Thursday, April 23, 2009
Are You Kidding Me??
If I were a respected actor (Oscar winning) and director who wanted to be taken seriously as a musician, I would understandably want the focus of any radio interviews to be on my music and not my movies. If I were a douchebag I might sabotage an interview where the host had the gall to mention I had a career other than music. I would have to be a douchebag to do this because:
- I don't see the hypocrisy of performing as "Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters" while saying I don't want to draw attention to myself - Billy Bob Thornton
- I don't realize that no-name acts that have only been together for a couple of years do not usually get interviewed on nationally-syndicated radio shows. You also wouldn't see Dogstar play on the Tonight Show if Keanu Reeves wasn't the bassist...but I digress.
- I don't understand that while I may be a star in the acting world (and could conceivably expect special treatment) I am a nobody in the music world...hell I probably don't realize the host has played to bigger audiences and sold more albums than I have!
- Despite having no cred as a musician, I compare myself to Tom Petty as in "...you wouldn't ask Tom Petty that question would you?"
- I refuse to play with the band at the end of the interview giving some lame excuse about not hauling drums around at 6:00 am...despite the fact I am also the singer in the band
- While I say I want the focus to be on the band and not me, by being an ass and having a little temper tantrum I made the whole thing about me and not the band...I'm so sadly narcissistic I think this is Jian Gomeshi's fault...and if the "I cannot believe we are going through this again" sigh at 7:09 is any indication...this isn't the first time...
Version with subtext subtitles here
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Three Months - 35,000 miles
Let's three...three months....35,000 status miles...a constant struggle to find something to watch on the in-flight entertainment system that I have not already watched...a chance to spread my hotel love around in Toronto (King Edward, Marriott Eaton Centre, Marriott Courtyard, Sutton Place, Suites at 1 King West and the Royal York). Each time I get off the plane at Pearson International, I wonder when HSBC is going to change their ad campaign - I get it...things can be perceived differently depending on where you stand and HSBC is diverse and worldly enough to understand this..but at least get some new pictures :-)
Life in T.O. is otherwise uneventful...my typical day goes something like this:
- 7:30 am - meet MvC for breakfast if I'm at the King Edward...otherwise consider getting out of bed at this time.
- 8:50 am - get off subway at Bloor/Yonge station...take wrong exit and walk the long way to the office
- Noonish - grab some lunch...usually Subway or Quasi Quasi
- 7:00 pm - grab dinner with MvC and/or JKB...usually at Richtree if we leave the decision up to JKB
- Midnight - catch the Daily Show
- 1:00 am - despite best intentions...watch TMZ before going to bed...feel dirty afterwards
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Standards Collaborative Education Summit
Jan 28 - Standards Collaborative Education Summit in Toronto. I was invited to give an Introduction to HL7 V3 tutorial for the SC. My intinerary:
- Jan 27 Flt AC178 from Edmonton to Toronto
- Jan 29 Flt AC177 from Toronto to Edmonton
I'l be staying at the Delta Toronto East. I had no concerns about my qualifications to present the material. However, one never really knows how things will go over with the participants. In the end, it sounds like people enjoyed the session and found it very informative...at least that's what they told me...we'll see how the anonymous evaluations look. Rumour has it only a couple of people dozed off :-)
Spent a nice evening with some folks from the rock...the whole idea of "skit night" sounds pretty interesting (though perhaps somewhat fraught with peril). I'm also told I need to check out Donnie Dumphy Having a Time on Youtube.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Jan 2009 HL7 WGM in Orlando
January 10 to 17 - HL7 WGM in Orlando. Still sick and still suffering from jetlag, it was off to Florida for another Working Group Meeting. My itinerary:
- Jan 10 Flt AC106 from Edmonton to Toronto
- Jan 10 Flt AC912 from Toronto to Orlando
- Jan 17 Flt AC907 from Orlando to Toronto
- Jan 17 Flt AC157 from Toronto to Edmonton
My hotel this time was the Hilton Resort in Orlando. Having jetlag sucks. I have never been so tired at a meeting. By the time 6:00 pm rolled around, I was starting to feel ready for bed. On the plus side, I didn't need to worry about setting the alarm in the morning. Waking up for 7:00 am was not a problem.
