Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rain, Friends and a Movie Review


The rain is coming down hard. The intensity goes up and down like waves. At one point it almost looks like snow the droplets are so thick.

It's strange, when I got up early this morning the sun was shining. I opened the curtains and pushed my chair into the light to bask in the warm glow. But that's Glasgow for you.


Meet up with some people last night to see the movie Next. Movie was OK, but that wasn't the point of the evening. At some point between chatting with people at the table in the theatre's Cafe Bar and then walking down Sauchiehall Street to another pub it kind of hit me that I'm now with friends. I no longer feel like an outsider, silently observing. It felt comfortable and natural.

After the movie we went to an old man's pub The Griffin for a pint and conversations about the Legendary Lonely Haggis, shopping for vintage clothing, and fishing for sea bagpipes. Much laughter was had. Still trying to figure out why though in the last 30-45 minutes the pub decided to crank up the music to the point that it became difficult to be hear. That was one of the reasons we went for the old man's pub', for the quiet.

The Movie Review

Don't worry I won't give any spoilers or plot twists. This is just my general opinion about the movie. I thought the concept was good, but I think it would have been better as an independent film rather than a major studio. It would have been good to have a bit more grit and for the main character to show a bit more torment (this was only slightly eluded to in one scene).

I just don't like Nicolas Cage in this type of role. I think he's better in the quirkier movies, Raising Arizona is a perfect example. The character of H.I. McDunnough was just so over the top yet had such a lovely humanity to him you immediately bought into it. A more mainstream example would be the the role of Dr. Stanley Goodspeed in The Rock. Of course this being a Jerry Bruckheimer film it was a slick but the main character was the old fish out of water take with lots of zingy dialogue.

Then there is the hair. Not sure what's going on there. It seems to be getting darker and thicker with each role and he's just starting to look a bit creepy.

But that's just my opinion. It was an entertaining evening out and really that's all I look for when going to a movie with friends. But on the way to the pub we walked past the GFT. Looks like some good films are showing there.

Oh and the rain stopped (for now)

Friday, May 25, 2007

I have needs

Holiday over, back to work, brain is tired. So here is a little bit of fun with Google that has been making it's way around some blogs I read..... You type your first name and the word needs in quotation marks, "Christine needs" in Google and this is what you get...

Christine needs only to cough or sneeze and she could have a brain hemorrhage
- should I be concerned about this?

Christine needs to stop looking at clothes
- it's what's on the inside that counts after all.

Christine needs to install XP
- I guess Microsoft has heard of this game already and is using this as a marketing tool, Bill Gates scares me.

Christine needs to know where her inventory is located at all times
- I have a problem

Christine needs something more than just fast sex and a roll in the hay
- I could think of some witty comments here but I don't want to spoil the moment.

When Damian Ware enters her life, he is just the solid foundation Christine needs.
- too funny after the one above, and look what the second line was... "Damian is not only handsome and rich, but he is a strong, loving"
- who is this guy and how do I find him?

Christine needs to have kids

Christine needs constant attention
- My 4th grade teacher would agree

Christine needs a bone marrow transfusion to survive
- I demand your pity now.

Christine needs us
- sniff, sniff, I love you guys

Thanks to Maht and goodthomas for taking the pressure off of having to come up with an original blog entry. Now I just gotta come up with something for tomorrow....

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Canadian Sport

So I can't sleep. I'm a bit stressed with work and can't shut my brain off. I brought my work laptop home so I wouldn't need to be at the office until the wee hours but I've not been able to connect to the network. So instead I've set the alarm for the wee hours of the morning and will go in early. That is if I can ever get to sleep.....

Surfing the net searching for other Canadian Expats and came across this in the process.

And yes he is a real Canadian Hockey player.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Paris to Glasgow via London Heathrow

The trip home was, hmm how should I put this.... eventful.

The folks ordered a cab to pick us up from our apartment to take us all to Charles de Gaulle Airport. My flight was leaving 2 hours after theirs, but splitting a cab 3 ways helps with the budget.

We seem to be going opposite to rush hour traffic so we're making good time. We get to the airport and can see the departures area of the terminal but traffic has come to a dead halt. Interesting, we're waiting, waiting, waiting and no one has budged. I'm looking ahead and there seem to be groups of people just standing outside, and now that I'm paying attention there also seem to be barriers blocking access to the vehicles. The cab can't move, not even to turn around as it's all one way traffic. We're very close to another door of the terminal so we just pay the cab, get our bags and walk amongst the stopped cars to get to the terminal.

Once inside there is an announcement being broadcast alerting us that due to the National Strike of the Security personnel there will be delays. Perfect, a strike. Not sure what the instigator was but I'm sure it has something to do with the recent election results.

We wander to the British Airways desk and can see what used to be a soft sided briefcase or book bag. But it's looking a little tattered with all the contents strewn across the floor. The guy behind me said that earlier they had blocked off access to the terminal as the bag had been left unattended and the police (?) came in and destroyed it. What I found amusing was that once destroyed, they just left it there. I could see pieces of medication bottles and pills scattered about, and then later the cleaning ladies came but to clean it up. Sadly I was just not quick enough to whip out the camera. My Mother was horrified that I was even attempting to take a picture, but Dad was right in there with me trying to help me get my camera out of my bag. Oh well, another lost opportunity.

So back to the strike. Because the regular security personnel have walked off the job it's up to the others to take over. Two words.... mass chaos. Once you get through passport control you are hit with a wall of people and queues the entire length of the terminal. While waiting in line I could start to hear a commotion outside. I walked over to see what was going on and there was a protest march in front of the terminal. Then the riot police came in with their shin guards and batons (how exciting). But no blood was shed and no bones broken. Things seemed to be under control once the march had gone by and then I could see cars and taxi's driving past.

Needless to say everyone's flight was delayed. By the time I got to Heathrow my already short layover was even shorter. I ran into the same problems I did before in getting to Paris, I needed to change terminals, get through security and passport control/immigration and there were massive queues everywhere. But the nice staff once again allowed me to go through the 'Club World' fast track security queue and I ran like I've never run before to try and get to passport control to get to my gate. Luckily there was only one couple in front of me. But not so lucky, they also had massive paperwork that got hauled out of large envelopes and needed to be reviewed. It's right about now I realize I haven't used a washroom in almost 5 hours, I look at the time and my flight is due to leave in 3 minutes. I get a sympathetic look from the lady controlling the flow of traffic and she tells me not to worry. I go up to the counter, advise the officer I have an ancestry visa, yes my Grandfather on my Father's side, yadda yadda yadda. I'm trying to be pleasant but also show some urgency. My passport gets stamped and I fly around the corner. Another long hallway but my gate is the first one on the left.

