Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blue Mountain Part II

What an adventure this day was!

After waking up and watching price is right, went outside to see snow starting to fall. Didn't think much of it at the time - I mean, snow? in Collingwood, that's expected.

Then on to the car, and seeing on the dash a good ol' parking ticket. Nothing too bad right? Day could go better, but it's just a parking ticket afterall. Pay it when I get home, then I am good to go.

Start up the car, brush off the snow, and then went back into the car. Noticing that the mirror still had some snow on it, I rolled down the window, and brushed the snow off. Then pressed the button to roll the window back up. I pressed it... ... ... and nothing happened.

So here we are now, a little bit past noon, and it's snowing (blowing snow), we are in the car, and one of the windows is FULLY down. Snow was starting to full into the controls, and so I figured we gotta cover it w/ something (in case the snow gets in and melts, causing an even bigger mess). After a phone call home, I was told that in addition to the doors not working too well, that window I just pulled down 'normally can't go down cuz is stuck'. So thinking, AWESOME!, next step was to call CAA and see what they can do. Their response: sure, we will be there in 30 min to 2 hours...

In effect saying we are on our own for the next hour, we looked at a map, saw a Toyota dealership and thought, 'hey, let's go there and see what they can do'. So we started driving down, with snow blowing through the driver side, and all of us wearing our toques and big jacket like the day before when we went snowboarding.

As I am driving down, first I tried to go the no glove approach... which soon after I had to ditch and wear one glove (as luck would have it, there were no thin gloves so I had to drive with the thicker leather gloves). Pretty soon though my face was getting cold, so we pull up a red blanket and used that to cover the driver side where the window would be. Though because of the blanket, I could not see the left mirror, it was a reasonable trade-off, seeing as I held the blanket, I could feel the gusts of wind that would have landed on my face had I not have the blanket. I had two fully functional mirrors, so face vs. left mirror, bye bye mirror! :P.

I have to say, this was soooo ghetto, and sad to the point where by the time we got into town (which was about 15 minutes in), Swimming Buddy and I just started laughing. Sure we realize as we were in town that we had no more wiper fluid either, but how can things go any worse! In a little less than 2 hours since we woke up, we had an injured person, and 2 frozen popsicles. While we are laughing at our plight, we were debating heavily what we'd do if Toyota can't help us. Whether to:
a) turn up the heat and drive 1.5 hr on the highway to get back home
b) keep holding onto this red blanket as we cruise down the 400
c) drive to Canadian Tire and buy ceram wrap and duct tape to seal the open gap.
... after a few minutes, we decided to put these in the backburner, until it's confirmed that Toyota can't help us.

So we got to Toyota a little bit past 1:00pm.. right about when they were closing for the day. I rushed in, told them our situation, then the mechanic comes out, looks at it and gives out what I heard as an 'uh-oh'. Before I had time to react to the 'uh-oh', the mechanic starts banging on the door panel and then the window magically started sliding up! Holding my breath as the window continued to creep up to its fully closed position, I had nothing but 'thank you's and 'you are the best' for the mechanic. Toyota at Collingwood - really nice people. I mean, it's the 31st, they are about to close up, and they are willing to check out a stray's car! What nice people!

So after an hour driving around town, the window was fixed! We decided to go for a quick bite and warm up before driving back. Having been delayed by Price Is Right and this little hunt for Toyota, we come back to see the 401 jam packed eastbound. So as we saw how 401 is packed from the 400 all the way to 403, Swim Buddy and I decided to use our great navigation skills to chart up a new route to get back home.

Good thing we did because it turns out there were two accidents that happened, clogging up effectively the entire section from Keele to Kipling. So getting on right after Keele, we hit ZERO traffic!

Dropped off Swim Buddy at the hospital to get a checkup on her hand, and I proceeded to go buy some chicken wings to prepare for the tonight.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blue Mountain Part I

Waking up bright and early at 8:30am (the earliest I have waken up since I've been back), today began the trek to Collingwood for day of fun filled snow and mountains.

