Friday, August 24, 2007

Moving!

Taking a short break from my packing (which is mostly done). Two friends are coming and staying over around 10pm tonight. Two other friends are meeting us in the morning. One thing I'm a little worried about is acquiring my U-Haul truck. I made the reservation online and just called them asking when/where I could pick it up. They told me that they would call me tomorrow. Problem is, I only have the elevator in London from 9am-1am, so if I don't get the truck by 8:30... Thus I whined only to be told that they best option they could give me would be for me to call them at 7 in the morning. Apparently they don't often get trucks returned on time, so it'll be iffy. U-Haul really needs a better supply chain management system!!

Other than that ... I'm really excited to get settled in Toronto. I was able to see my new place a few weeks ago and I LOVE it! Hopefully will post some pictures soon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I will never marry a man that ... (pt 6)


















I will never marry a man that, upon being alerted to some sort of social wrongdoing, declines to intervene. Examples of such wrongdoings: a woman being disrespected in any way, bullying, thievery, old people falling.

Trip Notes #3 - Switzerland















Although our four days in Nice were lovely, we were ready for new adventures on the 5th morning, and we were off to Switzerland! Having made no arrangements for our transportation to the airport, and realizing about 1 hour prior to our flight as we packed up our suitcases that: public transportation hasn't started running yet, the phones in our room don't work (not that we knew any cab numbers anyway), and it would take at least 2 hours to walk there. Distressed, we made our way outside only to find a cab waiting there - just for us! We still haven't figured out how this happened, and resolved to grant the good deed to either our thoughtful hotel managers or the kindly gods of travel (who must have been taking pity on us ever since our London ordeal).

The flight was uneventful, but our arrival in Geneva was unpleasant: it was about 10 degrees and I, for one, had not packed proper winter wear. Arriving at our hotel (the 'Nashville', how American) we passed many interesting sights including numerous strip clubs and prostitutes, finally realizing why we had obtained such a good rate on the room. In Geneva we ate extremely overpriced meals and marvelled at how little there was to do. We also took a 30 euro train ride to a completely boring and dreary French village and resolved not to do random day trips again. We also began calling all the extreme sporting venues we could find on the internet, often to rudely awake people because we insisted on making our inquiries at 6 in the morning. Finally the weather behaved itself, and we made our way to picturesque Interlaken - a stop that I highly recommend if in the area. Our adventure for the day was originally to be sky diving - but was downgraded to paragliding to save money.

Paragliding is not at all scary, it's like drifting over the clouds in a miniature plane ... minus the walls. (And excepting the cliff jump beginning). We payed a little extra for some "in flight" pictures, which I will develop and post here one day. Overall we enjoyed Switzerland but were quite pleased that our next stop, Barcelona, had considerably more favorable weather forecasts.

Pictures.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

#5 - Little Miss Sunshine




















Little Miss Sunshine is a movie about how families, even at their most destructive, are a unit onto themselves. They exist almost in their own universe, while the world rolls along outside. Despite being a comedy (with excellent adult wit), LMS also doubles as a dramatic satire about the traditionally dysfunctional American family. Two of my favorite scenes emphasize this duality: any one of the “family member runs after moving van” moments, and the son’s monologue on the pier (not to mention the amazing ending). What I particularly enjoy about this film is that it has a lot to say, but perhaps not one particular, conventional message. It allows the audience to take what wisdom or wit from the film that they so choose. Truly a delight of 2006.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Things I love (pt 5)















Rollercoasters! Most especially, those at Cedar Point. My favorite are traditional-style with very high, fast initial drops. Example: Millenium Force.

Trip Notes #2 - Nice, France















After our uneasy, sleepless start to the trip in London, we arrived in Nice extremely thankful that it was a beach town with not a lot to see. We got off the bus from the airport at the wrong stop, and had to walk about half an hour to our hotel - but we could have cared less at that point. In fact, the walk was right along the beach so it was a nice introduction to the beautiful green/blue waters. We stayed at a bed & breakfast about one block from the promenade, and surrounded by traditional French street-front cafes. In fact, we woke up every morning (or afternoon, depending on how lazy we were feeling) to the sound of accordians. We spent most of our days (and nights) on the beach working on not being so Canadian (i.e. pale). On Day 3 we took a small boat cruise where the girls conveniently ducked as waves crashed over the side and straight into my face. The boat's tour guide pointed out Elton John and Mick
Jagger's palatial ocean-view estates. That same evening we were able to take a $5 euro trip over to Cannes to catch the very last day of the film festival. No movie star sightings (fun fact: Caroline had been in an earlier year and saw the cast of Star Wars), but we did see lots of people running around in tuxedos and evening gowns, giving the town a very glamorous feel.

Photos.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

# 6 - Borat
















Comedies are inherently difficult to review – does being funny make it a successful cinematic endeavor? I’m not sure I know the answer to that question, neither from my own point of view or in a general sense. However, I am quite sure that Borat goes beyond a hilarious mockumentary and into the realm of meaningful social commentary. It is not the funniest movie ever made; some scenes are repetitive and others you may have to hide your eyes a few times to get through. But, I don’t care about that, I was impressed most by scenes such as the one in which Borat receives social etiquette lessons from a rich family in the deep South. They do not raise their voices when, being na├»ve about proper toilet use, Borat brings his poop back to the table. But, they scream that he must leave immediately when he invites his black, prostitute (but otherwise lovely!) girlfriend to the soiree. Another meaningful scene involves a group of college frat boys on an RV spewing idiotic comments about women. Their subsequent lawsuits are just silly. Regardless of the producer’s offer of alcohol to loosen them up, they were not forced to drink ALL of it. Moreover, the values they portrayed were obviously instilled a long time ago. In short, Borat delves into the prejudices of America that are normally left to the realm of "serious" films ... and that is very nice indeed.

Critic's Review.

Collaborative Blogging and Other Things

- Matt has resurfaced the idea of doing a collective blog on the subject of movies. If you would be willing to participate, let me know.
- Occasionally, rainy days are quite nice. Like today.
- I'm reading a book called "Blindness" by Jose Saramago, on page 20, so it's hard to give a plot synopsis just yet, but basically a man goes completely blind unexpectedly, In retrospect, you probably could have figured that out for yourselves, Anyway, the story is interesting but the author does this very weird thing, he connects about ten thoughts together at a time, via horrible comma splices, But, I guess I'm getting used to it.
- Just got back from seeing the Bourne Ultimatum. Thumbs up. Perhaps more later on another blog!
- Despite very recently returning home from the longest trip of my life to date, I have started to think about what I would like to do on my next trip. My current idea is a big, old fashioned, USA Roadtrip with (hopefully) a couple friends. I would want to go for around 4-6 weeks and possibly see all of the "main" 48 states ... or at least the majority. I would like to see the big cities such as LA and Vegas, but also the millions of little towns with their giant pancakes/balls of string. And of course Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, etc. Current cost estimates are around $3000-$3500 per person, which isn't too bad for a 40 day trip! Potential timing would be summer 2010.
- Finally, wow exciting!!