From the category archives:

Travels

The Brooklyn Bounce

by Dave on December 4, 2008

in Travels

I’ve been on the road now for 11 days, and blog frequency tends to suffer as a result. As I battle my way from one weak unsecured internet connection to the next my brief spurts of productivity must be reserved for actual work. Nevertheless… it’s been far too long so I’ll grace you with a gargantuan giggle.

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This may be the funniest photo I have ever been forwarded. Is it real or is it photoshopped? Either way, this chick must be hiding under a rock somewhere right now. After close examination I tend to believe it’s genuine and I can’t stop laughing. It’s a bit grim but I had to share.

I’m currently in Brooklyn, New York and took Shep out for a nice long walk around Bed-Stuy this morning. Here we are on Greene Avenue looking all “hard”. Would you try to mug someone with a vicious beast such as this at their side? I think not.

dave-shep-brooklyn
The Notorious P.Y.E’s

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and I have tons more pictures to share when I get the database issues with my galleries sorted out. Or you could also just befriend me on Facebook. Peace out. Be good to your hood.

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I’m knocking the dust off a bunch of old home movies and first up is the 1997 family trip to Capetown. On the way there Janet and I had an 8 hour stopover in London. Lucky for us our good friend Katie was living there. Unlucky for us she was stuck in class most of the day…

This clip never gets off the Haunted Isle, but subsequent videos in the series will see us exploring Capetown, participating in drunken singalongs, visiting a crayfish factory, winery tours and much, much more. Stay tuned, you lucky people.

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Crazy Fall Follies, Part 2

by Dave on October 22, 2008

in Travels

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll continue…

Sunday we all picked up and drove back to our respective homes. The departure was anything but early and I got back to Portland, to an extremely psyched puppy, by about 10pm. It was great to be home, but the odyssey wasn’t quite over. I was supposed to drive to Michigan to Mike and Kelly’s wedding the following Friday, but I bowed out and the couple were very cool about it. It was just too far, too soon. I really, really wanted to be there, but I was shattered. I also had something else I really needed to get done which I moved up to that weekend.

Shep-and-Bella

Gratuitous recent photo of Shep and Bella. Because I can.

Reiner is my first cousin and although I hadn’t seen him in 4 years, we’ve remained very close. It’s one of those relationships where you don’t really have to work hard to maintain it – it just is. It’s a family thing, after all. Reiner had been home from Spain for nearly 3 weeks by the time I finally got to see him. The deal was thus – “I drive to Hamilton and pick you up, take you to Burlington, you help move me out of my uber-expensive storage locker there and then drive a UHaul back to Portland while I’m in my car in front of you. In return I build you a 3d graphic designer (pause for the cause) website, entertain you in the country for a few days, drive you back to Hamilton and to top it off you get a 60 gig iPod“. Pretty good arrangement if I do say so myself.

We had a blast in the process – it was insanely good to see him and was like no time had passed. I hope to go visit him in Spain, maybe for a sort of spring break, and he has promised to come back to Canada about every six months to see his family. Our eventual return to Hamilton – after two long car rides spent listening primarily to the Magnetic Fields , Beta Band and Joy Division – was timed perfectly with Canadian Thanksgiving! We rolled in on the Thursday and stayed up until 3am with his parents (my Aunt Susan and Uncle Heinz) drinking, smoking and talking on their back deck. Yes, the extended Pye family likes to smoke. It’s like being in a Hemingway novel most of the time.

The late night conversation got pretty emotional, as we discussed my father and several other extremely juicy tidbits of family history I had absolutely no clue existed. In addition to stories about my father specifically, which knocked my socks off on a couple of occasions, I learned the truth about his father and uncles – who apparently ran the rackets in Hamilton during the 20’s/30’s and shipped rum and whiskey down to the USA during prohibition. They were all very large men and two-fisted drinkers and gamblers the lot. I also learned that my father’s mother’s father – who I’d always thought of as my “British Grandfather”, was actually born in Ireland. This brings my family ancestry, with the exception of my mother’s father Jimmy who was Scottish, to almost 100% Irish. As recently as 3 years ago I was under the impression that I was primarily Scotch/English. In reality… I think I’m a mick! My House of Pain and Pogues obsessions make perfect sense now! I need to call Kent.

tg4

“Thanks, but we’re set. We have 3 prostitutes back at the house.”