Debating the whole way whether I should ski or snowboard, I ended up trying out snowboarding... 2nd time in my life. This 2nd time I fell alot less on the bunny hill... I was able to actually make it down without falling a few times - but then again, this bunny hill seemed alot flatter than the one at horseshoe.

The worst idea of the day was probably being convinced to go up the non bunny hill on the first run of the day. Fell soo many times as I came down... and I swear there were times where I thought I was gonna die!.. lol. Good thing my subconscious survival instincts kicked in, and so I survived going down that hill! The coolest thing was that every time I fell, I could just lie there on the hill in the big star/snow angel form and rest... at any other non green hill, doing that would probably get me yelled at! In the past 10+ years, this is probably the 2nd time I've ever done that! (the 1st time was the week before at the bunny hill at horseshoe!)

So after that first run, we demoted ourselves and went back to the bunny hill. It took REALLY long to get up, because people kept falling off the conveyor belt lifts. So what we ended up doing was just walking up the bunny hill and going back down. After 3 or 4 runs though, tired of walking up, I braved back onto the big baby hill and tried going down it a few times. Fell quite a bit, but was slowly getting the hang of it.

So I was slowly able to do what the lesson we got last week at horseshoe had us doing (they were what I would call a semi-moon turn), but I never understood how that connects into a real snowboarding experience. But as I was watched from the lift, I got an epiphany as I watch one of the snowboarders come down the hill. The key lay in connecting these semi-moon turns... and supposedly when connected, they call that 'carving'. So trying this out on the next run, I was able to connect the first 5 semi-turns, and built after a decent amount of speed (for my level on the snowboard)... and then THUMP!

That THUMP came from my trying to make the 6th semi-turn, but failing because the transfer of my weight from heel to toe on the turn wasn't done properly. Falling backwards, my bum went down with a thud and then kablamo! Down I was, trying to get up immediately wasn't possible... lol. It was funny in a way, cuz I had to lay there for a little bit because I simply couldn't get up! I was able to get up and tumble down the slope eventually; but this fall took alot out of me and I never really recovered from it... All subsequent attempts down the slope did not hurt as much as this one, but I also fell quite a bit more...

After the numerous falls and falls, we went back to the cabin. As it turns out, on the first run, Swim Buddy had actually taken a pretty bad fall (a fall where the visor on her goggles popped out!). Unknown to us at the time, we thought she was fine. But back at the cabin, we checked out Swim Buddy's wrist injury and turns out it may have been pretty bad. So we went into town to see what we could pick up, coming back w/ aspirin and the location of the hospital just in case. But seeing its the 30th and pretty late, and that we were heading back out to TO the next day, waiting in the ER for 3 hours would not have done all that much. So instead, we iced the wrist for a lil while, and then I practiced my adhoc first aid skills and made a splint from what we had. A splint made from a hand towel, a bath towel, and a spachelor! :P. From afar, some may even think its a cast! haha. R-I-C-E... we did it all!

Seeing that we had this towel cast on Swim Buddy, we decided to stay in. Good idea because I was pretty hurt too after today!

So in summary, result from this day of snowboarding:
- Swim Buddy got a fractured hand :( -- found this out the next day...
- My bum hurts, both my wrists hurt...
- Concluded that the green hill is no baby...

I think I will ski the next few times I go to a hill with snow. Falling hurts! Maybe when I get those tushy pads, then I will try snowboarding again...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Oyster Night and Wine Bar

Back in Toronto, it was time to revisit the Oyster Bar Starfish!

The Guiness Book of World Record oyster shucker wasn't there today, but as always, really good place with very very tasty oysters. They only had 3 kinds tonight, but they were all REALLY good.

Once again, Anime Buddy dressed to impress!... and one upped me again in attire! The next time we meet, I will have to wear my suit! wuhahahaha!

After oysters, being still pretty hungry, we went down a couple bocks to Jamie Kennedy's - a wine bar. Tried a red, white and a desert wine and alot of the appetizers there. Really nice place.

