I haven’t died… yet.

I haven’t died… yet.

It has been a while since I posted anything and it is not like nothing has happened.

Eiffel Tower at NightI took another amazing trip to Europe. The goal this time was to see amazing new things that I would not have seen if I actually planned the trip. It may not be a surprise to some of my loyal readers that I have a short attention span and my plan for Paris was simple. Do the Eiffel Tower at night, then on my full dat go to L’Arc de Triumph, go in Notre Dame, and see Rodin’s House. L'arc de TriumphWhat did I end up accomplishing? Just the tower and arc from my list.

As it turns out I was going to walk down the Champs de Elysee to get to see the Charles de Gaulle statue and get on the Metro. As I walked down the street I noticed these mini malls and started to check them out until I found one that near the end had a back entrance to an alley. It was in this ally that I found the most amazing baked thing with raspberries that has ever entered my mouth. I should have taken a photo or wrote down the name of it… but it didn’t last long enough. At this point I realized that I spent way more time than I though I would have so I finished the street and made it to the metro. I never did find that statue but I got this amazing photo.

Champs de Elysee

IMG_0053Then I get to the Metro station and I have to transfer twice to get to the Arts et Metiers station. Though I never made it there. Why not you might ask? It is because I ran into a station that the train stopped at nearby called Bonne Nouvelle. For those readers IMG_0060that know some French will know that the name of the station means Good News! What type of explorer would I be if I missed the opportunity to visit Good News. So I got off and then made it to the street and got my bearings to the general direction I needed to go. Then as a continued to walk I found a little hidden gem not one but two really cool old arches that were even more impressive than the main three of Paris.

IMG_0063Then finally after a 20 minute walk to where I was supposed to get the train to, I finally arrive at the Musée des Arts et Métiers. As i make my way around the building to the entrance to the museum I get the amazing welcome that many poor immigrants to the United States got to experience over a hundred years ago. It was a bronze cast of the plaster model original that was used to size to scale the giant version of La Liberté éclairant le monde (Statue of Liberty) that welcomes people to New York harbour. This museum has the original plaster version inside the converted church that is now basically a church of science and IMG_0947engineering. The name of the museum is a little deceptive because it translates to Arts and Crafts but there are amazing gems in this place including a kilogram, a satellite, every measuring item that you can imagine. Very old adding machines up to the Cray-2 (world’s fastest computer 1985-1990). Very old to almost new but obsolete technology. It is a geek’s nerdvana.

After the Museum it was time for some lunch then grab the train to Notre Dame because I had a plan. As I started walking down the street passing station after station looking for a Baguette sandwich that I was craving I realized that this was probably the only place in town where there was no food cafés or I just stuck at noticing things and missed them. Finally I find one and it was the best ham and cheese sandwich that I ever had (at that time and for about a week until I hit up Rome).

By this point I was at the City Hall and enjoyed the square and was getting tired but I could see the Notre Dame in the distance so why not just walk the rest of the way. As I get there my feet are tired because I had new shoes and my gel insoles were still in my bag at the hotel. I see the big line and figure why not take a few photos in front of the church and the head to the Rodin House.

IMG_0083

IMG_0099I then get in the Metro and make it to the Rodin House but by the time I get there my time is up and I need to walk back to the pick up point. I went back to the hotel to get changed then we headed out for dinner where I really enjoyed some wine and great french food. Seen a cabaret style show. Then tried really hard to debate some very good points, lose a stupid argument, and headed back by taxi to the hotel for some sleep and then a really long shower to relax.

PPP Water

PPP Water

I went to a public town hall tonight that was very interesting. It very well compared the argument for not going down a public private partnership. Though it was very lacking in facts of how a 3P could be beneficial to the community to make an informed discussion.

My point of the argument is this. Why is Saint John water in the upper quartile range of Canadian Households. Added to the argument the property taxes are in the upper range as well though that can be explained in some fashion by the lower than average property values. The cost of water cannot.

Saint John needs solutions. To dismiss an idea without a solution is long past the point of helpful.