Friday night we went to Toronto to hit a birthday party. I managed to convince the illustrious JV to come with us, and we spent most of the night being silly and having fun. He actually said to me at one point, “Dave, stop making jokes about that girl – she’s gonna hear you. We’re too old for this shit.” I was momentarily concerned. The king of the ball-busters is telling me to lay off my brilliant “she has knees like fucking Bill Laimbeer” jokes because we’re adults? I immediately asked if his wife Amy was pregnant – and she isn’t. So what was afoot? My fears about Jason suddenly turning into Danny Glover were thankfully dashed half-an-hour later when he tuned his back to a guy and girl who were totally smushing me against the wall for no reason and walked backwards, imitating their drunk conversation until he has pushed them about 3 feet away from me. “Hey man! You’re an asshole,” they screamed. “I know” he replied. And all was right with the world.

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Reiner and Dave kept their Uncle Richard in stitches. And concerned for his safety.

Saturday was the big family dinner at Aunt Susan’s and we arrived around 2pm strapped with our assigned foodstuffs – 6 bottles of red, pumpkin and bumbleberry pie, olive oil mayo, salad fixings and 2 cases of beer. I hooked up my PS3 for the kiddies – OK, me and Reiner – and slowly the family started to arrive. Aunt Rose, Uncle Richard, Kathy, Erynn, Chris and my “little” cousins Thomas, Christopher, Seth and Jakob were also on hand. It was a wonderful afternoon and I really needed it. Everyone asked about Gordo, and even more stories I hadn’t heard emerged. Particularly from Dad’s older brother Richard, with whom he shared a bedroom for many years. I think I will have to save them all for a separate post. Anyhew, the food was delicious, the laughs long and hard and we ended the evening with a viewing of the woefully underrated and insanely hilarious StepBrothers .

Sunday we drove back to Portland after picking up a friend’s Grandparents on the way back. Grandma started telling me a story about World War 2 (they are Latvian) and paused before admitting that she talks a lot. I said if you’re going to talk about history and specifically WW2, feel free to talk my ear off. I heard tales of Nazis fighting Russians in the fields of her father’s farm while they hid and watched, and was thoroughly engrossed as she continued to describe their desperate flight to England and then finally Canada in 1956. It made the 4 hour trip go so much faster, and she even brought sandwiches and cookies!

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“One last shot of Jaegar and I’m cannonballing into the lake.”

That evening my Mother and I were invited to the Abele’s house for another round of incredible food. Turkey was once again the order of the day, and the Eastern European influences to the meal made the bird seem like a completely fresh notion. The awesome view of the Big Rideau in the background didn’t hurt, and they even had us back the next day for lamb. But much was to transpire before Monday, and it was to get a little bit crazy before my 7-week odyssey finally drew to a close.

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“This will almost make up for all the errant charges to our credit cards over the summer.”

Vilis got a call around 8:30pm which saw the local bar, which is part of a marina and closes for the winter, inviting us all down to help polish off the perishable liquor stock. We thought about taking the boat but finally decided to scoot over in the Charger where we met Dawson, Shane and a bunch of my other new local friends. After polishing off a few half-finished bottles of wine, Vilis decided to invite the whole lot of us, staff included, for a bonfire on his soon to be developed 36 acres of beautiful property – which happens to be around the corner from my house – and the night went late. Very, very late. When I finally crawled back to their house for lamb around 2:30 Monday afternoon – I wanted to take my own life with baby laxatives. What a capper to a truly exhausting, enjoyable, heart-warming and necessary month-and-a-half long journey.

tgx

Throwing the can of boat gas on the lit match was a bad idea. But sometimes, bad ideas work.

