little worried about the steep roads that led to the highway so we drove around for 40 minutes until he found a road that he was willing to chance, (they were all fine by the way).  It was a very slow painful ride back home because every half mile or so Tony would suddenly jam on the breaks to make sure the car would not slide.  While bracing myself against the seat to avoid sudden neck strain I tried to explain the principle behind not jamming on your breaks.   Do you remember ‘Tony Time’?  It appears there is also such a thing called ‘Tony Hearing’. 

Then there was the Tony stapled his own fingers in the magic shop, oh wait a second, that was Penney! Never mind.

The Skytrain:

Vancouver has a wonderful mass transit system.  The Skytrain is like a monorail only there are two rails which make it a train.  Anyway, it runs over the city with stops every few blocks .  The three of us were going to the New Westminster Quay where it is easier, faster and cheaper to use the Skytrain.  Tony got a little ahead of Penney and I, and I noticed he was checking the structure of the train station.  Penney informed me that Tony was a little nervous about the integrity of the system, as in the foundation of the stations may be weak so Tony, although not a structural engineer took it upon himself to inspect the stations to make sure they were safe before we boarded.  It also appears that you can’t jump on any old section of the skytrain either.   You have to sit in the middle car.  If you sit near the front and there is a head on collision you are dead meat.  I should point out that there are two sets of tracks, they run side by side and they go in opposite directions.  But it could happen.  You can’t sit in the last car because if you get rear-ended. Dead meat! And if you sit in a car towards the front or the back and the front or back car get hit and are rolled off the tracks then the momentum will take those cars as well.  By process of elimination it had to be the middle car.  It all makes perfect sense.   Of course in the 10 years I lived in BC there was never a Skytrain crash.   But it could happen.

Nap Time:

Tony likes to pretend he is asleep when he is driving,  mouth open, snoring, one eye closed, perhaps a little drool running down his chin.  Whole nine yards, I think he once gave his poor mother a heart attack, not to mention other drivers.

Tony has a rather insane alter ego named Billy.  I’m not sure how many people know about Billy, but between you and me, I think Tony may be Billy’s alter ego.  You just never know.

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