Thursday, December 30, 2004

Day 4: The Great Race to A2

I awoke an hour later on this morning by design, as I wanted to avoid rush hour in Cleveland, which was the largest city on my route by far (roughly 3-4 million people in that metro area I think). After grabbing a quick muffin and juice at the continental breakfast, I bid my cubbyhole motel room farewell, and I hit the road.

I made good time to Cleveland (1 hour and 15 minutes) from Erie, PA, and proceeded to hop into the express lanes of I-271 and I-480, once again awed by the vastness of the freeway system of yet another large American city. These highways took me throught the suburbs of Cleveland, so the skyline, sadly, was not visible. I was taken aback by the huge area that the urban sprawl of this city encompasses. It took me, in non-rush hour traffic, over a half an hour to cross over from one end of this metropolis to the other.

Between Toledo, OH and Cleveland, OH, I filled up at a British Petroleum station. This otherwise unremarkable event was significant due to the fact that this tank of gas was the cheapest I have ever filled my car for, ever. I paid $13.50 US to fill my car from the quarter mark to full! And to think that they complain about prices down here!!

Shortly after, I crossed into the ultimate destination of this trip, the great state of Michigan! I stopped at a tourist rest stop to call my landlord, letting him know that I was on my way. Getting back on US 23, I noticed something both insane and equally exciting. The speed limit here on Michigan freeways was a neck-snapping 70 mph, which roughly works out to just under 120km/h! I zoomed along at 125 km/h, as if nothing was wrong; being a speed demon, I was loving every minute of it!!

A couple of things kinda pumped up the freak factor a few notches though on my approach to Ann Arbor, MI. One, Michigan makes their highway underpasses quite low. There was a warning of a specifically low clearance, and being behind two 18 -wheelers, I backed way off as both barely ( and I mean barely) cleared under the bridge! Also, there was not just one, but two signs on the way up US 23 that read, and I quote: "DO NOT PICK UP HITCHIKERS -- PRISON AREA". Eeek, I guess I won't be lending a ride to any strangers anytime soon!

I finally reached my house at roughly 2:15pm, and 20 minutes later, my landlord showed up, and gave me a brief tour of the house, and let me know that Ann Arbor was a safe city, and that I was in a safe neighbourhood. He knew what he was talking about, as he is an officer with the cities' police department. Trip over! Whew!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Day 3: New York State Is Frickin' Huge!

After getting my early morning wake up call, I readied myself, and set out on I-95, after gassing up and having an awesome sugared blueberry muffin at the Irving Mainway. I noticed something that amused me greatly at this early hour of the day (7:30am). On the pump nozzle, the warnings that were listed included this head-scratcher: Do not siphon gas from nozzle with your mouth. Ooooook, you got to be a little bit nuts to even think about doing something as stupid as that!

New Hampshire went by in an eyeblink, which then put me on the perhiphery of Boston (I-495) during the latter portion of rush hour. It was fun rather than stressful however, as it wasn't packed to the gunnels with cars, and the ones that were out there were going rather fast! I made it to I-90 by 9:00am, getting on the Masschusetts (I can't spell that name without a dictionary, sorry Bay Staters) Turnpike.

Instead of paying cash like on all the other toll roads I have been on, here you take a ticket and give it up when you get off the Mass Pike, nice system! I soon came along to what is one of the most famous trademarks of any turnpike, the rest area. This thing was ornately designed, packed with all sorts of food outlets from MacDonald's, to regional chains like Auntie Ann's Pretzels. All in all, a nice place to relax and rest, as evidenced by several more visits during mandatory rest breaks I imposed on myself.

Soon, I entered the Berkshire mountains. I still think our mountains are better looking than their mountains, but it was a nice scenic oasis to behold in a trip of mostly flat land! I managed to snap a few pictures, so hopefully they will turn out fine.

I then entered New York State. Shortly after, my stomach came a' calling, so I stopped for lunch at a pizzaeria in this town 10 miles east of Albany. I had the buffet, and a nice long conversation with this waitress called Christine. We talked alot about politics and such, and she asked quite a bit about Canada (forget what exactly). In the tip that I left her, I included a loonie for her to keep (aren't I a gentleman!).

