Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Time To Start Kicking Things

Let me just say this. Following the rules is for chumps.

Despite the earlier annoyances with getting the permit from the city for our basement, things have been moving along at a brisk pace with this renovation. The plumbing inspector is visiting tomorrow to give us the ok on the rough-in for the toilet and sink and the pile of garbage is out of the basement. Yay!

That said, we've run into a snag with the electrician. He was here today and about to start the work to replace our fuse box with a breaker panel. He called in to the ESA to let them know he was starting the job and lo and behold, it turns out that his Master Electrician's Permit had lapsed. It seems that they changed the regulations last year so that instead of getting the permit renewed every 5 years, he has to do it every year.

Now, he's been a certified electrician for 30 some-odd years and everything, so he can probably get grandfathered in, but in the meantime we have to go find another electrician as the ESA won't even look at anything for 3-4 weeks... 3-4 weeks longer than we want to spend with a half-finished basement.

What cheeses me off is that I wouldn't have had to deal with any of this crap if I had just listened to everyone and not bothered to get a permit. I can't think of any reason why someone would voluntarily put themselves through this much hassle for a simple basement renovation if they knew what kind of roadblocks and barriers keep popping up along the way. It's no wonder everyone just gets the job done on the sly.

I think that's what is causing me the most stress right now. I'm not in a huge rush to get the basement done, though the sooner it gets done, the better. I'm just really frustrated with the fact that we're trying to do the right thing and follow the rules and we're getting screwed around by the people who imposed the rules.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not A Good Week For Pets

Well, thanks to everyone who submitted a name. I was about to put the names in the hat this morning and pick a name for the one-eyed fish when I noticed that he was sitting on the bottom of the aquarium. Upside-down. Not moving.

Alas, he goes nameless into the murky depths of my sewer. He (or she) will be missed.

Let The Work Begin!

Here's a little photo montage of the work done so far in our basement.

Day 0

Day 1

And for another angle:

Day 0

Day 1

While the contractor was digging up the floor to start work on the plumbing...

He found this buried treasure!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gone To The Great Litterbox In The Sky

I received this e-mail from my mom the other day.

"It is with sadness that I have to let you know that Reddy has used up all her lives. She passed away as she slept on Friday, Oct. 24 ... She was 19 at the beginning of September, so she had a long life, and a loving family.

Interment will be in her favourite place, the backyard.

Reddy was preceeded into the afterlife by her sister, Smudge. She will be missed.

By the way, MOM, next time you send out something like this, make sure you leave a less ominous subject line than "We will miss her" in the e-mail. I thought it was my grandma or someone else, you know, HUMAN, who had died!

Friday, October 24, 2008

What A Crazy Last Few Weeks!

I tell ya, between the constant go-go-go at work and the nonstop barrage of awesome games, the last couple of weeks has been exhausting! Oh, and don't forget about all of the basement emptying and permit hassles. Yeesh.

I'm happy to report that my Florida excursion was exactly what I needed to stop being grumpy-puss at work and start enjoying my job again. It also helps that all of the chaos from mid-summer to the end of September has finally settled down and we can get back to the usual routine.

On the home improvement front, work will be starting officially on Monday morning. We've got the permits and the basement is on the verge of being completely emptied (as of tomorrow morning/early afternoon) which is just great. I can't wait to finally have usable space down there and after spending the last month and a half or so jumping through hoops, it'll be nice to have someone ELSE come and do a bunch of work!

And lastly, on the game front, the fall rush is in full swing and I'm happy to say that I'm doing well at sticking to the games I had preordered back in August. Dead Space is a fantastic game (if you liked Bioshock, do yourself a favour and play Dead Space!) and Fable 2 has been a lot of fun so far. I almost dredged up that picture from 3-4 years ago when I was so excited about Fable 1 but I resisted. I will say that what I've played of Fable 2 has pretty much shown me that this is the game that they wished Fable 1 had been... and I'm someone who quite enjoyed Fable 1 for what it was.

Of course, the best news of the week comes in the form of a little ball of yarn and string... well, virtual yarn and string.

I got a call around 7:30 this evening informing me that LittleBigPlanet was finally in! I loaded Garrett up in the car as soon as Dave & Kate left and we boogied on down to Milton to snag the game. I've just been waiting for Julie to finish watching Made Of Honor (sigh) and then I shall take my Sackboy for a spin! The best thing is that all of my friends online have to wait until tomorrow to play the game as I guess most stores won't have it until then. Mwahaha...