Here are some useful facts:
1. The pipes are too big and designed for the city Saint John hoped to be.
2. Our water quality though not terrible is not the standard it should be.
3. The city is stuck with agreements that do not really expire and are almost impossible to renegotiate.
4. Most of the expenditures of this city are fixed and beyond even councils control.

The only solution I have would be to have the province dissolve the 228 year old Corporation of the City of Saint John and nullify any contract and start over with a new municipality.

Academy Awards 2013 Predictions

Academy Awards 2013 Predictions

Here are my 2013 predictions. The pool I have this year gives 1 point for 2nd guess and 2 points for 1st guess. The person with the most points wins. These are not based on who i like best but who i think did the best job in the film they were nominated for.

BEST PICTURE
1. Lincoln
2. Les Misérables
Missed: Argo

Actor in a Leading Role
1. Denzel Washington – Flight
2. Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables
Missed: Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln

Actor in a Supporting Role
1. Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
2. Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln

Actress in a Leading Role
1. Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
2. Emmanuelle Riva – Amour

Actress in a Supporting Role
1. Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook
2. Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables

Animated Feature Film
1. Brave
2. Wreck-It Ralph

CINEMATOGRAPHY
1. Life of Pi
2. Skyfall

COSTUME DESIGN
1. Snow White and the Huntsman
2. Mirror Mirror
Miss: Anna Karenina

DIRECTING
1. Silver Linings Playbook
2. Lincoln
Missed: Life of Pi

Documentary Feature
1. The Invisible War
2. 5 Broken Cameras
Missed: Searching for Sugar Man

Documentary Short Subject
1. Inocente
2. Mondays at Racine

Film Editing
1. Lincoln
2. Silver Linings Playbook
Missed: Argo

Foreign Language Film
1. Amour – Austria
2. A Royal Affair – Denmark

Makeup and Hairstyling
1. Hitchcock
2. Les Misérables

Music (Original Score)
1. Lincoln – John Williams
2. Life of Pi – Mychael Dansa

Music (Original Song)
1. Everybody Needs A Best Friend – Ted
2. Suddenly – Les Misérables
Missed: SkyFall – SkyFall

Production Design
1. Les Misérables
2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Missed: Lincoln

Short Film (Animated)
1. Fresh Guacamole
2. Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”
Missed: Paperman

Short Film (Live Action)
1. Curfew
2. Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)

Sound Editing
1. Argo
2. Life of Pi
Missed: Zero Dark Thirty and SkyFall

Sound Mixing
1. Les Misérables
2. Lincoln

VISUAL EFFECTS
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
2. Snow White and the Huntsman
Missed: Life of Pi

Adapted Screenplay
1. Beasts of the Southern Wild
2. Silver Linings Playbook
Missed: Argo

Original Screenplay
1. Moonrise Kingdom
2. Flight
Missed: Django Unchained

1st Pick Count: 8/24 – 2nd Pick Count: 3/24 – Miss Count: 13/24 – Points Count: 19/48

A Warm Fire

A Warm Fire

A Piece of Firewood
A Piece of Firewood

The inspiration of this post comes from this block of wood. Since it is so cold outside today i decided to light my wood stove. However this block would not fit in the door. I tried to split it with an hatchet. No Luck. Then I tried with a bigger axe. No Luck. I spent about 20 minutes trying to chip a bit off so it would fit. Keep in mind this it maple which is really hard. In the end I gave up. Though I am going to say in this case I was not defeated, I just decided that this is just going to be a better bonfire piece of wood for summer. Marshmallows anyone?

Google Translate Songs

Google Translate Songs

I found this video on YouTube today it is a parody of “Call Me Maybe” with bad but not terrible lyrics. Then from there, I found a Fresh Prince version that went through all 64 Google Translate options, and back to English. I then thought about what would it look like if Farewell to Nova Scotia lyrics were translated to all 64 languages and this was the result.

Chorus:
Vita Nova Beach.
A bronze tart Residues.
Be careful, because the salt.
Or hate it?

evening prayer
Sufficient trees and birds.
but the
But I do not do it for more information.

Chorus

There is no need for me to go abroad.
This was intention to friend.
appropriate
Children / workout.

Chorus

Note that the drums.
Lord of the universe.
If Scotland can Hey, Michael.
to

Chorus

she
Interior dimensions.
However I know.
Black holes and valleys from other women.

