Sunday, March 29, 2009

Someone Turn Out the Lights!

     Hello A and A fans, I'm back and have I got a bone to pick.  Last night there was "Earth Hour".  A lot of you might not have been aware of that and shame on you.  My wife was aware of it and as a result we had all the lights off for the designated "Earth Hour".  It's some campaign by one of the environmental groups to reduce our power consumption.  They know it is symbolic and I know it is symbolic and my wife is a good soul for going along with it, but...

     How come the homeowner is constantly being encouraged to turn off extra lights and keep the fridge door closed (both good things I guess), but you go outside on "Earth Hour" and every business in the neighbourhood that's been closed for hours has their multi-light bulb signs on and they'll be on all night.  Heck when you're outside at night in a commercial area it's bright enough to play football.  Meanwhile, while I'm closing up my fridge as fast as I can, the local grocery store doesn't even have a door on their freezers let alone their fridge!  Something's not right here people.

     I say that if your business is not open then your sign should be off and all grocery store fridges and freezers should have a door that closes.  A glass door like many stores do should be mandatory before they start bugging me about my habits.

    Now for the Anecdote...

     Speaking of fridges, I'm told that beer will stay good pretty much forever, if you keep it in the fridge.  My Dad, who sadly passed away this week, was not a beer drinker.  He also didn't keep his beer in the fridge.  Why did a non-beer drinker have beer you ask?  Well each summer when we were on vacation in Parksville, he and the other dads at the beach would have numerous contests (soccer, cards, croquet, horseshoes, etc.) and the stakes were a beer.  Whatever beer he had leftover would be stored in the basement and the next summer my father would dutifully pack the case into the car with all our other Parksville gear.  The opposition could be heard proclaiming on the first day of vacation, "We better not win anything early on or we'll have to drink Showers' skunky beer." 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Leave David Hahn alone!

Well my friends, my B.C. Ferries poll (on the right) is closing in a few hours and finally someone has chosen the third option that the ferries are a rip-off.  I thought that might win.   My blog mentor tells me I've painted myself into a corner by making this about annoyances, but I'm doubling my material by including things that annoy others but not me. Personally I'm a fan of our ferry system.  I love taking the ferry. 

I don't mind the waiting as it is excellent time to kick back and read as is the ferry ride itself. And for most of the voyage it is quite scenic.  The food seems decent to me.  There is always a line-up and you don't see people bringing on brown bag lunches.  Our boats are very comfortable, especially if the boat is only half full.  In fact I'd argue that we're spending too much on making the boats all fancy and stuff.  Take a Washington State ferry and you'll know what I mean.  Just the basics on there and no line-ups for the food either.  In fact you might want to stick to the vending machines if you're ever on one.

As for price, well it does seem our ferries are on the steep side.  Of course I really don't have much to compare with.  Anyone?  

My best ferry anecdote, other than the one I already told about Jack Webster (see the March 11th entry), is the following.  I was on the upper deck of one of the smaller Vancouver/Victoria ferries.  It has a small lounge area and then two bathrooms.  One for the men and one for the ladies.  I must have gotten distracted on my way to the bathrooms as I went into the wrong one.  And no, I didn't notice right away either.

I was minding my own business in the stall when I got this sense that something wasn't quite right.  I was trying to put my finger on it when it occurred to me that I had not seen a urinal on the way into the stall.  I finished my job and exited the stall and confirmed that there were no urinals.  Thankfully there were no people either as I beat a hasty retreat.  No arrests were made.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wi-Fi? Wi not?!!

Here I sit in the lobby of the palatial Tantalus lodge in Whistler using my blog mentor Guy's laptop. I could be up in his spacious suite, but no, I have to sit in the lobby and watch half naked chubby guys on their way to the pool.

I am surrounded by other lost souls on their laptops. Why? Because the Tantalus, like other high end hotels, is not prepared to have free Wi-Fi in the rooms. Motel 6 does, but not the mighty Tantalus or any other Whistler hotel for that matter. Guy and I are at a loss to explain this behaviour other than as a cash grab. But ten bucks is ten bucks, so here we sit in the lobby of the Tantalus.

I have endured the visit to this lobby because I did not want to break my promise to you my faithful readers that I would post on Wednesdays and Sundays. Guy is here with me now, just sick to his stomach over this issue. A dog just walked through the lobby causing even more stress for him on what is supposed to a stress-free Whistler vacation ruined by no free Wi-Fi.

Story time my bloglodites...

Have I ever told you the story of how Guy and I met. This was long before Wi-Fi or blogs. We met when we were both pre-schoolers. Guy lived across the street from the end of the lane at the back of my house. I was allowed to go up and down the lane, but not cross any streets. I walked down to the bottom of the lane (at three years old I'm on my own in a lane and 50 metres from my house at the intersection with a street – those were the days) and there across the street was Guy.

