Monday, April 19, 2010

When the obvious ties together

In an effort not to lose my dashing French skills, I bought two discounted French novels at the campus bookstore last week. They were used in classes, I suspect, last term or recently and were no longer needed in stock. One is meant for ages 10 and up and the other is a proper adult novel.

I was just about to start the younglings book "Vendredi ou la vie sauvage" this evening when I decided to look up the word "naufrage" on my handy-dandy electronic dictionnaire. I was drawn to this word, used in the description on the back cover, because my province has a region called "Naufrage" along the north shore. Turns out naufrage, when used in context of boats, is a shipwreck. So now I feel a pull to learn about shipwrecks in Naufrage, or PEI in general.

A quick Google searched yielded some poor results (news releases over the past decade - which do have merit but weren't quite what I was looking for) but did point me in the direction of one site: Famous Shipwrecks of the past 400 Years. The only listing for PEI is up in Cavendish, occurring in the summer of 1883. This ship was called the Marco Polo.

Name of one of the main campgrounds in Cavendish? Marco Polo Land. I feel so enlightened, but am disheartened that the campground's website offers no history of the campground or the relevance of the chosen name.

I wonder what obvious factoid I will realise tomorrow? Enlighten me, dear readers!

BTW, you may see this a few days after I wrote this due to Facebook's poor blog feed as of late. But share your obvious information anyway.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mobile Evolution

Ah, Friday afternoon! Let's discuss something lighthearted yet critical to the development of ones character.

I'm heading off to Florida-land soon to wrestle alligators and save manatees from extinction (hobby in my spare time, of course) and thought to myself, "I should probably look into activating my US cellphone for communication ease." Then I thought how foolish I would look using my US mobile as it's rather antiquated. I purchased it in 2006 and even at that point it was considered to be an older, cheap phone. But before we discuss the Nokia 2115i and its enhanced flashlight feature (oooh!), we shall rewind even further to the first mobile I ever own: the Nokia 3410.

What a sexy phone! Not the traditional black or silver colour. The phone had wonderful features such as: call display, multiple ring tone, texting, minimal web browser capabilities (never figured that out), and GAMES! Including SNAKE, the classic cellphone/grade 9 computer class game of sweat, trauma, and love.

I bought this phone in the UK - the Virgin Store on Princes Street in Edinburgh - for way too much money. Or at least it seemed so at the time because the exchange rate was terrible. I don't remember how much it was exactly, but probably close to $100 CAD including maybe $40 of credit. Maybe more. Maybe less. I don't remember. I don't think this was the cheapest phone available, but I think it was the cheapest once factoring in activation bonus. Shan, Keri, and I (my two flatmates/PEI expats) had the same phone. Like triplets, we could tell them apart by their unique differences. Scratches from being dropped, perhaps a random sticker applied, or what shade of make-up was accidentally smeared on it. This phone lived a good, expat life. It was dropped a few times (shocking in the land of beer and whisky), went on adventures with me, and was eventually passed onto another Islander (and temporary roommate) who used it until she left Scotland about seven months after I did. I'm not sure what she did with it, hopefully passed it on to someone else in need. I think I sold it to her for about 5GBP, which was basically to cover the credit on it. I spent that money on crisps and confectionery in the Glasgow and Belfast Airport, through my sad sniffles. The phone number was about 8,000 digits long: 07981 130 XXX [because I don't remember the last three digits]. I have it written down somewhere though. This phone also developed my love for predictive texting, which was forced upon Keri by Shannon and I.

Next up, the Nokia 2115i/American Phone v2.0:

This is actually the third phone I had. My second one was a different US AT&T pay as you go phone, which died a tragic death after only a couple of months. I was at the gym (at Disney's Boardwalk, for the geeky) and had my phone in my shorts' pocket. As I stood up from using the toilet my phone tumbled in. I fished it out (nae worries folks, it was only a Number 1 toilet use) and tried to turn it on. Lights blinked... and nothing. RIP phone.

