Monday, March 31, 2008

Full Disclosure

We will all agree that the fashion rules for men are a lot less stringent than those that apply to women. We have fewer items to coordinate... we can mix or match items with more ease... etc, etc. But there are a few easy rules that do apply to us that I try to hold to. They are as follows:

1. When wearing slacks, a belt is not just a functional item... and therefore, it is not optional. This rule is basically true whenever you tuck your shirt in. Wear a belt.

2. Said belt should be the same color (or at least in the same family of colors) as your shoes.

3. Socks should match your pants - not your shoes. And they certainly should not be a different color from both the pants and the shoes.

Like I said, I try to hold to these general rules at all times. But today, I somehow left my apartment in violation of rule #1. Fortunately, I am wearing a sweater... so my fashion faux pas is well concealed. But I know... and sometimes that is just worse. Kinda like when you "get away" with a lie as a kid, but your parents know the truth. They let you stew in your web of lies until it eats you up so much that you just have to confess. This blog post is just such a confession.

And Happy Opening Day to all you baseball fans.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Unfreaking Believable

I am so annoyed with living in Canada at the moment. Davidson just lost to Kansas, and I missed the final shot because the network I am forced to watch the game on took a commercial break during the last 16 seconds of the game. Who does that? I can't believe it. I would like to blame it on Canada... but the station is broadcast out of Spokane Washington. Who takes a commercial break with 16 seconds left in a two point game?!?!?!?! I can't wait to get back to Texas where such lunacy would never happen.

OK... I'm done. Carry on.

But really... 16 seconds? Commercial break? WOW!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Solo Ski Trip - #2

I went for another day of skiing again today - this time I hit Lake Louise. I liked it for the most part, but the conditions were poor. It snowed the whole time I was there (actually stopped at 4:00 as I was taking my last run of the day). The powder was pretty good as a result, but the visibility was horrible - and that brought out the apprehensive/timid skier in me. I stuck to blues, and only attempted one black run. That black run saw me sliding down the hill unable to stop. Not cool. Part of the reason for the uncontrolable sliding was the icy conditions (which I found out is because the base at Lake Louise is man-made snow). Anyway, I think I prefer Sunshine... so that will be the venue for Solo Ski Trip #3 (if there is one). I did find another good run with nice moguls... and I did it a number of times. The last time, I actually said (quite loudly, actually) "Why do I keep doing this run?" It was a beast... but I kinda enjoyed it.

I did have an interesting moment while driving back to Calgary. There is a stretch of the road that runs very close to a huge mountain. I mean the mountains are all around you as you drive (and, of course, they are all huge)... but this one in particular is REALLY close to the road - so its size appears even bigger. I get nervous every time I drive by it, and I realized why today. It is because the mountain is so much bigger than I am. That sounds stupid, but that is exactly what it is. I realized that I don't always have that kind of reverence for God, though. I mean the mountain can't do anything to me... but God can take me out in an instant. So while I am not advocating that Christians go though life scared of God... I was just reminded today that I do not always have the healthy fear of Him that I should. I mean I am not really scared of the mountain either... but I am very careful when I drive by it. In the same way, I should care more about how I live my life since God has called me to be perfect as He is perfect. Fortunately, He desires that kind of holiness in my more than I do... so He is actively working to bring it about. Speaking to me through His creation is just one way that He does that.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Is That Toilet Paper in the Sky?

Last Saturday night, I saw something I thought I would only see in pictures. I was out with a couple friends at a house party, and on the way home one of them said she saw the Northern Lights off in the distance. I was ecstatic because this is truly one of those things that Texans and Louisianians rarely (if ever) get to see. So the other friend drove to a place where we could see God show off a bit.

While the show was not as dramatic as you may see in movies or pictures, it was definitely a treat. There was one spot that was really bright, and the rest of it just danced around a little.

I enjoyed it for obvious reasons, but it also reminded me of something my brother and I used to do when we were kids. My mom always bought Northern toilet paper, and my brother and I used to throw the rolls around the house calling it the Northern Lights. Now we didn't do this all the time, but I think we did it more than once. In any event, it is a memory I have that just makes me laugh... and it made me smile last weekend as well.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Guest Blog - The Traveler

Top 10 Etiquette Rules of Flying by The Traveler

So based on my comment to a blog regarding the bush league practice of requesting to swap higher quality airline seats for lower quality seats, it was asked of me “Hey Traveler, you should totally write a guest blog on this matter”. Ok, he didn’t say it like a 16 year old girl, but it sounded funnier and hey I got to make the whole “16 year old girl” joke. On to the rules!

