Month: May 2011

This trip has reached its half-life

So weve reached the halfway point.

I know youre all dying for pictures and incredible stories from Scotland. Dont worry I have both of them and you will be subjected to them very shortly and for a long long time. 🙂

Im taking advantage of the free wifi here at the Castle to quickly update you.

I bought myself two bottles of whisky at this point: the Ardbeg Festival edition, only 1,000 of them bottled and the Caol Ila Moch edition, only available to the friends of Malt and at the distillery.

The distilleries tours are awesome. How often can I say that I sat in Lagavulins warehouse, drinking whisky straight from the hogs head?

Were having a blast.

Slainte!

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Mr. FancyPants

This is my favorite distiller. They came out with a “Manager’s Choice”. At 400$ a bottle, this makes it slightly out of my price range. But oh just so slightly. I can almost taste it.

Quick poll: Am I bringing back this bottle? 😉

Tripod

Recently I was telling someone I was going to Scotland, and that I was debating bringing my tripod or not.

Here’s the conversation we had.

Me: I’m going to Scotland soon, and I’m still debating bringing my tripod or not. What would you do?

Her: Well, I guess it depends how the roads are in Scotland.

Me: ??????????? (O.o <– that’s the face I made) Why are the roads a factor?

Her: Well, where I come from the roads are really bumpy, so sometimes we’d get stuck while driving around in our car.

At that point, I’m thinking maybe she uses a tripod to jack the car out of some potholes. That doesn’t make sense right?

Me: (After more ?????? and O.o) How would that change anything versus bringing a tripod or not?

Can you guess where this is going? I couldn’t. Try to guess, then read the rest of this entry after the jump. 😉

(more…)

Look at that counter go!

Awesome!

We started talking about this trip almost ten years ago. It’s finally happening: In less than 60 hours, I’ll be on a plane flying to Edinburgh via London!

Unless something goes terribly wrong. Because knowing me, I’m not jumping for joy before we actually touch the tarmac in Edinburgh. Who knows what can happen in the next few days. It’s not like the last few days went extra smoothly you know…

One of our B&B didn’t have my reservation. Because I’m slightly OCD, I like to make spreadsheets and send confirmation emails and double-check and triple-check ad nauseam. So of course out of the 89 places I contacted, we ended up booking at 9 places and out of those nine place one of them didn’t have my booking. The guy was nice enough about it, with a little bit of snarkyness thrown in for good measure:

The good news is just as well you checked in time as you will not have a booking confirmation as you never confirmed with us. The bad news is we have no rooms on any of the nights you request. Suggest you try say ‘Visit Scotland’ or ‘Expedia’ at this late stage but this is a very busy weekend in Edinburgh and we have been booked out for months.

Sorry to break this to you at this late stage but as you never replied to our offer we assumed you didn’t require the rooms.

I’m not sure the concept of “good news / bad news” is well understood here. Oh well, I just Googled “Hotels in Edinburgh” and managed to book two rooms within 2 minutes, for the same rate that guy had quoted me. Crisis averted.

My lift to the airport tried to scare me. This morning I got an email from my friend Pascal who offered to drive us to the airport and pick us up when we come back. His email went like this:

So, did you get new luggage? Are you packed? Are you excited?

Let me know what time you want to leave your house on Friday.

I emailed him back and then I called him on the phone, because my flight is on THURSDAY.

So yeah, who knows what will happen in the next 60 hours. 😉

Bumpin’ Uglies

There are not a lot of things I really hate in this World.

Camping is on top of that list, of course. Shut up, camping is a “thing”. I hate it.

Most mornings, I walk through a Shopping Mall to get to work. The whole thing lasts maybe 2-3 minutes (that’s what she said), and is always a dreadful experience (that’s… well you get it.).

Anyways. I have this thing. I hate walking in a crowd. A crowd of uncoordinated morons, half asleep because they didn’t have their morning caffeine yet, randomly zig-zagging, stopping, turning, backing up…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the fastest walker ever. I don’t even like walking that much. But I know how to walk in a straight line. I learned the value of being predictable when I walk with / around other people. I know that because I constantly check. For example, this always happens to me:

If I walk with another person to go grab lunch, a coffee, get a new car, the other person will always end up making me go off the sidewalk, brush a wall, etc. I know it’s not me, because once the person is actually touching my shoulder, I’ll change side this will happen:

So regardless of the side I walk on, I always manage to attract the other person. I did the math*, even my near 300-pound gorilla body should not exert that much gravitational pull on another human being. You can imagine what happens when I try to walk in a crowd of people coming and going, half asleep, not paying attention to what they’re doing and their surroundings.

