Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Sunday, 29 April 2007
OK, so I was expecting a LOT of scooters, but good lord!

Quick note here to point out the pictures from Rome I posted on Flickr. I only picked and posted about 20 or so of the 250 (love digital, eh?) so I'll post more and put in descriptions later. For now, it's off to the train station to head to Venice.

Sunday, 29 April 2007 02:48:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Pictures | Travel#
Tuesday, 24 April 2007
After waiting years and years and years for a concert (not a cover tribute band or guest DJ, but an actual band), finally Grand Cayman is getting some good live music. The Tragically Hip are playing here May 1st. I've written about it earlier, but now that I've booked a last minute trip to Italy (two more sleeps!) I'm not going to be here for the concert.

Since I already bought a ticket, that means I'm selling it. Cover price is $65, but the first $50 takes it. They're still on sale at Big Daddy's liquor store, but they're $65 there. Save $15! That's like four beers in your pocket! :) Give me a ring, drop me an email or leave a comment below if you're interested.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007 06:34:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Yesterday I was chatting with Smitty before the game. He was so sure that Vancouver would choke (they have a long history of it) that he sold his Game 7 tickets. I said to him "Come on, Linden's playing like it's still 1994, if the rest of the team matches that, they're gonna win big. It's game 7, there are no second chances anymore!"
We were both cautiously optimistic. Sure Vancouver had the firepower to win the game, but they hadn't been using it, Dallas kept their offense pretty well smothered throughout the whole series. We wanted Vancouver to win, but we both knew that the potential to choke was pretty high. My brother Steve said that Turco had more "choke karma" than Vancouver though.

I predicted then, around 6:00 that Dallas was going to score first and early and the mood in GM place would be grim... There would be a Pat-Quinn-esque stick-breaking screaming fit in the dressing room and in the second Vancouver would come out flying, and I predicted that Vancouver would give Dallas a shellacking of three or four to one. I went so far as to say that Tom Larscheid (the color guy on Canucks Radio) would make a "waking a sleeping giant" reference. I don't know if THAT part happened, as I was down at Legendz watching on the big screen, but when Smolinksi potted the second empty net goal to make it four to one, I looked around after the roar died down to see who else was still there who I had told my prediction to earlier! John had already left, so I txt'd him "WOOOOOOOOO four-one! WHO CALLED IT>???" :)

Next up, Anaheim, another defense-heavy team. Hopefully the series isn't a yawner.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007 06:27:28 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Hockey#
Monday, 23 April 2007

When I was younger, one my favorite expressions was "Go Big or Go Home". One day I found myself in Whistler for the weekend with one girlfriend or another and I saw a shirt in one of the shops there that had GO BIG OR GO HOME in huge red letters on it and part of a wheel of a mountain bike. I think I still have it somewhere. I had to have it.

Since then, I haven't said it as much, but I've certainly tried to live up to it as best as I can. Last week I got an email from a friend of mine who just moved to Italy a few months ago. There's some long weekend happening this week, so she said "Why don't you come over and we'll roam around Veneto for a week?" What a damned good idea! I checked out the usual suspects and found fares in the 1200-1300US range. Pretty steep. I was about to give up on it when on a whim I checked out Lufthansa's website. They have a link called "Top Offers" and I put in Miami as my departure point. I was quite pleasantly surprised to see a web-only special for round-trip from Miami to Frankfurt for $375USD. With taxes it was nearly $600, but that was still half the price I saw advertised elsewhere. I booked it almost immediately.

As I was looking around for a way to get down to Italy from Frankfurt, I remembered Ryan Air, the Wal-Mart of airlines. I don't particularly care how opulent or no-frills the flight is because it's such a short flight, and I've flown on some pretty scary planes when Cubana used to fly into Cayman a bunch of years ago. I found a southbound flight into Rome for about 20 euros, and the return leg from Pisa to Frnakfurt was just a penny! Sure it was about 25 euros after taxes and whatnot, but still, a penny!

