Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Disgusting and work...

Bless my old dad. He had some funny habits and weird sayings - One of his favourites was his overuse of the word disgusting. As you know the actual meaning is to cause revulsion or strong indignation. To my dad it meant anything he didn't agree with or just didn't like -
Long hair on teenage boys - DISGUSTING!!
Driving in the centre lane of the motorway - DISGUSTING!
Commentators on football matches - DISGUSTING!
All politicians - DISGUSTING!
Tuesdays - DISGUSTING!
Fat people - DISGUSTING!
The news (Good or bad) DISGUSTING!

Pretty much everything on this beautiful little planet was disgusting in one way or another, I agree with a lot of his claims, but some others just made us all laugh. However, Dad, if you are reading this in Facebook heaven, prepare to be disgusted once again, but this time its something that is actually disgusting. I mean in the version of the the word that mean off putting, revolting or just nasty.

So what do I mean? Its the little shoulder season between the end of winter and the actual warmth of Spring. It doesn't have a name, but if it did, then the seasons would read - Winter - Disgusting -Spring - Summer - Autumn/Fall  and start over again. We are currently in Disgusting....

So why, I hear you ask, do I want it named so?
Listen and I will tell you....

The snow falls here over a period of about 4 - 5 months, it falls, hardens and turns into ice, the roads are cleared and the snow piles up on the sidewalks. The roads and the sidewalks are then sanded and that sand eventually gets cleared in the next snowfall along with dirt, rubbish and all other dirty stuff.

Then in 'disgusting' - the weather warms up, the ice and remaining snow melts during the days it is above freezing and then freezes again at night. This creates uneven horrible icy sidewalks and roads that are more dangerous than shoving your tackle in the oven whilst cooking meatballs. The backlanes become haunted rails of ice with unknown forces pulling your car sideways without notice as you get stuck in the foot deep ruts of ice that build up. The wonderful dry, clean white snow is replaced with huge piles of brown, dirty shit stained ice that look otherworldly as the moisture is slowly melted away by the sunlight and warmth and what remains has hollow brown icicles hanging down. Your house and floors are ruined by the shit that sticks to your shoes and you many people wander down the road instead of sidewalks because its easier dodging cars than it is dodging foot deep puddles of brown murky freezing water - until a car drives through a foot deep puddle of brown murky freezing water and soaks you. It is disgusting - If you don't believe me here a few photos taken within 20 metres of our front door...

nearly clear path

Pile of shit used to be pile of snow

Just dirty and disgusting

effing disgusting

    So, there you go - In a few weeks it will all have melted and the city will clear the pathways. The grass will turn from grey to green and it will all be pretty again... I cant wait!!

Work has been good for me for the last few weeks. After completing my initial training I an now being let out on my own to install telephone systems - and I am loving it. I am busy, tired  and still learning everyday, but getting this job was fantastic and I actually look forward to work most days.

So what do I do? I am an Installer of business telephone systems - taking an initial agreement and meeting with customers to ascertain what they want their telephone system to do before spending a few hours programming the system and installing any cabling or equipment they need. I then install the new system and phones before arranging training and fine tuning what happens when someone calls. The whole process takes between 3 and 5 days usually spread over a 1-2 week period and with 2 or 3 jobs overlapping, its definitely busy but fun, Here's a taster of what I do....

Some of the shit cabling we have to deal with 

Bloody hell!

My nice neat cabling..

Before I did my stuff...

and after with UPS and Mitel 5000 mounted and working

I also cut holes in walls and run the odd bit of cat 5!

My latest job - fun fun fun!
So, at least you now know I ain't sitting on mt arse ALL day anymore. I think maybe its time to retire again soon though,.. haahaa.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The San Francisco adventure Part 2

So the morning after our surprise night out and open mic extravaganza, we woke up - suprisingly sober. No real after effects from out afternoon and evening of over indulgence and also we discovered that it was the cheapest evening out we had had by far! An awesome night.

Anyway the next day we decided to actually return to the exploratorium when it was open, and spend the afternoon there. We headed out and had a wander around mason point first, which is where I stayed in a hostel 5 years ago and also has nice views over the bay.

After that we needed some food and decided on the famous sourdough bread bowls filled with soup that you can get here in SF. I chose one with tomato soup and it was delicious - the biggest bowl of soup I think I have ever had and the bonus is you get to eat the bowl too! It definitely gave Buffy food envy as she ate her sandwich! Then it was off to the exploratorium....

At Mason Point

Now this is really a place to introduce kids to science, but it is also a great place for big kids like us to have some fun. We spent hours messing about with electrical experiments, teasing fish, spinning in chairs, drinking from the toilet (true) and experimenting with mirrors, lasers, IR cameras, slow motion cameras and all sorts of other things. Rather than list everything Ill post a few photos for you to look through and maybe a couple of videos too....