Bacon Is Meat Candy

If I were to go get married now, I'd make sure I was wearing this lovely ensemble.

The best thing about it is that it smells like bacon!

Also, I learned that there is a site called It scares me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Words To Live By

I was chatting with one of my gaming buddies over Gtalk today and he tossed out this gem, which I couldn't help but share.

"I just gave my wife blessing to buy some clothes and she gave me blessing to get a game. Of course, I'd prefer her nude and she'd prefer me gameless. But, meh."

Monday, October 20, 2008

All I Want For Christmas Is A Quicksnap

I'm addicted to Dragon's Den on Monday nights. It is a mixture of great inventions and American Idol-style withering criticism.

Between the doggie diapers and underwater gold mines (literally), there are some really awesome things that I wouldn't mind trying out. Last week's final pitch blew me away, as it is something incredibly simple but also something that I desperately need.

I present... The Quicksnap!

"What is Quicksnap? QuickSnap is a two-piece, durable plastic clip that eliminates the need to ever tie your laces again."

I think I've whined a few times about how impossible it is for me to keep my shoelaces tied up. Sure, I can double-knot them, but that means I either have to fight with knots whenever I either put my shoes on or take them off OR I can just jam my feet into my sneakers and destroy the heels, which is usually what ends up happening.

This Quicksnap thingie looks like the answer to my shoelace woes. I see that they're going rather cheaply (~$10 after shipping & handling)... I might just have to grab one of these and see how they work. One of the inventors is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and used them on his combat boots, so they must be somewhat decent!

What Not To Do - Vol. 289

Don't do what this guy does the next time you get a speeding ticket.

Name Our Fish!

I performed my one act of humanitarian kindness last week and bought a fish. But not just any fish. I bought a gourami that only has one eye. The guy was so thankful to find a home for the fish that he knocked a dollar off the price. The fish was destined for the great toilet bowl in the sky if I hadn't come along, so I was more than happy to give it a new home in our fish tank.

Of course, a fish with only one eye is no regular fish. We need to give it a name, so I figured I'd put a call out to everyone to see what people can come up with.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Still Waiting For Permission

Just wanted to post a little basement reno update here. We're still waiting for the permit from the city. We were able to get a hold of a real live human being this week and from what we gathered, the fact that nobody from the city has called us is a good thing. It's just that it takes them 10 BUSINESS days to find their rubber stamp and because a) they dragged their feet for 3 days at the beginning of this process and b) Monday was a holiday, well, 10 business days isn't up until Monday, at which point I should be able to go and collect my building permit.

Of course, now we have to wait for the contractor to finish up the jobs he's taken while waiting for us to get our permit, but it's actually ok. I wasn't really looking forward to trying to scramble the last of the stuff over to the storage unit this weekend, what with working today and tomorrow, and this gives us an extra week to get the last of the junk either taken off to the dump or boxed up for storage. We're down to the tools and paint on the work bench and a few boxes of computer parts and the old TV, so we're pretty close to being ready for when they come to start work on the 27th.

I'll take pictures of the process and keep people up to date. Woo!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Go And Vote!

Get out there and vote everyone! It's your civic duty!

Oh... wait... the election was yesterday. Hmm... I couldn't tell since the parliament looks ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME!

I never did get around to making the few political posts I had planned to, but I'll just save them for the next election. I'd like to say it will be in 4 years or whenever the set election date law says it should happen but we all know how well THAT law worked...


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blood On The Stairs

I took Garrett to the Brigden Fair this morning for a quick little tour of the midway before the big turkey dinner this afternoon.

Garrett had two things he wanted to do. The first thing was to go on the big giant scary castle/house thing (there was one at the Acton Fair but he wasn't wearing shoes so he couldn't get on) and the second was the ferris wheel.

We learned quickly why Garrett needed to wear shoes in the crazy house. At the entrance to the house, there is a set of metal stairs that slid back and forth. Garrett fell and got his finger pinched at the edge of the steps. They stopped the steps and Garrett got back up and slowly made his way through the rest of the house to emerge into the sunlight sobbing.

I just figured he was shaken from falling at the beginning and not having fun for the rest of the house until I realized that the hand I was holding was covered in blood. It turned out that Garrett had a chunk of his finger taken off by the stairs. Well, not the tip or anything, but there is a big flap of skin missing from the side of his index finger.

