Breaking A Rule Because I Can

sunshine blogger

On the weekend, I was awarded the Sunshine Blogger award by Ellie at Blogging for Dopamine.  I have been following her blog for some time.  I was initially attracted by wide array of interests and the fact that she is a self-confessed nerd.  Please check out her blog for her take on books, movies, geek culture and some other stuff.

She did not mention what this award is for, so I have to assume that she feels I am spreading sunshine.  I certainly am trying to keep my spirits up.  If that helps others, all the better.  So, thank you for the award Ellie.  I appreciate that you are getting something from my blog.

Like other awards there are rules–one of which I simply cannot follow.

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions set by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and then write 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger award logo in a post/on your site

Here are her questions and my answers.

1.  Are you hooked on any particular TV show at the moment? What is it?

Arrow and Timeless–Arrow for its stunts and interesting storytelling, and Timeless for Abigail Spencer.

2.  What was the last book you read? How did you find it?

I just finished When the Music’s Over by Peter Robinson. I took it out of the library on “express loan”, which meant that I had seven days to read it or face the dreaded library fines.  I picked this one up because I have read and enjoyed all the books in the series.  I am not sure why I picked these books up in the first place, but I am happy to note that this is one of the rare times when I read the entire series in order.  I suppose it is because the author divides his time between the UK and Toronto that they stock his books in my library.

3.  Battle of the entertainment mediums! Which is your favourite – books, TV, films, comic books, video games, tabletop games etc.?

Books, then movies, then comic books, then my bicycle, then TV, then music.

4.  Is there any fictional character you have always wanted to be? Who?

When I was younger, probably Snake Eyes from GI Joe, or the Highlander, or the Silver Surfer.

5.  Science or technology?

Pure science. I meant to study chemistry but the need for good study habits and good grades derailed that ambition.  Technology is awesome, but science is what might save the planet

6.  Have you ever read a book that you felt was written just for you? What was it?

This is kind of a tough question. Is this about books I really liked or books that I believe only spoke to me? If I had to choose, there are a couple.  A Separate Peace by John Knowles and Waterland by Graham Swift.

7.  If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Pizza. Pizza, pizza, pizza.  I have eaten it every day for more than a week before.  Actually a couple of times before.  I like a variety of toppings, thick or thin crust, deep dish or not.  Basically just pizza in any of its forms.

8.  Can an adaptation ever be better than the original?

Absolutely, though it is rare. Usually if the original is great, it can’t be touched.  However, if the original is only somewhat good, then an adaptation of it can be fantastic.  The movie Die Hard was much better than the book it was adapted from.   I might even go so far as to say the Bourne Identity was a better movie than the book, but now I am risking the wrath of many people.

In terms of music, some (not all) live versions of songs are better than the originals. While I love the original version of Free Bird, the live version is phenomenal.  The live version of Dazed and Confused that you can see on YouTube is raw and cool and displays the blues roots of Led Zeppelin a little better than the studio cut does.  Of course this is a remake of Yardbirds tune, so it qualifies.

Remakes also work if they are changed and reworked, though mostly I don’t like this, I must admit some are well done.  I am thinking of the addition of Amy Lee on Seether’s Broken.  Also, the Cowboy Junkies rework of Sweet Jane takes it in completely another direction.  The original is great, but the Junkies made it haunting.

In terms of television shows, this rarely works. Maybe Eight is Enough and MASH surpassed their book inspirations, but many other s do not.  Some remakes of British shows just don’t seem to work.  The exception to this is game shows.  Those seem easily adaptable to different countries and cultures with only modest tweaking.

9.  Who is the most famous person you’ve met?

It is a toss up between Bobby Jimby and Susan Musgrave. I would probably have to go with Susan Musgrave who was the Author in Residence when I was at Western.  She was down to earth and solidly real.  Also, her feedback sessions on my writing were wonderful.

In case you’re wondering, I would love to meet Joanne Kelly, Erin Karpluk, Winona Ryder, Laura Benanti and Harlan Ellison.

10.  What’s your favourite season?

Autumn, definitely Autumn. Crisp air, interesting colours, my body having benefited from a summer of cycling is probably in decent shape and I get to wear sweaters.  Winter, with its skiing is a close second.

11.  Share one of your favourite quotes!

Rather than a Quote, I can offer the Poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,

      Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

      I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

      Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

      Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

      How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

      I am the captain of my soul.

Nominations

This is quite hard.  I recently did this for another award and probably bothered a bunch of people.  They probably didn’t have time to participate in this kind of thing.  Therefore, rather than nominate a bunch of people I have already nominated, I am going to throw it open to any of my readers who would like a little exposure to my other readers.  While I do not have that many followers, the ones I do have are quality people.

The first 11 people to write to me saying they want their blog to be nominated will.  I will then link them to this post.  Of course that means you have to answer my 11 questions.