There is no one there except one BA staff member at the computer. He sees me running and says "Miss Leman?", yes I breathlessly reply, "Ah yes, we were waiting for you". He takes my boarding pass and I jog down the ramp to board. There is another BA staff down the ramp and she also confirms my name and then smiles "You made it". They literally shut the door behind me.


I arrive in Glasgow, go down to the baggage claim and am confused as to which carousel I should be at. #2 has my flight number, but then #3 says for all baggage coming transferred via Heathrow. I'm not sure so I walk back and forth between the 2. It's about now that my stomach is telling me the coffee and pastry I had in Paris at 8AM was not enough now that it's 5PM. I grab some change out of my pocket and hit a vending machine to get some crackers. At this point I don't care that they are double the cost at 70 p.

No bag.

I can't say that I'm really surprised as I barely made my flight as it was. I hear my name being paged and am asked to make myself known to the BA counter. My suspicion is confirmed, and my bag missed the flight but is on the next one and should arrive in the next 2 hours. I smile, no worries - it just means they get to deliver it and lug it up 4 flights of stairs. I have no problem with that at all.

There's along queue for a taxi an I've been informed there is a big football match on tonight with lots of out of town fans arriving. Which would explain all the identically clad people singing and clapping on my flight. But the line goes fairly quickly and I get a really chatty lady as my taxi driver which is a nice change to all the non-conversationalists I had in Barcelona and Paris. There is still construction going on the M-8 plus it's rush hour traffic so the drive home seems to take forever.

Home sweet home.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Paris Day 4

Today I ditched the parents and did some major hoofing it around town.

I walked along the left bank of Le Seine to the Musee d'Orsay. There was a huge long queue so it was close enough to lunch time so I wandered along some side streets until I found a bakery and grabbed a roast chicken baguette (mmmmm) and some mineral water. I took my lunch back to the Musee and sat outside in the sun and people watched.

Once done it was time to queue. It was a long line but moved very quickly. Through the major security check-in, grab a map and I'm in. Hmmm, where to start. There is a temporary exhibit of some photo's from the 1800's, 2 of which are pics of Vancouver's Stanley Park (how nice). The Museum is housed in a converted train station built in 1900. Here's a piece of trivia. The station was also used as a location for Orson Welles' film The Trial. In the mid 70's the station was considered for demolition but in 1977 the Paris authorities decided to save it and converted it into a museum (good choice).

The museum's collection covers art from 1848 to 1914. There's Van Gough, Degas, Monet, Manet, Munch, Renoir, Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Klimt, Whistler, Rodin, Pissarro, Sisley and a bunch of other guys and girls. Now looking at those names I'm sure various paintings come to mind, but here are a few you may not have seen..

Van Gough's L'Eglise d'Auvers-sur-Oise, vue du chevet, 1890

Edvard Munch's Nuit d'ete a Aasgaardstrand, 1904
- and you thought he was a tormented soul with The Scream

Claude Monet's Les dindons, 1877
- I know everyone talks about the Water Lilies, but come on - give The Turkeys some respect

Once I'm done with the museum I am off to find the Eiffel Tower. I've got my map so I know where I'm going (sort of). On the way I pass a number of picture worthy things like the Pont Alexandre III and Hotel des Invalides but I'm focused. As I get close to the goal I zip into a bakery and pick up an Almond Croissant but I don't eat it yet.

There it is, in all it's cast iron glory. I have absolutely no desire to get into a long queue and pay a fee to ride up the elevator. Just being her and seeing it is enough. The sun comes out and I sit on a bench in the park and enjoy my croissant.

So been there, done that now time for the long walk back to the apartment. It takes about an hour and a half but I take a different route and found myself on Embassy row and pass the embassy's for Romania, Korea and a few other's I can't remember.

I walk in the door and my feet really hurt. But feel like I've had a very fulfilling day packed with as much as I could see.

Our last night in town we found a restaurant along La Seine down from the Notre-Dame. A fitting end to the trip.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Paris Day 3

More museums.

First up was Le Pantheon. In 1744, after Louis XV recovered from a 'serious illness', ahem, gout, he decided to build a church dedicated to Sainte Genevieve to whom he attributed his cure. It was finished in 1790 and was intended to look like the Pantheon in Rome, hence the name (I guess the French architects at the time were lacking in originality). During the Revolution (you know, the French one) it was turned into a mausoleum for the city's great achievers. Napoleon gave it back to the church in 1806. But then again it was desecularized, but then again handed back to the church, and then again it was desecularized and became a public building in 1885.

There is a cool crypt underneath that is has the tombs of French citizens 'deemed' worthy of burial here. The likes of Voltaire, Victor Hugo, the Curries and Louis Braille. The other claim to fame of this space is Foucault's Pendulum. (also an excellent book by Umberto Eco).

Had lunch just down the street at this place. It was jam packed with locals and we had a great waitress that was trying to encourage my pitiful French. Lunch was very yummy and of course we had a glass of Gamay wine to wash it down with.

After lunch we walked down the hill to the Musee du Moyen-Age. The building was built by the abbots of Cluny in 1330 and contains a museum a collection of medieval art. It adjoins the ruins of 2nd century Roman baths. One gallery contained 21 carved stone heads of the Kings of Judah from Notre-Dame. They were decapitated during the Revolution. The exhibit to see is the 6 series tapestry Lady and the Unicorn. Five of the tapestries relate to the 5 senses, but there is supposed to be a big mystery as to what the 6th tapestry's meaning is. I say they made the 5 according to plan and the weavers discovered they had enough thread left over and just made something random - buy hey, that's just my opinion.

We didn't go out for dinner this night so I cooked up a Thai Green Curry for dinner. Staying in the odd night helps to keep the budget under control.

I Wrote A Story

So I entered a creative writing contest hosted by The Moon Topples blog site. It was an interesting process for me. I did the first draft fairly quickly, about an hour. Then spend the rest of the day tweaking it trying to add more clarity and focus.

Writing it was the easy part, here's the story of how I attempted to get it submitted before the deadline.

Saturday - finished the story but at that point I'd lost the Internet connection and it did not come back up for the whole weekend.

Sunday AM - caught a cab a little before 7AM to travel to Barcelona for a holiday. Couldn't find an i-cafe type place in the Gothic Quarter (well one who's service was actually working),

Monday - found a dodgy looking internet centre but it only had keyboards and monitors so no way to transfer a file. Finally at the 11th hour stumbled upon a business centre open late for reasonable cost and broadcasting a wi-fi signal so I could use my laptop. Phew!