Chorus x2

As you can see it is quite humorous. Now I can’t perform well enough to make my own video, but if someone does let me know and I’ll link to it.

Ninety-Eight Days but I’m Not Counting

Ninety-Eight Days but I’m Not Counting

It is really cold today. It has been less than a month now since I booked my next trip.

On my last trip my old reliable large suitcase met it’s last days from the cobble-stone sidewalks of Rome. That’s right I have to move on with life and break in a virgin suitcase on this trip.

My new suitcase is slightly larger and a harder case. I bought it at the Zellers liquidation sale. It’s biggest problem is there is only one outside pocket. I’m undecided still on whether or not to by a new dangly thing. My last one was given to me buy my old friend when I had forgotten my previous on prior to my first WordCamp trip.

On an interesting note to me anyways, I was cleaning off my dresser and under the pile of junk was my dangly thing. I tried guessing what was in it as it felt unusually bulky. I thought it might have been the baggage tag for my last Toronto trip. I was wrong. (Even though some people think I would never really say that.)

The tag in my dangly thing was the luggage tag from YSJ to FCO via YUL. (Saint John to Fiumicino (near Rome) via Montreal).

Personally I find Rome to be one of the worlds worst historic cities. From all the thieves to the difficult sidewalks to the crazy drivers to the very long lines almost every city in Europe is better than Rome. Though perhaps my views would be different if I ever found true love in Rome. We will have to see May 6-8th.

GlymmMan Box December 2012

GlymmMan Box December 2012

GlymmMan December 2012My December GlymmMan box arrived on Christmas Eve. There was not as much in it as there were in past months. There were 6 items, the 7th item was replaced with a $20 gift card. The missing item as Joico Ice Spike which I would probably not have used anyway.

Most of the items were from a brand êshave a 15g bottle of pre-shave oil, a 30g container of shaving cream, and a 30g container of after shave cream. Then from Lys Parisien Professionnel, there was a 60ml bottle of moisturizing shampoo and, balm (Argan Oil conditioner). Then there was 2 2ml O2 Anti-ageing treatment.

In my last post on the issue, I had promised to give feedback on the items in the box. The Atelier Cologne was really good and I still have some left. The Vitamine & Sea Mineral Clay Mask smelled truly terrible I never finished that. The Bentaberry G-1 moisturizing Face cream made my skin feel much better. The Evolvh UltraShine Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner was some of the best I have ever used. The John Allan’s Slick Water made shaving better. The La Fresh Body Soother stung very badly when it got in my eyes in the rain. Finally the Vasanti BrightenUP! was good but was very rough and made my skin red.

The Books that Bite and Sting

The Books that Bite and Sting

Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you, and why?

Let's Pretend this Never Happened Cover
Let’s Pretend this Never Happened

This is one thing that is difficult to come up with. Over the past 2 years I have bought almost a dozen new books that I have not finished. I still have “1000 Years of Annoying the French” and my newest purchase “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson on the go. By on the go, I mean that they are in my room with bookmarks marking the page I am on. And by bookmark I mean the sales receipt it came with.

Although I did finish an e-book the bites. In more ways than one. It was “Dead Sexy Vampire Erotica” by Kim Corum. It is about a woman who is married to a vampire and she hates her life most of the time and can’t stand him or his friends except for the “Erotic” part that makes up for it. It is one of those things that is so bad you can’t stop reading. Much like Patricia Harkins-Bradley’s “The Diamond Club” except worse.

My First Glymm Man Box

My First Glymm Man Box

This month was my first Glymm Man box. It is an online subscription that for $25 they sent eight sample sizes of products quarterly. In this month’s box was Atelier Cologne, Vitamine & Sea Mineral Clay Mask, Bentaberry G-1 moisturizing Face cream, Evolvh UltraShine Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner, John Allan’s Slick Water, La Fresh Body Soother and Vasanti BrightenUP!. So far I have only used the Cologne and Slick Water and am quite pleased. I will write more about each as I use them.