I bump into a lot of people.

Let me rephrase that.

I use to bump into a lot of people. Now I tackle a lot of people. I’m not saying I dive in their knees or clothesline them – did I ever mentioned I used to play football? – but I’m like an anvil wrapped in a thick cushy fat layer. If you brush against me you’ll be fine, but if you hit me head-on and manage to reach the hard core – hahaha like there’s one! – it’s like hitting a padded cell wall. It may be padded, but it’s still a wall.

Especially nowadays, since I’m completely fed-up with trying to avoid all the idiots walking through the Mall, so I won’t make any kind of effort to get out of your way. This was seriously getting ridiculous, you should’ve seen me looking like a monkey on crack dodging, weaving, side-stepping people. that 3 minute walk through the mall was kinda like a 90 minute workout. It’s like I was the Prince of Persia, I swear.

If you’re texting and walking at the same time? Odds are you will hit me because I won’t move. You’re looking to your right and moving to your left? You’ll hit me. By the way, you’ll be surprised how many people actually do that, moving in a direction they don’t look. You stop dead at the top of the escalator? I’ll walk through you. You suddenly stop for no reason? I’ll plow in your back.

Anyways, I was walking through the Mall the other afternoon, thinking about this post. How was I going to do the line graphics, would I look for a Mall floor plan, and mostly how was I going to find the perfect ending. Then I had this “You got to be shittin’ me!” moment, the perfect ending offered on a silver platter. You will never guess what I saw, walking towards me on a perfect collision course.

A Fucking Juggler.

I kid you not. A guy was actually walking through the crowd – while juggling balls. I was too dumbfounded to take a picture, but I swear I’m not making that up. I of course started to giggle like a fool, imagining how things like that only happen to me, and how absolutely no one would ever believe me.

I didn’t even help him pick up his balls.

* Not really

What happened on January 14, 2011?

How many hits per day do you get on your blog?” is by far the question I get asked the most when people (all kinds of people) learn that I have a blog.

I honestly don’t know.” is the answer I gave 100% of the time.

I guess I’m not obsessed with numbers – ha! That’s a first; me not obsessed with something – as much as other people. I don’t measure my “success” as a blogger by some mathematical equation *cough* Klout *cough* or by some complex and colorful graphs automatically generated.

I measure my success by the amount of parenthesis, asterisks, semi-colons, quotes and badly constructed sentences I can come up in a post with. And italics. don’t forget the italics.

Seriously, I think for me the best measure of success is the number of comments I get on any given post. I don’t even need hundreds of comments to be happy, even just one comment makes my day. I like to interact with people. I’m a sucker for some good communication.

After being asked once more this morning about the amount of visitors I get in a day, I figured that any self respecting geek like me would be able to figure out how to get on the Google Analytics train, and finally be able to reply “Some random number” instead of “I honeslty don’t know.” when asked about my readership.

Note to self: I need to come up with some sort of a name for my readers, like Ferguson with his “Robot Skeleton Army”, Glee with their “Gleeks” and Avitable with his “Fuckers”. I’m thinking I’ll call you “TheSombres” or maybe “Canadianans”, what do you think? Suggestions?

Toujours est-il que that Google Analytics thing? I already had set it up on this very blog. It’s like I’m doing geeky stuff in my sleep sometimes. Look:

Click to embiggify

What happened on January 14, 2011? I installed a new template, and promptly forgot to add the GA code to the new template. It’s either that, or you don’t love me anymore, so excuse me while I live in denial for a little while, because the alternative is too painful.

How many readers do I have?

ZERO.

Forever alone.

Weirdest phone call ever

DRRRING!

– LeSombre, Good morning!

 

– Hi. I’ve been given your name.

– Ok, what can I do for you?

– I need help.

– How can I help you today?

– Somebody told me you could help me.

– Of course. How can I help you?

– I need help.

(Client is speaking to someone else while covering the mouthpiece)

– Who gave you my name?

– I would like to speak to someone who is willing to help me.

– …

– [Client gives me the person’s name]

– Okay. What can I do for you?

– [Person] gave me a bunch of documents.

– …

– I don’t understand what to do with them.

– …

– I’ve been hired yesterday.

– Do you know where our lab is? You can come in anytime you want and a technician will help you and answer all your questions.

– No, I don’t know.

– We’re in MacDonald Hall, 3rd floor, room 328.

– That is fairly vague.

– Excuse me?

(client starts yelling)

– THAT! IS! FAIRLY! VAAAAAGUE!

– …

– THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.

(Click)

Seriously, WTF?

Disclaimer: This didn’t happen today. I was just going through old emails and found this gem.