Thursday, April 29, 2010

What would John Wayne do?

Don’t tell the Department of Homeland Security but while visiting the United States recently, I stole a frozen chocolate banana.

My thievery occurred at the end of very enjoyable day spent at Newport Beach, California. What a place. The Pacific Ocean surges and swells and crashes along endless stretches of sand dotted with shells and sand dollars. Palm trees and bike paths line the shore. The fish & chips were deep-fried awesomeness. There’s a huge pier stretching out into the ocean and at the end of it is a sushi restaurant and a spot where locals fish. Seals poke their heads up to stare at those fishing. No shirt, no shoes, no problem at the casual restaurants and shops along the shore. It’s a great place. Just before we left, we decided to buy a snack. Truly an accident, I simply walked out of a beachside food store with the said banana that I thought my wife had already purchased and then when I discovered my mistake our shuttle was about to leave, so I had to run for it. Don’t visualize this. It’s sort of awkward running in your flip-flops with a frozen banana.

Anyway, like most of the food I eat (stolen or not), I felt guilty but I ate it anyway. And now, to be completely honest, I think the USA owes me a few more frozen chocolate bananas. Let me explain.

Since returning from the US, I’ve been doing some research. According to Wikipedia, the USA has the highest minimum tipping expectations of any country in the ENTIRE world. I now understand why sometimes, in the tourist-y areas, we were automatically charged 18% gratuity and then charged tax on top of it! Whoa. I’ve also learned that Newport Beach is one of the wealthiest places in the USA. Homes sell on average for more than $1 million. Along the beach, double that. Yeah. Would anybody even notice one missing frozen chocolate banana?

The whole situation reminds me of something that one of Newport Beach’s most famous former-residents once remarked. John Wayne said, “Get off your horse and drink your milk.” (Yeah. I don’t know what it means either but I just like saying it.) Anyway, John Wayne would never worry about one measly overpriced, gratuity-inflated and overtaxed frozen banana, so why should I?

I conclude by saying this: thank you America for the banana and an enjoyable vacation and for all my tips, you’re welcome.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Happy Barmitzpha Raheeb [sic]


Life is too short to order a cake and not put something unexpected (and misspelled) on it. My staff really enjoyed this today. Grant and I are such idiot-geniuses.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

An Open Letter

Dear  Hormonal & Drunk Teenaged Boys Idiots,

Don't call my house at 3:05 a.m. because you want to talk to my daughter. Grow up. Have some respect.

Sincerely With hate I look forward to never hearing from you again,

her Dad

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Some People, eh?

Some people, eh?

Some people wonder. Some people are wonderful. Some people make me wonder.

Some people are night owls. Some people are early birds. Some people are just owly.

Some people say one thing and do another. Some people say nothing. Some people do nothing and say anything. Some people should shut up. Some people should listen.

Some people are obsessed with things. Some people want more, more, more. Some people are never satisfied. Some people think they are better than others. Some people worry they don’t measure up. Some people waste their lives measuring.

Some people always leave a penny for someone else. Some people are cheap. Some people borrow $20 and then are never seen again and therefore, as the saying goes, it was probably worth the money.

Some people try and try and try. Some people succeed. Some people should just start.

Some people are waiting to win the lottery. Some people aren’t waiting for anything.

Some people always try to grow. Some people never grow up. Some people love that. Some people just love.

Some people cross their Is and dot their Ts.

Some people lie. Some people lie to themselves. Some people believe their own lies. Some people are lost. Some people are found.

Some people stab you in the back. Some people stab you in the front. Some people hurt and hurt people hurt people.

Some people hate. Some people will never learn. Some people are stupid.

Some people pour their gravy over everything. Some people make a volcano out of their mashed potatoes, pour the gravy in the crater, stab their peas and say things like “give peas a chance.” Some people make it impossible not to smile. Some people just make life sweet.

Some people just get it and some people don’t.

Thank goodness for some people, eh?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Spring Smell?

Ah yes, it’s about time! What time is it? Despite the continued risk of snow in northern Alberta, April means it's officially barbeque season again. Just follow these steps.

1. Marinate meat.
2. Chop veggies.
3. Place items in tinfoil.
4. Add butter to everything.
5. Add more butter.
6. Check the clock to coincide food with the guests’ arrival.
7. Clean up the kitchen. Set the table.
8. Light barbeque.
9. Place drink mugs in the freezer.
10. Place meat on the barbeque and hear that satisfying sizzzzzzzzzzle.
11. Season food with special secret recipe blend of herbs and spices that guests always remark about (the secret is actually more butter).
12. Place tin foil packs on the grill too.
13. Spread special secret recipe barbeque sauce (the secret is lots of butter).
14. Smile with slight arrogance at own cleverness.
15. Close the lid.
16. Wait for perfection.
17. Let everything get smoky.
18. Greet guests.
19. Serve drinks in frozen mugs.
20. Enjoy the late afternoon warm sun (or hike up the furnace).
21. Feel all squishy inside with happiness.
22. Excuse yourself for just a moment to evaluate food's readiness.
23. Open lid.
24. Go downtown to buy more propane.
25. Pray that resuming cooking as quickly as possible will destroy potential food-borne pathogens.

As yes, the joys of barbeque season. Melted siding is optional.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

#1 Thing I learned (California Version):

#1Thing i have learned in California: earthquakes are weird.
Somewhere between the Universal studios tour (during which we experienced a simulated earthquake) and the Mummy ride (which flung us hither and thither in the dark), L. A. experienced the secondary effects of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. 
And um, we didn't even notice. Not. A. Blip. 
Locals were likewise blasé but at least they knew. Not until we watched the news later that night did we realize what happened. Trinket-laden, map-reading, meandering (and apparently shaking) tourists can truly define clueless. I guess we proved that theory. Check.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Random Impressions of California (the Good and the Ugly)


1. When Maggie sucked on us in the Simpsons Ride!!!!
2. The Norman Bates actor on the Universal studios lot creeped me out.
3. Both us and the Pasichnuks seriously considered making our kids go through every all-you-can-eat restaurant (beverages not included! WTH?) at Universal Studios as many times as possible! And VIP passes are fantastic!
4. The pine tree crosses.
5. The hilariously bad Pirate Show at Knott's Berry Farm was like the old 80s Gladiator series minus decorum.
6. Bill the tour-bus guide really enjoyed asking questions and then did not listen to the answers.
7. The fact that I didn't realize my camera was taking pictures as it hung from my hand.
8. "We're just going to add our gratuity to your bill and then add taxes on top of it." Shame shame America.
9. "I'm so happy to be sitting down I think I have an _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _."
10. As my wife laughs hysterically, "I DON'T LIKE THIS ONE! I DON'T LIKE THIS ONE!"
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