Wednesday, February 28, 2007

You've Got Mail !

Yesterday I received my first piece of junk mail. I'm not talking fliers, but an application for one of those credit cards from a financial institute no one has ever heard of with a "Guaranteed Prize" with every approved application. Oooooo

Should I feel honoured that somehow I'm now on the grid as they say? I kind of feel like Navin Johnson when he got his name in the phone book, jumping up and down saying "I'm a somebody!". (True movie geeks will get that reference)

But then I think, how is it that I'm being solicited for a credit card when I still don't have a bank account? Someone out there is willing to let me borrow their money, but the Bank isn't willing to deposit my paycheque?

That just doesn't make any sense on so many levels.

And then I start to wonder, how did they get my name and address? Whose database was my information sold from?

Deep disturbing questions that I'm far too tired to try and answer.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Glasgow Rain

It rained today

It rained on my walk to work and I arrived
Mostly dry

But only mostly

It rained when I had to go buy my lunch
Harder than this morning
Wetter than this morning
Standing outside in the queue for a sandwich & soup

Soggy feet under my desk

Then this

Everyone stopped and walked to the window to look
It was lovely
So lovely I took a picture

Then back to work
And it started to rain again

It rained for my walk home
I got home mostly wet & changed into my flannel PJ's to warm up

It's still raining

I like rainbows

We Can Rebuild Him

Or it.

As per my previous post somehow my blog sidebar got a bit wonky. At John's suggestion I tried moving to a new template but in doing it I lost all the customization I had done. But hey, them's the breaks. So as a result I'm in the process of rebuilding my links and badges and such so bear with me this will take a few nights.

The cool thing in all this is that in the process of trying to switch templates I had to upgrade and now adding elements and customizing is SOOOOOOOO much easier. So a big thanks to John - now I don't have to mess around with trying to figure out HTML code. The problem is I'll probably go hog wild with adding little tags and links and such. But I'm sure that phase will pass


Monday, February 26, 2007

Technical Difficulties

It seems my sidebar has headed south. I'm not sure why and I've tried a bunch of things, even deleting the one picture that I had changed that I think was the source of it heading down to the very bottom of the page.

If there is anyone out there in blog land that knows HTML or has had this problem before and knows how to fix it I'd be forever in your debt. Well not really forever, but I'd be very thankful

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Only In Canada

Moose attack injures Prince George woman

Last Updated: Thursday, February 22, 2007 4:37 PM PT

CBC News

Prince George RCMP have issued a public alert after a moose attack in the city on Thursday morning.

A female moose with two calves attacked a 60-year-old woman while she was walking her dog. The woman was taken to hospital with minor injuries while her dog, a cocker spaniel, was so badly injured that it had to be euthanized.

Earlier this month, a moose with calves chased a man in a residential neighborhood that backs onto a hillside.

"We've advised people to bring in their dogs and to just be aware if they're out walking," Constable Gary Godwin told CBC Radio.

Students at Pinewood Elementary School, near the location of Thursday's attack, were kept inside during recess.

Conservation officers are now looking for the moose, but have not yet determined what they'll do with them. They say a moose protecting her calves can be dangerous — even deadly.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Scottish Pride?

This is an Irn Bru.

If I'm to believe what people tell me it's more popular than Coke or Pepsi here in Scotland.

I've been given some ribbing by my colleagues at work that I've been in Glasgow for over 4 months now and still not tried it. So about 2 weeks ago I bought a bottle and it stayed in my fridge.

It's very orange so I just wasn't in the right head space to put something that colour into my body.

Listed as some of the ingredients are (in no particular order) good old caffeine, 0.002% of ammonium ferric citrate, quinine, colouring E110 and E124.

Yet, can you believe that it is currently listed as a banned substance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Horrors). The FDA website lists Irn-Bru and Diet Irn-Bru as containing the banned carcinogenic colouring Ponceau 4R, and Sunset Yellow FCF. What, like those are bad things?

Friday was the day.

I grabbed it out of the fridge, cracked open the top and poured it into a glass. Did I mention it's very orange? And the taste, well.... sort of like bubble gum with a weird slightly metallic/chemical aftertaste.

I've drunk it, let's never speak of it again.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Home At Last

I am so glad to be home.