Now these are in order of boarding to deplaning and not necessarily importance.

10. Pre-boarding: Look at the little card in your hand and use common sense. If it says Group 3, you do not board first. First Class always boards first, then Status members, then everyone else. If you are on an Embraer where everyone is First Class and there are three groups to board starting from Group 3, YOU STILL DON’T BOARD FIRST! The people who fly week in and week out board first and then Group 3 boards and 2 and so on. This has two parts:

A. Don’t try and sneak on to get your luggage on board. This is very poor form.
B. Don’t stand at the entrance to the boarding line like they may magically call group 4 before they call group 6 or 1 (or First Class or Status). All you are doing is blocking the way and angering people. This, by the way, should be punishable by a public slapping.

9. When you get on the plane, stick your roll-aboard in the over head compartment and move in to the aisle to take off any extraneous garment you don’t want on your person during the flight. This is not Paris, Milan, L.A. or New York. This is not your personal runway. Other people are trying to board and you essentially are holding up the process of taking off.

8. Luggage stowage: If you have two items. One goes under your seat. If you have a small item only, THIS STILL goes under your seat. Taking up precious overhead space is bush league. If you are sitting in Row 28, your luggage is not that heavy. You have lugged it around all day and another 50 feet will not kill you. DO NOT put your luggage in the bin above aisle 10 or so help me… All this does is slow the boarding process because the people in Aisle 10 have to find a place for their belongings and inevitably it will slow the deplaning process.

7. Sit in your assigned seat. Again look at that little card in your hand and do the math. Oh and don’t try and sit in the exit row seats (the poor man’s First Class) and think the frequent flyer who got that seat will just see you and say “Oh I better find another seat”.

6. Flight Attendants: Be nice to these people. Do not refer to them as stewardesses. This is not 1950. These people are there to ensure your safety (As much as anyone outside of the cockpit can). They are not there to wait on you hand and foot. If you are rude to them then that puts them in a foul mood and the rest have to suffer. Oh and don’t be surprised if you get a sneezer.

5. Seat positioning: If you have the bladder of a new born puppy, don’t choose the window seat. In fact don’t choose the middle seat unless you can not help it. If you are not able to help it you are to be on a liquid fast 3 hours prior to take off and during the entire flight. Because the first time you get up to go to the bathroom people will understand. The third or fourth time, you may get lynched.

4. Swapping seats: Don’t ask to do this unless the swap is equitable. (See my Comment on Airline Etiquette Lesson #1). If you are traveling for pleasure and you book far enough in advance you should be able to sit next to your companion. Go online to the airline’s website and make this happen. I know you can do it! If the airline screws up and moves you to another flight then my apologies but don’t make me suffer for their mistake. If you book a Super Saver seat and end up having to take the left-over seats then that is your bad.

3. Leaning back: Don’t lean back if you don’t plan on sleeping. I and many others on the plane are trying to work. We have laptops and it is very difficult to work with our laptop screen in our Adam’s apple. I don’t mind if you are sleeping but don’t sit there and have a conversation with another person reclined like you are in a Laz-y-boy at your house.

2. I don’t want to talk to you: Nobody wants to talk to you. Question: Do I come to your car and sit there and talk to you while you are going to work? That is exactly what we are doing. There is a 90% chance that if you see someone in a suit or dress slacks and shirt on Monday morning, the same attire on Thursday evening, or wearing jeans and a haggard look then there is a good chance that person is going to or returning from work. I may chit chat with you. You know, “price of tea in China” type conversation. This is mere politeness. It is not an invitation to yap for the next three and a half hours.

1. Deplaning: Ok here are the rules. They are simple. Do not chit chat. Each row on the plane leaves. If you have issues getting your roll-aboard down move inside and struggle there. Let the other people off the plane. I am finally getting home and don’t want to have to sit there and listen to your conversation or determine that you need to hit the gym. Do not try to get your briefcase to connect to your roll-a-board before getting off the jet-way and clear of the entrance. This is still blocking everyone and you are not nimble enough to maneuver your luggage as so. This is the airplane equivalent to rubber-necking in traffic and it angers others.