The long drive across New York State took up the rest of the day, with endless scenes of farmland; lazy geese that were flying south for the winter only now was the only thing that peaked my interest. The cities of Syracuse, NY and Rochester, NY were situated far enough from the interstate that no urban sprawl grew out to meet the highway I was travelling on.

I stopped to eat at a Pizza Hut located in the food court of a rest area, approximately 10 miles east of Buffalo, NY. There, I plotted my course around the metropolitan area, in addition to researching prospects for where I was going to stop for the night (Michigan was 6-7 hours away, so it wasn't a viable target on this day, unforunately).

I finished dinner, then set out towards the city of Buffalo, NY. I found out in short order though, that this place is bloody huge! There was roughly 4 lanes on each side of the express lane, with a similar amount of pavement in the collector lanes (it was a cool experience, in spite of the chaos of rush hour, to be imbedded in such a complicated freeway structure).

I reached the terminus of the toll section of the New York State Throughway here; since I hadn't turned off the turnpike since Amsterdam, NY (to get gas), the toll was ginormous, $7.65 in total. That may seem like alot, but keep in mind that the Cobequid Pass back in Nova Scotia charges you $4.00 Canadian to go roughly 40km (the NY turnpike length that I drove was roughly 300 miles by comparison). That's nothing short of highway robbery!

Shortly after exiting the turnpike, I went to put my wallet back in my jeans butt pocket. I did so, but roughly scraped my knuckle in the process. I didn't feel anything unusual, so I drove on, minding my business. As I was passing through the suburbs of Buffalo, NY, I realized that I needed to fill up with some gas again. I made my way off of the interstate, and pulled into a Mobil station. I then got out of the car, and as I went to program the gas pump, I noticed, to my relative horror, that a good portion of my right hand was covered in blood! A quick examination found that had taken a good chunk of skin off the index finger of my right hand! The gas station attendant however, was generous enough to "borrow" a bandage from a box of band-aids in the gas station, and then placed the box back on the shelf, as if nothing was wrong!

As I made my way back to the car, I quickly found out the results of the lack of awareness of my injuries. Because of my pre-occupation with rush hour traffic, I inadvertently stained the dash, a pillow, and the right leg of one of my good jeans with my own lifeblood. What a mess it was!

After that little episode, I was ready to call it a night. At dinner, I decided to check out the Super 8 Motel in North East (an actual town name), Pennsylvania. It was an OK place to crash for the night, but the room was super small (my bedroom here in Ann Arbor, MI is as big, maybe bigger than this motel room was!) As well, the strip of rooms where I was located was right across from the backside of a popular pub in this town ( I was tempted to drop in for a pint, but I told myself no, as I was trying to save money, and wanted to get away at a decent time the next morning). When I was trying to fall asleep, people would be pulling up to the bar in their cars/trucks/cabs/hummers. It didn't stop until 2 am, so I didn't get as good a sleep this night as I hoped I would get...

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Day 2: US Customs, What Fun!!

On the morning of the second day, I took my time getting away, wanting to start out as fresh and as rested as possible. Janice cooked me up a huge breakfast, and took the trouble of preparing lunch for me as well (I didn't even ask, very accomodating and generous folks!). After freeing my car from its prison of ice, I set out on the road again, bound for the good 'ol US of A!

Much of the drive was uneventful to the US border at St. Stephen, NB, with the exception of having to take a detour through the city of Saint John, NB, due to an accident at the Harbour Bridge toll booths. I finally got to the border crossing area at around 2:15pm Atlantic time. I pulled up to the customs agent; the third question out of her mouth after "where are you from?" and "Where are you headed?" was "What's under the tarp?". Thinking I was about to get my car disembowelled via a search, I said that the stuff was personal items, clothes, appliances, etc. Not impressed, she told me to pull over and to park in the visitor's lot.

Inside, she told me that I needed a manifest list of goods that I was carrying to the states for personal use, and that I would have to go back to Canada customs to get that business done. They processed my J1 visa, and then (mistakenly) got my fingerprints and picture taken.