If you want to read it, click here.

Paris Day 3, 4 and the return trip home to follow this weekend. I was back to work today so am feeling quite tuckered and am heading to bed early. I promise to finish up on my lazy Saturday morning.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Paris Day 2

Yesterday was all about Art, today it's religion. Well religious architecture at the Notre Dame Cathedral. I check Google weather again this morning and it says the high is 16 with rain so I layer up with the sweater and jean jacket. But once outside the sun is shining, there's a bit of a breeze but it feels warm.

We walk down Blvd St Germaine for a bit to a bakery Mom had picked up the baguette from on Friday and we pick up some lunch to go and we're going to eat in the park. I have the best sandwich in the word. A yummy baguette with salami, pickles and butter - brings back memories of my school lunches when I was a kid. For dessert with bought 2 HUGE coconut macaroons half dipped in dark chocolate. Sinful. As I was enjoying my lunch I kept noticing this family beside us and the little boy kept looking behind him with such intensity that I was wondering what it was that was holding his attention. Finally I saw it too, a wee little mouse zipping in and out from the hedge to the grass looking for food. He was soooooo cute.

Once our lunch was done we went to the cathedral. Does it make me a bad person to say I found the interior of this church kind of boring. I've been to many churches through-out my travels and this one just seemed well, dull. Now I'll give you the exterior - that is breathtaking and massive, but inside there just didn't seem to be anything special. The history of the building itself is quite interesting. I didn't realize that by 1831 when Victor Hugo's novel Notre-Dame de Paris was published the cathedral was in really bad shape. In 1804 for the crowning of Emperor Napoleon the crumbling walls had to be disguised with wall hangings and ornamentation. During the Revolution, the cathedral was even sold to a scrap dealer, but was never actually demolished.

Walking out of the cathedral the weather had taken a 180 degree turn. The sky is now dark with black clouds rolling in and a serious wind is swirling around and it's going to rain at any moment. Time to head back to the apartment to take cover. On the way I spy a Thai Grocer so I'm going to zip in and see what they have while Mom & Dad continue on. Just as I start to cross the street a gale hits with such force I think I'm in Glasgow. The rain starts to pelt down and the groceries outdoor stands are starting to blow over. So I linker in the shop for a bit and decide they've got pretty much all I need to make a Thai Green curry, they even have a large bad of Thai Basil - yum. Groceries purchased I step outside and the wind and rain have pretty much stopped. But the time I get back to the apartment it's blue sky and sunshine again. Bizarre.

I grab a quick afternoon snooze at the apartment and then Dad and I head out for a walk. There is this thing called Le Pantheon that looks interesting and according to the map it doesn't look too far away. I want to try and find it and if it's close then we can go there tomorrow. It is close, only about a 10 minute walk and it's massive. Also out front you've got a great view of the Eiffel tower. I snap some pictures as who knows what the weather will be like tomorrow.

Dinner tonight is at a Lebanese restaurant across the street. When Mom & Dad arrived on Friday they met a resident of the building in the hall and he recommended this place. Yesterday when we walked by we went in to make a reservation. I felt bad as she excused herself went into the back and then came out and said, "Normally we are closed on Sunday, but I just spoke with the chef and he says for the 3 of you we will open up" I tried to explain that we were going to be here for a couple more days so we could come Monday but she insisted that Sunday was fine. So here we are going to this place, I said to my Dad "even if the entire meal is full of chick peas you will enjoy this" (he hates chick peas). The food is wonderful, we even had a bottle of Lebanese wine with it and it was nice as well. Good recommendation

Paris Day 1

None of the grocery stores were open last night but Mom & Dad had picked up a baguette and some brie when they did a walk about the previous afternoon. I discovered I don't like ripe French Brie. The texture was lovely, so creamy you could easily spread it on the bread after it had been out of the fridge for a short while. But the smell, to me it smelled like old cooked broccoli. Not something I want to smell first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I guess I'll never be a fromage connoisseur.

There is only one thing on the agenda today and that's the Louvre. I hear it's big, but I'm determined to conquer it all in one day. According to Google weather the high is supposed to be a balmy 20 degrees so silly me leaves the jacket in the apartment and walks out with just a t-shirt and a sweater. Big mistake. It's cold, windy and gray outside. Never the less I don't want to run back upstairs to get the additional layer.

According to the map we are on the Left Bank, 2 blocks from the Seine so we head to the Louvre walking along the river. Notre Dame Cathedral is also very close by so we do a quick drive by of that and snap a few pics but due to the sky's dullness I know I'm going to want to get some more when things are a bit more colourful.

It takes a while but we do find the Louvre OK and it certainly is big. We approach it via the Eastern entrance and walk through a grand courtyard and then walk through what I assume is the main entrance judging by the glass pyramids in front of me. Just then it begins to rain so our timing is perfect. There really isn't much of a queue and as we don't have any backpacks with us we get fast tracked through the security line and can head inside to where its warmer and dryer.

Lots of people but nothing to bad. Mom & Dad go into the ticket queue and I head to information to get some English guides. I'm starving and Dad needs to eat every few hours to keep his blood sugar level so we head up to the cafe to grab some lunch. I had the best chicken baguette I've ever had. The chicken was nice and tender and actual thick cut pieces of breast meat, none of that processed gelatinous stuff that I was expecting. The mayo is nice and tangy with a hint of lemon and the baguette is that good hearty stuff that you really have to tear off with your teeth. It's the kind of sandwich that will stick to your ribs and give you energy for the whole day (and the price wasn't too outrageous either).

So my plan of attack is to start at the top and work my way down. I don't bother with an audio guide as that will just slow me down. There are a few artists that I want to keep my eye open for but I'm just going to burn through the gallery as fast as I can as I want to see it all. Vermeer's The Lacemaker was lovely and there was an artist parked in front painting a copy so of course the hoards of people were crowded around watching so I couldn't really get an uninterrupted look at it, but that's OK. In fact I came across a number of art students with their easels painting. Some were doing direct copies of works and other's were putting their own interpretation on the piece. One of my favourites was a guy painting a figure that was in period costume, but in his painting the figure was wearing a black T-Shirt and on the T-shirt was the artist (the guy I was watching) wearing the period costume. Cool.

