Today I went to Wal-Mart to buy some clothes and decided to reward myself with a pack of cookies. I had 4 of them and then I must have blacked out because the next time I went to look at the bag there was only 2 of twenty left.
Today I looked through MyFitnessPal and determined that my weight loss goals did not happen as I started the year as 134.7kg and ended it at 133.3kg although I have gotten smaller in all the other measurements. So I then I turned to my iPhoto to remember what I did this past year, and I have picked out the best one for each month.
Over the holidays there was a lot of freezing rain and my driveway had very thick unbreakable ice. My thought was if I could get down to the asphalt it would allow me to get rid of more of the ice as it would melt in the sunlight.
However, it resulted in charred remains on top of the ice, as the dried out wreath burned very quickly.
Since it was very cold and lots of ice, what else do you do but escape to where it is warmer. One of my goals of 2014 was to add as many countries to my list as possible. Another goal was that I would not go to Europe again until I reached 115kg (which is still the goal) as motivation to actually lose weight. Therefore very last moment I went to a travel agent for the very first time and booked my first cruise to add 4 new countries (which ended up as 5).
Needless to say, It snowed a lot more in March. I was still sporting a very nice tan though, and remained very bundled up. I also did not take many pictures in March so it was either this or the new former Premier giving a speech to a room full of people at the local riding nomination meeting, my first of two this year with two uncontested candidates.
This is a phone of Claire Hughes on her Claire’s Big Bike Ride for Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign for mental health issues.
For me April was a really good month this was when I started to get smaller and began the year-long process of replacing most of my clothes.
Besides being my birthday month, May continued the positive vibes of April. This photo is from the first test screening of The Divorce Movie. This movie featured many people who I have met from various areas of my past, and was a really enjoyable film that just happened to by the type of movie that I would have seen anyway.
From my past travels when anyone asks what is the greatest place I have ever seen, the only true answer is Berlin!
This brings us to the start of the World Cup season where I went out almost every day to watch the games and cheer on team Germany over when possible German beer, or as close to it as possible. (Sometimes Dutch beer when the Netherlands were playing.)
Now I could have used my celebration photo from when Germany won the World Cup, however, who doesn’t love a fireworks show.
In typical Saint John fashion it was rainy, foggy, or something else on Canada Day and the fireworks got delayed, I went out to the grassy field at Portland Point where I ran into my old friend April and her gang that I had not seen in a few years and became a very great evening.
If you read my last post you will recall that I really enjoyed the 2nd Fundy Fringe Festival, this was a photo during one of the evening shows with many of the performers.
Most of the best memories I do not have, or would not post them here, but were a highlight of my year.
This year I started to go to the local stand-up comedy nights “No Holds Barred” with Jon Forward at the R Bar. These are great nights filled with laughs. This was from the September Show during the Harvesting the Arts festival. There are so may stay cats in Saint John that during the act this cat came wandering in the bar and provided for great improved moments of stand-up comedy.
In October, I took a trip to the Canadian Wireless Trade Show in Toronto did a lot of cool things that I probably should have blogged about. For Halloween I went to Medieval Times and did not know there was a costume contest so I did not dress-up but had a great time anyway. This is a photo of the Knighting ceremony for Mario, to try to get his princess. (Sorry Mario, your princess was in another castle.)
Up until June, it had been a tradition to go to the Urban Deli for breakfast every Saturday morning for about 4 years. Then they stopped serving breakfast and I wandered to several different places like Big Tide and Bourbon Quarter before I stumbled on Billy’s Seafood. The first few times I was not thrilled with its people watching potential, then I started sitting at the bar and the entire experience changed. After several weeks on the way to the Imperial Theatre to see The Sound of Music I stopped by Billy’s to try the dinner menu. This was the Cornmeal Haddock that I had that night.
Now to finish off the year, is my usual weekend haunt, The Canterbury Lounge. Typically, the highlight is an amazing drink that Adam creates with a smile, not this night. It was a giant Bear, on a Chair, with a Hat!
This year I had the privilege of volunteering at the Fundy Fringe Festival for mine and its second year.
I only managed to see 9 of the 15 performances, but was very impressed with the variety and quality of the performances.
The experience was incredible not only to meet the other performers and volunteer but the general community that supported the artists.
On the last day of the festival there was one experience that really stood out. I went to the Queen’s Square Market to get my Sunday morning croissant with chocolate gnash from Le Boulangerie Français prior to my final shift. There was this elderly woman sitting by herself on the bench, and asked me what I though of different shows.
It turned out that this woman was visiting the city specifically for the festival and has lived in Vancouver before no living outside Toronto. She was not a big fan of the comedy shows and was looking for something darker. After suggesting William Ellis’ Dirty Work she said that was exactly the type of show she was looking for. We then continued to chat for a good 20 minutes about her travels and the various theatre she has seen over her years which was an impressive amount.
I have seen that the weekly local newspaper here magazine is now no more. Here is my little story of that zine.