How big my head feels to me

New hair do!

Us in the electronic form

What the ugly kids we make will look like!

Me and a duck

Buffy on a chair

Buffy and a hat

Buffy being a tramp and drinking from the toilet
Buffy in a mirror

Both of us in lots of mirrors
We also teased some fish and made Buffy look silly..... haha

After messing about all afternoon we went home in a Lyft (another version of Uber) for a snooze before we went out for what we hoped would be a great evening - an old Saloon with live music followed by a trivia night at a local pub. It started great - the Saloon is the oldest pub in San Francisco and  looks it. An old wooden bar with dates back to the 1800's and a stage in the corner with music being played by anyone who wants to get up and play. We loved it there and were disappointed to have to leave, but as we knew trivia nights are always fun we decided it was worth it. How wrong could we be? Very wrong. 

The trivia night was terrible. Not only were the questions weird - one round with random questions from anywhere and anytime followed by a round about the supreme court of america! But the quizmaster (or pissmaster as I call her) was shit. As a quizmaster she was embarrassing herself by drinking too much, saying cxxt every 3rd word and claiming to be the best quizmaster you had ever met. In reality, I genuinely think she has some issues as she verbally abused the barstaff and customers and changed her mind during and after rounds to make things more difficult for us and her than it should ever have been. The topical team names she asked for ended up being based on her (Her name was Holly) so names like Holly sucks cock and Hollys hole wouldn't have been out of place but are gentler versions of real names I won't embarrass myself by writing here. As a quiz-night it was terrible, but as an evening out its is one we wont forget in a hurry! 

Wednesday appeared just as Tuesday ended and about 8 hours into the day we got up and went to collect our rental car for the day. We wanted to get out of the city and see some of the other sights. So headed across the Golden Gate bridge towards Sausalito and Muir woods to see some houseboats and some huge trees.....

The first few stops were all about the bridge though as we drove up Hawk Hill on the north side of the bay to get some spectacular views. We stopped at a few places and there are too many photos to post here, but follow the link to google photos if you want to see more...

 We stopped at Sausiloto to see the houseboat community and their hippy style of living before continuing out to Muir woods and the home of the giant redwood tree. We loved it here, wandering through the woods for a couple of hours and enjoying a talk about the place by a lovely Japanese park ranger. A wonderful afternoon.

Finally, after a lovely day out we returned to the city, stopping for a while to watch the sunset fall over the bridge. A great day out. 

The last thing we did in the car was drive the weird and wonderful lombard street...

On Thursday we had a free day - we had seen and done all the things we wanted to see and do - so found a place called Lands End, where there are cliffs and a park, so we grabbed a bus and went there for a relaxing afternoon. Just as we arrived we were enveloped in fog which rolled in from the sea. We thought it might spoil the day, covering up the lovely warming sun, but in reality it created a mysterious atmosphere and made it all the more fun. We found a stone labyrinth on top of a cliff edge and spent a while there wandering around and wondering what was happening in the mist. We knew the bridge was close by, but when the mist finally cleared we were amazed to see that it was in fact, just a few hundred yards away, where we had earlier joked it was. The fog here really is quite thick!!
I was tired and fell asleep on the edge of a cliff while Buffy leant against me and read a book - it was a lovely relaxing end to a lovely week away. All that was left was to have a couple of beers on our last night after a nice meal and then head to bed to get up for our Uber to the airport at 4am. 

Labyrinth and crazy woman

Fog and knobhead

Guess whats over there...

The bridge!

Told you!
An hour later it was sunny again!
We are now back home and nearly sorted out for work again tomorrow. Its arse being back at work and I want to retire again and go travelling for another few years. You never know, it might happen! 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The San Francisco adventure part 1

For the first time in ages I have exciting things to post about  - and I'm doing it from my sick bed in San Francisco - Yep, we came on holiday and I got ill. Headache, sore throat, mucus - thats such a good word - MUCUS! I have basically got a bit of a cold and will be up soon, but if anything it has helped to enhance the enjoyment of our faux honeymoon.. Read on and I will explain and fill you in on whats been happening.....

So we left a wintry Winnipeg really early last Friday morning - flying out at 5.50am meant a 3am rise, a 3,30am taxi and a long tiring day. We did however get some great views over Winnipeg as we left the city and of San Francisco as we arrived.