Wandering around I was impressed with myself in that I'm starting to recognize specific artists. A painting would catch my eye and I'd think, that looks like so and so and I'd zoom in on the tag and I'd be right. All the credit for that goes to Leona and all the galleries she exposed me to in our London trip (see I WAS paying attention, sort of).

In the Louvre there are the 'BIG' pieces that everyone wants to see like oh I don't know, the Mona Lisa? But I found it interesting that in the gallery to the left as you turn to go into the room with the Mona Lisa in it there are 3 other Da Vinci's hanging on the wall that no one seemed to pay any attention too. Also there was a huge crowd around the Venus de Milo. I found it more interesting to try and capture the hoards surrounding the figure and the tourists all fighting for position to have their picture taken in front so the fact that she's a little out of focus was on purpose. It was the same for the Winged Victory of Samothrace, but I was able to get a nice shot without any people even with the low lighting.

One unexpected find was a small painting that made me stop dead in my tracks. The artist is Denner and I've never heard of him before. But I spent a good 10 minutes staring at this piece as I swear it's a photograph. I mean I got up real close to it to see if I could see some brush strokes or thick chunks of paint, cracks etc. Nothing, it's flawless. So flawless that I was starting to think that perhaps the museum does this kind of thing to see if anyone is paying attention. However, some sleuthing on the net found that indeed this is a true painting and this guy was known for his realism. It was spooky.

So I didn't really get all the way through the gallery in one day as I purposely skipped some sections that I just wasn't interested in. I mean with Greek & Oriental Antiquities you've seen one ceramic jug you've seen them all. However, one section I didn't mean to go into but stumbled upon was the African Antiquities and they had one of the Easter Island heads there (I saw one in Chilli as well). Some interesting statues and carvings but my feet were really starting to hurt.

Back in the 1980s an excavation uncovered the remains of a medieval fortress so they've opened up a display and you can walk around the base of the towers and the drawbridge support. There were also a number of medieval tombstones which I guess because they've been buried the detail is amazing. Usually when you see these in a church yard they are so weathered and worn they are hard to see. These were great. But really low lighting conditions so I didn't take any pics.

There is also a large display in the lower level on the history of the Louvre which was very interesting. Photos and paintings showing how the space has evolved over the years. Had my feet been better I could have spent more time there but I needed to sit down. Just as I was walking out of this last display who should I run into but Mom & Dad, couldn't have planned that any better. We head up to the cafe by the bookshop to have a snack and rest our feet.

Mom has had it, but I still have one more area I want to check out, the French Sculpture. It's not so much that I love French Sculpture but they have it housed in an interior open courtyard and the lighting is amazing, very bright from the sky lights above. Plus in amongst these old sculptures are some modern displays thrown in. This one of the people and the clock faces really struck me.

Last stop is the bookshop as I want to pick up a guide on just the galleries paintings. We walk back a different route and it's slow going as we've all been on our feet a bit too long. One the way Mom happens to notice this place and Dad pipes in "Hey, how about we stop for a pint". It was lovely, and they had Walkers Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli crisps, I didn't care that they were overpriced (hey, they're imported). This was the first time I've had Beamish Stout, it was pretty good (but Murphy's Irish Stout is still my favourite). I'm still not sure if having a pint in a Scottish Pub on the Left Bank in Paris is something I should be proud of or not, but it was good.

After dropping Mom off at the apartment Dad and I headed out again to pick up some groceries to cook dinner rather than going out again. Unlike Barcelona there is no farmers market or large grocery store close by so it's a bit more of a challenge, but I get what I need to make a spaghetti sauce (I smuggled over my Parmesan Reggiano from Barcelona).

A long day but I feel so cultured.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Barcelona to Paris, via London - The Adventure

Arriving at the airport British Airways has the self service kiosks where you just insert either a credit card or your BA Airmiles card and it pulls up your reservation and you check in. There were 3 kiosks (not enough in my opinion) and one staff member on hand to offer assistance. And this is where the whole self service thing goes terribly wrong. Everyone in line waited for the staff member to tell them what to do. Come on, it's no more difficult than using a bank machine. So the line slowly shuffled along as the 3 machines were never all being used all at once. In most cases 2 were standing there empty as the next person in line seemed to be waiting for permission to go ahead and use a machine. By the time I was next I just barrelled up and used the machine which seemed to then clue in the rest of the people in the queue and I think things went a bit quicker after that.

Next queue is the line to drop off your checked luggage. That went pretty speedy so now it's just the security check in but that goes pretty fast as shock, all security machines are working and are manned. Now that I'm through I just need to wander around until it's time to board. All airports I find are pretty generic once you get through security. I still find it strange that no matter what country I'm in there is a Tie Rack shop. Who goes to a foreign destination and then when looking to get the perfect souvenir to go home decides I know, nothing says 'Barcelona' like a silk tie.

The flight departs on time and is uneventful. It's a short flight so no onboard entertainment. There is the complimentary in-flight magazine that I flip through out of boredom. And this is where the adventure part begins. The magazine has the lay-out of Heathrow airport and how to go from one terminal to the other. I'm arriving in Terminal 1 and change planes at Terminal 4. According to the diagram I need to give myself a minimum of 75 minutes to do this. I look at my itinerary and my gate closes after 45 minutes. Panic sets in, I'm not going to make my connection.

We land and there are issues with attaching the ramp/walkway thing to the plane, tick tick tick tick. We finally get off and I'm stuck behind these 2 ladies with their carry on luggage taking up the entire hall way and I can't manoeuvre past them. I get to the escalator and again the people stand on one side and place their luggage on the other blocking my way so I have to wait as the escalator slowly ascends up. Finally the terminal, they have these great moving walkways that people DON'T WALK ON!! What is the point, in that case it's faster to just walk (or in my case run) down the hallway.

I follow the signs to transfers to terminal 4, I round the corner and stop dead in my tracks at the huge queue at the security check in. Off to my left I can see a lone security area with a sign saying it is for the Club Class only and you must be invited to enter. I see a staff member there and put on my most sincere frazzled look and I give him my passport and boarding card and whimper "I don't think I'm going to make my connection to Paris". He gives me a wink and a smile and allows me through the 'special' line. I run around the corner, fly down the ramp to see the terminal bus and as I whiz by the lady at the door ask if the shuttle is leaving soon and she says yes.

Phew! The shuttle drives off after about 3 minutes, I get to Terminal 4 and my gate is the second one to the right. I've got about 15 minutes to spare, and my heart is just pounding. So that was my cardio workout for the day.