So you ask what give The Traveler the right to make these bold statements. Last week, I was in another city and The Airline calls me. “Mr. The Traveler, we noticed that you did not fly with us during the month of December and we wanted to check in and make sure everything was ok, and that there was nothing we did to discourage you from flying with us.” To which I responded that everything was fine and that I had a slow month. I also find it ironic that they were calling me in March about December when I had flown 20 times or so since then. Oh well just goes to show how “important” I am.

The Travler

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Indian Food & Other Heated Things

It has finally happened... I have had Indian food that I liked. I mean I have been to India, and I didn't like the food. But last night (after a few hours of drinks), the group I was with suggested going out for Indian food. I said I would go and break nan with them... but I would not likely eat since I don't care for Indian food. Well, I was wrong. Everything I tasted was filled with flavor. I still don't like the textures involved in most Indian dishes, but the flavors were nice. This is a huge thing for me because I like pretty much any type of food in the world. But Indian food has always been like pimento cheese for me - just can't make myself like it.

I also learned that chutney is originally from India. I have always thought is was a British thing. The Canadians love to point out my ignorance on things.

Along those lines, get the Canadians going on the US political race... throw in the fact that I am a Christian... and you have quite the makings of heated discussion. One of the girls in the group last night stopped the conversation because she said it was unfair for me. I appreciated this, but also stated that I can take it. It is so funny how perceptions can be so different depending on where you live. In any event, I enjoy sparring with people even when I am in the minority.

The Calgary Chronicles continue....

Friday, March 07, 2008

I gotta say it was a good day...

No, I am not going to launch into a tribute to Ice Cube.

I have been having a great iPod shuffle day.

As you were.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A New Snack

In my efforts to eat healthier (and in smaller portions throughout the day), I bought some apple sauce. Generally speaking, I do not like apple sauce. The flavor is just not good enough to overcome the strange texture. But they are making huge strides in the world of apple sauce. You can get it with strawberries, kiwi, and my current favorite - peach/mango. Of course, I feel like I am about 1 year old eating it... and the fact that the spoon is extra small is not helping.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Single Isn't So Bad

Two weeks ago, I decided to finally make my way over to Banff to go skiing. I have lived here for 4 months, and this was my first time to hit the slopes. A buddy of mine who lives in Houston has already gone three times this year. What is wrong with this picture? Quite a lot, actually.

Anyway, I went skiing alone... and this was a bit nerve racking for me. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy skiing as much if it was not part of a vacation with friends. Fortunately, I was wrong. I totally enjoyed it.

During the first half of the day, I skied with my iPod playing. I selected some songs that would go nicely with being out in some of God's most beautiful creation. So the first half of the day was truly more of a worship time for me. The weather was fantastic... the skiing was great... all of this made for a nice morning.

After lunch (as sandwich and chips that cost me almost $15), I decided to go into mogul mode. I had seen a run earlier in the day that had some nice bumps on it, but was not too steep. My goal for the afternoon was to negotiate that stretch of moguls over and over until I could do it without falling. I met my goal... but it took me many tries. But to make the story even better... it is listed as a black run. I felt like I had arrived. But truly, it was more of a blue-black.

Side note here. I had skied a run earlier in the day with large moguls, and it wore me out. When I saw it from the lift later in the day, my only thought was "I don't like that run." This was funny to me (and me alone, I'm sure) because it reminded me of my nephew. When a character comes on the screen of during one of his cartoons, he always says (very emphatically, actually), "I don't like that man." So I felt a strange connection to the little guy as I saw the brutal moguls - even though I was hundreds of feet away from them.

The best thing about skiing alone is the "singles only" lines at the ski lift. For once, I was happy to be counted as a "single." I rarely (if ever) had to wait in the lift line. There was always a group of two or three who needed a tag-along. I was happy to be that tag-along.

So solo skiing isn't so bad. Now I don't think I would be willing to fly to Colorado or Utah from Houston to do it alone... but given my current proximity to the slopes, I plan to do it again (maybe even this weekend).