Getting the Part

Getting the Part

This is the third in my series on Life with GBS, if you haven’t read the first two then you should.

The next weekend, I got the call that I got a part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream if I wanted it. At this point, I was terrified that A whim had gotten me way over my head. I had not done this, and it was completely foreign territory. However, without thinking I said yes anyway.

 I got the roles of Snug the Joiner that is a very shy and insecure person that is part of a group of mechanicals that is putting together a play at the palace. And in the play, portrayed a Loin that is probably the origin of the Cowardly Lion. The second role I got was the fairy Cobweb. At first, I was really worried that the second role was going to be too much since I never even tried to memorize lines before.
As the following weekend came and we were supposed to have the first read through the cast list was published. As I read through it I noticed, I was not on it. At this moment I was overcome with relief that I was not over my head with having to pull off the biggest performance of leaving my comfort zone in years. On the other hand, my anxiety that everyone hates me kicked in and I was devastated. So, I messaged the director and asked if there was a typo not giving an indication of how I felt. To my relief it was and the list got reposted.

For the following two months I had rehearsed and memorized my lines. To my relief, the cast was very friendly and welcoming. The first mistake I made memorizing the lines was not learning the cue lines that came before it. Then learning the acting and where to be and where to move that was not in the script helped a lot with the lines I learned to go with their placement.

As we approached show time there was a night after rehearsal that most of the cast met at Pepper’s Pub and we had a great conversation and meal, and then went to hit up the dance floor at Callahan’s. One thing I learned that night is that performers are a different breed and that even though I had been working on improving my fitness by keeping up with them was really hard.

Oh Lucky, I was pooped on…

Oh Lucky, I was pooped on…

Note– This is the second of multiple posts in the series of my coping with GBS.

This journey can begin in many places, so I will start where things started to change, the trip began, and I was shit on. Before this event every week was just like the week before and there was very little interesting going on. Somewhat crippled by my anxiety.

I had posted on Facebook that I was going to audition for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on a whim. I had at this point never really auditioned for anything like this. So as the day came, I was dreading doing the audition, but felt deep inside it was something I had to do. I even took the preparation of actually listening to the audiobook of the play, or just part of the first act actually. To be honest I had never read a work of Shakespeare in its entirety before this. Reading a complete book has rarely ever happened in my life.

As I entered the room there were several others there that reading the material and debating their take on the characters and knew them all like they were best friends. It was rather intimidating being the first interview but I knew I wanted one of the small roles and was going to try for it anyway. I went upstairs and read the closing part just to read something, which was followed by a short discussion why this piece was so important to the whole play. In reality, I could have cared less about the interpretation and was trembling to just get out of there. I then left to grab a coffee and ran into so friends and we’re standing around talking.

It was while having this conversation that my fate changed. I was shit on! There was a gull that was flying over-head and right on my head it got me and dripped a bit. Newfoundlanders say that being shit on by a bird is good luck, but for me , it was the beginning of my fate with luck.

Let the saga begin…

Let the saga begin…

Over the past few years, I have not posted as much lately here. Let’s face it FaceBook is where it is at these days to share things. But the main reason has been that I had been in a slump where almost nothing felt interesting to me let alone share.

Back in 2009 when I left university for the last time and decided to leave university and start travelling, I was really in a search to try and find meaning. Then in 2010 when I first set foot on British soil and took my first Contiki it was amazing. Then came 2011 and I tried to duplicate the experience and it was more disappointing and less amazing (just a little). Then when my Great Aunt passed away in 2012, I tried again to travel Europe and it just wasn’t quite the same as that first time either. I wasn’t having any luck at finding meaning in anything, or a relationship.

Then in 2014, I took a cruise and it was impressive. So, I did it again in 2015 and it was very much less so than the first time although it was still special like each of the trips before by the people I meet on the journey.

Although this has now changed and I’m not sure where this will end or how long it will take to catch up to no but boy do I have a story to share, and I will start to post it here.

A Smooth Package

A Smooth Package

imageI love when I get a parcel in the mail and that day happened yesterday.

My order came in from Harry’s. I ordered a new Truman handle for travelling, the stand for my Winston handle, and most exciting of all 16 of the new style blades.