The flight to Paris is only about 45 minutes out of London, I'm not sure why I thought it was 2 hours (I'm bad at geography). Arriving at Charles De Gaul there is only one guy at Passport Control so that line does take quite a while to get through but once on the other side I hit an ATM to get some Euros and then find the taxi stand.

Driving from the Airport into Paris initially isn't all that inspiring. It just looks like a big dirty city. But then finally as we get closer to city centre it starts to look European. The shops, the architecture, the cafe's etc. It's a long drive and an expensive trip, at the end the charge was 43 Euro - but I was expecting that as I had looked up the costs before I left. I see the door to the apartment and Dad is waiting outside for me.

I'm not sure why, but flying really exhausts me, which is weird considering you're sitting the entire time taking the odd nap. So up to the apartment to drop off my bags, reassure my Mother that I did not get lost (she was worried as I arrived 30 minutes after I approximated I would) then find someplace to eat. As both my flights were short I didn't eat anything. Somehow a chicken/bacon and mayo sandwich early in the AM isn't all that attractive to my stomach, the other option was egg/cheese and mayo (welcome to the UK).

We found a little Italian place just a block down the street and had a nice meal.

I'm tired.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Barcelona Day 5

This is our last full day in Barcelona. Mom wants to try and find another Gaudi building that according to the map looks to be just a few blocks away. It's a lesser known building the Palau Guell. We wander up and down La Ramblas but can't seem to find the side street it's supposed to be on. I take a look at the map and figure out where it should be and we turn down onto a narrow little street. Nothing seems to indicate a Gaudi building anywhere. However as we walk back I make a comment like 'for all we know it could be that building underneath all the scaffolding'. Just as I said that I read the construction sign and that's exactly what it is. I guess it's undergoing a major renovation so it's closed off. But we found it.

We wander back into the Gothic quarter and up and down some little side streets and Mom picks up some dark chocolate dipped Churros for later. We go back to the apartment to eat lunch as we have some cheese, olives and ham left that needs to be eaten up before we leave.

Mom stays behind to have a nap and Dad and I head off to find the Museu Picasso. Not only is the collection interesting but the building as well. It's housed in 5 adjoining medieval palaces on Carrer Montcada. It's a 3,000 piece collection of his early works. They show how even at age 15 he was painting major works. There are a few pieces from his Blue and Rose periods. Most famous is his series of 44 paintings, Las Meninas inspired by Velazquez's masterpiece.

The museum is laid out chronologically so you can see his style evolving from the very classical style to the cubism he ended with. But I'll be honest here, some of those works I looked at and said ' OK, I could do that'. What is it about a few thick strokes of paint that look almost childish that people call it genius? Is it because he was the first? Anyone out there like to enlighten me on that one?

Still, I felt very cultured at the end of it.

Dad and I wandered back again through the labyrinth of the small side streets, again trying to get lost but not succeeding. We stopped off at a gelato shop to get cones for everyone before heading back up to the apartment. Once the yummy afternoon treat was finished Dad popped back to the Business Centre as he needed to print off their shuttle voucher for tomorrow. Apparently he had a bit of an adventure trying to figure out how to do this as he is one for never asking. However, eventually he did have to ask as getting pop up error messages in Spanish isn't all that useful when you don't speak the language.

Last night in Barcelona and neither Mom or Dad want to go out for dinner as they are both too tired. However, I do manage to drag Mom out the door and down the steps one last time. We went back to the same restaurant Dad and I ate in our first night as the meal was good, but as Mom had been sick she couldn't really taste the leftovers we brought back for her. So she wanted to get a meal there again now that she was feeling better. As the first time I was there it was late at night I hadn't really noticed the area. But directly across from the restaurant was a mini archaeological excavation of some Roman tombs, complete with sleeping feral cats curled up in amongst them (I'm a sucker for the furry creatures).

Mom ordering some Paella for take-a-way was also a bit of an adventure for her. I guess the one waiter that spoke English, this was his first day. I had run to the grocery store to pick up a bottle of wine. When I came back I found my Mom sitting at the bar surrounded by 3 waiters and the chef trying to explain the menu to her. I could tell she was having fun with this. Then they brought her he a complimentary espresso with milk while she was waiting. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the restaurant but if you are on C. De Portaferrissa walking towards the Cathedral, take your first left and you will see the Restaurant sign down on your left across from the park.

Don't forget to look at the tombs and the cats.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Barcelona Day 4

This day was all about Antoni Gaudi. We hopped on the Bus Touristic again and got off at Casa Mila, or also known as La Pedrena (the Stone Quarry). Built between 1906 - 10 and was his last work before devoting himself entirely to the Sagrada Familia. On one floor they have decorated the rooms similar to the period and even though the building itself seems so futuristic somehow it just all works. Lots of natural light and no hard lines, the rooms really flow. Then up to the attic where they have an exhibition on Gaudi complete with models and explanations of his work.

But the best part to me was going up on the roof. The ducts and chimneys are like sculptures. Some find then a bit scary looking and have nick-named them Espanta-bruixes, or witch scarers. I took far too many pictures up there. So many that my battery died so then I started taking pics with my Dad's Nikon D-70 (very nice camera, perhaps I'll upgrade in the next year). Mom didn't come up as she's got a thing about heights.

When we were done the house then we needed to grab some lunch. This too was a bit of an adventure. We had a coupon for a sandwich place that Dad wanted to use. But ordering was a bit of a challenge without knowing the language (again, wishing I had my phrase book back in Canada) but with pointing at the pictures on the menu I was successful in getting my baguette with boccaccini & tomato and a salad. Mom & Dad I think didn't know what they were getting until they opened up the sandwich wrapper. But it was all good.

Next door was Casa Batllo. Unlike Gaudi's other works, this block of flats, commissioned by Josep Batllo i Casanovas was a conversion of an existing building. They had the architectural models in the previous museum display showing the before and after, very cool. The building even to this day looks very convention-defying, hard to believe that it was done in 1906. The building has been said to symbolise the legend of St George killing the dragon, whose scaly back arches above the main facade.

The interiors are quite remarkable as well. Again, no straight lines but the attention to even the tiniest details have the masters touch from the feel of a door handle to incorporating ventilators incorporated into the doors and windows to facilitate the flow of air. This time I managed to drain the battery in my Mom's camera (I have a problem, I admit that). In reviewing what I did take I realize I never took a picture of the front of the building. Oh well.

After this we hop back on the bus again, but this time take the blue southern route which takes us down towards the water and also up towards the Olympic stadium. We don't get off the bus anymore as we are all fighting to keep our eyes open. I get off when we hit the gothic quarter as I recognize some of the buildings so can see we are close to our apartment. Mom & Dad will take the bus to the end as they need to hit the business centre to order their shuttle bus for when the arrive at Beauvais airport. When I get back to the apartment I have a much needed siesta (which is why it's taken me until now to post this entry).