We're going to meet up in Rome, spend a day there, then go back to Florence and drop off my suitcase and go light and hit the train. Tentatively we're going to scoot across to Venice for a day, then ride the train back to Padova for a day, and then head to Verona for a day. After that, I'm going to head north and visit my relatives I haven't seen for TWENTY YEARS and she's going to head back to Florence because she has to work on Wednesday. Wednesday I'm going to amble my way back to Florence by way of Vicenza and Ferarra and meet up with her for dinner followed by Siena on Thursday. Friday is open, but I think Im going to spend thursday night and friday in Florence before heading to Pisa (with a stop at the Vespa musem in Pontedera on the way) to catch my flight back to Frankfurt. Finally we'll catch a train into Frankfurt and stay there that night and then I get up early Sunday to catch a flight back to Miami and then on to Cayman Sunday night.

I dunno how well that schedule is going to hold up, that's a pretty whirlwind tour. I'll probably need a vacation to catch my breath once I get back but we only go around this crazy merry-go-round once so I might as well make the most of it.

It goes without saying that I'm going to be taking copious amounts of pictures... almost as much as I'm going to eat and drink. Perhaps I should follow Google Maps' directions and SWIM back to Miami and work off some of that excess caloric intake :)

Monday, 23 April 2007 15:16:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Travel#
Sunday, 15 April 2007
Another Sunday, another meeting of the Church of the Vespaholics down at Paperman's Coffeehouse down at The Strand Shopping Center.
Sunday, 15 April 2007 11:12:56 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Scooter#

Last weekend was the Easter Long Weekend. A traditional time in Cayman to go camping! OK, whatever... I'm not sure what the history is on that, but every Easter weekend, people get all packed up with all their new camping gear, generators and all the comforts of home and drive a mile or two to the beach and set up camp. Does no one remember HAVING to live like that for nearly two months after Hurricane Ivan?? Anyway, it's tradition now and no one asks why, because it's tradition.

Good Friday afternoon Lee called me up and asked if I was up for a ride. Suuuuure, no problem, twist my arm to go for a ride around the island on my Vespa when it's nice and sunny. We met at his place in South Sound and took off the long way around South Sound and then headed east. We stopped momentarily near Pedro Castle as Lee's Vespa was really loud. He said he was having some problems with the exhaust and that Piaggio had issued a recall. We took stock of the situation but continued on and stopped again at the Lighthouse restaurant in Breakers. His exhaust seemed to be holding up, so we continued along to Frank Sound Road and headed for Northside with the intention of hitting Over the Edge for lunch.

As a side note, I was sent a link a few days ago about a scooter forum that was talking about the Piaggo recall ofthe Vespa 250GTS because of the exhaust leak. When we looked at Lee's, I asked what was around there that could be affected by the excess heat. The throttle linkage for starters, and a couple other components. What I didn't realize was right there until I read it in that forum post was the PETROL PIPE (the fuel line in English 2.0) is right there. I'd say that's pretty sensetive to heat! Sure enough on that forum post was pictures of a guy who had to hop off his Vespa GT250 right quick while he was on the motorway because it caught fire and BURNED TO THE GROUND. Fortunately nothing like that happened to Lee's Vespa, and since he's seen this forum post, he's welded his exhaust shut and has ordered an aftermarket replacement.

We made it around to Over the Edge and sat outside on the patio overlooking the ocean. It was nice, a bit of a breeze and only a few menacing dark clouds around. "Maybe we'll see a waterspout out at see if we're lucky."

Lee ordered a glass of the new beer on-island called Caybrew. I opted for a Diet Coke. Ten minutes later they brought us our drinks and asked if we were ready to order. I didn't notice it til it was too late, but the glass hadbeen sitting for those ten minutes with the ice melting, so when I poured in the diet pepsi, I could see it mixing with all the water. Bleah. Neither of us wanted a "big lunch" of Mahi Mahi with veg and rice & beans or anything so I ordered the hamburger. It's small, it's cheap, it's just right. "Sorry, no hamburgers today, already finish."