This last weekend was the first in 7 weeks that I was actually at home, and it was lovely. However the dock still needs to come out of the lake, the boat has to be winterized – as does the Winchester. I have my work cut out for me for a while yet. But I’ll be home, and that’s always time well spent. Even if I’m up to my waist in freezing lake water with one foot cut to ribbons by zebra mussels. It’s my lake. They’re my zebra mussels. And it’s Oktoberfest Night at the cove this Saturday. I’ll raise a stein and be just fine. I’d better start resting up for American Thanksgiving as I plan to drive down to Boston again to partake. Will it ever end? No – and I thank Christ for that, everyday. Friends and family are why I get out of bed in the morning.

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Crazy Fall Follies, Part 1

by Dave on October 21, 2008

in Travels

September was a bastard, and I’m here to put into words a few of the reasons I have been remiss in posting for the longest time, ever. Wow. I am looking at these front page post dates and it’s embarrassing. To the folks that still check this everyday, hanging on my silly words – I apologize, and I will be doing better. A quick note: One of the things that has challenged me since upgrading my blog software is that the awesome little plugin which copies Facebook galleries and captions to this site no longer works, so I will link to public versions of said galleries on FB where applicable. So, will this juicy, super-long ultra update with photos make up for 3 weeks of silence? You be the judge. Judge Judy, preferably as she is my favorite.

peterborough-wedding
Yes, we all prayed for Stilts.

The first weekend of last month my friend Mike got married near Peterborough, Ontario. I was a groomsman and my fellow groom attendees were two guys, Paul and P-Nut, I hadn’t seen since the Guelph days. The bride gave me a lovely engraved silver business card holder and the wedding itself was lovely. The reception was held at the father of the bride’s farm and the sprawling home with several additions over the years made for a great location. I spent a good portion of the night chatting with a room full of seniors about the good old days, and told them I wish I had been born in their time. Then, I remembered I wouldn’t have had the internet and quickly switched the subject to Benny Goodman.

perth-wedding
“Don’t worry, ladies. No one who sees this will think we’re all sleeping together. Not until I tell them that, anyway.”

The following weekend I was asked to accompany a lovely friend of mine to her friend’s wedding reception at another private home in Perth. “Really? You mean, we don’t have to go to the ceremony? Just straight to the food and liquor?” It was a great time, my favorite memory having to be making fun of some jerk on the dance floor who unbuttoned his shirt (all the way) and was hitting on a bridesmaid at least 10 years his junior. I unbuttoned my own shirt, as did my friend’s brother, and we grinded away with our respective dates behind his back as the silly clown continued, oblivious. We had quite a fond audience by the end of our display and I in no way felt ridiculously immature.

danvers-wedding-photos
“You’re looking at this the wrong way, guys. For example, if I come on the Honeymoon with you I’ll pay for 1/3 of the hotel room.”

The next Thursday morning I pulled out of Portland at the ass crack of dawn and was parking at the Peabody Marriott by 4pm. I scarcely had time to check into my room and drop off my suitcase before the bride-to-be was dragging me to the rehearsal dinner. My very good, old friend PJ is married to one of the Bridesmaids, and between that night, the wedding and a bar bender in Boston that Saturday – I got to spend 3 whole nights with him, and there was much rejoicing. I also had a great time with Jen, Becky, Scott, Dan, Chris, Amy and many other Concord friends whom I don’t get to see often enough. Megan and Mark got married at the Danvers Yacht club, and the day was a doozy. Pictures

silvertone-party
P.J. did NOT approve. And Jim didn’t feel a thing.

Saturday morning I drove to the city and parked in the old Brinks Building (yes, that Brinks building) which is now a parking garage. I walked through driving rain through the North End to Matt and Lauren’s house and was immediately put to work carrying tables from the Nazarro center to NEMPAC. Just like old times! Although we were doused, Griffin and I had a joyous reunion and were back to our favorite mutual passtime… in no time. That evening I had arranged to meet a big whack of my friends at Silvertone, and that just got silly. I ended the evening screaming obscenities back at the husband of a woman I walked home, and spent most of Sunday lying in M & L’s guest bedroom, head in hands, while Griffin rocked through levels of Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb. Which is kind of appropriate, as I was simultaneously praying for death. Pictures

west-acton-pictures
“It’s been a long time, boys. Now who just grabbed my ass?”