We go back to March of 2004 the one and only time that I had visited the office of here. I went up all the stairs in the Miller Britain building on Princess Street. I do not recall who I met in the office at the time, but this was the first place that I dropped off my press release to in person after I had filed my papers in my run for Mayor. The guy asked me a few questions, then I left.
A few days after I received a call from one of the reporters. The were going to do a cover story on young candidates in that election for which there was eleven of us. They wanted to have a group picture and we arranged to all meet-up in front of Photography Flewwelling and taken by Tim Pfinder on a ladder. I remember the day was overcast and there was a very cold April wind.
So that is my story/memory of how I ended up on the cover of Here Magazine. Of the group Jay Young-Chang was the only one to get elected that time, and Donnie Snook was also in that photo sou would get elected in the following election.
Today I went to the local grocery store and wanted to try a new cheese. I decided on the Mango Ginger flavoured White Stilton cheese. I only got a small block because you never know with unknown cheeses if you will like them. I brought it home and unwrapped the plastic wrapping and placed it on my tongue and let it set.
OMG! The flavour was incredible! It was not to strong or mild and had the nice mango and ginger flavour, and crumbled in my mouth since it has a low moisture.
It was so good that I had a flavour blackout an when I came too again the whole block was gone. It gets a 4.5/5 from me.
Last night I attended the premier test screening of the locally produced full length film The Divorce. It stars many people who I have come to know over the past few years. Before I continue we should pause for a moment to see the below trailer.
I went into it with the expectation of some of the other local films. It did start slow but the story was funny, sad, suspenseful, and touching at the same time. Although this movie has aspects of other movies, what it does not have is shallow characters. Though the ingenious storytelling by Rob Parsons and the great acting there is not a character that this movie does not have you rooting for. The story also progresses nicely and leaves you not looking at your watch very much. (I only checked mine once, and it was at 8:46pm).
This movie, considering that I see about 100 movies in theatres per year, is right there along side “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” as my top 200 movies. 4.5/5 stars!
If you are reading this and there are still tickets available you should get the now! https://ww3.ticketpro.ca/event.php?event_id=3936 or contact the SJTC box office now for the June 4 or 5th showing.
So as we left off last time I had finely made it to the ship with my luggage and we were on our way.
I spent the first night expiring the ship and visiting every nook and cranny that I could. It was a very interesting group of people who I was seated with in the dining room. Then I went to the Ivan Hoe Theatre for the welcome show which was amazing and caught the end of the sail away party on the Lido deck.
On the second day it was a stop in St. Thomas on the US Virgin Islands. Let’s just say that I enjoyed myself greatly the previous night and on my list was to get some Advil as I had not packed any. I started wandering around the cruise terminal area and did not find anything overly interesting so I started to walk further down the street until I seen the sign for a K-Mart. It must have been 20 years since I last seen one of those places.
I proceeded to the K-Mart and it was a 2 story shop and was air-conditioned so I browsed every isle for about a half and hour and bought 1.5L bottle of water and a bottle of Advil. I then decided to walk back to the ship and then do nothing and enjoy the sun as the Advil kicked in.
On the way back to the ship I ran into a man offering a taxi tour of the island. Guaranteeing it was one of the best island tours. He asked where I was from an after telling him I was from Canada he pointed to the other people he had crowded up were also from Canada. After some hesitation I agree to take the tour. We get into the van and start driving around as he points out things of interest along the way. He was very knowledgeable and very funny and kept everyone laughing most of the time.
After we left town we went to the first stop where we would get out to take pictures. There was a man with an ass named Monica Lewinsky at this stop. Now I knew about thinks like this from the gladiators in Roma where they convince you to have a picture taken for money and for US$2 I get my picture taken with the ass. Then the tour guide offers to take group pictures for everyone, and then we move on.
The next stop was just up the hill a little further. It was the lookout at Drake’s Seat. Once again there was a guy with another ass named Lady Gaga. One ass pic was enough. The view of Mohones Bay was amazing from there. The next stop was at Coki Beach which was some of the clearest water I have ever seen. Then the to our ended and I went back to the ship.
I went to have some lunch and then played some trivia before moving on and exploring more of the ship, and trying out the pools. It was about departure time that we heard the alarm and they announced staff to staging areas and the doors to my hallway were closed. There turned out being a fire on the port side of the aft section on Deck 8 (or Verandah deck). That was when the rumors started. Everyone had their own story of what they heard happened. It was not until I was waiting in line for dinner from people who were in the next room over from the fire the I got the real story.
It turned out that there was an electrical fault with the lamp in the room. At dinner I met most of my dinner group that I would be dining with for the rest of the trip. It was a very big group everyone was a solo traveler just like I was. This is probably one of my best tips of advice for somebody traveling solo is to take the assigned dining option and not a flex dining option. This way you have somebody to talk to about your day and somebody to listen to about their day.