Even though I still have 2 of the old style blades left, I tried out a new one last night. The improved flexibility in the blade was the most noticing everyone improvement and gives a great 5 blade shave. There is now an extra precision blade on the edge. Although, I personally don’t understand the need for a precision blade but it is a perk.

I’ve now been using Harry’s for about 2 years and the savings and ease of having really good blades sent in the mail is a big perk. The only downside is that the purchase is in US Dollars even though it is shipped from Toronto, and they don’t have the free shipping in Canada like they do in the USA.

Contiki’s Virtual Travel

Contiki’s Virtual Travel

There are somethings in life that VR will just not replace. One such thing is the experience of a Contiki tour. Or can it? I just read an article on Travel Week where with $149 for 3 hours you can experience a 3D VR experience of world wonders like Oktoberfest in Germany.

I’m sorry but there is nothing close to Oktoberfest in Germany then…

Oktoberfest in Munich
Oktoberfest in Munich

Not Even…

Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo
Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo

I have been on 3 and soon to be 4 Contiki Europe trips, and the experiences you get from days with people from all over the globe just cannot be virtually obtained. Especially the smells of cities like London, Paris, Rome, Venice are also part of the experience. Travelling is to me about the experience more so then just seeing the sites.

Check it out here https://www.contiki.com/virtually-unlimited

Note: I wrote this post before visiting the actual Contiki site about this.

Please Don’t End Me

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

Hamlet: The Notes

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/

S’more Oreo Cookies

S’more Oreo Cookies

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.

That made me sad.

So I ate the last two.

John Frees (1951-2014)

John Frees (1951-2014)

It is with sadness the family announces the passing of John Percy Herman Frees, loving husband to the late Barbara (Blount) Frees, which occurred on Wednesday, December 17, 2014, at the Saint John Regional Hospital. Born 1951 in Dalhousie, he was the son of the late Robert and Emma (Donahue) Frees. John had a wonderful sense of humour and enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his precious granddaughter Lexxis. He is survived by his sons Paul Frees, Ryan Frees (Crystal Wright) and Charles Frees-Melvin; daughter Rosa Frees-Melvin; granddaughter Lexxis Wright; brothers Jerry Frees, Elwood Frees, Max Frees, Bobby Frees, Bruce Frees, Perry Frees; sisters Isabelle Hobbs, Tina MacDonald, Holly Saunders, Sally Frees, Judy Dundon, Jill Blount, Kim Frees; several nieces and nephews. In addition to his wife and parents, he was predeceased by his brothers Wilbur Frees, Carl Frees and Aubrey Frees.

Following cremation, visitation will be held at Fundy Funeral Home, 230 Westmorland Road (646-2424) on Saturday, December 20, 2014, from 3-7 p.m. By request, there will be no funeral service.

Charitable donations may be made in John’s memory to the following organizations:

  • Canadian Diabetes Association (NB) 
  • The Joshua Group 
Fundy Fringe Festival Memory

Fundy Fringe Festival Memory

FFF Sign at SJAC

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 thought 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.

The End of “here”

The End of “here”

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.

A Cheezy Post

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

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!

Voyage to the Caribbean – Part 3 (2 Days, 1.5 Islands, 0 Plans, 0 Disappointments)

Voyage to the Caribbean – Part 3 (2 Days, 1.5 Islands, 0 Plans, 0 Disappointments)

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?”

Voyage to the Caribbean Part 2 (Fatty should lose some weight)

Voyage to the Caribbean Part 2 (Fatty should lose some weight)

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.

2014 Academy Award Predictions

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)

Voyage to the Caribbean (Getting to San Juan)

Voyage to the Caribbean (Getting to San Juan)

I decided fairly last-minute to try out taking a cruise. So I booked the Carnival Valor to add five new countries to my list. I went into the trip with very few expectations as the trip was strictly to add countries to my list.

I booked the trip with a travel agent for a change as I was finding it difficult to find a flight to San Juan, and I wanted to get insurance since the weather van be uncertain this time of year. I booked the trip with Maritime Travel since they seemed decent with their travel show the week before.

I got up early that morning to take an uneventful flight to Toronto and then experience the pain it was to go through pre-clearance to enter the USA. The flight with American Airlines was a different experience I had a good view of the wings and the screw heads all had cracked paint on them and it freaked me out. I had to transfer flights in Miami so I checked out the airport. I had dinner at the Clover Irish Pub and watched some Olympic coverage. I had the Sheppard Pie and it was to die for.