Renée “Rena” Mary Belliveau 1927-2012

Renée “Rena” Mary Belliveau 1927-2012

The death of Renée “Rena” Belliveau of Saint John, NB, occurred on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, after a long and happy life. She was born in West Saint John on June 2, 1927 and was a daughter of the late Andrew and Olive (Babineau) Cormier.

Renée was employed at many jobs notably the DVA Hospital and Woolworth’s from which she retired.

Survived by her brothers, Arthur Cormier of West Saint John, and Ronald Cormier of Bowmanville, ON. Many nieces and nephews also survive Renée.  Although Renée did not have any of her own children she helped her sister raise her niece Catherine Melvin (Morin) for many years whom remained close to Renée, and her children Charles Frees-Melvin and Rosa Frees-Melvin that assisted Renée right to the end.

Renée is predeceased by her husband and love of her life Charles Belliveau; brothers, Joseph, Frederick, Lawrence, and Ralph sisters; Freda Cormier, Bella Felder, Eva Cormier, and Maria Morin.

Resting at Fitzpatrick’s Funeral Home, 100 Waterloo Street, Saint John (634-1965) with visiting on Friday from 2-4 and 7-9 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will held on Saturday, September 22, 2012 from Our Lady of the Assumption Church at 10:00 AM. Interment to take place at Holy Cross Cemetery. For those who wish, remembrances may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice, would be appreciated.

Hands-on with Nokia’s PureView 808: “You shot that with a PHONE?!”

Hands-on with Nokia’s PureView 808: “You shot that with a PHONE?!”

I was reading this article about Nokia’s newest phone that has an amazing camera. Beyond that the thing that caught me first was that it was running Symbian OS. Despite being on an iOS device for the last 4 years I still love some of the intricacies of Symbian.

The only real problem I have is that there are too many megapixels for the opening of the camera. Let’s face it a photon of light is only so small, and the pixels are smaller than a photon.  The second issue is the lack of optical zoom. If I am getting that much resolution I am going to want a zoom to replace my point and shoot camera.

Hands-on with Nokia’s PureView 808: “You shot that with a PHONE?!” | MobileSyrup.com.

Teddy my Ted

Teddy my Ted

Teddy
This was my Teddy Bear from my childhood.

Yesterday evening I went to the theatre like I have almost every Tuesday night in forever. This week I when to see the movie “Ted”.

I absolutely loved the movie, it was literally non–stop laughs from beginning to end. It was also very funny all the jokes and pop–culture that I remembered back from the 80’s. With memory lane returning from the 80’s was my teddy bear. I called him “Teddy”. Teddy was always there for me, just like Ted was there for John in the movie. Only I was not too nice to Teddy.

Let’s just say that the head and most limbs have been pulled off several times and none of the stuffing remaining is original. I keep Teddy on the back of my couch but we basically split up around the time I went to school. I also had a huge (to me when I was 4) stuffed Strawberry Shortcake doll that my mother still jokes was my first girlfriend. 🙂 Though she did not survive as long as Teddy as the break-up was painful for her as  I, as a kid ripped her to pieces.

Was it Real?

Was it Real?

If you eventually break up with someone, was it ever true love?

Keep in mind that as I write this I have never had a break-up. I think that there could have been true love for one of the parties and not the other.

I think there are situations where someone can truly be in love with someone and then the other leaves them heart-broken after a change in their own personal situation. There could be a situation to happen when you have to say to your true love that, I have to move one and it is in your best interest, and I think too much of you to carry an unhappy you around, go follow your own dreams.

That’s My Boy

That’s My Boy

This weekend I went to see the new Adam Sandler movie, “That’s My Boy”. I really laughed in this one even though the theatre was empty on Saturday afternoon. This is the first Sandler movie in a while that actually has a great story as well as being funny. This is one of the must sees this Spring/Summer season.

On Tuesday I am going to go to see Rock of Ages.

A Difficult Goodbye

A Difficult Goodbye

Describe the last difficult “goodbye” you said.

My last difficult goodbye was in London last fall. It was so difficult when you are in such a close group of people on a bus tour, knowing that you will likely never see any of them again to say goodbye.

This one in particular was hard for the main reason I was extremely tired. That day we started the day with an early departure from Amsterdam to try to catch the 1PM ferry in Calais.