I spent the week working out of the offices of my favorite Boston Web Designer (pause for the cause) company in Wellseley. Wednesday I drove all over the state visiting clients, and Thursday we had our first off-site company meeting at the Weston Golf Club. Wow – what a cool place. I spent the evenings at Chris and Amy’s in West Acton, and we had several impromptu weeknight gatherings which were spontaneous and awesome. I got to hang out with Chris, Kelly, Jenny, Killer, TKO, Carina and Ryan. We also recorded two episodes of our Goonblog hockey podcast, the first of which I finished editing and posted Sunday night, so be sure to have a listen. Funny stuff. Pictures

Friday I was back at Matt and Lauren’s in the North End and a few friends stayed in and watched the first Presidential debate whilst gingerly working on a couple six packs of Harpoon. I think we were all still a little delicate from the previous Saturday, and it was just what the doctor ordered. Old friends met new friends, we had a lovely breakfast Saturday at the North Street Grill (Nutella/Banana Sliders, anyone?) and we set off to Boston Wedding #2 around 1pm. Back to, you guessed it, the Peabody Marriott. What are the chances?

P1000335
“Are we on our way to a wedding or a fucking swim meet? Regardless, BACKSEAT!”

My old Vermont Academy friend, Wardy, was married later that day at a lovely estate somewhere in the MA countryside. The name escapes me, but the fact that they closed the bar at 9pm does not. The groom and best man were beyond pissed-off, but we had a great time while it lasted and continued the festivities back at the hotel until the very wee hours when security finally kicked us all out of Kim’s room. I had not seen Gaston, Ezio or Roller in 15 years, and it was also great to spend time with Carolyn (bride) Pritch (best man), Harriett (mother of the groom) Ron and others. Pictures (coming soon).

I’ll break down the rest of September/early October tomorrow, and if – after reading – you choose to let me off the hook for lack of posting I’ll be forever in your debts. It’s been a crazy fall so far. Until then.

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Back to the Bean Once Again.

by Dave on September 16, 2008

in Boston,Travels

It’s been over 7 months since I last graced the streets of Boston. That’s very, very hard to believe. With the exception of my 1.75 years spent living in England that’s the longest I’ve been away from the cradle of the revolution in 21 years. I’ve been so bogged down with my month of 5 weddings, work and dealing with family issues that I haven’t really had time to be excited – or apprehensive. Shall I break it down for the blog? Yesh? Then let’s begin.

Looking forward to:

  • Seeing my friends. I have organized, via Facebook (evite who?), a night out at a downtown bar for the only weekend night that I am free (not at a wedding) while I am in Boston. If they come, they come. But really I’ll only need a few key players to show up for it to be what I “need” as a Kaczynski-esque forest dweller on shore leave.
  • Seeing my little North End posse. Comprised of my friends’ children – namely Griffin, Maya, Lorenzo and Bella – I’ve missed these little guys and our Thursday night pizza/PS2 outings.
  • The North End Coffee tour. Weekday mornings spent at Paradiso, Beanstock, Villagio and other neighborhood bean water vendors, usually with Matt, Louis and others.
  • Work stuff. There are lots of new members of my Boston web design company (a quick pause for the cause) whom I have yet to meet in person. I look forward to a full week of office time, collaboration and several visits I have scheduled with clients in the area. I hope to do a lot of good in a short period of time.
  • New England Fall. My favorite season, and my favorite place to spend it. I plan to come down for American Thanksgiving this year as well, so it’ll be a nice double-dose of awesome Autumness.