In one of the shops the souvenirs had “Key West Mile 0”. I asked one of the clerks what was special about mile 0 and she did not know as she was new to the area. The other guy said it was the Key West was as far south as you could drive and that it was an amazing place to travel to. The other clerk asked where I was going to I told here San Juan and she said “High Five Puerto Rico!” She then explained how that was where she was from.

I found the boarding process to be unusual as no one wanted to see any ID or passport to board the plane a boarding pass was all they wanted to see. Therefore in theory you could just switch boarding passes with anyone and get on any plane and they would have no idea who was on the actual plane. I think the Canadian system is much safer. Then I got to San Juan and was exhausted for the long day of travelling.

I waited to get bag and then it was not there American decided to leave it in Toronto. I was really nervous since I was on the cruise the next day. The baggage rep was very helpful and explained the process and how my bag was going to get to San Juan the next day. When it arrived they would send it to the ship directly. I then left the airport to find the San Juan Airport Hotel where I was going to spend the night. It was not the easiest to find and I asked an airport worker for directions and all he said was “about 10 minutes.” I think that there is a possibility that he did not speak English that I learned the next day was common for Puerto Rico.

When I checked into the airport there was a lady who missed her flight and didn’t think it was fair to have to pay a whole night where her flight was very early in the morning. Another guy said that “spending a night at this hotel is a sign something has not gone right.” After the long day of travel I went to bed. The hotel was not the greatest but it was not terrible either.

I’ll post more later about my trip.

2013 the Year of Firsts!

2013 the Year of Firsts!

After the mess of a year 2012 was my New Year’s resolution was that 2013 was going to be a year of firsts. This year also seemed to acquire a slogan as well due to my Contiki trip, and that was #noregrets.

Now I know that I have ignored updating here as often as I should in favour of quick tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagrams. For the year-end post I thought I would take a moment to list my firsts for the year (in no particular order).

1. Had a real birthday celebration.

2. First time in Monaco and Liechtenstein (small enough to be a single first).

3. Went to an adult costume party for Hallowe’en.

4. Exceeded my custom’s limit.

5. First major out-of-town music festival. (Osheaga)

6. My first “snowboard”.

7. Tried out a few new restaurants. (Decimal 81, Britt’s, Lemongrass)

8. Volunteered for my first theatre event. (Fundy Fringe Festival)

I have also included below a gallery of some of this years best moments that I have photos of.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More Christmas Foods that Need to Die

More Christmas Foods that Need to Die

After my last article I decided to review a few more items to see it there was something that could top the last two atrocities. Guess what! I found them.

First on the list is Soy Wonderful Noël Nog. This was thicker than the Almond version but had a very bad after taste. In addition after only a week it congealed into a tick lumpy mass of disappointment. Much similar to the beverage version of lumps of coal in the stocking.

The second item was the Gingerbread Man Peeps. These little gems were not only disappointing but the taste like regular Peeps with only a small hint of Gingerbread.

Though I did find a few positive items this time. The first is a local gem Mrs. Dunster’s Candy Cane coated donut bites. These like many other Mrs. Dunster’s products was simply to die for.

The next item that is amazing is from Starbucks. The Cranberry Bliss Bar is an amazing choice to compliment any coffee but the Gingerbread Latte is the best compliment to it.

From Tim Horton’s the biggest disappointment is the Gingerbread Muffin it almost makes you gag from the over strong spice that burns your mouth as you try to eat it.

The Two Festive Items So Wrong It Could Ruin Christmas.

The Two Festive Items So Wrong It Could Ruin Christmas.

image

Why yes folks now that Hallowe’en is over and Remembrance Day is soon to be forgotten, it is now the season that is supposed to bring the sparkle in every little child’s eye. Like most good things that are once good and holy bring out the worst in those that try to modernize and monetize classics.

In this post I am going to focus on food items that are not only symbolic to the festive season, but flavours that you would not think could go wrong. Let’s start with the first item egg nog. This is my favourite holiday drink and each year the shelves are filled with thick, over sweetened, dairy goodness. That has its own still enjoyable light alternative. Warmed with rum and nutmeg makes a nice snack on the early winter night. If you think that they could not ruin that you would be very very wrong.