I briefly went back over to thew Canadian side to do up the manifest list, and then after a few more bits of paperwork, I was across the plane. Jimmy was in the U.S.A.!

A little annoyed with the events that just transpired at the border, playing Green Day's American Idiot was quite the stress relief mechanism. I proceeded to drive through the Eastern Maine wilderness to Bangor (had to take another detour due to an accident, where I lerned later on the local newscast that someone had died in the wreck, which didn't surprise me in the least from what I saw).

After having dinner at an Irving Big Stop outside Bangor, I pushed on beyond Portland, Maine to Biddeford, which is in the Old Orchard Beach resort area (highly recommended by me, as I was there this past summer!) I settled in for the night, knowing that I had a lonnnnnnng day ahead of me...

Monday, December 27, 2004

Day 1: I Fought Mother Nature. Mother Nature Won.

I set out at roughly 4:45 am Monday, December 27th in the midst of what was to be one of the worst blizzards that I have ever experienced. It was bad outside when I left, but the roads as far as New Glasgow, NS were passable with caution (I was going roughly 65-70 km/h). I then proceeded to climb Mount Thom on the way to Truro, NS, and it all went to hell.

Blinding whiteouts. About 20 cm of snow on the Trans-Canada. Snowdrifts in the middle of the highway (I soon learned a pattern to this, as they appeared on the lee side of underpasses). Utterly horrid conditions that I would not wish upon any motorist. I fish-tailed several times along the way, but I managed to survive the white-knuckled mountain drive, thanking God when I finally came across the Bible Hill exit.

Parked at Tim Horton's, I slowly sucked back a Coke and greedily wolfed down an Apple Fritter as I listened to the details of how bad the storm was on 100.9 FM Big Dog. The Cobequid Pass was closed, but I wasn't moving even if it weren't closed. Mother Nature had spoken, and I didn't want to lose my life defying common sense!

Stuck for an indeterminate amount of time, I looked up Cardinal's home number, as I wanted to at least make lemonade from these lemons by hanging out with a good friend of mine. He had to clear his driveway out, but would be able to have me over in a couple of hours. I then proceeded through the blinding snow to find Robie Street, hoping I could find a mall to loiter in for 2 hours. It took me a half hour to do this, find everything looking the same!

By the time I got to the Fundy Trail Mall, only Crappy Tire and Sobey's was open, so then my thoughts turned to lunch. The Ready-To-Go meal counter was closed, so I left the store, hoping to find a fast-food outlet dumb enough to be still open in this 9 pointer of a snowstorm.

Golden Arches to the rescue!! I got myself a chicken nugget meal, and devoured it along with a couple other foolhardy travellers penned up in this town as I was now.

Shortly after eating, I received a call from Cardinal that his driveway was complete, so I set out with the directions they had given me. Halfway there, one of those awful whiteout I spoke of earlier struck, and before I knew it, I was stuck in a snowdrift in the middle of Main Street in Bible Hill! Five minutes later, a man in a Red Dodge Ram came by and pushed me out of said snowdrift. Who was this man? He turned out to be one of Cardinal's neighbours that lived out on his road!

With his Big Red Truck leading the way, I soon pulled up to Cardinal's house. His mother Janice got me dry clothes, and soon, we had settled down to watch Star Wars Episode 4 on DVD. We then had dinner, which was a meat lover's dream! Chicken, bratwurst sausages, cheesy potatoes, my stomach is growling just typing this!

After that, Cardinal, his brother and I finished watching the Star Wars trilogy, putting a redeeming finish on what had been a gonger of a day...

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas Loot List

My Christmas haul:
  • CAA Membership
  • Jack Johnson -- On And On
  • Green Day -- American Idiot
  • The Trews -- House Of Ill Fame
  • Auto Safety Kit
  • Pillsbury Cook Book
  • Box of Chocolates
  • Weather Calendar
  • Montreal Canadiens Toque
  • Aftershave Balm, Body Wash, and Eau De Toilette from Javarti
  • Molson Canadian Boxers
  • Pen Set
  • Eddie Bauer Gadgets (laser light, whistle, distress light)
  • Candle
  • Assorted Chocolates and Candies
  • Pair of Sneakers

Later today, I head over to my grandfather's for Christmas dinner, then tomorrow, I get ready to leave for the U.S.A., hoping that the coming snow forecast for Monday isn't anything too bad (just need to get through it in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick is not getting anything out of that bit of bad weather!)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Scariest Sound Can Sometimes Be As Simple As A Ringing Phone...