Dreading:

  • Leaving my babies at a kennel. The breeder (who is awesome) said she would have taken them for the 4 days before my Mother and Sister get back to town, but she is renovating her entire ground floor and is having trouble caring for her own dogs at the time being. I have them scheduled for a last-minute kennel-cough vaccination tomorrow morning, and will be taking them to a vet recommended mom and pop operated place tomorrow night.
  • The drive. I have made the Canada – Boston run so many times in my life that I could do it in my sleep. But at the end of the day it’s 8 hours alone in a car each way. To prepare I have downloaded some new albums and audio books onto my iPod. I am curious to see if the books will keep my attention and maybe, just maybe, make the trip go a bit faster. I have everything from the newest Harry Potter to 7 Habits of Highly Effective People ready to go.
  • Sacrificing tangible, billable work time for face time with clients and my own company. I’m going to make sure I have some things outsourced so I’m not miles behind when I get back home on the 29th. About 313 miles, to be exact.

All things considered, I’m quite excited to see my peoples and walk the streets of my old hood. If you’re in the right mood, well rested and in possession of some phat tunes a long drive can go by fairly quickly. The blog will have a strong Boston theme over the next 10 days, lots of pictures from my new camera included, so get your beanpots out, find someone named “Sully” to sit next to and stay tuned.

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Fussen Thelens!

by Dave on March 28, 2008

in Travels

My good friends Jason and Cary have started their own travel blog with which they will be documenting a two-month trek through Europe. The writing and pictures are superb so far, and if you’ve been through the continent, or are thinking about it, I’d recommend having a read.

“So that leads us to Fussen……we got behind the wheel and made our way south this afternoon. We plan to spend the next few days visiting the castles and medieval villages in the area before heading to Ischgl, Austria for a week of skiing. I think we’re looking forward to the drive as much as we are to skiing – the Bavarian Alps and Tyrols should be stunning! We’ll be sure to update the blog and post more pictures in the next few days…..oh, and more on Fussen later…..what a great little town!”

Jealous much, Dave? Yes, I am. I think I should re-read the 24 Hour Work Week and start planning a few jaunts of my own. Godspeed in Germany, kids. And whatever you do, don’t mention the war.

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Another Odyssey Ends

by Dave on February 4, 2008

in Travels

I’m home, I’m safe, I’m a little dehydrated – but I’m so very happy that January is over and my life is returning to some degree of normalcy. I look forward to kicking off the hilarity of regular blog posting but I have to head to Kingston for some important errands. In the meantime, please enjoy this piece I am creating for a client about some of the horrible things which have occurred in Valentine’s Day History. I’m back, kids. Lock up your daughters, liquor and maybe a couple of the dogs, too.

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The Home Stretch Smells Terrible

by Dave on January 30, 2008

in Animalistic,Travels

Coming to you live from the Doubletree Hilton at 400 Soldiers Field Road in Boston – I have escaped the clutches of Florida and am slowly picking my way back to Ottawa. I stupidly booked my flight back Sunday night to coincide with the Superbowl, so I’m very proud of that. Still, when I cross the threshold of my front door and begin a several hour berating by a small orange cat who’s been waiting for me for a month, I’ll be a very happy chappy. And I can always watch the highlights.

Boston Terrier Puppy

A few days later I collect the wee baby weasels, Rhubarb and Shep. Have a look at the latest puppy gallery updates for some heart-wrenching cutie-pant photos fresh from the breeder. Although life will begin revolving around the little guys, punctuated frequently by overwhelming doodie smells, I am thoroughly looking forward to fatherhood. And I’ll be gosh darned if I leave the province for good long time. I may sneak out for some fun in Beantown this weekend prior to departure, so get at me, dawgs.

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As walking a cat on a leash seems a bit ridiculous to me, I decided to tape one of my jaunts with my parent’s cat, Spud, on the off-chance anything funny might happen. Watching it back and editing it together with a little Fats Domino, I realized the whole event was funny in and of itself – so I’m featuring it here on Veekend Video.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K-PDtcrcOo[/youtube]

Not to mention the peacock standoff, poisonous caterpillar warning and controlled burn / raging blaze which touched off only a hundred meters from our trailer. Definitely an interesting 15 minutes of Florida morning, edited down for you here to about 4 and a half. This is one strange universe.

