Things I learned about Canada, eh? (MMP)

As most of you know, welbywife and I went north to visit Toronto over the weekend and had a chance to meet the lovely Lissla in her hometown of Toronto. It was an informative little trip. We learned a lot about Canada. We learned about other places too. The first thing we learned about Canada is that Canadians love to give directions. To anywhere. But I get ahead of myself.

Our journey started Wednesday night after work. We had planned to leave on Thursday after welbywife got out of class, but after 7 years of marriage I’ve manged to corrupt her, so she skipped her last day of class and we left Wednesday instead. We stopped in Pittsburgh that night and stayed at Red Roof Inn. That night we learned our first thing: You can order Red Roof Inn linens, curtains, furniture, and shower rods and create your own little Red Roof Inn room at home. We’re not gonna do that, but its nice to know there’s an option for decorating if we ever need it.

The next morning we stopped by the National Aviary and looked at the birds. This is a very, very nice place. It’s well designed and has a great host of informative displays. Pictures are forthcoming. After the aviary we continued our trek north, well, west at this point, to Erie, PA. Erie is a neat little town, and we stopped there for a late lunch at The Sloppy Duck Saloon. There were little baby ducks in a box out front, and the place was totally empty. So we had a nice lunch with a very, very, VERY attentive waitress. She was new to her job. I know this because her nametag said “Hello, I’m waiting for the manager to make me a nametag.” So that meant she was new. Or that the manager was lazy as heck. Or that she forgot her real name tag. Or that she was deliberatly deceiving us. Hmm, the last one has possibilities.

After linner we hopped back into the car and headed north again, making it to Niagra around 6:00PM. It was kind of neat, because there was almost no one there. Not surprising really, since it was a Thursday evening, but it was nice to have the falls mostly to ourselves.

Niagra Falls = Something you should see. It’s beautiful. Pictures are forthcoming.

After wandering around the falls we decided that we’d head north to Toronto that night, since it was still earlyish and we weren’t realy tired. So we stopped for gas. This is where I learned my first fact about Canada. As I was gassing up, a nice Canadian man said:

“How’s Virginia, eh? I just come from there.”

“Really, us too. We’re headed north to Toronto tonight.”

“Oh yeah? Eh? Well what you need to do it cross over the bridge up here to Canada, then get on the QEW and go straight. That’ll take you right to Toronto.”

And more along this line. Suffice to say that we got better directions from him about how to get to our hotel that we got from Mapquest. Then we crossed the border and I learned that the border guard are grumpy types, not typically nice Canadians. I think they might import thier border guards directly from New York City. I also learned that distances and speeds are in kilometers, and that 100 kilometers per hour just isn’t fast enough. welbywife learned that I like to say kilometer. Kilometer. Kilometer. Kilometer. See? Fun!

And that night we made it to Toronto. We were both tired, so we just checked into the Days Inn, which does NOT allow you to order room decorations online.

Friday Morning the wife took me for a stroll. It was during this stroll that I learned my next series of Canadian facts.

  1. The TTC is the transportation authority for buses and subways and stuff.
  2. A TTC map bears no relation to reality.
  3. If you need directions in Toronto, just stand on the street with a map open. Within seconds, hordes of Canadians will descend upon you, offering directions to where you want to go.

That day we wandered to the Distillery Historic District , which was closed. Except for the coffee shop. So we had coffee. We then walked around most of Toronto, because the TTC map is not only different from reality, it is a minor form of evil.

That afternoon I went to the premeire of Darkon the Movie. Before the movies we did a demo and a forced march to the theater. I didn’t realize I’d be forced to march, but I got all dressed up and marched anyway. Pictures are forthcoming. It was pretty neat. We’d march along, do a little bit of fighting, then keep marching. Lots of people wanted pictures of us, so we did a lot of stopping and posing for cameras. Then someone asked for our autographs, which totally amazed me, so we signed an autograph for her and marched to the Bloor Theater

And that’s all you get, since its getting late, and the early MMPers are probably stressed. This post will continue after I’ve had coffee. The rest of the MMP is forthcoming. And the pictures. They’re forthcoming too.