We chatted, about what I don't recall but I'm sure Guy was probably trying to educate me on something. Guy too had a rule about not crossing the street. Guy even then had a different understanding of the term 'rule' than me. He crossed the street. As he says to me now, "I didn't have a rule, but my mom did."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sport is Sport

I just got back from a weekend in Vancouver watching the B.C.  High School boys' basketball championships.  I also have been known to stop and watch a soccer game if I happen to walk by one and I've watched more Little League games then I can count.  I've paused to try and figure out cricket at Beacon Hill park and I don't mind watching two teams of old men play slo-pitch.

Some people ask me why I'd go to any trouble to watch high school basketball.  For me sports is about the battle and not the weapons.  If it's a close match and played with passion then it is exciting to watch.  I grew up watching my Dad play horseshoes for beer and I'd stay glued to those contests.  I don't think he was even very good at horseshoes, but the games were close.

Try watching some local sports and stop big timing them.  Just because it is not on T.V. does not mean it isn't exciting.  It's a disappointment for me that the media focusses more and more on the big events and gives short shrift to the local ones.  

As for the basketball tournament,  if you've never been then you're missing something.  It is played in the Agrodome and is packed with fans (about 5,000) of one of the teams and/or  knowledgeable fans of the game.  The crowd is boisterous and very into the proceedings.  It's a blast.

Anecdote time...

Speaking of my Dad, it pains me to say that we've recently learned that he won't be with us much longer, so this entry's anecdote is about him and one thing he taught me about sports.

I loved to play croquet when I was a pre-teen (or a kid as we were called back then) and would practice regularly in the backyard.  I pestered Dad into playing one day and soon found myself out to a big lead.  I was getting all cocky about it and yapping.  Dad comes roaring back to beat me, flips his mallet in my direction, says "Never take your opposition lightly," and walks away leaving me with my mouth open.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

You Can Stick that Drive-Thru Up Your Tailpipe

Happy Wednesday everybody.  Drive-Thrus are today's topic and as you can probably guess, I don't like them.  And it has nothing to do with climate change, although there are probably some good points to be made there.  Here's my issue.

When I go into a Tim Horton's that has a drive-thru and it is a peak time, it becomes quite obvious that the staffing priority is the drive-thru and not the regular counter serving me and the other walk-up customers.  The regular line will have two cash registers each with a single employee, but the drive-thru will have a team of highly trained cyborgs running around with their headsets abuzz.  

The people in their cars are obviously in a hurry or they would have got out of their cars, but us chumps who walked into the restaurant obviously have plenty of time to wait in line.  Things move much faster at a Timmy's without a drive-thru.  All I ask is equal staffing for the innies and the outies.

Meanwhile back at the ranch.  Have I ever told you about the time...

I was standing in line on a B.C. ferry with my lovely and talented wife Sondra.  The line was in the cafeteria and right in front of us was Jack Webster, rest his soul, of B.C. television fame.  For those of you who don't know Webster, he was an older scottish fellow who was cantankerous and had excellent guests on his program.  Make sure to use a strong scottish accent when reading his quote below.

In the cafeteria they had some gingerbread men but the sign said gingerbread people.  One of us read the sign aloud and Webster turns to us and says, "Is that what they are calling them now?  They're a bunch of crazies".  

Sunday, March 8, 2009


     Hey kids, I'm back.  Tonight's thing that's bugging me is parking.  Not so much parking as parking tickets.  Not the tickets I get.  The tickets other people are always whining about.  The other day I saw a quote in the paper by an upset parker along the lines of, "I got a ticket for parking 65 minutes in a one hour zone".
     Last time I checked an hour had 60 minutes.  Now sure it might seem like five minutes over isn't much, but I want you to think about this for a minute.  
     First off, it's a pretty clear and fair system.  You get to park for 60 minutes.  If you park more than 60 then you might get a ticket.  If you want to park more than 60, then fine, but you risk getting the ticket.  You knew the rules, so if you break them then whose fault is that?
     Secondly, the person writing the ticket has no way of knowing how long you've been parked there.  They don't sit and wait by your car for the full 60.  If it's a meter, then if the meter is expired it is expired.  It doesn't say how long it has been expired.  If it's not a meter then the parking person chalks your wheels the first time they come by and then come buy an hour later and if you're still there then you're over the 60 that you were entitled to.  Simple.
     Now some might think that there should be no parking rules or meters.  That's a different argument.  I'm just saying if you know the rules and you break them then you have to be prepared to pay the consequences.

Story time....

     I can't think of a parking related story at this moment, so I'll go off on a tangent.  I'll tell the story of the time I almost parked my car in the side of a building.
     I had just bought my first car.  It was one of those boxy 1976 Honda Civics.  Cherry red.  I was not yet totally familiar with the car (keep that in mind).  I was heading down the hill on Cadboro Bay Rd. into Cadboro Bay village.  It's a fairly steep hill with a stop sign at the bottom.  The left turn takes you along the wall of the corner grocery store.
     As I approached the stop sign there was a car stopped in front of me.  I had dropped something and was reaching down to pick it up.  I looked up in time to see I had to stop fairly quickly and reached for the break.  My muscle memory was not yet fully in place for the new car and my foot found the clutch.  I appeared doomed to slam into the car in front of me.  Instead I swerved left, through the stop sign, around the corner, perilously close to the wall of the corner store and down the road.  That was close one.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rats! What are They Good for?