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I’ve been meaning to write a few vignette type blurbs about some of the interesting experiences I’ve had whilst living in a trailer park for the last two weeks. As my time is fairly limited at the moment, I’m going to try and kill that bird and the Quizzlet bird with one stone today. Let’s see if I can spin these questions my way…

Appetizer: What is your favorite beverage?
Definitely water of the bottled variety. There are 4 types of water I have recently become intimately acquainted with while living in Wickham Park. Bottled water is self explanatory. Grey water is what ends up stored in the trailer via the sinks and shower. Black water is what they call the trailer sewage, pumped out every Monday by the infamous Honey Wagon – however the more able-bodied residents use the public washroom/laundry building which all the trailers encircle for ‘number twos’. The fourth type of water is the kind which shuts off for two days and forces masses of senior citizens to build pyramids in said washroom building like ancient Egyptians.

IMG 1253

Home Sweet Home

Soup: Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or work.
My father’s Captain Teague doll, which spouts a variety of piratey sayings voiced by Keith Richards when its motion detector is tripped, sits on the table I have commandeered as a desk. “It’s not about living forever. It’s about living with yourself forever” is what I’m greeted with every time I get up to put the cat on or off his leash. Every day I move it somewhere else, and every day it miraculously returns to haunt me. I feel like I’ve been living in this trailer forever and am craving the space, comfy bed and even the temperature of home. “It’s not about living in the trailer forever. It’s about… OK you’re right. Keep the rum.”

Salad: On a scale of 1-10 (10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?
Every evening there is a moveable feast of sorts, with all of my parent’s friends gathering in lawn chairs for drinks in front of one trailer or another. One of the friendlier residents, who is teaching me how to play Frisbee golf next week, is a Civil War re-enactor with a little penchant for booze. The other night he mixed up vodka with some sort of coffee energy drink and was passing it around. “It’s not bad,” I said, “but you’ll want to try my Mudslides sometime.” I may regret making that statement, as I have been conscripted by the North to make ‘slides for the whole park tonight and I have to head out soon to get the fixings. Thank goodness the liquor is so cheap in Florida. Where does the honesty factor in to it, you ask? I told them they weren’t too strong (senior citizens, remember). That statement alone knocks me right down to a 7.

Main Course: If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?
Wickham Park is in a city called Melbourne which is an hour away from Orlando where I fly in and out of. It’s a myriad of strip malls, palm trees and homeless people on bikes. I have, however, enjoyed the Mexican food which is in short supply in Ottawa. Everyone says “y’all” and I have been reminded that Florida is indeed part of the American South, although people don’t often consider it in that category due to all the tourism and Latin American influence. There’s an Airstream trailer near ours with both a classic Confederate flag and the “Don’t Tread on Me” version flying high off the top. Most of the folks in the park have been in the military, and one fellow was a substitute teacher at both Concord Carlisle and Acton Boxborough whom Janet claims to remember. I’m rambling here, but a reasonable spin. I guess I’d rename it Peacockton, based on a recent event I captured on video and will be editing into a clip to post here over the weekend.

Dessert: What stresses you out? What calms you down?
I have to get back to work: Venemous caterpillar warnings / Mudslides.

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I finally made it to the trailer park in Melbourne, Florida around 7pm last night and am now working on one of the surgical waiting room computers at the hospital where my Mom is having her operation. Luckily there’s also a big flatscreen in here so my father will be mesmerized for a couple of hours. So far so good, and I hope to set out soon in search of the cafeteria for one of those awesome hospital lemon danishes and a shot glass full of OJ.