Over The Edge

How do you run out of hamburger on the first day of a four day weekend? Lee was going to have one too, soon that news, we decided to just have the beverages and then continue on to Kaibo or head back towards town and have a burger at Durty Reid's before it's closed down to make way for the new East-WEst highway. We asked for the check. She didn't know what we meant. We asked for the bill, still nothing. Finally Lee asked for la cuenta, and she nodded and disapeared for a few minutes. Finally she came back with the bill... $4.00 for the Caybrew draft. Not so bad. $4.00 for a can of Diet Pepsi? I called the waitress over and asked her if she made a mistake on the bill, and she just shook her head. I guess not. We grudgingly paid up and left, heading back into town to Calico Jack's on Public Beach. They were closed. We then headed down the road to the Sunshine Grill and finally got our burgers for lunch around 4:30pm. Seriously though... $4.00 for a fucking can of Diet Pepsi? Last frackin' time I go back to Over the Edge. OK, OK, I'll give them a pass and just make sure I'm in the mood for fish next time someone suggests it.

 

Sunday, 15 April 2007 10:54:56 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [6] | Cayman | Food | Scooter#
Saturday, 14 April 2007
I've been putting it off since November, but my laptop needed a "Windows do-over" from all the shit I installed, then un-installed and re-installed and crudded up. I kept putting it off because it's 18 months old and Im getting ready to sell it and get a new one while it still has a significant amount of warranty left. If I went through all the trouble of re-installing Windows NOW, I would just have to re-do it again when I sold the laptop.

Thursday I decided that this weekend I would bite the bullet, take the plunge, back up all my data and do it. I was out of commission last night so this morning I started the data consolidation between my laptop and desktop and moving stuff offline and finally did a Ghost image of the entire partition just in case.

I was ready to do the re-install. I wanted to use the built-in DSR thing which uses a version of Symantec Ghost re-branded as Dell System Restore. I couldn't remember the key-combination to launch it and finally found it on some message board or another as Ctrl-F11. I rebooted, waited for the BIOS screen to show up and pressed Ctrl-F11. Windows started booting. I poked it in the eye to hard-reset it (what do I care if I corrupt the Windows install at this point, right?) I tried it again, nothing. I tried Shift, Ctrl-Shift, Alt-Shift, Ctrl-Alt-Shift and nothing seeming to work. I was getting frustrated.

I went Googling to see if I was doing something wrong or maybe my partition had become corrupted or something, but I didn't think so. I read the directions very carefully. It said that once the BIOS screen shows up, you have about two seconds once the keyboard becomes active to press Ctrl-F11. Still nothing. Finally, just on a whim, I waited and on the NEXT screen, after the BIOS splash screen, I pressed Ctrl-F11 and suddenly it changed... it worked.

It was actually quite quick, it only took about four minutes to restore the partition compared to the 62 minutes it took to back it up first. I clicked the reboot button, it changed the MBR back to boot off the Windows partition and came up with the Dell Warranty/Service Tag screens, exactly how it came out of the box from the factory.

I stepped through the Windows Setup, named the computer, assigned an administrator password and that sorta sorta and then it came up to the desktop and opened the Start Menu. I saw the MSN Explorer icon on there along with Outlook Express and Windows Messenger, which I normally remove along with some other junk that comes with Windows. When I opened Add/Remove programs in the Control Panel, there was about two pages of shit that was pre-installed. Unlike the story that's getting a lot of press last week about the new Sony Vaio that had about 25% of the hard drive with crap and trial-ware, mine only had something called Photo Click. The rest of it was drivers, Dell System Restore, Intel PROSet wireless drivers or something. When I ordered this laptop, I specifically requested no crapware on it, and there was none on there. Still a lot of junk though. :)

SO, to avoid an hour or more of frustration, make sure you wait til you pass the Dell BIOS splash screen and it's on the SECOND screen before pressing Ctrl-F11 to get into the Dell System Restore partition.