I missed Glasgow and I really missed the familiarity of the simple life I've created for myself here. Traveling for work and staying in hotels is OK for a few days but after a while it gets to be a bit much. You crave a normal routine where you come home, cook dinner, relax with some friends and get to bed at a descent hour. I'm just not built to go out every night and be 'on'. I need my down time.

But that should be it for a while now. Work is going to get pretty busy for the next couple of weeks but come 5PM I can go home.

Glasgow does feel like home and I did miss this city while I was gone. That's a good sign I think.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

One More Night

My very long day started rather abruptly when the fire alarm in the hotel went off in the morning while I was still in bed. I admit I did all the wrong things, I grabbed my laptop and locked it in the safe, grabbed my purse and passport. Then I went to find my slippers and coat and when I grabbed the handle to the door the alarm stopped. I assume it was a false alarm in that nothing burned down but having been so rudely awakened my day was not starting out well.

After the false alarm I need to get my suitcase back together and everything ready for check out. But before I do that I need to grab some breakfast.

Breakfast is buffet style but a server is supposed to come to your table after you're seated to take your tea or coffee order. Just my luck there isn't a waiter or waitress to be seen so I didn't get any coffee. Now before you say it I am NOT a demanding patron, but I noticed this at the hotel restaurant at dinner last night too. You get a table, they bring your meal and then you are ignored for the rest of the evening. Getting the bill took almost 20 minutes after I asked for it. I'm unsure if this is normal London behavior but I seem to recall this happening on my first trip to the city back in 2001 as well.

I won't go into details about my day stuck in a meeting room as that would just be boring. As mentioned in my last post I was just not looking forward to the trip back to Chichester. I'm not a princess but it is difficult to lug a heavy suitcase and back pack up and down all the stairs and battle the rush hour crowds. I needed to purchase a ticket for the tube to get to the train station and I was unclear as to what zones I would be traveling in so I took the opportunity to go to the ticket counter and ask. At the last second I decided to ask if there was a way I could negotiate the various tube lines that would involve the least amount of stairs. I'm glad I asked as the only stairs I ended up taking were the 2 flights down to the beginning of my journey. The rest of the way I had access to escalators. However, I can't say the same for the trains. I had to take 3 different trains and each time I had to go up over and down to a different platform. However, just like last time there was always a chivalrous gentleman coming to my rescue and grabbing my suitcase and carrying it up the stairs.

It was a long day and I think it was after 8PM by the time I got to the hotel. I completely lucked out this time with the room in that I got one of the more recently refurbished rooms (today's picture). It will make my last night here one of relaxation and luxury. I just had a quick dinner in the hotel restaurant with a nice glass of wine.

And now that this post is finished, I can brush my teeth and hit the hay.

G'night All

Almost Time To Come Home

I am just so tired. This weekend has been a bit of a whirlwind trip, trying to mash in as much I can in what little time I had.

Every time I do a bit of travelling I swear my feet will never be the same again. I just want to crawl into bed and sleep for a week to recover. But today I must sit in a meeting room without access to natural light or fresh air. I can feel the yawns developing already.

I need to head back into Chichester again tonight. Navigating the tube & trains with all the stairs and my big lumbering suitcase & backpack will not be fun. And it should be right around rush hour (such fun!). I'd think of staying in London for a few more hours to let it all pass but to be honest I just want to be in my bed as soon as possible. But who knows, maybe I'll find a second wind.

So, what exactly have I done this weekend? I've been to the Tate Modern, St Paul's Cathedral, walked along the Thames, watched the movie Hot Fuzz, been to the National Gallery, wandered around Harrod's, had bangers and mash in a wonderful pub full of character , toured the Tower of London and finished off in the British Museum. Have I mentioned my feet hurt?

The lighting conditions have not been the greatest for the weekend so I didn't go crazy with the photography thing but there is the odd shot I'm very happy with. I've posted them already to my flickr site but won't get a chance to label them until the weekend. But feel free to take a look around.

Another 36 hrs and I'm finally be home and can start to do laundry.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

London So Far

Made my way to London late Friday afternoon. Seeing that I will have been travelling for a total of 10 days before I get home to Glasgow I did need to bring a suitcase as opposed to a small carry-on bag. This always causes a problem as most train and tube stations here have stairs, the odd time there will be an escalator - but only for part of the journey. And it's not just a few stairs but many stairs.