After we've all had our naps we go off in search of a restaurant for dinner. I had seen a place on-line that didn't look too far away from where we were and the menu looked good. Finding it was another story. When addresses are numbered you sort of assume that the numbers go up in one direction, and down in another. I found the street OK, but do you think I could find #42? We kept going back to this one restaurant and chatting with a nice waiter (he sounded Auzzie) and he advised us that normally only the residences have numbers, not buildings. Had that place not been an oyster bar (ick) we would have been quite happy to eat there. But one more try and eventually we found it. The place was called Troubadour and specialized in Catalonian Grill. Very yummy, but I shouldn't have had dessert as I was just way to full at the end. But it was tasty.

Another great day.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Barcelona Day 3

Had a nice lazy morning drinking coffee & eating breakfast in the apartment. This is what I prefer about this arrangement as opposed to staying in a hotel or B&B as then your mornings are at the mercy of their breakfast schedule, which is always too early for my liking.

Today we are doing the Barcelona Bus Turistic thing. As cheesy as those double decker buses look it is a good way to get to the major sights. For an extra 4 Euros you can purchase a tour ticket that is good for 2 consecutive days. That is a good option for the folks as they only last so long on their feet and this way they won't be rushed to try and do it all in one go.

The one major thing we want to see today is the Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi. Basically it is one huge construction zone but it is still amazing in terms of the scale of the project. I wonder if it will be completed in my lifetime. It would be nice to come back in 5 or 10 years to see how much further along it is.

In the basement is a display of the history of the project complete with draft plans, scale models etc. I found it very interesting. Wishing I had a better camera with a stronger zoom lens as the exterior is just full of figures and symbolism. I'll have to pick up a book on the project before I leave to see what all I missed.

I couldn't find the crypt which was disappointing, but I found the interiors - even though covered in scaffolding and dust still breathtaking. I can only imagine what it will be like to attend a service when it is completed.

Grabbed lunch across the street at a sandwich/smoothie bar so nice and healthy. When we were done and stepped out onto the street the church bells started playing - a nice touch.

Back on the bus to take the rest of the North - Red route. Right about now I'm feeling the incredible urge to have a nap (carbs will do that). Dad and I are on the upper deck of the bus and Mom is down below as she's afraid of heights. I must admit the tour guide was a bit disappointing. Normally on these things they chatter on non-stop about where you are and what there is to see. But according to Mom (as she was downstairs) the guide spent most of the time flirting with the driver and when she remembered she would make a quick mention of why we were stopped. So the tour itself was quite boring as you're just driving around not really knowing where you are and why.

When the tour came to an end we walked back to the apartment going a different way and ended up at the Barcelona Cathedral. We take a break and get some Gelato and sit down in the plaza to enjoy it. It's not time for dinner yet so Mom & I decide to check out the Cathedral and Dad heads back to the apartment for a snooze.

This Cathedral was begun in 1298 and built on the foundations of a Roman temple and Moorish mosque. But it wasn't finished until the early 20th century (so why are they giving Gaudi's cathedral all the negative press on it's infiniteness?). It's big, it's gothic, lots of gold and the smell of incense. There is small courtyard amongst the cloisters. Cool, but kinda creepy. I don't know why I always feel that way in these old cathedrals. I am a Christian but I don't find these places to be very warm and inviting. That's not to say that they (the congregation) aren't, I wouldn't know as I've never been to a Roman Catholic service. But it all seems to be about dwelling on the negative and the whole worship of the passion - rather than focusing on Christ's resurrection and new life. But that's just my impression.

So when we're done looking at the church it's back, up the 75 stairs and Mom announced she was not going up/down those stairs again today. Her cold was still in full force and she was extremely exhausted. Dad and I were going to pack up the laptops and head to the business centre to do the email thing and we were to keep an eye open for where we could grab dinner and perhaps get some take-a-way for Mom. However, when I asked Dad what he wanted for dinner he said 'spaghetti'. So on the way back we stopped at the grocery store to see if we could find the ingredients for me to cook dinner at the apartment as we've got a kitchen with pots, pans etc.

I'll say it again, grocery shopping in a foreign country is a challenge. I do have a Spanish phrase book but like all my other books it's in a box packed away somewhere in my folks basement in Canada. So I'm going on instinct here. I pretty much cook from scratch so I know what vegetables are what but trying to figure out which can has diced tomatoes isn't all that clear even when looking at the picture on the can. Also I'll still require a jar of tomato sauce to get the spicing right but I don't see anything with piquant on it so I grab the jar that has a picture of tomatoes and onions (I don't want the one with a picture of anchovies). Both Dad and I like our sauce spicy but unless I want a huge tray of chillies I have to bite the bullet and buy a jar of whole dried chillies. I'll just leave them in the cupboard for the next people renting the apartment, I'm sure that's how most of the things in the cupboard got there.

So last few ingredients, onions, red pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, tri-coloured rotini, some dry cured ham (like Parma ham), parmesan reggiano and a bottle of red wine and we're good to go. But as we walk past the vegetable isle Dad notices a lady weight her bag of something and he wonders if we are supposed to do the same as the scale then dispenses a sticker. Hmmm, this could be a challenge. We do a drive by and can see that any vegetables that are not pre-packaged have a numeric code above the price. OK, but the sign isn't always actually attached to the bin so I try to line up the signs to what I think the vegetable is and I get it 50% right. When the sticker for the zucchini came out part of the label said negro so I'm thinking I entered the code for the eggplant. I go back to the zucchini box again and look at the next box that has some prepacked ones to see if I can see what on the label is the name of the vegetable and then look at the signs to find the proper numeric code. Because I had been looking from an angle I was off by one. This time the sticker looked correct.

So groceries purchased we walk back to the apartment and I cook a fabulous dinner.

Dad did the dishes :>)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Barcelona Day 2

Mom & Dad are up way too early for my liking as I'm still working off a sleep deficit. First order of business is to grab something for breakfast and then purchase some groceries. There is a Starbucks across the street and up half a block. Yesterday I had noticed that they had a wi-fi sign in the window so when ordering coffee Pops asked about the charges. You could purchase a card (similar to their coffee cards) and use them at any Starbucks with wi-fi access. Great, except they're wi-fi wasn't working and the guy behind the counter didn't know where the next closest one was.

