Monday, December 28, 2009

Back in Town

I'm back in StL!

The trip home was smooth and uneventful. Definitely new procedures in place for security. Pat-downs are standard now and for international flights, you cannot have anything in your lap for the last hour of the flight. e.g. I had to put my book away. No getting into your carry-on etc. Just sit there.

Fine by me. I was home in 9 hours with my bags. That's good news.

My vacuous, absurd reunion with my apartment ("good to be back, fridge! How are ya, Mac?") has already worn off. It's good to be back, and now I'm reflecting on a great trip. Excited about many gifts, including some biographies of key Canadians (e.g. Trudeau and Tommy Douglas).


ps. I may have had this guy before, but my cab driver from the airport was a hoot. A Polish dude with a thick Russian accent, he claims common ancestry with the aristocracy in Russia (i.e. the czars). He said he loves Canada and knows some old players personally. He rattled off Tony and Phil Esposito, and Frank Mahovlich (certainly bona fide names).

pps. I missed Binky and the gang, but happy to know they went off to Disney World! I can't wait to hear how it went.

ppps. My friend (from last year's ordeal) Olga, and I, were going to get together but she fell off the radar. Hope all is well for her

pppps. My voice is back but there's not much volume or power... I think it is still going to be sore for awhile.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Trip update

Well, it's been a great trip... I've seen a lot of people and caught up on all the news. A major casualty has been my voice (I've been whispering for 3-4 days), but hopefully it will return.

I don't have much energy to recap the entire 10 days. The additional highlights are that the weather has been incredibly mild (Christmas was barely white), Dad was well feted for his birthday, and the gifts given/received were great. Lots of food, family, and friends.

It is, as always, weird to go back. I miss my friends and my life in St Louis, yet in a few short weeks I will miss the Maritimes again. At 40, I feel like I should make making some long-term strategic decisions with respect to my career. Alas, my strength is "short-term optimization" and not long-term strategy. Ah well. One goal was to seek counsel on this subject from some key people: great input from some corners (you know who you are! ;-)


ps. I guess the next thing on the agenda is the New Year (and New Decade) ! I've been thinking about the highlights of the 2000s. I'm not sure how much I'll post but it has certainly been a great decade personally, even if Time recently labeled it "The decade from hell" for the USA.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


The last post is a bit out of order. The big news is that I'm home on PEI! I came home early to celebrate my Dad's 70th. The birthday post was sincere but also a ruse.

My Dad was definitely surprised when I arrived, and also today at a gathering at my sister's. It was a special day all-around as it was her first big party in the new house (my sister and bro-in-law bought a place this summer). About a dozen family members, including all of Dad's siblings still on The Island (4 of 8). It was a good time and lots of good food...


ps. My flight went well, at a time when it was truly important. I braved both O'Hare and Trudeau and got away with it.

Christmas Songs

Binky wrote a post about favourite Christmas songs. Here is one of mine.

My folks had an old hi-fi stereo that played 16, 33 1/3, 45, and 78 rpm albums. There was a bunch of old records in the cabinet. My sister and discovered one by Bing Crosby and the Andrews sisters. This was not the famous "White Christmas" but rather one called "Merry Christmas". It is very difficult to find.

One side was religious tunes; the other was more secular pop. One could say this is cheese extraordinaire, but I just loved it. My sister and I dug out that record for a few years in a row.

One of my favourite tunes is Christmas in Killarney, loosely based on an Irish jig. Sure enough, it is on YouTube replete with a display of the album itself!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today is my Dad's birthday! Can you believe it!?

My grandmother started WWI and I guess my Dad started WWII. This is ironic since both are among the most kind-hearted people I have ever known.

Happy Birthday, Dad! I hope that you have a fantastic day....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

'Tis the Season

This is a house near my apartment. The shot isn't very good, but the entire yard is full of lights and various figures.

One would think that the place would look too 'busy' or jammed, but I think it looks lovely. It is a treat to drive past it.

I've seen some houses/yards done up so well that people will drive by as a tour (if you know Webster Groves, you probably know where I mean). This place is a bit more modest than that, and in that way it endears itself to me even more.

I stood out in the chilly wind and snapped this pic. Not easy, with rush-hour traffic whizzing by.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


It is 10 pm on Saturday night... about 37 F and we have significant thunder and (very chilly) rain....

Quite unusual for mid-December.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Ghost of Christmas Pluperfect

Quote from Twitter:

I'm the ghost of Christmas Pluperfect. I'm what you had thought Christmas was, until a subsequent event. Confusing, I know.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


xkcd is a hilarious web comic for software developers. The guy intentionally named it so that it couldn't be pronounced. It is perhaps the iconic "stick figure" / "bad art but funny" presence on the web.

He also has a fun take on Can-Am relations (click here). LOL


Monday, December 07, 2009


It is no secret that FB and Twitter bend normal social boundaries, but here are some recent examples.

The mayor of St Louis has a Twitter feed. Though some updates are by his staff, he uses his initials (#fgs) on tweets that he writes. He publicly chatted with my pal Andy, which was really neat.

And tonight, the NHL tweeted that Martin Brodeur tied Terry Sawchuk's record for career shutouts. I like Brodeur but I was a huge fan of Sawchuk; I read about him a lot when I was a kid. He died circa 1970 (I have a penchant for tragic stories: Sawchuk, Rhoads, Mozart).

Anyway, I responded and the NHL replied (here)! Can you believe it?! Of course, it is just some punk at a computer, but holy cow! It is a thrill.


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Man versus Toddler

This video is fun... I don't know why but it must be the cognitive dissonance of the contest versus the kid's cheerful cluelessness.

So you want to live in Calgary?

Here is a pic from a recent snowstorm in Calgary. Yikes.

It certainly acts as a counter-balance to the gorgeous scenery of Banff and Lake Louise.


ps. No snow here in StL. About -3 C windchill today.