Saturday, 14 April 2007 16:33:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Tech#
Is anyone else getting a deluge of "I've added you as a friend of Facebook, blah blah blah" in the last week or so? This seems to be almost as annoying as the sms.ac "friends" site a couple years back that asked permission to look up your entire address book and IM buddy lists and then spammed them all to add you as a friend. Is MySpace dead already?

Who knows. If I set one up, I'll post the link to it here.

Saturday, 14 April 2007 14:59:37 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Tech | WWW#
Friday, 13 April 2007

Perfect timing. It's Friday, gearing up for happy hour and then the weekend and what do I find in my mailbox this morning? Issue #52 of Modern Drunkard Magazine. I flip it open and the first article (really, I read it for the articles) is an article by frank Kelly Rich. The second paragraph kinda sums everything up nicely and perfectly describes my mood this afternoon.

"Going to a party after the bars have closed is akin to crawling to the peak of Mt. Everest and then turning to your expedition party and declaring, 'Right, nice view. Now let's break out the toboggans and see how fast we can get down the other side of this bastard!' "

Yeah..... see you on the other side.

Friday, 13 April 2007 12:38:11 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
Last year I won our regular season hockey pool. This year, I made a bad pick back in December. I picked Corey Stillman and he was injured. He didn't come back until December, and only produced 30-odd points. Not bad for a player who missed half a season, but a death knell for a hockey pool/fantasy league. Brendan Morrow went down about the time that Stillman came back with a surgery outage, so I dropped him at the all-star break and picked up Zubrus in his place. Didn't help me much though. I stayed in 4th place pretty much the entire season. The last week of the regular season I challenged for 3rd place, but with two games to go, my team didn't produce and my brother's did so he pulled ahead and finished 4 or 5 points ahead of me.

We drafted our playoff teams Tuesday night. As usual, I did it via MSN Messenger videoconference from Grand Cayman while everyone else was at his apartment in Burnaby. One other guy, Glen, also drafted remotely, but he was somewhere in the greater vancouver area. Because we couldn't hear what other people were saying, I had to rely on Steve relaying via MSN. Then I had a flash of brilliance (I do have them from time to time) I've been playing around with Google Spreadsheets, and I had one called "playoff pool 2007" that I was doing some brackets and stats analysis on, so I clicked on it, clicked collaborate and invited Steve as a collaborator. He logged in and then when someone made a pick, he put it on the sheet and it auto-updated so I could see it almost instantly. Then we invited Glen as a viewer and he was able to see the picks appear in 'real-time' and made things go quicker. Awesome.

SO we're two days into the playoffs and guess what? I'M IN FOURTH PLACE!!

This morning I stopped in at Paperman's to get a coffee and Paul told me that their pool is online now at Officepools.com as well so I logged in there to check and see what's goin on... AND I'M IN FOURTH PLACE!!  What the ... ?

Friday, 13 April 2007 08:36:41 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hockey#
Wednesday, 11 April 2007

It's 1:30 am, first night of the playoffs... triple-overtime...

tomorrow's going to suck.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007 22:31:00 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hockey#
Monday, 09 April 2007
I will admit to not being 100% logical where the Canucks are concerned. Rule number one of gambling is remove all emotion from your decisions, and I haven't entirely done that. I think a lot of people would like to see a Vancouver/Calgary Western final and Vancouver/Buffalo final with Vancouver ultimately winning and it is possible, and maybe even likely but it's definately not a shoe-in. If history has shown us anything, it's that Vancouver can choke so incredibly in the playoffs that it's not even funny.
Monday, 09 April 2007 16:57:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hockey#
It looks like bread, but it's more dense and is dark brown. Along with raisins, I'm trying to figure out by taste what else is in it. It's obviously spiced, and it's more of a sweet bread than a savory one. Im guessing cinnamon, ginger, maybe nutmeg but that's rather distinctive and I didn't taste it... who knows what else. I'll have to cheat and look it up.
Monday, 09 April 2007 14:44:05 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Food#
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