Today was quite interesting, as I went to pick up my sister at the Halifax International Airport with my dad and my little sister. When we got there, we found that we would be there a little longer than we had originally anticipated, due to flight delays (about a hour and change). It was while I was on the the way to the washroom however, that I got my scare of the month.

My cell phone rang. Normally, that wouldn't be so significant, but nobody calls me on my cell but my new employer, my parents, and the occasional wrong number. I looked at the call display and realized it was work. Uh-oh! In August, when I was also four days from departing for Michigan, I got a call from from my soon-to-be boss saying they had to cancel my internship due to economic issues.

Worried that it would be deja vu all over again, I answered the phone. My intern manager started off slowly, making me think the worst was about to happen. Again. To my great relief however, she was just calling to see if there was any questions I needed answered, as Humantech closes down for the holidays. I didn't so she said she would e-mail me her phone number at home if I did have any problems during the holidays. The call was then over, and with it, the worry of the same nightmare scenario happening all over again!

As for the rest of the evening, my sister got in around 6:15pm with her boyfriend Shaun. We then headed over to Shaun's parents place for about an hour, socializing with members of their family. They're wonderful people to be around, and I always look forward to when we go down to their place!

Well, Christmas is almost upon us, so I'll say a short word about what's going on over the next few days before signing off here tonight. On Christmas, I'll be headed over to my grandfather's place for dinner (should be top notch, as I mentioned before on here that he is an excellent cook!), and then on the 27th, I will be leaving for the U.S.A. Along the way, I will be taking photos of things I find interesting or significant, and I will be writing stuff in a notebook (aka travel blog). After I arrive in Ann Arbor, I will post the contents of the text first, and then the photos, once developed and scanned.

All in all, it should be a tumultuous week, but fun and interesting overall!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Nothing Sucks The Fun Out Of Christmas Like Wrapping And Decorating. Solution? Add Booze, Repeat As Desired!

As Christmas and the time of my departure for the U.S. both draw near, I have become increasingly busy, hence the reason why I haven't updated this thing since Friday. It was a busy weekend, as I helped my parents get the house ready for the holidays. I assumed the duty of The-Guy-Who-Holds-The-Lights, as my mom strung them around the tree. Being an ergonomist, I should've anticipated this, but man, after 2 minutes of doing that crap, my shoulders were ready to check out on me!

Well, there is one thing worse than decorating a Christmas tree as far as holiday chores go: wrapping gifts. Delicate paper, getting the porportions right, trying hard not to make them look like a total disaster; let's just say I was happy that I got it over and done with in one evening!

Also, I managed to gather all the stuff I'm packing in the car when I leave to go to Michigan on Sunday evening. It's much less that I thought, so it should be less crowded, making for a better overall drive down.

Finally, on Wednesday afternoon, I'll be headed to Halifax International Airport with my Dad to pick up my twin sis Janet. I haven't seen her in quite a while, so it'll be good to have her home for the holidays!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Port Hawkesbury 5-0

So I went over to town this afternoon, and got what I needed to get (disposable camera) at Canadian Tire. I began to leave town, enjoying the power and exceptionally clear sound of my new CD player/radio (it's 45W x 4 if there are any audio enthusiasts out there), when every driver's worst nightmare pulled in behind me from the previous intersection.

Two cop cars were now clearly visible in my rear-view mirror, no doubt checking me out for any obvious flaws in my record, my car, my driving, etc. Drive the speed limit, act cool, cops can smell fear, keep BOTH hands at 10 and 2, I thought, nervously waiting for them to pass me or turn off elsewhere. Finally, they did in fact pass me, as they were from out of town, and probably were in a bit of a rush to get to where they were going! Driver examination over!