When I should have been getting some well needed rest after an incredibly active day of walking many kilometres rather that trying to translate Dutch to take the street cars, the worlds most annoying creation decided that it was time for no one to sleep at 3:30am. That annoying creation was a damned rooster. Although I could probably sleep over the sound of a rooster in this instance, it was several dozen of those buggers.

Most Expensive Purchase – My Rebel 2000 SLR

Most Expensive Purchase – My Rebel 2000 SLR

Name the most expensive personal item you’ve ever purchased.

My Canon Rebel 2000 SLR
My Canon Rebel 2000 SLR

The most expensive personal item that I ever purchased was my Canon Rebel 2000. I would have to say that it was not really worth it. To date I might have used 7-8 rolls of film in it. I just took it off the shelf tonight and the battery was still showing that I have 24 images left on the 24 image roll of film. I’m pretty sure the roll of film is a Black and White as well. Or, really the fake version that ends up sepia. When I turned it on the batteries were dead. This is amazing since it took 2 “L” batteries and the batteries were new when I inserted this roll of film.

The main problem I had been that film is expensive to get developed. Most of the shots were too dark, too light, too narrow a depth of field, or some other issue of not getting to know the camera well. It was within a few months that I also bought my first digital camera after spilling shampoo in my point and shoot film camera.

I have since bought 6 digital cameras bough have yet to replace this SLR.

It is June 1st

It is June 1st

Well hello to all my readers, including a certain someone who thinks/insists that I keep writing more.

For this June I am going to shock everyone and have a new post for every day of the month. June is also anti-procrastination month so I will also not be waiting and posting the remaining 29 posts on the 30th. Though that does not stop you from waiting until then to read them. I am also attempting to complete a Photo-a-day challenge. If you follow me on twitter and Instagram (cefm) then you will get to see them all. In the interest of my blog readers, I will post them all here in a gallery on the 30th.

Last Live Performance

Last Live Performance

What was the last live performance you saw?

London Street
London Streetscape

The last live performance I saw was Legally Blonde: The Musical at the Savoy in London. This was the first time I went to a show in London. I bought my tickets at a little kiosk on Charing Cross Rd.. It was a nice sunny afternoon, I was going to see an afternoon movie but for some reason I decided not to. I think the main reason was I has so much left to see in London and I seen a sign that morning for the Transport for London (TFL) museum and since I love subways I decided that was too important to miss.

I was so thrilled with my purchase and they even gave me a map of where to find the theatre. So after a quick-lunch and email check at the Burger King, I was off to find this museum from memory and some moderately accurate street directions. When I then saw something “shiny” (metaphorically). It was a little stair well to a Ray-Ban designer shop. I when in and tried on every pair. Things appear more magical when travelling.

Then I found the museum and it was 100x better that I imagined the museum to be. It was a second london gem that interested me by surprise like the H.M.S. Belfast that prior to the day before I had not known existed.

Stage setupAfter I when back to the hotel to drop off my new souvenirs and to dress more formal for the theatre. When I got off the tube at Charring Cross I seen the map at the station to get general bar rings as it was about a 5 minute walk. I kept walking and started to question if I had gone too far then I saw the bright pink glow around the bend from the large sign.

I quickly get in created and find my perfect centre seat about 8 rows from the stage about 20 minutes before showtime. After 5 minutes an usher comes and explains that the Ticket seller double sold the same seats and that in typical London hospitality I was given a new seat one row back. Then the show started and was such an amazing musical in such a fashion that held it’s own only differing slightly from the movie storyline and incredibly well acted. It was also really pink.

Preventing Service Cuts, not a priority!

Preventing Service Cuts, not a priority!

This seems to be a big promise by a lot of candidates this election. Let’s face the facts in the past 10 years this city’s spending has ballooned from about 90 million to 135 million.

It is time to reconsider what services that city should offer. To have a reasonable tax rate this city needs to reduce its spending very drastically. In most accounts, the number that results in a reasonable tax rate is about $105 million dollars.