Other thoughts from the week:
- The Canadian off-cycle meeting worked out well for me this time around.
- I really enjoyed the outing to see La Nouba - the segments with the trampline and the little girls flinging yo-yos were my favourite.
- Universal Studios was fun...though I can always handle more rides. It was really nice to see the reaction of people riding the Dueling Dragons from the front row for the first time.
- While it seemed outrageous to pay an extra 66% or so for an express pass, we had second throughts about not shelling out the extra $$ while waiting 45-60 minutes for some of the rides.
- Being able to watch clips from the Simpsons made waiting in line for the Simpsons Ride less gruelling.
- No I did not get the Univerals Studios Orlando hoodie for free.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Vacation time! Off to Hong Kong to visit with relatives and then some R&R in Thailand. Our Hong Kong itinerary:
- Dec 16 Flt AC233 from Edmonton to Vancouver
- Dec 16 Flt AC007 from Vancouver to Hong Kong
- Jan 6 Flt AC008 from Hong Kong to Vancouver
- Jan 6 Flt AC238 from Vancouver to Edmonton
We did discover that the International Air Canada Lounge doesn't open until 9:00 am and is significantly smaller than the Domestic Lounge. No matter, the international terminal is actually quite nice - we quite enjoyed checking out the aquarium. The flight to Hong Kong itself was quite nice - getting the upgrade to business class will do that I guess. The experience did ruin Charlene as I was discover later on in our trip.
Hong Kong itself was quite nice. It was the quite that family reunion:
- Mom and Dad
- Donald, Carla and Baby Alex
- Carla's parents
- Charlene and myself
- plus all of the Hong Kong relatives
The main point of the trip was to celebrate MK and Emily's 25th anniversary. That night was the first real opportunity for us to meet up with everyone. The kids had gotten so much bigger!
We stayed with Calcium an Imma this time. It a while for the security staff to recognize us (though apparently Charlene was easier to remember), but after a while we were able to come and go without too many hassles. We enjoyed staying at Calcium's...it was nice that there were pets for us to play with.
We were fortunate to visit during the holidays as it meant we were able to spend a lot of time with the relatives....lots of outings, including a group excursion to Macau. But first, it was time for a reunion gathering and posing for pictures. We all gathered at MK and Emily's for reunion pictures. When your mom is one of 13 kids, you know that there are going to be a lot of people. It was hours before all of the photos were done. Poor Hoyan got the most grief from the photographer...maybe that's why he looked like he wanted to kill someone :-)
Once in Macau, it was nice to revisit all of the usual sites like the Fort and the Church facade. An extra special treat this time was a visit with Dad's aunt who ran the coffee shop by the Fort. Of course, no trip to Macau would be complete without trying some almond cookies and beef or pork jerky. This trip also marked Charlene's food breaking point.
Soon our 13 days in Hong Kong had passed and it was time to head to Thailand. Our itinerary:
- Dec 27 Flt TG603 from Hong Kong to Bangkok
- Jan 4 Flt TG638 from Bangkok to Hong Kong
That's all we knew - when we were arriving and when we were leaving. All the in-between stuff was still to be decided though we had an idea of what we wanted to do. Once we landed in Bangkok, we decided to check out our flight options to Koh Phangnan as it was a place that Pat and Julie had recommended. Good thing we decided to do this right away as it soon became apparent that it was peak season and our travel options were very very limited. After quite a bit of scrambling, we were able to get flights in and out of Koh Samui as well as boat transfers to Koh Phangnan.
Bangkok was in a word - hectic. It's a much more modern city than one might expect and it was a major city with the vehicle traffic to match. Our first stop was at the Tavee Guest House. It was a nice, clean place that was a little removed from the travellers' hub.