Well, I'm gonna go work out now, as is my habit since I got back into it back in September. TGIF!

Annoyance Of The Day: Power-Greedy Wireless Optical Mice!

The computer I use at home is rather nice. Pentium 4, 80 gig hard drive, lots of capacity that won't be rendered obsolete for at least a year and a half. There are things I dislike about it as well, with the lettering on the keyboard becoming illegible (the H key is totally blank), the gradual invasion of spyware into the central components of the system code, and being hooked up to dial-up internet that peaks at 40KB/s on a good day!

Nothing irritates me quite as much as our optical wireless mouse however, as every once in a while (i.e. every couple of weeks or so), the batteries run dead, meaning you have to stop what you're doing, pop out the non-functional units, and get some new batteries from the cupboard. It's not always that easy though, as my little sister uses her digital camera ALOT, meaning that the spare batteries are often not there when they are needed. When this happens, you're forced to keep pressing a green button on the bottom of the mouse, which temporarily overrides the low battery cutoff, every 30 seconds or so!

Aside from that little pet peeve of modern life, I've been busy today. I went through some of my ergonomic bookmarks this morning, and printed out some checklists that will go well inside my ergonomics field manuals. Later on, I'll be going to town to get a lithium battery for the camera my Mom has lent me for the duration of my trip to Michigan, and on the way back, I'll be getting some American currency so that I can pay tolls on the interstates down in the States. December 27 might be a bank holiday (Christmas falls on a Saturday this year), so I don't want to take any chances with that!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Web Site Of The Week (or so): Tha Shizzolator!

I haven't done this in almost a month (I put the "or so" tag there for a reason!), but it's time again for the web site of the week! Tonight, I will be featuring Tha Shizzolator, a translator that changes the text of any web site into Snoop Dogg slang.


The last post I made, before Shizzolation...

The Home Stretch...

Well, it's coming down to the home stretch! 8 full days until Christmas, and 10 more days until I hit the road for Michigan, U.S.A.! I've started the gargantuan task to going over what I'm gonna take in the car, as everything's gotta go in one trip (2000 km+ is one long haul!). I also have to book a place in a motel in Springfield, Mass., which concidentally is where Jordan might end up on his Sports Management internship.I gotta go, have to make supper for everybody, as Mom's headed into work tonight at the hospital...

And the same post after Shizzolation?

The Home Stretch, know what I'm sayin'? ..

Well, that shiznit's coming down da crib stretch! 8 full days until Christmas, 'n 10 mo' days until I hit da road fo' Michigan, U.S.A.! I've started da gargantuan task going over what I'm gonna take in da hooptie, as everything's gotta go in one trip (2000 km+ is one long haul!)." I also has book a place in a motel in Springfield, Mass." , which concidentally is where Jordan might end up on tha dude's Sports Management internship." I gotta go, has make supper fo' everybody, as Mom's headed into work tonight at da hospital n' shit...

With this site, you can pimp almost any website out there, with hilarious results! Try this site (, try, try any of the sites you frequent on a regular basis.

I think I just set a record for the most times saying the word "site" in a short essay...!

The Home Stretch...

Well, it's coming down to the home stretch! 8 full days until Christmas, and 10 more days until I hit the road for Michigan, U.S.A.! I've started the gargantuan task to going over what I'm gonna take in the car, as everything's gotta go in one trip (2000 km+ is one long haul!). I also have to book a place in a motel in Springfield, Mass., which concidentally is where Jordan might end up on his Sports Management internship.

I gotta go, have to make supper for everybody, as Mom's headed into work tonight at the hospital...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Video Games: The Most Worthwhile Waste Of Time Ever Devised!

Just stepped away from the front of the TV a few minutes ago; I was watching the Video Game Awards on Spike TV. It contained reminders of days in the not-so-distant past where I used to be totally into video games; with money being tight though, I can't afford to have the latest in games and systems. At least I still have my N64 with Perfect Dark to occupy my time (first-person shooters are my favourite type of game, followed by sports games and RPG's!)