Next day was very interesting. It was our only day at sea on this voyage. I went to art shows and seminars and trivia sessions but then just spent a chunk of the day relaxing on the Lido deck. It was shortly after lunch when we had learned that there was a medical emergency onboard. The captain said that she would have to divert to Martinique. He assured us that we would still get to Barbados on time the next day.
It was very fortunate that we detoured as we were sailing away there was the most amazing rainbow I have ever seen. Then there was a meet the captain and crew formal event as this was our first formal night on the ship. I got interviewed on the ships TV station by the assistant cruise director and after that all the old women on the ship were saying “Were you the guy on the TV?”
While we left off on the last post I had arrived to San Juan but had no luggage as at this point it was still in Toronto. I got up later about 8am showered and went to the free continental breakfast buffet at the San Juan Airport Hotel. It was not the greatest of breakfasts but it was typical of other hotels I have previously stayed at. Before leaving the hotel I made a call to American Airlines to see if my bag was on its way on the flight I was explained last night. I was assured it was scanned and was in the air on its way to Miami. Since the bag was going to be delivered to the ship there was no point in waiting around the airport on a beautiful sunny winter’s day.
I decided to go catch the bus but when I got to the bus stop I seen some people walking so I decided to as well. I was not sure which way I was headed from the airport as many of the signs were in a language I would later learn was Spanish. I had a map on a brochure that had only 7 roads and 2 dots to go off of but I know if I could find the coast that I could follow it to the cruise port. Since the sun was behind me I knew that had to be east and since tall hotels are usually built along a coastline I figured the tall buildings on the other side of the airport had to be north. With that in mind I followed the side-walk around the airport until it ended then to the dirt trail along the fence until that ended too. I ran across the exit ramp and under the over pass then I ran out of places to walk. In hindsight that could have been the reason all the cabs had honked and gesture if I needed a cab. From there I climbed a grassy knoll and jumped a concrete barrier and ran across a busy off-ramp.
As I emerged beyond the highway to Pueblo Supermarket in the very Spanish town of Carolina neighbouring San Juan. I decided to go to the supermarket because I decided that I needed water in the heat. While walking across the parking lot some random guy started to yell at me in Spanish. I said that I did not understand Spanish and only spoke English. Then he said “I’m sorry. I said that Fatty should lose some weight.” That caught me first by surprise that someone would say that and secondly, what neighbour hood did I get myself into? I then sold him about my recent weight loss, and he gave me some more tips before we pith went on our way. When I entered the grocery store I was grateful for the air conditioning and then picket up a fresh local tangerine then noticed how processed and fake most of the other food actually was compared to what I am used to then I also picked up a litre bottle of water and proceeded to walk along the was westward bound to the cruise terminal.
As I proceeded along Avenida Isla Verde and found impressive the resorts and hotels on one side and the bars and restaurants on the other side. When I got to the end of this street I came across a stretch of gated neighbourhoods keeping me from the coast until I came across Barbosa Park that was the 1st time I got to see Caribbean waters even though it was technically still the Atlantic Ocean. It was here that I received the first automated call from American Airlines that my suitcase had made it to Miami. I then proceeded to walk further until after drinking the entire litre of water I needed to find a toilet. I then came across a restaurant but it looked busy so I kept walking then on McLeary I found the Yogen Früz. I decided to stop there and get a frozen yogurt and then hit the toilet. I stayed there enjoying the frozen yogurt and air conditioning. I got some Wi-Fi access here and decided to load a map to determine if I was actually going the right way.
When I left here I shortly ended up in another hotel district. I was walking past a large group of people loading into a van to head to the cruise terminal and I could tell by the tags that they were going to the same ship as me. I got a little nervous as I knew I had another hours walk at least to get to San Juan. I eventually made it across the bridge to San Juan and then decided to walk to the coast again to check out the fort that ended up being gated off. At this point my feet were very sore since my walking sneakers were in my suitcase that was just departing Miami. I then by this point was getting tired and dehydrated. I walked down Ave Juan Ponce De León and came to enjoy the shaded benches along Parque Luis Muñoz Rivera. I found a store but it was locked and the guy inside did not open up so I kept walking. I eventually got to the cruise port and then found the CVS where I got water, juice, and Aloe Vera Aftersun. As I was waiting in line I started to feel like I was going to pass out. I left the store just in time to find a bench with some shade and drink all the juice and water before I passed not in the sun.
While on the bench I called American Airlines the final time to see if my luggage was scanned on the flight to San Juan and it was so I decided to go board the ship, the Carnival Valor. The first thing I did when I got on the ship was found my room and it was bigger than I expected for an inside cabin. I then decided that I needed lunch considering I had a late dinner reservation and I found the Burrito Bar, and it was amazing. I then explored the ship and received the call the my suitcase was in San Juan and would be delivered to the ship at 6pm. I then went to the welcome event at the Ivan Hoe theatre and then to dinner where I met a diverse group of people. I then had a few drinks and went to bed.