We soon realized that we didn't care much for travelling around Bangkok at street level. It was crowded, crazy and every so often we would come across smells that one could call...um...interesting. For us, the better way to get around was by the fabulous river taxi system. The river itself was filthy, but the river taxis were a nice respite from all of the craziness.
life on the islands was bound to be more relaxing...though the start of our next leg was a bit sketchy. We weren't really sure how the whole transfer to from Koh Samui airport to Koh Phangnan was going to work. It turns out, we weren't the only ones. One of the companies running the transfer service clearly didn't know either as they dropped ourselves and (a little while later) a Russian girl off at some dive shop as opposed to the *big ass* ferry terminal about 20 km down the road. According to the people working at the dive shop, this was a common occurrence
Once we landed on the shores of Koh Phangnan, we were met by a driver from the hotel we were staying at. We didn't know much about the place as all of other places we tried to book were filled right up. When he told us to hop in the back of the pick up truck, we knew the ride up was going to be memorable. About 30 bumpy minutes later, we turned off the main road and headed off onto some unmarked and unpaved road. If you were the worrying sort, this is where you might worry about being led off to who-knows-where and getting robbed. Not us...and a few steep minutes later, we pulled up in front of our hotel.
The pictures on the Internet did not do this place justice. Even though the place was still under construction, it was clear that this was a very nice place to stay. The rooms were nice and airy and we had our own deck and a little pool that we shared with the unit next to us. The grounds, while unfinished, were clearly going to be spectacular. The staff really went out of their way to make our stay memorable. Noot, Sing and Oo really did make our stay at the Salad Buri Resort memorable.
And then there was the New Year's Eve gala dinner. We weren't particularly thrilled at the prospect of having to pay for the gala (it was a mandatory charge) if we were to stay at the Salad Buri. In the end, we figured that it would be a nice thing to attend...besides were were getting about 1/3 off the regular room rate because the place was still under construction. The morning of Dec 31 was pretty miserable..wind...rain. I was wondering what was going to happen to our outdoor gala. But sure enough, the weather lifted and every was ready when it was supposed to be ready. Kudos to the setup crew!
As we hadn't seen many others wandering around the grounds, we weren't sure how many people were actually staying at our resort. Well it turns out there were a lot! The gala was packed! The spread was amazing and our friend Sing was tending the bar and keeping the free drinks flowing. There were fire dancers, fireworks on the beach as well as lanterns that you could light and have float away. The lanterns floating away in the sky were an amazing sight...almost as amazing as the commotion caused by the firework that - instead of flying up into the air - decided to spin around the beach before exploding near us and sending a few tables scrambling for cover.
The process for heading back to Bangkok was a bit easier as we had a better understanding of what was going to happen. Still, there were some hiccups along the way. It turns out there was some sort of problem with our ferry so all of us passengers were transferred onto a smaller boat. This meant that our 25 minute trip was going to take a couple of hours. Surprisingly, it also meant a much rougher and more...um...interesting ride to Koh Samui.
For our last couple of days in Bangkok, we decided to leave the craziness behind and stay at the Marriott Resort in Bangkok. The place really was an oasis amidst all of the chaos. The service was also quite outstanding...as we would learn as I was completely laid out with some sort of fever - between running up with a thermometer, getting us ibuprofen, room service, etc. But despite what some people were thinking, I was not dying ;-).
A couple more days in Hong Kong...a couple of more gatherings and it was time to head home. Natie, Romy and my parents came with us to the airport to see us off. This time, no matter how much Charlene wanted it, we weren't going to be sitting in First Class...no more coupons...I was still coughing and hacking and I'm certain I still had a bit of a fever. However, I noticed that almost all of the passengers in economy were coughing or hacking at some point. It really was a bit of a cesspool back there. I'm actually surprised there aren't more communicable diseases spread on planes. After a bit of a delay in Vancouver (first our flight and then needing to wait to de-ice), we were finally back in Edmonton where Carla and Alex met us and gave us a ride home. I was happy to be back home and Charlene was not only happy to be home, she was itching to get back to work!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wayne Brady at the River Cree
Wayne Brady - King of the improvisational song. This was my first foray out to River Cree to see a show and I came away with a feeling that, like all casinos, that place must make a mint! First of all, the casino was packed...and then you count all the people that are there to see a show. The venue itself is nothing fancy - just a big inflatable dome with AV equipment.