The carney sitting in the ticket booth wrapped Garrett's finger up in a bunch of gauze and tape and we went off to enjoy the ferris wheel and headed home. I thought it was just a little nick on the side of the finger until later in the afternoon when we changed the dressing and I saw just how much skin got taken off by those bloody stairs. We'll just keep pouring Polysporin on it and keeping it clean and it should be fine but man... I'll take a picture of it tomorrow so everyone can see the gory wound.

So yeah. I felt bad about him getting hurt and never realized that such an innocuous 'ride' would be so deadly. If I'd gone through with him, it would have probably been fine but Garrett, while tall enough, was probably a bit too young for a solo trip.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rancorous Temptations

Whoever thought up the Superhero Squad/Galactic Heroes toy lines deserves a medal for marketing and a boot to the head from my wallet.

Most of the toys on the market either look flimsy, look ugly or both. The ones that don't tend to be just borderline creepy instead. I'm looking at you, Bratz and other disturbing doll lines...

But the Superhero Squad and Galactic Heroes toys are both sturdy and insanely cute to boot. I've stuck mainly with getting the Superhero Squad toys because Garrett was really into superheroes for a long time there... And so was I.

Now that we have enough superheroes to save the universe 10 times over, I've started to cast my gaze towards the Galactic Heroes, which are the Star Wars equivalent of the Superhero Squad toys. These are even more cute in many respects, though there are a lot of repeats. Much like the way every third set of Superhero Squad toys would have Spiderman in one of his various costumes and doing a different pose, the Galactic Heroes toys have an abundance of Luke Skywalkers and Darth Vaders, though the Vader ones are neat (I even found one where his helmet comes off!).

I was at Toys R Us this morning with Garrett to get a snap-together TIE fighter model for us to work on. Unfortunately, it was way too expensive (I refuse to pay $20 for a snap-tite model!) and I also saw the cutest Rancor in one of the TrU exclusive sets...

I mean, the thing not only looks adorable but it can eat other toys! And poop them out! How awesome is that?

So suffice it to say, I broke down and got it for Garrett to play with and we've had fun with it today. They also had a 2 for 1 sale on lightsabers, so I got two for $10 and Garrett was able to have many a duel with both me and the little boy who lives next to Ralph & Louise. It was a small price to pay to keep Garrett occupied and running his little butt off all afternoon :)

Doing a bit more digging, I'd also love to find this set:

And I was sorely tempted by these two sets, but went with the uber-cute Rancor:

Friday, October 10, 2008

My 360 Is Stalking Me

Hee hee. My 360 knows me too well...

I got this on the latest posting that it writes to my 360 Blog.

"I have a feeling Guboo (that's me) went on vacation without telling me... At least he could have taken me with him... last time I checked Xboxes weren't illegal in your carry-on."

All Hail Canadia!

We're home in our native land... Hooray!

We played a lot of games of Hurry Up And Wait this afternoon. We ended up hanging around at the Ft. Lauderdale airport for about 4 hours while we waited for our plane. Due to some of the bad weather down Florida way, it was delayed about 10 minutes or so, which meant that we had a really tight connection in Charlotte.

I tell ya. We knew we weren't going to have a lot of time during our connection but it was ridiculous. Our plane arrived at gate B16... our flight to Toronto was leaving at Gate C16 in 20 minutes. C16 is at the absolute opposite side of the airport from B16. Add to that mix a whole slew of people who were determined to either cut in front of us, stand in the middle of the concourse or just block the entire walkway while walking VERY SLOWLY and you had a couple of pissed off Canucks coming your way. I was starting to use my rolling suitcase as a battering ram and had to leave Julie behind so I could at least make it to the gate to have them hold the plane for us.

Julie didn't fare so well. Next time you talk to her, ask her about her faceplant in front of the ticket counter...

But we got on board, got our bags stowed and were in the air on time and arrived in Toronto just before midnight. The sad thing is that the cool, crisp fall air is probably warmer than the absurdly cold lobby at the hotel or worse, the airport in Ft. Lauderdale. I know it's warm down there, but I was getting the feeling that I'd inadvertently signed up for a cryogenics research project this afternooon.

Anyway, Julie's already hit the hay and I'm just running on adrenaline, so I'm going to go crash. Long story short, we had a great time down South and it was nice to get away (without the kids!) for a time and just have a nice vacation with just the two of us. That said, I'm looking forward to seeing the kids tomorrow when we go to Sarnia in the afternoon. I need to have a chat with some people about some destroyed pillows...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Plumbing The Depths Of Boredom

Note to self: Next time I go out for dinner with Julie's conference crew, DON'T!