Last night after my arrival I set up my computer and tried to get online using my newly purchased Verizon Wireless card. It’s a little antenna looking thing that you plug into one of your USB ports that allows you to access the internet using cell phone signals. It costs $60 a month and works pretty well. I bought it specifically while I was here at Christmas so I could work from the park for the next few weeks while I’m in Florida, but it was a Godsend Monday and Tuesday when I was stuck in Ottawa. I used it for work and left it on all night as I slept in my hotel because it’s a flat fee. After I set it up and tried to log on, I got an error message telling me to call customer service. I was quickly sent from the one of the main customer service reps to some sort of ‘wireless investigation’ department. The person I spoke to went on to inform me that they’d ‘hotlined’ (disabled) my card because over the previous 2 days in Ottawa I’d racked up $908 in ‘roaming charges’. Apparently I only had a national plan.

My silver tongue quickly came to the rescue as I calmly pulled out the dementia and ass cancer cards while also relaying how I’d been shown a coverage map when purchasing the card a few weeks before when I was last in the States. “Sure it’ll work in Ottawa!” (Oh-tah-wah) the sales person working on commission cheerfully told me. So no big tragedy here. Verizon is doing the right thing and waiving the charges. But I can’t imagine it’s too hard to implement measures that would keep such a device from working at all in another country. Anyway, I have bigger fish to fry today. Thanks to everyone who’s sent along well wishes, I look forward to your Valentines Day cards and I’ll keep you posted.

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Fog can Suck my Fock

by Dave on January 8, 2008

in Travels

I’m back at gate 11 in the Ottawa airport, once again trying to get on my flight to Orlando. Yesterday my 11:30am flight was eventually cancelled around 3pm, and currently that same flight is the only flight throughout every airline that still hasn’t been cancelled. As visibility through the window beside me is about 25 feet – I’m not optimistic.

I’ve never seen fog like this. Did anyone see The Mist a couple of months ago? I did, and everytime I longingly look out at the runway to see if the fog has lifted, I expect a giant monster bug to smash against the glass. This is unreal. My mother’s surgery is tomorrow and I have to get down to look after my father. But what do you do? Is it worth even getting mad?

I’ve already called the hotel and re-booked my room for another night, because there’ll be another swarm of Orlando-bound cancellites scrambling for them in about 3 more hours. Tonight I may venture out of the hotel, do myself a favor and treat myself to a decent dinner. But to be honest – I have no idea what’s around. In my 3 times now driving to and from over the last 2 days, the various cabs and shuttles can’t see farther than about 10 feet in front of them.

At least WestJet is making it as tolerable as they can. They automatically rebooked my on today’s flight immediately after yesterday’s was cancelled. By the time I got through to them on the phone, they were like “Yep, same time tomorrow.” So I have that going for me. And total conciousness on my deathbed. I’m a looper. A pro jock.

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WestJet Review: They Frigging Rule

by Dave on January 4, 2008

in Canadiana,Travels

All too frequently, people use their blogs to bitch about things. I try very hard not to do that, exclusively. Although I’m about to do a bit of whingeing, ultimately this post was inspired by WestJet’s amazing customer service. The old adage goes something like… Do something nice for someone and they’ll tell a few close friends. Do something bad and they’ll tell anyone who’ll listen. Well – I’m attempting to do the opposite here.

When I flew down to Boston in early November for my citizenship ceremony, I had a flight booked with Air Canada to fly down on Tuesday and return on Friday. After I booked the flights I found out that two friends of mine were driving 9 hours from D.C. to be in Boston for my swearing in and it was meant to be somewhat of a surprise. Not only that but they had made plans to stay the weekend too. Now, if someone drives 9 hours to sit in a boring 3-hour ceremony on your behalf – that’s a friend. I also discovered that my sister had organized a little party on the Friday night. Long story shorter, I absolutely had to change my return flight to Sunday.