Off to the Internet to find a replacement! Virgin had the best price: $20.00 for an older phone that came with $20.00 phone credit. Essentially, a free phone. A simple internet purchase later and the phone was delivered to my delicious, sweaty Disney apartment.

This is the phone I still have as my US phone. It's not activated, but they always happily give me a new phone number every time I feel the need to activate it again and toss on some credit. I haven't used the phone since going to Hawai'i/San Diego a year ago, so I'm hoping when I eventually turn it on it was emit smells of the delicious ocean. Hmm, right.

This phone still had a black and white display and the interface (right word?) was almost the exact same as my UK phone. However, the main upgrade was the FLASHLIGHT feature. You may laugh, until the power goes out or you are rummaging around in a dark hostel dormitory and realise that the wee flashlight is a *very* useful invention.

Onto Canada Phone v1.0: the Nokia 2521i.

We have upgraded to a colour display! I bought this phone in September 2007 right before going to California. I was driving at 1:00am to go to Halifax for an early flight and felt a mobile would be a wise addition to my luggage. It is almost the exact same as my US except the colour display and phone colour. It gave me a source of familiarity, comfort. I believe it was about $60.00, which seemed like a massive rip-off given the free-ness of US mobile. Bonus of being only a slight upgrade to the previous phone is that the phone chargers are the same, and I still have a flashlight which is useful as I don't have a good lamp next to my bed and my room's lightswitch is alllllllllllllllllll the way on the other side of my room, separated by an obstacle course of clothing, books, a random purse... anything really. Could be a snake in there.

My cellphone has not evolved for almost 2.5 years. The phone still works super well. It will randomly shut off once in awhile if I set it down too hard, but that's it. I could upgrade it, but I enjoy the sturdiness of old Nokias. You can drop them and they still work. Unless droppage results in toilet phone, but I think that would kill most phones anyway. I just sometimes feel like a tool using it, but now I like to think it'll only be a couple of more years until it's a cool retro phone. In 2013, pulling out this dandy phone with the flashlight will be like pulling out a Zack Morris phone from Saved by the Bell. Also, you probably have to pay extra to get an flashlight app for your iPhone. Just sayin'...

(Also, let's not even bother getting into the curse of the Blackberry and being 100% accessible to your employer all the time. Fools! Bwa ha haaaa!)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No tengo el tesoro, sólo un sandiwch!

The Internet at my house is wonky and broke. So now when I think of random things to write about I tend to read instead. And the book I'm currently reading makes me think of MORE things to write. Then I fall asleep and forget them all.

I am a bit of a bum for local news and decided last week that I would hate to be the leader of the opposition. Basically her job is to complain about everything the government does. I don't like complaining, I feel guilty when I complain and my head fills with images of starving children or people suffering from incurable diseases. As leader of the opposition, one must never deliver compliments when a success has occurred - even if it is "the best" for citizens. One must find fault with all things. It would not be the job for me - or politics in general. It would be hard to dive into a career path that will lead people to believe you are corrupted, dishonourable, over-paid, under-qualified, and a plethora of other negative adjectives. People expect many public appearances, a perfect background, and that you are secretly a terrible person who likes to kill puppy dogs and set fire to orphanages.

The book I'm reading is a fictional tale about the first king of Canada: King John of Canada (link to Google book if you feel you must read a few pages). I don't really like the narrative style of the book, but perhaps something happens in the end that pieces that together and indirectly hints at why the author chose that style. However, I do like that the book makes me think about the history of Canada, what we've accepted as our norm, and what is accepted because, well, "that's how it is." I suppose books that make us think are good, but I don't feel I'll ever re-read it. I would recommend it selectively, but offer a warning with it. Also, the book has a rather strong anti-Quebecness about it, which I don't so much like.