I want pictures of the meet up with Lissla and I want 'em now! We bears ain’t known for our patience you know. Glad the trip was good and that I can now expand my decorating options. I’m kind of liking the idea of buying art work I can bolt to the walls.

Morning, MMPers.

Not much to say at the moment. Had a very lazy weekend.

Rosie, are you sure you had a nap, and not an acid flashback? Cite.

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!

VunderWife bought a new swimsuit because she’s starting water aerobic therapy today, and she tried it on last night for the first time. It was 2 sizes too big for her… I’m so proud. :cool:

Sounds like you and the wife had a wonderful time, welby. :slight_smile: That Darkon movie looks … interesting. Sorta like a medieval version of Fight Club.
Pictures? Pictures! :smiley:

My weekend was rather boring and work-filled. I did finish my philosophy paper, as I mentioned on Sunday, and last night I finished the reading summaries and responses for the course too. The whole shebang is due in roughly an hour and 20 minutes, and then the course is done. I also studied for my third EM test. I’m confident I can do well enough on it to get an A.

Tonight: more studying! Yay! I have my second General Relativity test tomorrow. I calculated that I’d have to get a D on it to drop below an A in the course.

Oh! Other important news. Waterloo finally rejected me. This may seem like bad news, but at this point it’s a relief to not have to juggle both. Now, barring some miracle from Syracuse, I am definitely going to Amsterdam.

And now, in keeping with the veggies of last week, here is your first Fruit of the Day …

I know Toronto thinks it’s the centre of the universe :smiley: , but there’s a lot more to Canada than Toronto!

Hey, keep a lid on that. Toronto would not be the bustling metropolis that it is without the hundreds of thousands of American tourists who have been riding the TTC system in perpetuity since the 1920s, trying to work out just where the hell they are, but not wanting to ask. Their unending fares contribute even more to the Canadian economy than the several billion Chinese-made stuffed moose and warehouses full of Disney-licensed prison-labour Mountie souvenirs do.

Our version of the “Ghost Train” story involves a TTC Skeddadler filled with the mournful souls of poor Yanks who are just trying to find the Allan Horticultural Gardens. :smiley:

I read this book when it came out and couldn’t stop eating peaches for a month afterwards.

To this day, I eat a peach, I think “Tom Bodett”.

**welby? Lissla? ** PICTURES!

I can’t believe that the TTC maps are worse than the ones for the NYC subway. Those maps are just straight lines with stops marked on them.

And welby I haven’t been to the Aviary in Pittsburgh since I was a little kid. And then I wouls go there at least once every couple of months, usually for school field trips or on Sundays when my Dad couldn’rt figure out what to do with us.

Aw. You passed through my neck of the woods. I could have said hi to the welbies. Oh well(by).

Yeah, those Canadians drive like extras from Ben-Hur. Also, next time you head to Canuckistan, if you’re passing, stay in the left lane. If you’re piddling at a constant speed, stay right. And don’t piss off the truckers.

As a college student very close to that particular border, I can tell you that those customs agents are sometimes VERY grumpy. It’s like they have a fresh source of Grump every morning and it gets doled out to every employee. I think they get a syringe full of Grump after being hired for a quick Grumpfix.

Gah. I’m tired. But I suppose it’s to be expected. Nice post, welby, I’m anxiously awaiting the rest. I went to Toronto when I was a kid. I don’t remember much except that I tested the limits of my mother’s patience and got smacked for it, at some point. :slight_smile:

We went to Maine for Beltane this weekend, which was loads of fun, of course. We ended up getting on the road an hour later than we wanted to on Friday night, but made it up to my friend’s house around 2:30 a.m. and went the hell to sleep. Saturday, everybody got a nice sunburn (mine has a perfect outline of my necklace, right down to the little hole in the middle, so I can’t wear anything low-cut until it fades) and then we spent the evening eating burgers and slathering each other with aloe. Alas, there were no pillow fights.

Yesterday, we left bright and early, with plans to stop in Salem and have lunch and shop and do all sorts of fun girly things. Only about eight miles into the trip, Janna realized she’d left her wallet at our hosts’ house. And the next exit off the Maine Pike was another 10 miles ahead of us. If she’d realized it five minutes earlier, it would have cut about 30 minutes off the round trip back to where we were. Alas.