There is a large market down another block that we go and explore. I purchase something that looks like Parma Ham, some brie, 3 different kinds of olives, Dad picked up a bottle of wine, Mom got some fresh fruit and we wander up and down the stalls looking at what else there is. I kinda had to quicken my pace as we got to the meat stalls with rabbit carcases and goat heads (why am I not a vegetarian).

Mom is really not feeling well so I send her back up to the apartment and I finish the grocery shopping. There is a grocery store just up the other side of the block. Checking out a grocery store is a good way to immerse yourself into a new culture, especially when you don't speak/read the language. I figured out which tetra packs were milk and was able to determine the semi-skim from the whole milk by finding the calorie count marked on the side. Another observation is the lack of organic and fair trade products here. Normally I always purchase organic yogurt as I think it tastes superior but I don't see anything like that here so have to due with a 8-pack of Danone. Even the shopping baskets are different. I grabbed what I thought was just a hand held basket but when I pulled it up out of the stack it was very very deep and the handle was only half a handle. It wasn't until I looked around that I noticed the bottom of the basket had wheels and the handle was used to pull the basket. So my little shopping trip involved purchasing milk, yogurt, Agua con gas, juice, muesli, butter and a box of Kleenex for Mom.

As Mom is down with a nasty cold she's going to stay behind and Dad and I will wander. The last few things on the shopping list are coffee, bread and a Digital Hi-8mm tape for their camcorder. It's a spectacular day out, blue sky and a very comfortable temperature - not too hot. Just nice for walking around. We zip in and out of shops that have electronics to try and find the tape (found it eventually) and I attempt to get us lost on purpose a few times but I guess my sense of direction is too good.

We start exploring the cathedral complex & the Gothic quarter and I am appreciating the fact that this is not high season as many of the little alcoves around the building only have a few people in them. Both Dad and I are having fun playing with our cameras and experimenting with different shots. The gothic quarter is just really cool to wander around in. All these twisty turny little corridors. We stumble upon the one place I found last night that had a sign on the window advertising internet. It's part of a hostel. I go to the counter and ask if they have wireless access. He doesn't understand what that means and keeps pointing to the back of the room and saying they have a computer with internet. But it's not working (are you noticing the trend here).

We find a bakery and pick up 3 different baguettes with meat and cheese, I find a Starbucks that has FairTrade coffee and then we head back to the apartment to see how Mom's doing. She's still feeling awful but is glad we've brought some lunch. As it's now early afternoon the city has again shut down for siesta. I load the few pictures I've taken so far into my computer and can barely keep my eyes open. It just kinda sneaks up on you. Must be all that walking and sunshine. So all 3 of us decide to join in with the local population and have a siesta.

After the afternoon snooze Dad and I are on a mission to find a place with wi-fi so we can check email and confirm our Paris details. The Lonely Planet guide says the city is full of internet cafe's but not from what I've seen so far. In the book it shows 2 such places close by where we are. We find the first but no wi-fi, only a coin operated machine where you purchase your time and then the machine spits out an account number and Pin code. Then you sit at one of the kiosks in the shop and use their keyboard and wall mounted monitors. This doesn't help me as there are a few files I saved to my laptop hard drive (like yesterday's blog entry) that I can't upload unless I can get a wireless connection. The kiosks don't have the actual CPU's so I can't even save the data to a disk to transfer. So it's email only.

When that is done we try the Starbucks route again. This time I pull up their corporate website to see if I can get a list of Barcelona shops with internet access available. There seems to be one further along the street we're on at the moment so I send Dad off on a mission to try and find it while I finish up here.

He comes back about 10 minutes later saying he didn't find it but he did come across a Business Centre that had wi-fi. Yeah!! So I pack up everything and find the place and am able to fire up the laptop and feel connected to the world again.

We walk back to the apartment another way through more little side streets and alleys and lastly pick up the loaf of bread. Mom is up and feeling human enough to attempt to go out for dinner as long as it's not too far away. We walk up to the square in front of the Cathedral and Mom zero's in on a place with pictures of the menu items and serves Paella. It becomes obvious quickly that this isn't the fanciest of restaurants. The paper placemats were the first clue & the red wine straight out of the fridge was the second. I wasn't all that hungry so I just ordered a few tapas. Had some interesting olives stuffed with capers and tuna. Still not sure if interesting qualifies as good.

Another long day, my feet hurt and I'm dead tired. Day 3 to follow shortly.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Barcelona Day 1

Greetings from Barcelona. I don't have internet access in the apartment so these posts are going to be about 2 days behind. As I do the draft offline, edit my pictures and then need to walk over to a business centre to upload everything.

Day 1

As per normal I worked until after midnight, so I found myself in the kitchen making pasta primavera with a white wine reduction at 1AM Sunday morning as I hadn't had dinner yet. The TV was counting down the top 100 funniest moments (UK of course) so I ended up watching the end of that while I ate my dinner. By the time I finished packing my suitcase it was 3AM before I hit the sack. Great, that gives me 3 hrs to sleep before I need to get up.

Had a shower, got dressed and then called a cab to take me to the airport. My flight was scheduled to depart at 9AM so I wanted to get to the airport no later than 7:30 as I was figuring I'd have lots of lines to queue up in. When the cab dropped me off at the terminal I walked through the sliding glass door and was met with a wall of people. I couldn't even get through the second set of glass doors the line-up was so long. I was just about to ask the guy in front of me which airline the line-up was for when I noticed the Globespan counter, with 2 agents, and no line-up. Perfect :>) The crowd of people was for a different charter company. Note to self, don't book with them.

I walked up to the Globespan counter, checked in with no incident. My suitcase only weighted 11.4 kg (way under my allowed 20 kg) and I was even able to choose if I wanted a window or isle seat. I've got my boarding pass, now I just need to find a currency counter to purchase some Euros.

The Glasgow International airport may be small potatoes compared to Heathrow but there is enough there to keep oneself occupied whilst waiting for a flight. There were 3 different exchange counters to choose from and compare rates (the American Express counter gave the best deal & you got a free pen), a number of restaurants, some shopping etc. However, and this is where I always choose wrong. I was looking at the time. I'm supposed to be at the gate for 8:00, it's 7:40 and there is a huge long queue at the security check. Above the line there is a sign listing what shops and services are on the other side and I can see a Cafe Nero sign. Perfect, I'll go through the hassle of security now, then grab a coffee and a bite to eat on the other side.