SF and the Golden Gate

After getting a bus from the airport to the city and a short walk through the city centre, stopping at a deli for a wonderful sandwich and huge beer,  we arrived at our home for the week - a lovely airbandb apartment on Lombard Street, just a couple of blocks from the bit of Lombard street with all the switchbacks and with a view over the golden gate bridge - if you stand on a chair and look out the top of the window! We settled in and after unpacking went for walk. We found the Fisherman's wharf are and spent a pleasant afternoon messing about in the musee mechanique - an arcade full of old Victorian arcade machines much like the one we have from Skegness, before heading home via the store to pick up some bread, crisps, pop and booze for the fridge. For our first night out we stayed local and had a few beers, a pizza and some more beers on Polk street, just around the corner. A lovely start.

Saturday was a chilly cloudy day and we spent it riding bikes around the city taking in some of the fine views and enjoying a pleasant way to see some of the sites - especially since the bikes were electric and we had very little peddling to do - we are after all, lazy bugars. After a nice day out we decided not to go home but to stay out for dinner and drinks - which started about 3pm and went on well into the night - ending up at a cocktail bar drinking all kinds of stuff and not really knowing what was going on. It was quite late, raining and we had a walk home up some of San Francisco's most steep streets - so we decided instead to get an uber or a lyft (They are basically the same thing) and were really surprised at just how well the system of booking a pick up and meeting the driver was as well as being a nice bloke, the car was immaculate and the price was cheap. We are now sold on this system and cant wait for uber to come to Winnipeg!
On a bridge

Under a bridge

Another bridge, at night, in the rain

By this time, my cold had take hold and I needed to get some cough syrup - so on Sunday morning  -on the way to the drag queen show (Yes we spent sunday brunch being entertained by a bunch of drag queens and it was great!) we stopped off at a pharmacy and picked up some cough stuff.

Sunday morning moved into Sunday afternoon and we went from the drag queen show to the centre of The Castro - the main part of 'Gay' San Francisco. I didn't know what to expect but it was lovely. Nice people, a lovely area with lots to do and a nice little bar where we stopped for a pint before heading back to town to go to a magic show - Yes, this really wasn't your typical Sunday day out!

We had booked a couple of seats at the Marrakesh theatre magic show, where we sat and watched a really great magician perform his illusions in a tiny theatre. It made for a really good, intimate show and everyone was involved - my cough syrup in handy being chosen as an item for the magician to guess whilst blindfolded and Buffy also made it on stage as part of a group of people trying to to hide a coin from the performer.
Buffy's 15 minutes of fame.

The long day was finished off with a trip to an amazing little bar - The Whitechapel Inn. This is  gin bar that is based on the old Whitechapel Tube station in London - complete with green an white tiles sourced from the same company that actually make them for the tube in England. It felt like stepping back in time with the curved roof mimicking the curve ceiling of the tube in London. A great end to a great day.

Monday came and I was still feeling like shit - but we were off to Alcatraz today, so I grabbed my cough syrup, took some dayquil and some headed off toward our ferry. The weather had brightened up and it was a lovely pleasant day as we took the 15 minute trip over to The Rock and spent the next 3 hours learning about the prison, the escapes, the riots and all the wonderful history of the place. (We had actually watched Escape from Alcatraz when we got in late last night to get in the mood) as well as meeting one of the guides who we think was autistic and when we said where we were from instantly knew so much about Winnipeg, such as the name of the sports teams, roads and individual stores. I said I was form Manchester and he then rolled off a whole load of info about that too - including  the trafford centre, city and united and even that Droylsden was near! A really nice and amazing guy.

Recreation time

The way out

It was when we got back to the mainland that things went a bit......mental.
We had decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at the exploratorium - a kind of science museum that you get to play with all sorts of cool experiments and things, but on the way there we realised it was closed in Mondays. Bugar. We noticed this as we passed a bar named pier 23, so decided to sit inside and have a pint while we worked out how to spend the rest of the day. This one pint turned into 2 and then 3 as we chatted with Michael the barman and a couple who sat at teh bar next to us from Texas. Buffy was bought a couple of huge free shots of whisky and it just so happened that at the end of the bar sat a couple of reps from a local brewery - who were giving away free pints - so I ended up drinking a whole lot more that intended and we were still in the bar 5 hours later - when a lovely old man came in and uncovered a piano, which he was there to play. Buffy was coaxed up to sing and at some point, the combination of free drinks and cold and flu drugs kicked in and I ended up at the piano sat next to the kindly old man, singing We'll meet again as he played along on the piano. My singing was terrible. I don't remember it, but Buffy took a video which you can see here! The funniest point was when a woman asked if we were a musical family and if I sing a lot and she replied - No hes just really drunk! Some time later we headed home and I remember nothing more!!!

So, now its evening again and we are heading out soon for more beers and adventures, Ill be back soon to let you know what happened!