Of course, when we got to the house, we knew there would be nobody there. So we broke in through a window, let the dog out to pee, took him back in the house, left a note, and got back on our way. We did still stop in Salem, but we didn’t have lunch there and our shopping was very limited. But I got a pretty silver bell for my altar, a book, a t-shirt, and a bumper sticker that makes it clear I’ve been to Krypton. It was quite satisfying.

Then I almost fell asleep at the wheel in Connecticut, so Roomie took over. At that moment, Robyn realized she couldn’t find her car keys, and I informed her in no uncertain terms that it was way too late to go back for them. Luckily, she had been dumb enough to leave them in the ignition of her car, which was parked in my space in our lot at home. At least we live in a relatively crime-free town. :slight_smile:

Oh, and Spats–Mandi and I will be in Amsterdam from August 26th to September 2, if you’re there already. :smiley:

Tronna’s fun. I miss living there. (I now live in what once pased for the 'burbs in Brampton 'bout half an hour west) Having everything so close to hand is always great. Then again I now live right behind a mall, so it’s all good) It’s a nice, bustling city with plenty of sites both common and some rather neat obscure places. (Did you visit Sugar Mountain? That place is great for those few occasions when you feel like putting yourself into a diabetic coma) Yuo picked a fairly good weekend to come down, too. Weather’s been pretty nice, if not entirely warm yet.

TTC maps are of use primarily as a compass first, and to get a general idea of the direction you want to go in last. Attempting to follow it literally however would be unfortunate. The map was cleverly designed in such a way that no matter where you try and go, you’ll end up at Union Station. The only way to avoid this is to actually try and reach Union Station with it.

Greetings, all. welby, where’re those pics? My mom took my brother, our dog and me on a big road trip when we were kids, from Milwaukee, WI to Vermont via Canadian Niagra Falls. It was spectacular. The most memorable part of the trip, though, was the one night we couldn’t find a hotel room anywhere, so we slept in the car. It was mostly memorable for my younger brother, who got to share the back seat of a Toyota Camary with a large dog.

My big news is that Friday evening, my boyfriend and I unexpected broke up after our dinner conversation revealed that he didn’t want a serious, long-term relationship, and I won’t accept anything that doesn’t at least hold open that possibility. We’d gone over this before, but apparently in such vague terms that each of us heard what we wanted to believe. So that sucked.

Fortunately, my stepdad was in town on Saturday, so he and my stepsister and I spent Saturday on a little day trip to Concord, Mass, where we circumambulated Walden Pond. It was a very pleasant distraction. Sunday I bottled my latest beer (a very hoppy IPA, tastes delicious already!) and my stepsister, her boyfriend and I started our gardening in earnest (we all live together). We have lots of flowers and herbs planted out front, some more herbs and cucumbers on the side of the house, which gets the most sun and has the least-bad soil, and some Lillies of the Valley and catnip out back. My stepsister’s boyfriend has some peas and tomato plants that are coming up, and we’ll pick up some more tomato plants and sweet pepper plants in a couple weeks, when our local nursery gets them in.

More, welby, we want more!!!

Well, now, **swampy…I, too, wanna see the li-li pics but give me the ones of welby dressed up and forced to March! That’ll be sumpin!

bobbio, please pass on the congrats to vumderwife.

rifty, if I were you, I’d ‘peach’ that one right in the trash. I’m just sayin…

I went and paid my Target entrance fee yesterday. See, it’s like this…Isa, the chihuahua has a nervous habit. (Fancy that! A chihuahua with a nervous habit.) She will lick the bejebus outta whatever she’s perched on. Sometimes that’s my occasional chair. So I decided I needed to buy a slip cover for the chair cause it’s the only piece in the living room that the girls are allowed on. Off to Target I went.

I got this slipcover and this throw blanket and these mules and some Bermudas which needed a nice top, too (no pic) so, yeah, the fee has definitely gone up.

More later.

Tupug

Happy Monday, ever’body. Sorry I disappeared from the MMP last week after whining and bitching. I’m better now and appreciate everyone’s support, advice, wisdom, etc.

So where’re the pictures, welby??