As for the show itself, Wayne Brady and his parner in crime were hilarious! I especiallly enjoyed the back and forth as they tried to mess each other up.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Partnership Meeting in Montreal
This time the Partnership for Information Standards held their conference in one of my favourite Canadian cities - Montreal. My itinerary:
- Oct 19 Flt AC8151 from Edmonton to Calgary
- Oct 19 Flt AC186 from Calgary to Montreal
- Oct 22 Flt AC1149 from Montreal to Ottawa
- Oct 22 Flt AC143 from Ottawa to Edmonton
I'll be staying at the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure.
Interesting partnership meeting as I spent most of my time with SCWG 2 and very little time with the Claims or Pharmacy groups. A few random thoughts from my time in Montreal:
- Some presentations still manage to polarize
- Eating in the dark can be interesting...and troubling - lines can be crosse
- My kingdom for a smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz's
- I can give up Coke...even though I love the fizz, the colour, the sweet sweet taste as it flows across my palat
- Sophia had an idea none of use even considered - who knew you could get smoked meat brisket to take home?
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Who's booking up all the hotels in Toronto?
I don't know if it was a holdover from the Film Festival or what, but there were no rooms to be had (for a reasonable price - i.e. less than $800/night). Thankfully Louise and Monica came through for me. My itinerary this time:
- Sep 22 Flt AC1184 from Edmonton to Toronto
- Sep 25 Flt AC1179 from Toronto to Edmonton
No hotel this time...just a place to stay at Louise's Mom's. Not staying at a hotel meant we got to save a bit on travel costs, but it does mean that being connected is a bit harder. Luckily I was able to find some unsecured networks that I could use. Each evening did end up being a bit of a game...moving around the apartment...trying to get a strong enough signal to use. Yes, I know...it's kinda sad.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
HL7 WGM in Vancouver
It's nice to get to an HL7 meeting outside of the US. My itinerary:
- Sep 14 Flt AC247 from Edmonton to Vancouver
- Sep 21 Flt AC8556 from Victoria to Calgary
- Sep 21 Flit AC8158 from Calbary to Edmonton
No more trekking across town from the host hotel...no sirree. I'll be staying at the Sheraton Wall Centre. Thoughts on the week:
- Is it campaigning when you go up to people and say, "...so are you going to vote for me?
- Much like dinner with Dan Akroyd, we dined with Owen Wilson
- I was a little suspicious of the fish being served at the Vancouver Aquarium for the social event...was it warning to the others?
- The visit to GPi World Headquarters was really nice. Michael and Marc really took good care of us
- I should have taken better care of my knee while wakeboarding...though I might have made out better than Louise
- Steve is probably still recovering from Charlene screaming in his ear
Saturday, September 06, 2008
John's 40th Birthday Hoo Ha
Well well well. Johnny-boy has turned the big 4-0. Had to fly solo to this as Charlene was up in GP. Hangin' with the Hewitt clan is always a good time and this was no exception. Random thoughts:
- It may have been a ruse, but I want to hear Ian speak about the zero-footprint house in Riverdale
- For a family event, there seemed to be a lot of bras thrown around
- The birthday cakes were astonishing
Thursday, August 28, 2008
August in Toronto
Seems like I spent the entire month of August in Toronto. If it didn't before, travel on Air Canada really did seem like taking a bus...though I won't complain...flying with a flight pass does make for a more flexible and comfortable trip. My flights:
- Aug 4 Flt AC178 from Edmonton to Toronto
- Aug 8 Flt AC1161 from Toronto to Edmonton
- Aug 11 Flt AC1184 from Edmonton to Toronto
- Aug 14 Flt AC1161 from Toronto to Edmonto
- Aug 18 Flt AC1184 from Edmonton to Toronto
- Aug 21 Flt AC159 from Toronto to Edmonton
- Aug 25 Flt AC1184 from Edmonton to Toronto
- Aug 28 Flt AC159 from Toronto to Edmonton
All stays at the Toronto Marriott Eaton Centre. Random thoughts:
- It's still surprising who you meet on the streets...even when it makes perfect sense
- It was really nice to catch up with Krista over Japanese food. If only she'd stop breaking her mother's heart :-)
- I've stayed a time or two at Marriott hotels, but I was still surprised when one of my rooms turned out to be a hospitality suite...that thing was so ridiculously large!