In news I may have released before, I have recently developed a strong love for goat cheese. Merci, la France! I never really ate it prior to going to France last October. However, on every second street corner in the old town of Aix there was a panini and/or pizza stand/truck/hole-in-a-wall. Having a strong love of sandwiches - particularly TOASTED SANDWICHES, my heart was instantly stolen by the sandwich people after my Euros. On many such sandwiches was goat cheese. A mysterious brand of cheese that I had often heard of, but never tried. Being from PEI, I was well versed in ADL mozzarella and cheddar. In the pub world of the UK I snuck pieces of bree when making paninins for drunk customers. In the happy upscale magicalness of Disney I found myself enjoying the odd sprinkle of blue cheese. Other cheeses were randomly thrown into the mix through the last twenty-plus years (Parmesan, which I don't even know how to spell, swiss, marble, which is hardly worth a mention, and "american cheese"/ew) but the goat cheese still eluded me.

But, oh la France, the changes you have made to me! Not just in my verb conjugation skills, ability to properly composter mon billet, and accidentally rip off the public bus system, but in my appreciation of this delightful soft cheese. Initially I enjoyed only small quantities as it does have a strong taste that somewhat over powers the flimsiness of the accompanying mozza and tomate, but now I so love it. Toasted baguette avec tomate et fromage de chevre. Bien!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Things to get ready for

(Things for which to get ready, if we desire to be grammatically correct.)
  1. The Red Island Relay. It's a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation consisting of two running legs, two cycling legs, and one canoe/kayak leg. Apparently I am feeling in shape. How misleading I am to myself. The most challenging leg will take place at 7:00am: waking up and being able to function without hissing at people.

  2. PEI Biking for Breakfast Challenge. Apparently I think I have the ability to bike 275-ish kilometres in one day. At present, I do not have this ability. There is a good chance I won't have the ability when early August rolls around. However, I have recently seen a few episodes of the Biggest Loser (such a confessional to admit I occasionally watch it) and am intrigued by the prospect of finding my physical limit. The contestants apparently sometimes work out to the point of tears and vomitting. Apparently I want to bike from one end of PEI to the other to see if it will make me cry (very likely) or vomit (very unlikely). This would require a bike upgrade if I even wish to consider reaching and surpassing the halfway point. Another option is to do a portion of the course... we'll see.

  3. Closely monitor the most important website ever invented.

After a string of flats and strings of under-the-breath profanity, bicyclette noire got the greatest Easter gift of them all on Saturday: new tires. Front and back. New, skinnier, sexier tires. Eighty kilometres and thirty hours later, still no flats. Amazing.

The screws fell out of one of my toe clips on early in the week. I tried to fixed it using a bobbie pin and a safety pin. Needless to say that failed about 5-km later.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Birds: Pros and Caw-ns

This afternoon I was sitting in a car waiting for someone and watching a crow hop around on a roof across the street. Having a very scientific mind with both a well developed left and right side, I managed to come up with the following list of the pros and cons of being a bird. The bird being observed was a crow (traditional name: it which caws loudly too early in the morning and poops all over everything).
  • The ability to fly.
  • No bad hair days.
  • Tormenting cats.
  • Destroying garbage bags for pure fun.
  • "Hunting" for food has been simplified to hanging out in the BK parking lot picking at tossed fries and leftover ketchup packets.
  • Living in a tree.
  • Being a hot topic in The Guardian AND CBC PEI Online.
  • Pooping without even having to stop flying, go to the ground, digging a hole, etc. Go when ya gotta.

  • Not having hands.
  • Eyes being on the side of the head so you can't see right in front of you.
  • Being hated.
  • As a result of not having hands and not being able to see right in front of oneself, all potential food must be touched with mouth. Possibly gross and setting oneself up for disappointment when "food" turns out to be a gum wrapper.
  • Being at the very bottom of a "bird watchers' checklist". No one is impressed to know someone who once saw a crow.
  • Confusion with a black bird or raven.
  • Victims of intimidation tactics of "scarecrows".

After mentally establishing this list in my tired "I just biked 40 km, which isn't a lot, but I ran over something and got a flat in Tea Hill and it was annoying because I wanted to bike further" head, I did a crossworld puzzle and was joined by my friend for patio bevvies. I dared not share this list with her, in fear she would plagiarize and steal this blog post for her own, non-existent blog.

La fin.

(PS ~ I do think of more intelligent things throughout the day, really. Like scientific notation and pi. Merci.)