  1. Which book can you read over and over again without getting bored?
  2. Which TV show would you like to spend a week of real time in?
  3. What is something you would like to learn how to do?
  4. What are your favourite pizza toppings?
  5. If you were to tattoo a phrase or motto onto your body, what would it be?
  6. Whose advice do pay most heed to?
  7. Coffee or tea?
  8. Tell us about something that you collect.  When/why did you start?
  9. What song sums you up personally?
  10. What are you most proud of?
  11. What scene would you like to look out your window and see every day?

 

 

 

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, award, books, comic books, food, music, questions, reading | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Amazing Vietnam Photos

For those of you who have been following the blog lately, you’ll know that I recently took an amazing cycling trip to Vietnam.  I enjoyed showing you some of my photos and relating my experience.  Your response has been overwhelmingly positive.

One of the other members of the tour, John, has proven himself to be a fantastic photographer.  His pictures of Vietnam are incredible.  He has put his photos up on Flickr.  I asked him if I could share them with you and he happily gave his permission.

Please check them out.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/152980913@N02/33471862976/in/album-72157679165010452/

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, cameras, Exodus, Exodus Travels, incredible, inspiration, inspiring, photography, Vietnam | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recliners

001

No, the movie is not called LOGAN RECLINERS. An odd twist saw myself and my two best friends going to see Logan.  For whatever reasons, they didn’t see them with their own children and were free to see it with me.  Perhaps because the Disney juggernaut Beauty and the Beast the movie had already been moved to a smaller theatre.  Normally, I would be a little miffed at this.  This time, however, I was pleasantly surprised.

This theatre, having to come up with other marketing strategies opted to put fewer seats in the theatre, by providing large seats with large armrests and a reclining function that included a leg rest. Basically, I had those Joey and Chandler (from Friends) big chairs.  There was no beer fridge in mine, but still.

recliner

Like I said, pleasantly surprised. Now I am starting to think everything in life could use a little upgrade.  For example

  • Guacamole should come free on my burritos
  • They should put the prizes back in cereal
  • Public washrooms should have larger toilets and more hanging hooks
  • All books should come with bookmarks
  • Buses should come with heated seats in winter
  • There should be more comics in my Saturday paper
  • Coffee should be free at work
  • The subway should have its own library

Feel free to add any upgrades you would like to see in your daily life.  I am very curious about your ideas.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, cinema, comfort, movies, review | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Really?! On My Banana?

I know this blog is all about positivity and finding the best part of the day, but sometimes, I just need to get something off my chest. Sometimes things, even barely significant things, weigh on you and venting them seems like the best option.  I promise it won’t get too ranty….and maybe there is a chuckle in here somewhere.

bananas 002.jpg

So this morning, while organizing my lunch for work (I don’t brown bag it exactly…I have a lunch sack) I came across the picture above. That’s right.  There was advertising on my banana.

I’ll let that sink in.

There was advertising on my banana.

When did this happen? Who decided that bananas were a place to advertise anything, let along a Disney movie?  I get it.  Parents want their kids to be healthy, so they’ll pack them a banana for lunch.  The kid gets advertised to.  Kind of subliminal, no?  I wonder if the parents have caught on yet?

Skipping past that, though I am not sure we should, let’s get back to who decided this question. Was there leftover advertising money and someone said, “I know, bananas.”  Who needs Super Bowl commercials when I can advertise on bananas?  Why not apples?  Why not peaches?  Is it something about the colour yellow? Is there some connection to Beauty and the Beast I am unaware of?  Wouldn’t tea have been more appropriate?

I guess if I worked in marketing, I might think this was genius. It’s new and different.  It gets to the target market.  It probably isn’t that expensive.  I mean, the stickers got to go on anyway, so what if they contain ads?

Perhaps, I should be so condemning, If there is money to spend on banana advertising, maybe there is money to fund this blog.  Maybe there is money to send me on more cycling trips.

****Update

I checked my bananas and not all of the stickers contain advertising.  Does that mean there wasn’t a big enough budget?  Does that mean that only select bananas were graced with the sticker ads?  It gets more confusing with each passing moment.

Posted in advertising, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, blog, blogging, blogposts, commercialization, Disney, making money, money | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Riding the Bus into Spring

Though it was not my intention, this morning, I rode the bus into Spring.

As you might have heard, Spring came to my area of the world at either 6:18 or 6:19 this morning. Why the discrepancy or lack of accuracy?  I am not sure, but the radio DJ’s spent quite a bit of time talking about it.  Either they really cared about accuracy, or more likely, they just wanted to kill a bit more time.

As for me, I boarded my bus at 6:15. I was able to enjoy (regardless of which minute was the exact moment Spring came) my journey into Spring warm enough and almost comfortable on the bus.  That is to say, the bus was rather crowded for a Monday morning.  Either students are putting in a last ditch effort to pass the school year or I wasn’t the only one who wanted to take a bus into the new season.  Perhaps it was something else.  I just refuse to believe it was a normal Monday morning.

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bus, commuting, public transportation, seasons, Spring, transportation | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Neon Mornings

Vietnam 2017 408

As result of daylight savings time, mornings that had finally been showing wonderful signs of dawn have now been plunged back into darkness. Storefronts are signs that had paled in the early morning light once again shine bright, advertising their names and identities for all weary commuters to see.  Our progress towards work, so clearly marked.