I also got my passport today. The picture turned out a little dark in the final product, I guess that's why they specifically request pictures with no shadows (with the darkening that occurs, the shadowed parts of the face would probably be blacked out altogether.)

Also, I jumped through yet another hoop in my preparations for my four month internship in the States. The Department of Homeland Security required me to pay a $100 US fee into their coffers for undisclosed reasons. I suppose if I researched into it, I'd be able find out the reason why, but I don't like deciphering legal jargon, so I won't bother with that!

Tomorrow, I head to town to decide what I want for new music, so that my Mom will know what to get me for Christmas. Should be fun!

Monday, December 13, 2004

Super Size Me: Every Kinesiology Student/Graduate Needs To See This Film!

When I was recapping my weekend in the last post, I forgot to mention one of the highlights in the midst of my cold-fuelled misery. On Saturday, I watched the documentary Super Size Me with my parents on Bell Express Vu. I wanted to see it this past summer, but since it was only playing down in Halifax, I decided to wait until it came out on video, so getting to see this film finally quenched my anticipation!

Super Size Me is a look into obesity in America, specifically dealing with the role that the fast food culture has played in the obesity epidemic. Morgan Spurlock, the film's director, was inspired to shoot this documentary after he heard of a lawsuit where two people had sued MacDonald's for promoting foods that they knew would make people fat, without informing customers of that possibility. The lawsuit was eventually thrown out on the grounds that it could not be conclusively proven that it was Macdonald's food that caused their "injuries".

In order to prove that the food could indeed be a vehicle for such "injuries", Mr. Spurlock set out on a 30 day MacDonald's diet where he would eat nothing but MacDonald's food. He would have to eat everything on the menu at least once, and would have to eat a Super-sized meal when asked.

Being not accustomed to fast food in Super-sized quantities, Morgan actually threw up on Day 3, having spent approximately 30-40 minutes trying to cram it into his gullet. Over the course of the 30 days, his numbers (weight, cholesterol, nutrients, etc) changed dramatically, and later in the diet, into life-threatening territory. In the end, he gained about 25 pounds, his cholesterol went from 165 to 225, and he went from being a fit, energetic man, to a winded, overweight person on the road to an early grave (his liver resembled that of an alcoholic's, according to his doctor!)

Even though 99.9% of us don't eat fast food everyday, a substantial percentage of the general population, especially in the U.S., eat out 3-5 times a week. The changes that Spurlock underwent could very well, in theory, be what will happen to these folks over a longer period of time. This movie is a warning shot over our collective bows to eat properly, limit or avoid fatty foods in our diet, and to get adequate physical activity back into our lives. As a Kinesiologist, I firmly believe that this documentary should be required viewing for every Health class in Canada and in the States.

Eating habits are often cemented in our teenage years, and any vehicle that influences those behaviours in a positive manner should be embraced whole-heartedly.

Cold and Flu Season Is In Full Swing!

After a long post-cold hiatus, I'm finally with a another exciting update on my life! Okay, all false hype aside, it was a pretty crappy week. From shelling out money to various companies and governmental agencies, to weathering a nasty cold bug (I was burning up and had the chills big time last night), it was one I'd rather put behind me!

This week's off to a so-so start. I'm over my cold (minus hacking up all the crud that's in my lungs from the virus-fighting), and my papers that will allow me to cross the U.S. border when it comes time to move arrived today. On the other hand, my passport was supposed to come today, but it has not been delivered as of this writing, and I learned I have to pay the Department of Homeland Security $100 US for reasons that have not been disclosed to me! Red tape sucks.

Well, I got nothing more than that at the moment, but I'll probably think of something over the next few hours, so I guess I'll see you all again tonight!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Your Couch: Soft, Comfortable, A Fiery Inferno Waiting To Happen!

I got a sore throat today. I really hate it when I get one of those, it feels like someone's shoven a scrapper down your throat and ripped everything to bloody hell!

I got an e-mail yesterday from the people processing my work VISA. The form I need from the Department of State to cross the border is somewhere in Quebec now; package tracking software is pretty cool.

