My Messed Up Canada Day Roadtrip

I was off the Friday before Canada Day and had Physio and a call for the pre-op to fix my pinky finger. I came up with a plan to take a spontaneous road trip to Ottawa. My surgery is concerning for the possible side effects. I was pretty devastated after the call with my anxiety.
Since I was less than 500km from my oil change mileage I went to Kia and booked the appoint for this past week.
I went home and cleared out everything from my car I didn’t need, grabbed my passport and wad of US cash and took off down the Hwy 1 towards the border. At the border I got through pretty quickly and had no issues. Having all the signs in a weird foreign system of measurement increased my anxiety. In Calais, I fueled up and headed down Route 9 to Bangor.
I stopped for dinner at Dysart’s. It was a pretty good meatloaf. I then proceeded down Route 2 to Skowhagen where I needed to pee bad so I stopped at a gas station and it was there my fate turned. My GPS lost my route and I was lost. I kind of remember Route 201 so I turned on it and kept questioning that I was not on the right road,
It turned out I wasn’t, I really wanted 201A in the next town. Around midnight I ended up at the border on the highway headed towards Quebec City. By this point it started to rain really hard. I was not able to even drive the speed limit it was that hard. I made it to an Esso in Ascot Corner in Quebec and refuelled again at 1am. I then kept driving but got too tired and stopped at a mall and slept for an hour.
My sleep was interrupted by the lights of a cop that woke me to see if I was alright. He started talking in French and I was trying to translate it and I didn’t recognize enough words. He then spoke English and I responded I was okay and he moved on.
I then determined I needed to move on. I then crossed the bridge to Montreal as the break of day was happening. I was having such bad anxiety Siri was giving instructions that made no sense and there were so many construction signs that made no sense either. I stopped on a side street for a while and decided I wasn’t making it to Ottawa and it was time for starting a return back to see fireworks.
After a few hours back on the Highway, I needed so sleep so I pulled into a gas station and slept for an hour in the back corner of a Petro Canada parking lot in my car. I continued on the journey down the highway. As I was passing the town of Levis I seen the sign to cross the bridge to Quebec City. Since I had never been there before, I made the decision I needed to see it.
I took a drive through the packed old town and it was very reminiscent of the old parts of Paris. (Montreal is more reminiscent of the rest of Paris.) After leaving Quebec, the next stop was a gas and Tim’s break in Rivière de Loup. (a place Siri can’t pronounce close to right.) When ordering I asked if she spoke English and it was a fast nope. So I tried to order a coffee and a Dutchie and I was certain that I can pronounce Hollandaise properly but she had no clue.
Armed with my coffee and gas it was off to New Brunswick and lots more highway with spots of rain along the way. The next stop was Florencevile and I grabbed a donair sub that was really good. The interesting part was a guy in line ahead of me was Amish and had his horses and carriage waiting outside.
As I passed through Fredericton, the rain had stopped and was starting to clear. The people from home were messaging on Facebook that the weather in Saint John was bad and there was no fireworks to hurry back for. So I headed home anyways.
The next day I slept in until noon and then wasted most of the day away. I had seen that Hampton was having fireworks and decided to go see them, but then heard that Cambridge-Narrows was having some so I went there instead. They were pretty impressive and amazing.

Please Don’t End Me

Today, I was Googling myself to see what others were writing about me and one of the first things I read was the following tweet.

When I first read it I was a little afraid that my country had enough of me and were all out to get me. Then I read a little more on the issue. It was really shocking to me to learn that my initials are also the acronym for Child, Early and Forced Marriage. According to the Government of Canada the following stats are true:

  • Every year, it is estimated that 15 million girls—some as young as five years old—are forced into marriage.
  • Over 700 million women alive today were married as children.
  • One in every three girls in the developing world is married by the age of 18. One in nine marries before the age of 15.
  • Complications in childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls between the ages of 15 and 19 in the developing world.

I really agree with the 10,000 tweets on the issue that this is something that everyone should know about and work towards putting an immediate end to. If you want to read more on the issue there are good links on the bottom of the government’s webpage on the issue (http://www.international.gc.ca/rights-droits/childmarriage-mariageenfants/index.aspx?lang=eng)

Hamlet: The Notes

Last night I went to see this show from Saint John Theatre Company’s Canadian Series at the BMO Theatre.

It was honestly an hour and half of almost non-stop laughs with well fitting serious moments. I really enjoyed how this is not the typical show that you go to see, but interactive with the audience and slightly fluid.

There is another performance tonight that you just have to see. You don’t even need to know the Hamlet story to enjoy it, although if you do it is equally enjoyable.

https://www.facebook.com/events/497438537089005/

Photo a Month from 2014

Best of 2014 - July

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.

January

Best of 2014 - January
Best of 2014 – January

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.

February

Best of 2014 - February
Best of 2014 – February

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).

March

Best of 2014 - March
Best of 2014 – March

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.

April

Best of 2014 - April
Best of 2014 – April

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.

May

Best of 2014 - May
Best of 2014 – May

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.

June

Best of 2014 - June
Best of 2014 – June

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.)

July

Best of 2014 - July
Best of 2014 – July

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.

August

Best of 2014 - August
Best of 2014 – August

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.

 

September

Best of 2014 - September
Best of 2014 – September

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.

October

Best of 2014 - October
Best of 2014 – October

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.)

November

Best of 2014 - November
Best of 2014 – November

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.

December

Best of 2014 - December
Best of 2014 – December

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!

A Cheezy Post

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.

The Divorce Movie Review

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!

2014 Academy Award Predictions

Best Picture (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: 12 Years a Slave

Best Actor in a Leading Role (Miss)
Prediction: Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Winner: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Leading Role (Miss)
Prediction: Judi Dench (Philomena)
Winner: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Miss)
Prediction: Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Winner: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Miss)
Prediction: Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Winner: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Best Animated Feature (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho)

Best Cinematography (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)

Best Costume Design (Miss)
Prediction: 12 Years a Slave (Patricia Norris)
Winner: The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin)

Best Directing (Miss)
Prediction: The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
Winner: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)

Best Documentary Feature (Miss)
Prediction: The Square (Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer)
Winner: 20 Feet from Stardom (Nominees to be determined)

Best Documentary Short (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcolm Clarke, Nicholas Reed)

Best Film Editing (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger)

Best Foreign Language Film (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: The Great Beauty (Italy)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: Dallas Buyers Club (Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews)

Best Original Score (Miss)
Prediction: The Book Thief (John Williams)
Winner: Gravity (Steven Price)

Best Original Song (Miss)
Prediction: The Moon Song – Her
Winner: Let It Go – Frozen

Best Production Design (Miss)
Prediction: 12 Years a Slave (Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker)
Winner: The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn)

Best Animated Short Film (Miss)
Prediction: Get a Horse! (Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim)
Winner: Mr. Hublot (Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares)

Best Live Action Short Film (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: Helium (Anders Walter, Kim Magnusson)

Best Sound Editing (Miss)
Prediction: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Brent Burge, Chris Ward)
Winner: Gravity (Glenn Freemantle)

Best Sound Mixing (Miss)
Prediction: Captain Phillips (Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro)
Winner: Gravity (Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro)

Best Visual Effects (Miss)
Prediction: Star Trek Into Darkness (Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton)
Winner: Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould)

Best Adapted Screenplay (Miss)
Prediction: Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope)
Winner: 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)

Best Original Screenplay (Miss)
Prediction: Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
Winner: Her (Spike Jonze)