It may be beautiful, but I would love to see the sun while drinking my coffee.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bus, commuting, lights, morning, Neon, public transportation, transportation | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Hue

Hue was once an imperial city.  The Citadel and its grounds were host to me and the rest of the crew on our bike tour of the city.  We not only got to dice with early morning and midday traffic, but take in some beautiful sites.

Vietnam 2017 576

 

Vietnam 2017 571

 

 

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, Exodus, Exodus Travels, Hue, travel, Vietnam | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ha Long Bay

Vietnam 2017 699

When people think of Vietnam, I am pretty sure that Ha Long Bay is one of those images that explodes into the brain.  Before my trip fades from memory, I think I should put down a few words and share some of the amazing pictures I took.

We got to Hanoi by overnight train just before dawn.  The journey had been a difficult one, made more difficult by copious amounts of alcohol consumed and a climb down from the top bunk when nature called.  My belly was full of pizza delivered to the station and my ears full from conversations with my bunk mates.  I had managed to sleep a little and managed to catch some of the night scenery on those rocking and rolling nature breaks.

We went to our eventual hotel to have breakfast and store our bags. I was lucky enough to snag the newspaper while enjoying my coffee, omelette, fruit, yogurt and of course my morning flan (crème caramelle the Europeans called it).

Our bus ride through the old quarter of Hanoi out to the road to Ha Long Bay was early enough to be less busy than some of our other morning rides.  The scenery was pleasant and oddly warm and inviting.  If I lived there, I wondered if I could have found a breakfast home amongst these somewhat impromptu kitchens.  Banh Mi and delicious Vietnamese coffee every morning seems like such a great idea.

Approaching Ha Long Bay after several hours, it seemed like our journey was coming to an end, even though there were a couple of days to go. Perhaps it had been the end of the cycling, perhaps it had been the gruelling bus ride, or perhaps it had been the building up to the crest of the highest rise on the roller coaster.  I don’t know.

We got on a skiff that took us to our overnight boat. We got our luggage stowed in our rooms and proceeded to have lunch.  At the same time the boat started to move out of the bay and into what can only be described as otherworldly beautiful.

You’ve all seen the pictures, but nothing is the same as actually being there. The sky was overcast, and many said it would have looked even more spectacular with the sun shining.  While I can’t argue with them, I think that you take nature how it presents itself.  On that grey day, I was sure I was being embraced by nature.  I felt humbled and awed.  I felt so young.

There are reasons why UNESCO designated this area as a treasure or wonder of the world…or whatever they designated it as. It is just one of those “duh?” moments.  One quick look would have told me that.

Vietnam 2017 737

All of us snapped many pictures and I am sure that many will be better than mine. Some people experimented with black and white.  Some tried for panorama shots.  I am no Ansell Adams, but I hope you enjoy my pictures nonetheless.  I hope my pictures can convey some of what I felt.  Perhaps they will inspire you to go an see it yourself.

We also managed to visit a huge cave complex that was large enough to hold the super bowl in. Sadly this was very overrun by tourists and tour boats, but even that couldn’t mar the fascinating scene.  It was just too large and overpowering.

The night featured a superb meal and some of my tour mates dancing to 80’s disco. They asked me to join them, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I regret it now of course, but sometimes you are just not that unreserved.  They were having such a fantastic and unselfconscious time.  Perhaps I should have drunk more with dinner.

Our ride back the next morning presented us with Ha Long Bay with early morning fog. It wasn’t as overcast and the limestone islands looked fantastic.  I could have spent weeks on that boat.

 It didn’t hurt that there breakfast coffee was the most delicious coffee I have ever had in my entire life.  Seriously.  If this were available in Canada….oh I shudder to think how much I would drink.

Vietnam 2017 777

 

Posted in Asia, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, beauty, boating, boats, coffee, Exodus, Exodus Travels, Ha Long Bay, incredible, inspiration, inspiring, tourism, trains, travel, Vietnam | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beer in Vietnam

Vietnam camera 2017 026

I’ve got a few more posts about Vietnam coming, but I also need to get some sleep, so this short one will have to suffice for now.

While in Vietnam….and any country I visit really, I try to sample a few of the local brews.  I am not a wine drinker, and my palette is not very refined.  I do like beer though.  Prices were really low.  At most bars the beer cost slight more than one US dollar up to about less than two dollars.  I didn’t have a chance to check out supermarket prices, but I expect that case prices were pretty low.

I could wax on about the taste, but I would just rather show you the pictures of the beers I drank.

Posted in alcohol, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, beer, beverages, drinks, Exodus, Exodus Travels, travel, Vietnam | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Last Night in Vietnam.

All fantastic things must come to an end.  When I wake, one last Vietnamese breakfast, with lots of delicious Vietnamese coffee.

It has been a fantastic trip, with some great people.

IMG_20170310_230656348

It seems only fitting to find a wall decoration like this on the last day of a cycling holiday.

Here are a few other images.

I had an amazing time.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, cycling, Exodus, travel, Vietnam | Leave a comment