It was a great night overall. Was pleasantly surprised by seeing a side of an old friend that I haven't seen before. Guess even if you have kept in touch for 10 years, you can still learn something new about a person!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Family Week

Canada feels alot colder than I last remembered it. The 2nd day we went skiing, and I was pretty cold after a few hours. The most amazing thing was that Old Man, after 15 years, was able to go down the green hill! Even more amazing was that while us young folks went into the chalet after a few hours, Old Man endured all 4 hours outside. Good job!

On another day, tried snowboarding for the first time. It was painful! I don't think I have fallen that many times on the slope since I was in gr. 5... let alone on the bunny hill! It was a bit warm, and it was raining. We all got soaked, but nevertheless, it was pretty fun.

This year we didn't end up going to the casino for our family outing, but we still snowshoe-ed. It was alot more fun this year, because there were actually new snow. The guide leader fell once too!

A good week up at Horseshoe... Bummed around and had good meals.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Homebound Delays...

After being a little bit too close to missing the plane the last few times I flew, I figured I would arrive a bit early to bum around and not have to have the 'what if I miss my flight' thought running through my mind. Arriving at the 6:15am for a 8am flight, figure that was plenty of time. Well apparently, the airline did not, and decided to delay the flight by 2 hours after I checked in, then another hour.. and another. At 10:30am, the airline folks pull the ultimate delay... cancelling the flight. G-R-E-A-T! Figure the one time I make an effort to get there early, something completely out of my control happens. Ever find that fate seems to always like doing this? You learn from your past, you try to account for the unaccountable, then the first time you modify your whole flow, fate throws a pie at your face.

Well... anyway, supposedly there are two planes leaving at 11:45pm... let's hope I get onto one of those. Hopefully its one of them flights with the screens so I can watch movies... otherwise guess I will sleep.

On that note, I had to trade beer and wings for 2 meal vouchers to eat at the airport. Never realized this, but $12 can get you a pretty monster Burger King meal!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Frozen Pipe?

So the night before, I come home to find that no hot water flowed out of my kitchen faucet. Thinking that probably it was just too cold and the pipes froze or something, I just let it be and thought "oh, maybe it will just fix itself".

So today, I googled around for a quick 15 min to realize that letting it fix itself might not be the smartest idea. Something about bursting or something. So after quickly conferring with a few people, I decided I need to take care of this right away.

After calling the maintenance guy and such, and some adhoc attempts on my own, the water started to flow out again! (I turned on the oven, blowed dry the hot water tube). Not quite sure what caused it, and not even sure if it was because the water inside the tube was frozen.

I did hear a crackling sound inside the walls when the hot water first started to drip out again. Weirdest thing was that I swear I heard this happen above me and not below (though I am not sure now). Either way, that sound seem to correspond to the water coming out.

I guess what the news said was right - to keep the water dripping on the cold nights here...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Revisiting Imo

After a month or so of not having visited good ol' Imo, it was time to revisit it! Didn't sing this time though since we were up at the far corner, so had to be satisfied with just listening to the music of people singing.

After a few sakes, proceeded to Tia Lou's. Was pretty excited since I heard good things about this place, but I have never actually gone in.

At first, the place was pretty empty. But as the night gone on, the place started filling up. Nothing too too out of the ordinary though.

Chilled at Kirkland native's place for a bit, sang Complicated, then went back home at the wee hours of the night...

Number of drinks consumed = 5 == Still within the acceptable 3 drink/12 hour limit :)... SUCCESS!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Snoqualmie Casino

Feeling like doing something different today, decided to check out the new casino that opened 20 miles east of the city...

The casino was pretty nice. The place looked like a ski resort in my mind. Very convenient to get to too! (only 15 to 20 min drive away) the place had a club, and was pretty big in general. Drinks weren't free though at the tables... which was a shocker for me :( (The drinks weren't cheap either!). Also, smoking was allowed in here - so my jacket ended up smelling like cigarettes...

The pit boss was a pretty funny and cheerful guy though. And as always, the table I play at was rowdy and entertaining :P.

Killed a few hours today, got home at a decent time and called it a night...