- Mr. R. Scott sounds a lot like Mr. Arscott
- The NFL game in Toronto was a pretty big deal with street parties and tailgates the *day before* the actual game...still wouldn't shell out the money to see a preseason game though
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Edmonton Folk Music Festival
Another year, another trip to Gallagher Park for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. This time though, the trip was a bit farther as we no longer live in the neighbourhood. Random thoughts on the weekend:
- Missed Thursday as I was still in Toronto and missed a chunk of Friday returning the rental...grrrrr
- Laura must have been transporting dead bodies with that tarp of hers. I swear at least 10 people passed out aroud me when I opened up the tarp.
- Witnessed perhaps the greatest workshop ever when Broken Social Scene, Serena Ryder and Royal Wood made up a song on the spot.
- A Folk Festival without harrowing weather just doesn't seem right
- I thoroughly enjoyed getting out of the heat and eating Earl and Marilyne's food
- Another Folk Fest and another Leslie sighting
- Who the hell ate my cousin?
- Notable acts: Broken Social Scene, Royal Wood, Serena Ryder, Andy McKee, Colin Hay, Michael Franti and Chris Isaak
Saturday, July 26, 2008
An Old Time Saskatchewan Wedding
The things we miss as a result of "family obligations". For the first time since the inaugural event, I'll be missing the Edmonton Grand Prix...now known as the Edmonton Indy.
That said, the trips to Saskatchewan tend to be fun. This time, it's for Darlene's wedding...in Cudworth. Some random thoughts on the weekend:
- Charlene's cousins have raised some really nice kids
- It's always good to see the twins
- Staying in Saskatoon turned out to be good as we were able to visit with Charlene's Aunt Mary before heading back home
- We shall never speak of what happened just outside of Elk Island National park
Friday, July 18, 2008
Tanya and Chris's Wedding
July 18 to 20 - Tanya and Chris's wedding in Toronto. It's always good to be able to tie in some fun with some business. Our itinerary:
- July 17 Flt AC154 from Edmonton to Toronto
- July 20 Flt AC127 from Toronto to Edmonton
This time, we're staying at the Cambridge Suites. Spent Friday in meetings, but we were able to meet up with Carl for dinner and some Batman. We got tickets for the 11:15 pm show and started lining up a bit before 10:00 pm. I think the line-up experience was a bit new for Charlene (who secretly wanted to be there despite all of her protesting). Good to see some people in costume, but I didn't get the guy dressed up all in red. I was secretly hoping to see some guy in a costume that had nothing to do with Batman at all....kinda like the guy showing up at about 4 minutes into this classic video.
Saturday was the wedding itself and it was very nice to hang with some of Charlene's McGill friends. Somehow, we kept going back to what our wedding was like.
Sunday was breakfast with Jackie before heading back home. The return flight was nice as we won the "Air Canada Lottery".
Monday, June 30, 2008
Back in the Saddle
There are certain advantages to having friends working in certain industries (getting good deals on stuff). There are also certain disadvantages (getting good deals on stuff). For a couple of years now, Gary has been trying to entice me back into the motorized, two- wheel world. Now that Charlene has her motorcycle license, it seemed to be a good time to get back in the game. Off to the local Honda Powerhouse to start gearing up. She tested out the little CBR and I got to rediscover my skills on a Honda Shadow (just prepped...0km on the dial). Then it was time to try the CBR.
It was a hoot! A tiny little engine, but the bike's performance was impressive considering it's small displacement. Acceleration was pretty zippy...not neck-snapping zippy like a 600 cc or 750cc sport bike, but adequate for city riding. Gets up to 85km/h pretty quick. Acceleration at 100km/h and above is - as expected - much slower. Can't beat the price (less than a scooter), the fuel economy (estimated 100 mpg) or the fun factor. I suspect I'll have more fun zipping around for the summer on the bike than I would driving.
After visiting a number of dealers with Charlene, I'm really amazed that so few will allow you to try a bike prior to buying (unless you happen to catch their demo day in May). Who would buy a car without test driving it? I think it's absolutely critical to try out a motorcycle before buying one as each make and model has their own fit and handling characteristics. You just can't tell what riding a bike will be like by sitting on it in the showroom. This is where I think the powerhouse dealers have an advantage...if it wasn't for a Honda Canada ride, Charlene wouldn't have become "sport bike girl".