Sure, the meal was nice, but we were out for about 3 hours... 3 hours where I had nobody to talk to and nothing to talk about. Sigh. I got so bored I was typing an imaginary blog entry on the tablecloth... and actually hitting backspace when I made an imaginary mistake.

Otherwise, yesterday was just a day for me to slug around the hotel room and relax, read, play some games and basically zone out. Ah, it was so nice...

We're heading home later today. I've got to kill time until about 3pm and then we'll saunter over to the airport for our first leg of our flight home. It has been raining and somewhat thundery down here most of this morning, but I'm hoping that it will blow over by the afternoon/evening and we'll have a smooth trip home. We don't actually fly out of Ft. Lauderdale until 7pm and the weather is already starting to brighten, so I think we'll be ok.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

More Money Than Sense

That's the overall feeling I get from Ft. Lauderdale. These people sure aren't going to be living in shacks when the economy tanks...

Anyway, we woke up this morning, threw open the blinds and this is what greeted us outside our window.

Stupid yachts. We're tripping over them everywhere we go down here.

We then headed down the road to have some bagels at this place we passed on our walk to dinner last night. I have to say that they were the best bagels we've ever had. We bought a half dozen (and some honey almond schmear, er, cream cheese) for snacks and breakfast tomorrow. Mmm... They even had a pumpkin bagel that was amazing. If you ever get a chance, go to Einstein Bros. Bagels if you're ever near one. Oh, the coffee was fantastic too.

Then we headed out to the ocean to get a little swimming in.

A half an hour later, we were both scorched, soggy, salty and covered in seashell shrapnel but it was a lot of fun. A trip back to the hotel on the Water Taxi and a change of clothes and we were back out on the Water Taxi up to the mall at the northern end of the canal.

Along the way, we passed the coolest yacht on the water. The Water Taxi driver called it the James Bond yacht and for a good reason. Just take a look at this thing.

I got a cool Megaman t-shirt at the mall... a mall which, by the way, further illustrated the fact that we were far outside our usual tax bracket. I mean, they had valet parking and I think every car out in front of the mall was a Lexus, Infiniti or Hummer.

On the way back down the canal to the downtown part of town, a family got on board with a little 2 year old boy who was not very impressed with being on the boat. He kept saying, "Out! Out! Out!" Thankfully he calmed down and later on we had a nice chat with his family and I gave him one of the glo-sticks I got from my martini at the mall. Oh, did I mention that you can't turn around down here without tripping over a mojito, margarita or martini? It's crazy!

To close out the evening, we had supper at The Cheesecake Factory, which is my new favourite restaurant. Not only did they have amazing cheesecake (natch) but they also had food that was both good AND plenty. Julie had some kind of chicken and I had spicy cashew chicken, both of which were delicous. Not only that, but there was enough left over for at least one whole meal each by the time we were done.

And that was our day! We saw everything you can see down here on the intercostal waterway and had lots of yummy food and heard lots of awful jokes. Did you know they named the local highway for Canadians? It's the A1A... get it? A1, eh? Sigh...

Julie's got her conference starting tomorrow which means I get to just lounge around for the whole day. Ah, bliss...

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Blimpmobile!

No, it's not a method of conveyance for fat superheroes. It is a very neat mobile/clock in the center concourse of the airport in Charlotte, NC.

Ah, while I'm at it, I'll put up a few other pics from the trip so far.

Here is the view out of our hotel room. That's the canal that leads to the ocean (which is about a mile away).

And here's our messy hotel room. Note the lack of alligators, crocodiles, college students and wombats. You know you're in a quality place when they can keep the indigenous wildlife from invading the room while you sleep.

Kids: The Ultimate Brainwashers

And of course I'm up at 6:15 am.

The kids have us programmed well. I think it will take another day to fully purge our systems of their evil nanobots. A walk on the beach might help...

Florida is nice and all, but it's too hot. I miss the fall chill back home already.

Anyway, I'm going to let Julie sleep a bit longer. The sun is coming up and I should see if I can find us a greasy spoon to have breakfast at. We're definately not eating in the hotel. Hmm... I think I still have my raisin tea biscuit from Tim Hortons stuffed in one of these bags...

Nom nom nom...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Frondly Thinking Of Home

Sorry for the late update, but we did indeed make it safe and sound to Ft. Lauderdale.

We arrived around 6pm and after settling in, we had a delicious (and expensive) dinner at the China Grill down in the bowels of our hotel. Great food and a nice way to end a long day.