Wrong, when you get through security and the mandatory duty free shop (I still don't understand how it's a good deal as the prices all look more expensive) you then have a choice of what direction you want to turn depending on your gate number. I was gate 27A which was off to the left. I'm thinking the Cafe Nero was off to the right as there was no coffee shop to be found. I ended up going to a small lounge area and purchased a black coffee from a large thermos pump (oh, you just know it's going to be bad) and a cello wrapped banana fudge muffin. What can I say, I needed caffeine and food and that's what was there.

I found a seat and opened up the cello pack on the muffin and started reading the ingredients.

Sugar, wheat flour, whole egg, vegetable oil, banana pieces - so far it's sounding like a fairly normal muffin recipe. Now where was I, right - the banana pieces. Apparently that does not mean pieces of banana. Here is what the 'banana pieces' consist of: sugar, glycerol, wheat fibre, vegetable fat, gelling agent (pectin) and finally natural banana flavouring - I mean at this point, why bother?

I won't list the remaining ingredients, some of which are number/lettered entities but at the end of it all it says "suitable for vegetarians".

Gate 27A is on the lower level of the terminal and when it was time to board, we didn't board a plane but a shuttle bus. It's about 8:40 now and the guy next to me smells of stale cigarette smoke and alcohol. Ick. As we are driven around to get to our plane I had a smile cross my face as I thought to myself. What kind of trouble did this airline get itself into that it's airplanes are banished to the far end of the tarmac away from the other planes. Kind of like being told to stand in the corner. I know it's not true, but what if it is?

The flight was happily uneventful. As it's a charter the seats are a bit narrower than the major carriers but they seats are leather and comfortable. I'm extremely exhausted so I don't want to do anything other than try to catch a nap. Getting out of Glasgow was pretty bumpy as there was a small storm front moving in. I was kicking myself for not putting my knapsack under the seat in front of me. As once we got up to cruising altitude there were some amazing 3 dimensional cloud formations. Snoozed off and on for the rest of the flight and once we started our descent to Barcelona the plane hit some pretty violent turbulence, but it was only 10 minutes and then we landed.

The Barcelona Airport seems quite nice. On arrival I'm supposed to call the 'greeter' for the apartment we are renting to confirm. I've never used my mobile outside of the UK before so I found the information desk to confirm if I need to add the double zeros to the phone number I've been given. I find the taxi stand, give him the address of where I need to go and away I go.

I realize quickly that the driver speaks no English so it's a quiet ride. At one point he asks me something about the address but I don't have a clue so I'm just going on faith that he drops me off at the correct place. I'm trying to find the street in my guide book to get my bearings. The greeter calls me back to say he's running late and he won't connect with me until 2:00 (it's 1:40 now).

OK, so I'm in a city I don't know, not sure if I'm on the correct street standing there with my suitcase and backpack trying not to stand out. Everything has shut down on the street as it's Sunday and siesta. So I just wander around a bit trying to get my bearings. I find a big cathedral (not the Gaudi) and it's just a few blocks from our apartment. It's weird, the plaza is filled with people gathered in circles dancing. I found out later they are doing the Solada and it is tradition after the Sunday mass in this square.

I connect up with the greeter and he takes me up to the apartment. It looks exactly like the pictures on the website so that's good. I pay the remainder of the rental fee, sign the contract get the keys and he sits down with me and a map and points out where I can purchase groceries, good restaurants, what areas to stay away from etc. A very helpful man.

So now I've got about 6 hours to kill before Mom & Dad arrive. I'm not expecting them until about 8:30 so I wander around, take some pictures, attempt to find an internet cafe (see Barcelona Day 2 for that continuing saga) and basically try to figure out where I am and what there is to see. I grab some lunch at a falafel place and take it back to the room. I scarf it down and decide I need to try and get some sleep as I'm still really tired. I set my alarm for 8PM and snooze. I'm happy to report my bed is extremely comfortable.

At 8:00 I get up and decide I need to go out on the street to wait for the folks to arrive. They don't have a mobile and they won't know what apartment number to buzz. I haven't been in touch with them for a few days so we never really had a strategy in place on how to meet.

Lucky for me there is a gelato place on the corner so I get a coconut cone and sit on the corner and people watch. I must have a very honest face as I had an Irish couple come up to me to ask directions. They were lost and couldn't find their hotel and just knew they were by the Cathedral. Although they thought it was the Gaudi one, but when he showed me on the map I explained that wasn't the Gaudi. Between the 3 of us it was confirmed that the Cathedral on the map was where they needed to be so I pointed them in the right direction.

Dad walked right past me but I was able to get his attention. My folks are such brave souls. They took the Metro to get here after the shuttle bus delivered them from Gerona Airport and then walked down La Rumbla to where I was. They looked exhausted.

Mom is down with a cold so just Dad and I went for dinner to a place around the corner from the apartment. He told me all their adventures from the cruise. By the time we got back to the apartment with some leftovers for Mom it was past midnight.

It was a long day, I can hardly wait for day 2.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Not A Good Day

Been down with a migraine since yesterday. Didn't make it to work. If I stand up for too long I get sick to my stomach. Been laying down with an icepack most of the day. It hurts to look at my laptop screen, it's too bright.

I should be better tomorrow. But right now I hurt and I'm sad and frustrated that I'm still suffering from these damn headaches again. I really thought they were getting better and less severe.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

I'd like to start a little dialogue with the few of you out there that actually read my little musings on the world. Today's topic is...

Guilty Pleasures

We all have them. That one thing (or things) we do or have done that made us happy but were a little embarrassed to admit. Now in saying that, it could be one of a million things so let me try to narrow down the field a bit.


What is that one album you have that you would be mortified to admit to your friends that you have and still listen to on occasion. I'll start.

This album is so not me. I tend to go for the acoustic singer/songwriter genre. But the first time I saw the video for the lead single Pop I was hooked, maybe even a little obsessed. The boys in the band grew up a bit, started to show a bit of attitude and I became intrigued. Now I can't admit to actually running out and purchasing this CD, but a friend of mine was aware of my 'interest' and gave it to me that Christmas. I listened to it allllll day.

Now, it's your turn.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Wired again

After my third call through to the internet provider contact centre talking to ANOTHER 3 customer service reps I finally got the correct PIN and was able to set up the internet connection. However (and Simon I'm blaming you here) now I can't get the wireless router to work. The only way I can get a connection is if I connect the modem to the router and the router to my laptop. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a wireless router if your lap-top has a blue cable connected to it.

Oh, scratch that. I just tried something else and everything is working again and the blue cable is no longer plugged into the laptop and I'm still on-line and able to publish freely once again.

Now if I only had something to say.