Also, I read an article in the Ann Arbor News this morning that proves that there ARE administrative officials outside UNB that equal or surpass them in idiocy. Essentially, the University of Michigan and the City of Ann Arbor are trying to ban couches from the porches of houses, citing them as a "fire hazard".

I'll give you one good guess as to why this rationale is monumentally stupid...

Done thinking? Ok, let's review a couple of facts about the environments in which these couches are located:

(1) The outdoors is often much wetter, and for much of the school season, cooler than the indoors.

(2) The indoors is drier, warmer and couches located there are within range of many more sources of ignition than ones located outdoors.

Now if they wish to use this reasoning, it then follows that couches of all kinds should be banned from houses everywhere in the city. It really baffles me how nobody calls the bluff of these officials in the newspaper article. Their real reason for wanting couches gone? Probably because the bloody things are as ugly as sin, and that the few people left that are not students in these campus neighbourhoods are grasping at straws trying to salvage the values of their properties.

While I feel for them, it doesn't justify using a faux arguement to mask their true intentions. A little honesty by the non-student residents would truely be refreshing, and it might expedite a compromise to resolve this dispute in Ann Arbor. The students are now the majority in these areas, and their voices must not be silenced in matters of public discourse.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Mastercard Oughta Send Me A Christmas Card...!

It's been a few days since I touched this thing, but I've been very preoccupied over the past half-week. I'll recap all the insanity one day at a time:


So I was gonna take my car to Antigonish Monday afternoon to get the winter tires put on, and the oil changed, in addition to selling some old university books for my brother Chris. So at about 11:45 AM, I went out to the car to begin loading the car with the winter tires that I had brought out of storage. I unlocked the passenger-side door, and then I pressed the auto-unlock/lock button to open the back seat doors. Nothing! Uh-oh... I thought, as I remembered that the clock in the radio had not shut off when I last used the car a week previous; sure enough, the clock was now off. I jumped into the driver's seat to confirm what I suspected; not only was the car battery dead, it was completely out of juice (not one sound, no attempt by the engine to turn over)!

So I walk back inside, and call my Dad, who I luckily catch at my grandfather's place. He comes back over 30 minutes later, and used his truck to boost my car's battery back to the land of the living. I immeadiately left for Antigonish, now behind schedule. I only managed to sell half my bro's books for $7.50, which was what I expected from those ripoff artists known as book wholesalers (if you're in college, do yourself a favour, sell them yourself and make much more money!). After this, I had lunch at the mall, and then on my way back to the car, I found a coup of a deal on a Tom Clancy novel (hardcover), which scratched my Dad off my Christmas list!

I got to the GM dealership in town, where I was to get my car serviced. I left it with the technicians, and left to go sit down in the waiting room, reading the paper to pass the time. About an hour later, the customer relations guy comes in to tell me that my battery is screwed, and that they would need to put in a new unit. Soon after, they tell me that my radio has officially gone FUBAR, as it simply will not turn off when the car is off. I give the "OK" to unplug the doomed audio unit, and another half-hour of laour gets added to the bill. Final tally? $240! Ouch. And I knew that if I didn't get a new radio in the car by the time I left for my trans-continental trip, the silence in the car would drive me terminally nuts!


Not much happened on this day. Made my appointment to get my radio replaced, had a delicious steak for dinner. Other than that, it was average and non-descript.


This morning I woke up to a slushy mess. Looks like I got my tires put on just in the nick of time! I got to the outskirts of Antigonish to a place called Pete's Auto Sound. It was a one-man outfit, but the guy knows how to treat a customer right. He was upfront about all the charges (Canadian Tire may have neglected to inform me about additional charges for mounting kits and other stuff), sold a wicked CD Player/Radio at a good price ($169 install included), and got my install done in record time! I was back on the road 20 minutes after he started to take my dash apart! Excellent place, I give it two thumbs up!

That's all for tonight; To the guys that are still in school that are reading this, good luck with exams, and don't try to cram your days with too much studying, the lack of balance will stress you out bad, and you don't need that going into a test! Again, good luck, and have an awesome holiday season!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Sydney Hijinks!