I must say, the chivalry of the men here is to be commended. At each point when I began to attempt to drag my heavy suitcase up the towering stairs a wonderful gentleman would see me in my struggle and not even ask if I needed help but would just grab the bottom and help me up. In one instance the man wasn't even going to the same platform but made a detour in his journey to lend his assistance. My faith in mankind has been bolstered.

Saturday was a very full day. It was also a lovely day. Beautiful blue sky & sunshine and not even a slight breeze. We walked to the train station to get into town as we are staying with friends of friends in the suburbs. When we got to Waterloo station it took a while to get oriented. I knew where we needed to go and what tube line to take but it was trying to remember how to read what direction you needed to go.

When we got to Leicester Square our first order of the day was to try and get show tickets. Had we the ability to do it all over again we should have ordered our tickets on-line but we didn't and as a result anything we were interested in seeing was completely sold out. We'll have to try again next trip. Next up was lunch, did I mention how nice it was outside? Grabbed a sandwich and some crisps and just sat outside and soaked up the sunshine.

It's right about now that I admit to Brenda that I'm having a bit of an anxiety attack. I don't know what the deal is but right now there is a sea of people everywhere. This has caught me quite off guard as it's the middle of February. Where have all these people come from? Just trying to walk down the street it's impossible not to get jostled around and have multiple people walk/bump right into you. I need to find somewhere that isn't so packed.

We make our way down to the Thames and walk towards the Tate Modern. This is a much better route not nearly as man people. I can feel my heart rate get back to normal.

We make our way across the wibbly wobbly bridge (or the Millennium Bridge as it's really called) and can see the courtyard in front of the Tate Modern. Again where are all the people coming from. We walk inside the gallery and I feel like I'm in a shopping mall the week before Christmas. Inside the actual exhibits you need to jostle for space to view a piece. It's just crazy.

We only do about 1 and a half floors of the gallery and we've had enough. We make our way to St Paul's Cathedral and manage to hit the middle of a choral evensong. So lucky us, no entry fee plus some fantastic music.

It's after 5 so the area has pretty much shut down, even the Starbucks. But when we get back to Leicester Square it's wall to wall people again. Since seeing Spamalot is no longer an option we get tickets to a movie and grab some dinner before hand.

The movie 'Hot Fuzz' is superb - done by the same guys that did Shaun of the Dead (another fantastic movie). And when it was over we needed to make our way back to Waterloo Station. Another lesson in negotiating crowds of people but we made it back to Richmond safe and sound. It was nice walking back in the peace and quiet. When we rounded the corner of the last block we even saw a fox trotting around checking out the garbage.

My feet hurt

Thursday, February 15, 2007

That's More Like It

I charged my camera battery last night, reset the exposure level and today took a second set of pictures of the St Richard sculpture outside the Chichester Cathedral. Still not a perfect shot but much better than my first attempt.

Just one more day to go and my vacation officially starts. I'm heading to London for the weekend. I want to spend some time at the British Museum as last time I was there (about 7 yrs ago) I only had enough time to quickly do the Egyptian wing and there is just so much more to see. There's Soho, the Tate Modern, Piccadilly Circus, Harrods. I just know 3 days won't be long enough to see everything.

I'm also hoping to get tickets to see Spamalot . I'm a HUGE Monty Python fan and The Holy Grail is one of my all time favorite movies.

The prisoner manacled to the dungeon wall clapping makes me laugh every time.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ya, it's 'That' day

Let me get the mundane out of the way first.

I spent most of the day in a fluorescent lit meeting room with a fan that squeaked like a cricket, I thought I was going to go crazy!

I took some pictures today at lunch as the sun decided to come out (it was raining in the morning). But now that I've popped my memory chip into my laptop I realize I never reset the exposure levels back to normal after the weekend's concert and they look like crap - as you can see to the right. I tried to add some brightness to lighten the picture but it still looks awful.

I think it's all coming down to not enough sleep. Tuesday I woke up at 4AM and last night it was 2AM.

Now onto the main topic of the evening.

As you all are aware today was Valentines Day. If I had been at work as per usual I would have been wearing black in a sign of protest for all the single people out there. It's the one day of the year that can drive any normal confident, self assured person into a spiral of despair and depression if you're not in a relationship. It's as if the whole world is pointing the collective finger and calling you a loser. Even though 364 days of the year you're quite happy with yourself. Why is that?