My family went to Toronto the summer after I finished high school. I loved it. We all had a great time and I definitely want to go back someday. Besides it being a nice city, I was an attractive 18-year-old and got checked out a lot, which probably influenced my opinion a little bit. :stuck_out_tongue:

My parents have friends in Niagara Falls so I’ve been there lots of times. It’s nice at Christmas, at least in part because there aren’t many tourists.

Sorry to hear about your breakup Weird. That sucks. :frowning:

I’ve got the moving company scheduled and the flights booked. Now I just have to get everything into boxes. Fun, fun. I’ve started but I still need to live in my apartment for 3 weeks so I can’t pack up everything yet. But the things like winter clothes and stuff I don’t use all the time are already done. Does anyone want a blender or a mini deep fryer? KeithT’s got better versions of both so I’m not going to move mine. I think I’ll put notices up on campus and see if some poor college student wants them. Hey, spats, do you need a deep fryer??

After we made it to the Bloor Theatre I and the other Darkonians milled about in our costumes, drumming up support for the movie. And the greatest thing happened: A bar owner came and grabbed me by the arm and offered to buy me a beer. Then a couple of his regulars asked to have thier pictures taken with me. Then another one offered to buy me a beer. Thus, the dalliance with Canadian beer began. It got. . .worse. On the interesting side, the waitress was totally fascinated with my costume. She couldn’t keep her hands off of me. It’s probably a good thing that welbywife decided to go for a walk after we made it to the theater, or the waitress would have probably gotten a good talking to.

The premeire was great. The guys who filmed the movie have done a really good job making it something special, and I really enjoyed watching the final cut of the movie. Apparently the premeire was attended by Natalie Portman and her boyfriend, Gael Garcia Bernal ( never heard of him ), which was kind of cool. After the movie played there was a Q&A about the game and the movie, and the neat thing was that we sort of stole the show. There were many more questions about the game and its mechanics than about the movie and directors. Lots of fun, and a great experience. I’m very glad I had the chance to do it.

After the premeire I went to my very first after party ever. We were swamped again with questions, but left early because the bar closed right after we got there. So we went looking for a place to drink. Since the film guys offered to buy me drinks, I decided I should go also. After all, I didn’t want to be rude. Its just wrong to turn down a beer if someone offers to buy it for you. In the future though, I’ll probably turn down the tequila shots. And the other shots. Yep. I’ll stick with beer. Beer doesn’t usually become a projectile in the middle of the night while you’re trying to pass out. Tequila, I’m unhappy to report (and the staff of the Days Inn were probably just as unhappy to learn) does become a projectile in the early morning hours when you’re trying to pass out. On the plus side, I did manage to get a pitcher form the bar as a souvenier.

The next morning welbywife and I set off for what I think was the best part of our journey - the meeting of the Lissla. We met at The St. Lawrence Market and managed to find each other nicely, thank you very much. Actually, **Lissla ** managed to find me, because I was walking along carrying a Trader Joe’s bag and wearing a beard and she stepped in fromt of me and said “Welby?” I shudder to think what would have happened if there had been some other guy with a beard and a Trader Joe’s bag. I probably never would have found Lissla. And the poor other guy would have been out his Trader Joe’s loot.

Lissla truly lived up to my expectations, especially about the food. I had a peameal on a bun sammich first. Yummy. Then I had a Noonoomeanhimmyjimmy bar. It’s not really called a Noonoomeanhimmyjimmy bar, but I can’t spell Nanaima unless I look it up. Then I had a butter tart. All of it was YUMMY. The Noonoomeanhimmyjimmy bar was easily enough calories to feed a small nation. Lissla toured us around the market, and we bought souveniers for the brats, and she showed me the greatest store ever. It had just about any candy you can find. In bulk. Plus it has spices and teas and all sorts of other stuff. **Lissla ** also bought me some Chocolate Smarties, which went down well on the trip home. We’re going to try the bottle of wine she gave us after dinner tomorrow, when we have the grandparent over for dinner.

We then went to Casa Loma, but I didn’t really want to go inside. It was a pretty day, I was in a walking mood, and was having a lot of fun chatting with Lissla anyway. So welbywife went inside and Lissla and I took a walk around the neighborhood, then sat out front yakking. I learned lots about Lissla, but the most striking thing was the she doesn’t say Eh? Actually, that wasn’t the most striking thing, but it’s still interesting.