Air Canada raked me over the coals. By the time I got off the phone with them I found myself sitting on the couch in shock – having just spent an additional $600 to change the flight having already spent $600 on a round trip ticket a few weeks before. With taxes and all that good stuff two short flights to and from Boston ended up costing me nearly $1500 dollars. I’ll just let that sit with you for a second…

Looking for alternative airlines, my Mother suggested WestJet. She knew from experience that they had a direct flight from Ottawa to Orlando. To get to Orlando on Air Canada (which I did 2 weeks ago for Christmas) not only do you have to sell a kidney but you have to first fly to Toronto, find your baggage, go through customs, go through airport security for a second time and then by the grace of God make your connecting flight. Same deal on the way back a week ago. So when my Mother recently told me her cancer had returned and she needed me down there again by January 15th to take care of my Father while she had her second surgery for this goddamnned fucking bastard of a disease, I sighed audibly. Then I remembered WestJet.

I booked a round-trip flight on WestJet.com back to Florida 6 days ago as soon as I mikethen returned from there. The fare was so low that when I CC’d the neighbor who is looking after my cat on the itinerary she called me to ask how I’d managed to get such a low fare. It was almost half of what Air Canada would have charged for a semi-last minute booking. My Mother called me yesterday to tell me that her surgery had been moved from the 15th to the 9th – so immediately I envisioned a good part of my savings flying out of the window like a flock of seagulls. I mean, that’s what I’m used to, right?

Not only did WestJet get me on a flight this coming Monday when I called them an hour ago, they agreed to put my return ticket into a credit because I don’t know when I’ll be able to return. Did the last minute change to Monday have a fare increase? Unfortunately, yes. $20 fucking dollars. Not only that, but when I briefly mentioned the reason for my schedule change, Chantal unflinchingly said she was going to waive the normal fee for that which would have come in at close to $100. I was speechless.

WestJet’s routes are currently limited, I was sad to discover they don’t fly to Boston, for example, but the agent told me they were adding new destinations all the time. Check out their current routes and do yourself a favor – fly WestJet. I’ll update this post with some details from the actual flight experience when I get to FLA.

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Citizen Pye Approaches

by Dave on November 7, 2007

in Heartwarming,Travels

Tomorrow I set off for Boston, yet again, for the final piece of my American Citizenship puzzle. I will be sworn in as a bonafied Yank Thursday at 12 noon inside Faneuil Hall. It’s been a year-long effort – much to the amusement of Air Canada’s coffers, but I am beyond happy and excited to finally be able to hand back my Green Card and start enjoying the perks of being a proper American. I’m still not entirely sure what those entail, but I’m hopeful.

I touch down in Beantown tomorrow afternoon at 5pm and will be hanging out on Hanover Street (Paradiso/Volle Nole) until my sister is finished work and decides to come to the North End and get me on our eventual way to her place in Medford. Thursday is the ceremony, followed by liquory silliness… and then the real silliness begins Friday night when Janet is said to be throwing me some sort of patriotic pant-puller either at her house or in a Beantown bar. If you’re interested in joining the fray – call my sister. Or, just show up. I’ll post details here on the blog as soon as I have them. You’re also completely welcome not to give a toss.

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Back to the Back to the Bean, Y’all

by Dave on September 18, 2007

in Travels

I’ll be heading into Boston tomorrow at 3pm for the first time in quite a while, and obviously I’m beyond excited to see my friends, attend my buddy’s wedding and finally have a Harpoon IPA. Words cannot begin to describe how much I have missed this particular beverage, and I’ll likely be marinated in it like an over sized steak tip by the time I return to Canada. To say I miss Boston would be true, but not all that much to be totally honest. I’ll be back again in October for business and by the time the snow flies I’ll have likely had enough to last me through the winter. What I will miss is Thanksgiving at the infamous Red House in Concord – but what are you gonna do? It’s been sold and that last bastion of high-school hijinks is now ancient history. I’m sure the boys will come up with another bastion.

Today I am taking my father to the International Plowing Match in Crosby, Ontario. I went once when I was a tadpole and remember it being a big fair laid out like a town with streets of vendors hawking tractor toys and fried dough. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get my work done to ensure that I don’t have to miss the Queen of the Furrow Crowning Banquet later this evening. You can’t win if you don’t attend.

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