This is where Earth’s Own comes to town with their Almond Fresh Nöel Nog. This festive joy comes in at 100 calories per 250mL serving. That assumes that you can actually stomach this. This tastes like almond milk with the hint of sweetness and nog  spices but is thin and there is not even a think of some type of egg substitute. For this the makers all deserve a lump of coal in their stockings.

Then comes the next item. What one item is unmistakably the cookie of Christmas? It would be the Gingerbread Man or any other gingerbread cookie item or piece of house, etc. How could anyone ruin this you say? While let’s leave that feat to Nabisco and their gingerbread flavour Oreo cookies. This could have been good but the gingerbread filling was overpowered by the vanilla cookies leaving only a wee pit of festive flavour left. This could have been so much better with a gingerbread cookie and white mint filling. Therefore Nabisco a lump of coal goes to your stocking too.

Leave a comment, what do you think is the worst commercialization of a food/drink for the holidays this season?

My Thoughts on Reviews

My Thoughts on Reviews

I love writing and submitting views and reviews on a lot of things. With that I feel that some people over favourly review things. For me a 5 star is in my opinion the best of the best where the service was above and beyond, or for movies that I loved it so much I would buy the DVD and watch it a couple times a year.

I see a 3 or 4 star review as a favourable review still. When it comes to traveling places I always ignore the 5s anyways and look to the reasoning why people did not like it. Quite often people will have just been too picky.

Right now I am getting close to 50 reviews on Trip Advisor check them out and let me know what you think. Am I being too hard?

Alcohol and Chocolate Free September

Alcohol and Chocolate Free September

Hello everyone!

Just a quick post today and the first of many more. I have seemed to get out of my slump from the past two years and have been trying new things.

On the fitness side of things the summer has been very non-structured and I have been eating in moderation a little bit of everything,

My goal for September is going to be no alcohol or chocolate.

The first is going to be difficult as I have a German beer stein that I have been wanting to christen on the first day of Oktoberfest on September 21st but I will delay it as Oktoberfest is still going on in Munich until October 6th.

The most miserable place on Earth! Rome.

The most miserable place on Earth! Rome.

The Face of Truth
Fountain Replica of The Face of Truth

There is not a more fitting way to start this post than with the Face of Truth. The truth about Rome is that it is the most miserable place on Earth.

This was my 3rd visit to Rome and it seems to never get better. Rome has a very limited  Metro system so getting around is not the easiest although unlike many other cities Rome is very consolidated into 2-hour walk to anything. The charm about Rome is its history as the centre of an ancient empire. Though when you get to see the real Rome most of the ancient ruins beside the Coliseum, a field where Circus Maximus was and the Pantheon there is really not much left to see of that empire. The only real remaining Empire left to see is that of Christianity and Catholicism.

When it comes to food, Rome is very lacking in its own identity. It adopts styles from other Italian regions and International Inspiration. On my first night in Rome, I went to a place called Piazza Navona which was loaded full of people eating at all the restaurants that circled the Piazza. I went through a couple of allies and found Ristorante Ottavio. I was small, quaint and “Roman”. In typical fashion, while travelling I ask the server what is really good to try. The gentleman says that the lobster is very “fresh and wonderful”.

I then ask him how fresh it is. He quickly leaves and brings back this poor almost dead looking lobster that to most who have never seen a real fresh live lobster before would be very thrilled.

So instead I ordered a pasta dish that was much more amazing than the plate that that poor unfortunate lobster would eventually have ended up as. While in the Piazza I saw a Seagull catch a Pigeon in mid-air and fly off with it in its beak. This had me thinking that given the number of pigeons and seagulls that we have in Saint John that this is just further proof of the miserableness of Rome.

Rainy Day at the Pantheon
Rainy Day at the Pantheon

Though Rome does have many sides and moments of wonder. Earlier that day I was on a walking tour of the area and as I approached the Pantheon the skies just opened up and dumped as much water as it possibly could on the crowds of tourists and street people who with amazing speed switched from selling collectibles to selling ponchos and umbrellas.

That being said it did not rain for very long just long enough to get completely wet and leave enough water to make it more humid as being evaporated by bright sunshine that rapidly came out.

The Trevi Fountain was amazing as usual and like Pigeons in King’s Square or like any other old thing in Europe was over packed with crowds of people.

And the Coliseum and Roman Forums have not changed a bit since the last time I have seen them in 2011.