It's been a busy weekend, so I haven't had the the opportunity to sit down and write for any appropriate length of time, so here I am, finally! On Saturday, the whole family went up to Sydney, NS for the day to shop for Christmas (didn't manage to find any gifts I found suitable), and to visit with my brother Chris. We wandered around Mayflower Mall for about an hour and a half, after which we went to my bro's place, picking him up for lunch.

He took us out to this new restaurant on the Membertou Reserve (also a suburb of Sydney), which was located inside the band's new Trade and Convention Centre. The food was good, but it had a very conspicious design flaw: the washrooms were OUTSIDE the restaurant, a long way down a hallway with Native art. Kinda awkward to have to physically leave the restaurant to go track down a poorly signed and located washroom, and then have to walk back in again past a maitre 'd that might not remember you being a patron of the restaurant in the first place!

Later that evening, we took in a movie at the local multiplex. We all decided on National Treasure. Excellent choice! It stars Nicolas Cage as a direct descendant of some powerful Free Masons (you know, the guys who rule the world behind the scenes), who goes hunting for treasure that his predecessors hid more than 200 years previously. With plenty of action, a hot chick, guns, stuff blowing up, and a plethora of cool technology and gadgets being used, it's a must see in a holiday movie season full of overly Christmasy-type films!

Friday, December 03, 2004

I Get Letters + Last Class Bash, Another Reason Why College Is The Ideal Lifestyle!

Another reason why I miss college is occuring as I type this now: Last Class Bash for the fall term is going on tonight in Fredericton. Have fun forgetting how hard you worked this semester, I would be there if I weren't saving my money for moving expenses. Have a drink for me, and I'll try to swing by Freddy sometime in May, after my job in Michigan is through!

I got my first comments yesterday, one from a fellow Canadian who called me nuts for liking snow shovelling. Well, you're half right Jay, I don't like it when the weather is particularly bad, and especially near the end of the job. It is good exercise though, and I like staying active! It's also important to try to see the positive sides of anything in life, sometimes it's the only thing that keeps you sane!

Murph also commented on posting stories from Aitken on here. I probably will do that sometime soon; as far as Jordan getting caught red-handed, I only heard about that happening, so I don't know the particulars of the story. Any Aitken Alumni who has stories like that should send them to me at, and I'll post them on the new Aitken Alumni Site that I've been working on lately!

To any of the boys reading this, have an awesome night, go get ripped!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

It's Too Bloody Cold Out There, Or Only In NYC Will Twenty Bucks Buy You A Chocolate Bar And A Strip Show!

I would have to say that today has been the coldest day thus far this fall, meaning that winter is just around the corner. I like winter, actually. Snow cancels school and even university classes from time to time (all we would do when this happened at UNB was play Goldeneye on N64 all day, good times!), and is fun to slide/ski on. The coldness of winter freezes water, allowing the great game of pond hockey to be conducted, even at forbiddable temperatures (the Habs/Oilers alumni from last year's game in Edmonton have my complete respect, playing in -20c weather). Even shovelling snow is not a total chore to me, as I view it as an opportunity for upper-body exercise (watch the back though, lift with the knees!).

Okay, so I'm a little nuts, especially given the last comment, and on the fact that summer is a whole lot warmer. I love summer too, but winter makes us Canadians who we are, and I don't regret living up here on account of the weather one small bit!

In my personal life today, I sent $200 US dollars of my money ($243 Canadian) to New York for health insurance. It pains me to see more of my cash fly out the door, but I should have enough money to pay all the upfront costs of moving, so it's all good.

Ivana got fired from the Apprentice tonight. Not surprising given the fact that Trump (or any CEO) doesn't hire VP's that strip to their underwear in the middle of one of the world's largest cities (she did manage to sell a chocolate bar for $20 this way though)! She had slipped under the radar somewhat anyhow, so her dismissal was merely a matter of time in my opinion.

Well, I gotta go. I'm gonna try to finish my preliminary inspection of the Aitken Alumni Site as it is tonight, and lay the groundwork for the major additions. I'll mention them on here and on the main page of the site as it happens, so stay tuned!