Around 2:00 we collected welbywife and dropped Lissla at the metro. I’m pretty sure she read the map and is still lost in there somewhere. Welbywife and I had a blast spending time with her. Lissla’s a sweetheart, just in case you were wondering. Her multiple husbands are lucky guys. After dropping **Lissla ** off, we headed home.

The trip home. That was something special. I learned more facts about Canada on the way home. The first fact I learned is that the Gardiner Expressway closed without anyone telling us, so it took us three hours to get out of the city. Much of this three hours consisted of welbywife asking me if I knew where I was going and me telling her that yes, I did. At one point she suggested we park and stand on the street with a map in hand to get directions. Just when that option started to look like a brilliant plan, we found the QEW.

The next fact I learned is that when you leave Toronto you’re going west, then start going east at some point to make it to Niagara. This probably has to do with driving around the lake. I learned that you don’t just keep going west when we tried to stop and check into a hotel for the night. While the hotel didn’t have any rooms, the nice lady did manage to point out that we were no longer on the QEW and were headed to Syracuse, not Niagara. It was sort of an awkward moment:

Nice Hotel Lady: “If you’ll tell me where you’re headed, I’ll call a few places and see if I can find you a room.”

Me: “We’re headed west.”

Welbywife: “To Niagara.”

NHL: “Niagara is South.”

Me: “We left Toronto headed west.”

NHL: “You just came from Toronto? Toronto is east.”

Me: “I know. We’re headed to Niagara. That’s west.”

WW: “Did you get us lost?”

Me: “Of course not.”

NHL: “Yes, he did. You need to go east and south.”

Me: “We’re not going to Toronto, we’re going to Niagara. Niagara is west.”

NHL: “Well, I’m sure I could be wrong, but I’ve lived here all my life and I’m pretty sure that I’ve always gone east and south to get to Niagara.”

Me: “I’ll get the map.”

NHL: “I’ve got one here. See, you’re here in Brantford. Niagara is south. And east. Yes, it looks like I’ve been right all my life”

Me: " . . . . ."

WW: “You got us lost?”

NHL: “Yes, he did. Want me to call about some hotels?”

Me: “Well I was driving, she’s the navigator!”

NHL and WW exchange a glance that conveys the following message:

This guy, like all other guys, is a moron.

I wouldn’t want to go to Syracuse even if I had the time, so we turned around and went back to the QEW and stopped at The Stop 50 Restaurant Gas Bar and Motel to sleep. I learned that the motel has bugs, but that the restaurant makes a pretty decent breakfast. The next morning we made a brief stop at the Canadian side of the falls, and headed home. The journey was uneventful, except for the fact that I almost ran over a small dog, but he got away.

And now, for the pictures. There’s only a few (dozen), I’m still sorting them, and don’t have any of the pictures from **welbywife’s ** camera yet. But this’ll keep you guys happy for a day or so. I hope.

http://public.fotki.com/jbwelby/upload/

I breathlessly await the installment with me in it. :wink:

For some reason, i wasn’t expecting you to be tall, welby. I have no idea why. Maybe ‘welby’ sounds like a short name, or something?

Good Monday morning.

I don’t want to go to work. I want to stay home with the puppy and houseclean. That means I want to be a housewife, right? I do! I do!

It’s the first of the month, so it’s the-masses-bring-in-their-rent day. In cash. I hate that. I hate counting money. Even if it’s mine.

It’s going to be sunny. If I were a housewife, I could stay home and garden. The front yard is neglected. And I could cuddle the puppy.

Nanaimo bars. Nanaimo bars. Mm… Nanaimo bars.

Bother! You posted while I was typing!

And you do start out going west from Toronto, and then go south and east around the curve of the lake. Yep.

Would you prefer a cheque or a parcel of Canadian goodies in exchange for the TJ’s? Quasi-Daughter was over yesterday (and organized my fridge) and says thank you for the the chocolate (she ate some) and also that she’s sorry she didn’t get a chance to meet you.

Nanaimo bars and butter tarts. Poutine doesn’t ship well. Or so I’ve heard.