The weather is supposed to be somewhat craptacular while we're down here, but that's ok. We're just happy to be on vacation ON OUR OWN!

I'll keep everyone apprised of our adventures over the next few days. I will say that the Charlotte airport had some cool stuff. You know you're in the South when you have rocking chairs in the main terminal of the airport. I also took a picture of this crazy blimp mobile. I'll post it tomorrow.

Anyway, I'm off to bed. Julie's been snoozing for an hour or so and I should hit the hay soon too. We need to find somewhere for breakfast as the hotel's restaurant is WAY too pricey. I'm talking about $16 omelettes and $6 bagels w/ cream cheese. No thanks.

They did have amazing mojitos and sakitinis though. Who would have thought to use sake as a base for a martini? Not me! But it was yummy.


Just wanted to tell everyone that we made it to Charlotte, NC. I had the worst 'meal' at the Burger King in the terminal, but I'll live :)

We're just waiting for the connecting flight at 4:15pm to Ft. Lauderdale. I'll update once we're settled in the hotel.

I tell ya, having a PSP and iPod to kill time really helps.

Oh, and the accents down here are funny :)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Pie Graphs Are Yummy

If you're looking for something to keep you occupied during those long days while I'm on vacation, look no further than the very amusing GraphJam. It's done by the same guys who do Lolcats but it's much more witty.

Old Ads Are Awesome

I saw this over at Extralife and I knew I had to share it.

Check out these incredibly awesome and creepy old ads.

Scuttling The Underbelly Of The House

The basement is almost completely empty now. The hardest part was getting the pool table out but thanks to a few intrepid brothers-in-law (thanks Dan & Tim!) we were able to get it out and into the truck and then into the storage unit. We still have a bit more stuff to unload from the basement before the renovations start, but that's not slated until at least Oct. 20th, so we can run a few more carloads of boxes over before it's time to start.

It's frightening to see how much room there is in our basement now that it's essentially empty. I always thought that our basement was this cramped, crowded space but it has a lot of room. I can't wait to start lounging around down there once the work is finished.

Now to go relax and get ready for our trip tomorrow. Woo!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Guzzlin' Foam With My Crumb Crushers

One of my favourite parts of one of my favourite movies is the scene in The Blues Brothers when Cab Calloway sings Minnie The Moocher. It's also a scene that I view in a completely different light when I see it now than I did when I was growing up. Back then, it was just a great song sung by this old guy.

Now, I can see the way the perspective shifts from reality to the fantasy of Calloway having one last hurrah. It's yet one more brilliant thing in an already brilliant movie.

ANYWAY, that's all to say that the Cab Calloway Jive Talk Hepster Dictionary is a handy tool for decyphering what all those hep cats are jivin' about down at the club.

It's Not Easy Being A Law-Abiding Citizen...

I've spent three days this week banging my head against the wall with the Town of Halton Hills, trying in vain to get a building permit to get this basement renovation done. Well, not in vain, as I think I've finally fulfilled the byzantine requirements and performed enough Herculean tasks to satisfy the dark lords over at the Town's bylaw branch, but ye gods...

If getting a building permit for a relatively simple renovation is always as much of a hassle as this week's travails has been, it's no wonder nobody bothers to get them. It's like playing tennis... in the dark... with bricks. I'd have to keep going back and forth to the town and my poor contractor ended up drawing up about 3-4 different floor plans before I finally got one that satisfied all of the things the guy at the Town wanted.

Of course, I always COULD have just foregone all of this hassle but if I've learned nothing else from watching Holmes On Homes, it's to always, ALWAYS get a permit. This isn't just a little job... We're having the whole basement finished, so I want to do it right from the start.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Band Members Needed

As you might have noticed, my 360 came back home to me on Tuesday of this week. I probably haven't blogged about it because I have been so busy puttering around with it.

In celebration of its return, I was able to pick up Rock Band 2, which is AWESOME!

Unfortunately, my drummer has been sidelined due to injuries for quite some time but since RB2 has online band tour mode, I can finally hook up with other Rock Band players out there. So... anyone interested in joining my band? I need a vocalist, drummer and another guitarist (I'm easy).

Bubbling Advisory Panel WANTS YOU!

Seriously, Bubbling Advisory Panel is the name of my band... Sigh... I think I'll call the next band I create: Stalin's Moustache.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hug A Robot Today

Happy Binary Day, everyone.

10/01 is the official day where you can go and hug a robot or computer and not feel guilty... Not one little bit. Get it? Bit? Ha!