Our fire service is one of the most costly in the country. Our transit services have increased in municipal funding from $250,000 to over $5 million dollars in the past 10 years. In addition, the biggest sources of revenue (the parking commission) and the biggest expenses (major facilities, pension fund, solid waste) are not under the city’s complete control and are hidden behind provincial legislation.

These bodies are also not required to be either open or accountable to the public. Several years ago the spring garbage collection was removed for costing half a million dollars in one week, but was it really required?

A truly responsible new council should take the necessary measures to remove Saint John from the ranks of the highest property taxes and water taxes in the country and instead promote measures to increase the tax base but offering a more advantageous tax rate to attack further development.

Saint John Road Conditions

Saint John Road Conditions

We have all heard or experience the pot hole haven stories about this city. But, do the numbers support the claims that Saint John is too big for its population to support its roads properly. In fact Saint John has 4x the population per km of road than Bathurst. It would however be interesting to see how well Bathurst does at their own road maintenance.

Below is a table sourced from Statistics Canada 2011 census for population and NB Department of Transportation Road Mileage charts (2012) for the kilometres of road.

These numbers also include provincial designated highways that the cities get a grant to maintain.

City Population KM of Roads Population per KM of roads
Bathurst 4979 184 27.1
Miramichi 17811 325 54.8
Grand Bay-Westfield 5117 87 58.8
Rothesay 11947 149 80.2
Edmunston 16032 199 80.6
Ouispamsis 17886 203 88.1
Saint John 70063 718 97.6
Campbellton 7385 73 101.2
Moncton 69074 541 127.7
Fredericton 56224 429 131.1
Dieppe 23310 153 152.4
It’s the most wonderful season of the year…

It’s the most wonderful season of the year…

Election Season! In under 2 months, every municipal, education, and health council in this province will be new. But this is my favourite part is waiting for everyone to announce and I need to pick the people who I will vote for. I need to vote for and choose a Mayor of Saint John, 2 Councillors at Large, 2 Ward 4 councillors, an education councillor for Anglophone District South-5, and Francophone district Sud-9, and Health region B-4.

This Saturday the nominations open up and I will announce more of my thought.

And for theses that are wondering. I will not be running again this year.

My best advise is don’t run for the fame and glory either run to do a committed job, or run to say something. It is much worse to have an idea not considered. Leave it to the people to determine its value. It could be the idea that might inspire those that can do.

Goals Suck

Goals Suck

This is the time of year that everyone is setting their goals for the new year. Some unrealistic and some to easily obtainable because you are going to do it anyway. I have set goals like everyone else. But let’s face it goals still suck.

One of my goals this year are to write more, in the range of 2-3 times a week. This is also one of the reasons that you are reading this is because I have written it.

Next thing I want to accomplish is to become a better person. I am going to change my diet to be more reasonable and not so restaurant based. Let’s face it I could probably count the number of times I have cooked in the last year on 2 hands. Pretty much everything has been from Tim’s, Wendy’s, Subway, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Java Moose, Urban Deli, or Saint John Ale House for the past year. The exception being frozen stuff or sandwiches from Sobey’s. This has also resulted in a net weight increase in 2011. Although I am still down from the start of 2010.

The next thing on my list is to read more. I am going to try to actually read 10 books this year. In addition, I am going to try to reduce the amount of movies I go see in theatre. I think that 40 should be a reasonable number. There are some good choices this year but it does not appear to be nearly as good of a year as my 300 year in 2009.

I am also going to try to see somewhere new this year. Last year Vancouver, Hoboken, and Bologna where great new places but this year needs to be totally new. I also don’t really want to travel alone again this year so my big goal will be to find someone to travel with.

2011 in 12 Sentences

2011 in 12 Sentences

As the year comes to an end I usually come up with a long post about the year that has been. Plinky suggested only on sentence per month so here goes.

I went to BC. I learned about caregivers. Learned how to program Macros in Microsoft Excel. Lots of sports and trips to Fredericton. I went to Toronto. Started walking a lot more than ever. Went to Montreal and New York City. I got really, really bored and booked a trip. Went on a last-minute camping trip to 10 European Countries. Got better from travel illness. Started taking it easier and planning more. Started doing new things, like translating WordPress to Canadian English and Operation Red Nose.