     They're good for an anecdote, I'll tell ya.  Everyone's got a good rat story.  Okay, maybe not everyone, but there are a lot of rat tales in the city.  Feel free to share yours in the comments section.

     I would like to thank those of you who have made comments on my first entries into the blogging world.  Keep them coming.  Your stories add to the fun.  And don't forget to vote in the polls. Now back to the rats.

     Rats are perhaps more than annoying.  They are downright icky.  So it was not a pleasant start to my morning yesterday when I came downstairs to the bathroom and spotted, sitting neatly on the toilet bowl, one little black pellet.  I had been around enough to know that this little poop was not left by any human.  That was a rat poop.  
     I immediately went into the nearby room, with the pantry, that would have treats that might interest a rat.  I didn't see a rat munching away, but I did see our cat sitting somewhere I'd never seen her before.  She took one look at me and I could see the look on her face, it said, "Oh boy, there's going to be trouble now."  She decided it might be best to leave, but then she came back and left and came back again.  She wasn't sure if she wanted to out the rat or if she was best to get the hell out of there before the trouble started.  At least I had a pretty good idea the rat was in there.
     The rat was very helpful as it decided to start moving and banging into things that were cluttered on the counter.  Soon the chase was on.  What do you do if you want to catch a rat?  You grab the first weapon you can see (I've got another rat experience from my twenties when I learned this - that time I used a hockey stick.  Stickhandled the rat right out of my bedroom). This time around I first picked up a baseball bat, but on second thought I chose a ski pole.  A lot of useful sports paraphernalia in my life.
     Rats are pretty quick though and despite some pretty good thrusts with the ski pole, the rat escaped to I didn't know where.  Sports equipment wasn't going to do the trick this time.  More serious rat protection measures were going to be necessary.  I am now the proud owner of two Victor rat traps.  
     Now the Victor rat trap company has some recommendations on their website,, on what to use for bait. Having spent some time around fishermen though, I thought I'd be independent and come up with my own lure.  I went with the salami.  Rat traps are scary as one little slip and the trapper can become the trappee.  I managed to set the traps without losing a finger (although there was a near miss) and hoped for the best.  The traps were set at 6 pm.
     By 11:30 the house was quiet and the rest of the family was asleep.  I sat in my chair reading.  Not waiting for the rat.  I had seen no sign of it and figured maybe it had decided to leave our house given that it was obviously inhabited by some highly intense downhill skier.  Then I heard a noise.  An unfamiliar noise.  I went to check the traps.  (Warning - what comes next is not for the squeamish).
     Rat on!!!!!  There he was, caught by the head and flopping around in the trap.  All I could think was he might get loose if he keeps flopping.  I looked around and there was no sporting equipment to be found, so I grabbed a piece of wood and hit that rat as hard as I could about four times.  It stopped moving.  Yes, I killed a rat.
    What is with these rats anyway?  What gives them the idea that they should come and hang out with us?  Other animals know to stay away from us humans.  But no, the rat thinks he's either clever enough to pull it off or has some historical entitlement to live in our domains.  Man I hate those rats.  Hopefully this was a bachelor rat.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hanging Ten Ain't Always Groovy

Alright, the people are clamoring for more from Little Jackie Showers and I am not one to disappoint the people.  So let's see what's annoying me today...

Overconfident pedestrians.  That's what.  Why is it necessary, preferred, or habit that when people are waiting at a corner for the walk sign to come on that they do so with their toes virtually hanging ten off the sidewalk?  Is it some kind of race?  Step back from the curb and relax and maybe you won't get clipped by that car turning the corner.  I wonder how many hospital visits are made each year by pedestrians getting their toes run over as they wait at the crosswalk.  Me, when I'm a pedestrian I treat it like the cars are all just waiting for the chance to run me down.

That reminds me of the time...

My friend was driving the mean streets of Vancouver and I was in the passenger seat.  We were cruising along and up ahead a couple was on a crosswalk.  They were all in black, so we didn't see them until they stepped in front of our headlights and by then we were getting pretty close so a fairly hard breaking was required.  I rolled down the window to politely inform the black clad pedestrians that they were hard to see.  I was informed that it was a crosswalk.  I tried to explain that this did not make it easier to see them, but it fell on deaf ears.  I think it was at about this point that I got a little less polite.

Of course my friend should have been cautious with the crosswalk upcoming, but as a pedestrian the consequences of a driver not stopping for you are rather negative.  It might not be a good idea to get too cocky out there.