But this year had an added snag. Normally I'd plan a preemptive strike and plan a girls night going to a spa, getting some take away, watching a non-romantic movie to take our minds of that fact that we're social outcasts for the day.

Great, but I'm not at home - I'm out of town on business which means I have to eat my dinner out. Normally this wouldn't be a problem as I would just eat in the hotel restaurant, but when we walked into the hotel after coming from the office both the restaurant and the bar were completely packed with lovey dovey people. So we've no choice but to walk around town trying to find a restaurant that hasn't been booked solid for weeks to get fed.

I will say this, 3 girls trying to get dinner on a night such as this was a bit awkward. I wasn't completely sure if it was sadness or pity that was on the Maitre D's face.

Oh well, at least the food was good and tomorrow is another day.

Psyco chick rant over (sorry)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Today was a very full day of meetings, training and negotiations. Why am I doing this again?

I tried to get out at lunch to do my 'creative' bit for the day and take some pictures of the massive Cathedral in town. But my lunch break wasn't really the break I had intended so I never got a chance to explore. I'll try again tomorrow.

I do feel guilty in that I'm in this lovely town and have nothing to show for it so I did take this picture of tonight's dinner. Chichester is on the coast and the hotel here bases the menu on local produce and fish so I had the Mackerel for dinner. It was wonderful, and notice how beautiful it is on the plate.

A piece of art don't you think?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Greetings From The Road

I'm on the road for the next 10 days visiting our Chichester office and then I'm off to London for a few days before turning around again to come back to Chichester for a day of meetings and then back to Glasgow. The trip is 7 parts work and 3 parts play.

I didn't sleep much last night as I was quite stressed about this trip and when it came down to it I really didn't want to go. I'm not sure why, but I could feel myself slipping into a blue funk. Sunday was a bit of a blue day overall. Maybe it was the gray skies and rain. I think I only got about 3 hours sleep last night.

Note to self - chill.

My flight was supposed to leave at 9AM but just like last trip it was delayed. However, the delay was much more bearable this time. I think we took off by about 10:45. It was a pretty smooth flight until our descent when again the cross winds threw the plane around quite a bit. But I arrived in one piece.

Had a full day at the office and I can already tell it's going to be a busy week. I'm hoping to get the chance to do a little exploring during my lunch breaks and at the end of each day. There is a lot of history in this town and the streets look like something out of a movie set. There is a huge Cathedral in the centre of town that I'm dying to check out.

Business trips are always a bit strange especially when you are traveling with work colleagues. When you travel together you sort of cross a line from the reserved and formal over into the informal/personal. It can work or it can be incredibly awkward.

I'm happy to say the 2 colleagues that are joining me for this trip are great. We met in the hotel pub for a pint before dinner and then shared a bottle of wine with the meal. It was only my incredible feeling of fatigue that forced me to have to call it a night.

Sorry I don't have a picture for you today but I didn't really get an opportunity to pull out the camera. Well to be honest, I was a bit lazy. While getting set up with a temporary work space at the end of the day I looked out the window and there was a beautiful sky full of pinks, blues and clouds as the sun set. But my camera was up on another floor through a maze of cubicles.

I'll try harder tomorrow.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Music for a Saturday

My Saturday started off with no real plans.

I got up and wandered into the kitchen to make some coffee and then curled up in the chair in the lounge to have a lazy Saturday morning. I popped in a Dylan CD and once again realized how much I love the sound of just an acoustic guitar and a voice.

My neighbor downstairs came up later on for a visit and we decided to go to the Hunterian Art Gallery and view the Mackintosh House Exhibit.

I'm sad that she is moving away next week. She was one of the first people I met when I moved to Glasgow and it was just a complete fluke that she ended up living in the flat below. She's moving to Ireland for a few months so it's just a cheap quick flight away for a visit.

After the gallery we walked along the Kelvin river. Even though it was a cold & gray day it was nice to get outside.

It was during this walk that I got a call from a friend telling me he'd picked up a ticket for me to go and see the EST concert that night with him and his wife.

I've seen this Jazz Trio 3 times in Vancouver and they are spectacular live. Saturday's concert was no different. I was able to find a place to stand up front close to the stage. I took quite a few pictures but it took me a while before I got the exposure right. Not wanting to use flash it's tough to get a picture that's not blurry as the musicians don't stay still. But I did get a few shots that looked not too bad.

The only downer for the night was the 2 yahoos in front of me that insisted on yakking through the entire concert. People, if you want to ignore the musicians do me a favour, buy the CD and stay home. There you can talk as long and as loudly as you like. If I'm going to pay 16 pounds for a ticket, I'd like to actually LISTEN to the band. Show the musicians some respect, please.

Sorry about that, the rant just kinda slipped out.

So my Saturday started and ended listening to some great music.

What a perfect day.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


This picture is the 1300th photo that I have posted to my Flickr page. I know it's a bit of an odd number but I find the zeros on the end a bit mesmerizing.

I've only belonged to Flickr for a little over a year but I'm amazed at how quickly the pictures have accumulated. I don't think I truly grasped how wonderful it was to share pictures until I started posting pictures from my 2005 trip to Ireland and Scotland.

It was that group of photos where I started using Flickr as a proper photo album, and began to write comments, tags and titles. Flickr is one of the main tools that allows my friends and family back home to see what I see here in my new adopted home. I try to post a self portrait at least once a month so my Mom can see that I'm alive and well.

But more than just showing off vacation pictures and documenting life events it has also given me a creative outlet to express myself. I guess this blog is also serving that purpose.

Blandness just seems to sneak up on you and before you know it, you're 40 and a dull person. What happened to that kid that loved to sketch and was going to grow up to be a singer? Life just gets in the way some times and you forget to live out your dreams and visions. Instead you get trapped just living to meet your practical needs.

I'm having a tough time properly expressing myself here and I do apologize that this post has turned into a bit of a philosophical ramble... but I think in the last few years I started to recognize that I needed to feed my creative/artistic side and I wasn't finding the time or opportunity as I was just too busy.

Packing up and moving to a different country was probably a bit on the drastic side but I knew I had to shake things up a bit. It's given me a fresh start and the chance to redistribute my priorities.

Maybe I'll take an art class.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Celtic Connections

Last night I went to a double bill concert as part of the Celtic Connections Music Festival that's been in town for a couple of weeks. The venue was The Old Fruitmarket, which really was a fruitmarket in it's day.

The first band up was The David Munnelly band from the west coast of Ireland. They were amazing. The thing about Celtic music is that the musicians rarely stay put, so I apologize for the blurriness of the photos (I also wasn't allowed to use a flash)

Next up was The Unusual Suspects. Take a Scottish Ceilidh band, double it, add 3 pipers, and throw in a killer brass section and that's pretty much the band. I think there were roughly 20 musicians on stage. The music was a fusion of some traditional jigs and such with some jazz & funk thrown in for good measure.

Both bands were fantastic and the venue was perfect. I'm just sad that this was the only concert I was able to catch of the festival. I was supposed to go to a Finlay MacDonald concert a week a go Wednesday but that's when I got sick. Well the good thing about festivals is they come back every year.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Took this picture this morning. It's been a lovely sunny day all day. The weather has been kind these past few days. Dare I toy with the thought that the worst is over for the winter season? Probably not, but I'll take each beautiful day as it comes.

This morning I got an email from a friend of mine in Germany that I've just recently reconnected with. He'd been to a concert the previous night and was asking me what kind of music I was listening to these days. I started making out a list and giving him links to the artist/band websites and when I got to Beck I stopped and actually went through the website in detail.

The few tracks I listened too from the new album sounds pretty good. The site also had a load of video's to watch. You must check out the 'Hell Yes (one shot)' video. The dancing robots are worth it. I couldn't find any code for it so you'll just have to go to the site on your own to check it out.

Next down my list of links was a hometown favorite of mine Danny Michel. A good ol' boy from Guelph Ontario. I have most of his CD's as well. One of my favorite tunes is from his 'Tales of the Invisible Man' CD.
The song fits the day - Perfect.

Danny Michel - Perfect (album track)

Add to My Profile More Videos

Ah Danny, when are you coming to Glasgow?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Canada's National Sport

This evening I got my Canadiana fix by catching up on the back episodes of The Mercer Report. It's my way of keeping in touch with what's happening politically in Canada, but with a smile.

In this last Tuesday's episode he did a bit on Canada's national sport - no NOT hockey, but Lacrosse.

Click here to see