The Return of the Floog.

It's been a long time coming. I'm not sure why we stopped the Floog, because we had been on a roll for awhile, but alas...the last post was in May of 2007. Shameful. The Swedish Chef would be so embarassed by our dedication.

However, I have brought it back. The link is provided on the right. Behold the wisdom and knowledge behind...the FLOOG.

Tales from Sea.

Last Tuesday, Kurt and I got up an hour earlier to catch the early ferry into town for our first morning gym session. I had never taken the early ferry before and wasn't sure if it had the same "if we see you running down the street, we'll wait for you" policy that our regular ferry had, so we made sure to be at the stop a little early. We boarded at 7:00, and the ferry was set to leave at 7:15. The captain and a crew member hopped off and headed into the little coffee shop at the ferry stop, while the other crew member checked ferry passes as we got on.

At about 7:03, just as I was settling into my book, I felt the ferry lurch and then start moving away from the dock. It took me a second before I realized that this wasn't suppose to happen for at least another 12 minutes or so, and then another second to realize that it wasn't just leaving was actually just drifting away.

Without the captain.

I should take a moment to describe what we're dealing with here. A fairly large catamaran-style ferry, floating in no more than 20 feet of water (at that particular spot), which was probably at least 85 degrees. The water was calm, the weather was clear. However, we were also surrounded by things like rocks, a steel bridge and other such firmly stationed items like, oh, docks and houses. Drifting away from the dock with no steering capabilities? Not ideal.

As it was still fairly early, there were only a handful of people onboard besides ourselves. However, the powers that be could not have picked a worse crowd to be in a potential "situation" on the water. Besides (calm, logically minded) Kurt and myself (calm, less logically minded), there were about 6 women of varying ages and a gentleman who I had thought worked for the ferries but now, after this experience, assume that he does not. Some of the ladies lost it when they realized what was happening. "JESUS! LORD SAVE ME JESUS! I CAN'T SWIIIIIIMMMMMMM!!!! SAVE ME JESUS!" etc. etc. "THERE'S NO ONE UPSTAIRS! THERE'S NO ONE DRIVING THE BOAT! WE'RE GONNA HIT THE ROOOOCKS! LORD JESUS SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE ME!" etc. etc.

Effin' chaos.

Kurt and I were a little bewildered by it all. WTF are you supposed to do in this situation? When we looked over and saw the Captain standing on the dock, and realized that the screaming ladies were, in fact, accurate in their observations, Kurt took off and sprinted upstairs to make sure that someone was up there...or, I guess, drive the boat backwards if there wasn't.

I should also mention that the ferries are state of the art. There is no lever that you can just pull into reverse and back it back up to the dock. From what I've seen, it's controlled by buttons and something that looks like a joystick. Actually, with his video game background, Kurt probably could have figured it out if he'd had to. Luckily, he didn't. The poor other crew member, left alone on the ferry while his colleagues went to get their morning coffee, had sprinted upstairs and was trying to figure out the controls when Kurt arrived.

While Kurt was upstairs figuring out how we were going to avoid hitting the bridge, I stayed downstairs and tried to calm down the absolutely hysterical women. I don't know how it's even possible to grow up here and not know how to swim, but apparently none of them did...and they were all locals. They were freaking out, cursing at the Captain (still waving at us and laughing on the dock with the rest of the passengers), shouting for Jesus to sweep in and save them from their horrible, unavoidable watery death when the ferry suddenly switched into reverse and we started drifting backwards. When they realized that they might not, in fact, die, they quieted down. Kurt was back downstairs by that point, and the ferry guy was steering us slowly backwards towards the dock. It took some instructions yelled from the Captain, but he manouevered us back into position, they secured the rope (a step clearly missed earlier), and normal ferry service resumed. In fact, we were even close to schedule...after all of that.

The ladies remained quiet(er), but they were severely unimpressed. Even with my headphones on, I could hear snippits of the story being repeated to passengers boarding at the next stop, who had been lucky enough to miss out on the fun. "We were all going to die" and "he just stood there, laughing at us" and "Lord, that was a blessing" was great eavesdropping material.

As for the wasn't his fault that the ferry took off without him, or most of the other passengers. It's not his job to tie it up. I'd laugh too. In fact, I did.

Ridiculous. Ah...the morning commute. Always a good time.

Dad's flowers.

I remember being quite into the colour purple in or around 1990. Nearly everything I wore was teal, purple or some combination of the two. Because is there really a better combination?

Lately, after years of ignoring it completely, I'm finding myself drawn to the colour purple again. It seems to be everywhere...and I'm liking it.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock...

It's only one year minus three days until our wedding.


It's happening.

My new job is going really well. I didn't want to jinx it and write some big rave review of the place in the first week only to have everything go to shit in the second week and have to retract it, so I held out until I'd completed two full weeks of employment with Large Unnamed Global Entity, hereby known as LUGE. It has a better ring to it than LUNLF, and far better than MUOLF (Mid-sized Unnamed Offshore Law Firm). Talk about lowered expectations.

Anyways, two full weeks at LUGE and I'm in LUGE love. It's all very different, which means that it's actually interesting, which I haven't experienced with work in a very long time. I'm still getting used to the structure, which is very different from anywhere I've worked before, but I'm enjoying the fact that I'm already being handed projects and such, meaning that I'm suddenly very busy. I went from 0 to 120 in about 5 minutes on my first day. It was awesome.

Enough about work. In short, good times.

Business is NOT as usual in the P-H Compound, otherwise known as our apartment, which is currently lingering at a comfortable 80 degrees thanks to the A/C. It has gotten really, really hot here. You start sweating the second you step outside and the (hot) little breezes from the ocean really only amplify the situation. It's unpleasant, but there is some solace in knowing that every single other person is just as uncomfortable as you are. Except the tourists, that is. They tumble off the cruise ships each week in some of the most appalling excuses for "summer wear" that I have ever seen. I have seen more ass in the last two weeks than anyone should ever see, unless you were in some sort of line of business where frequent ass viewings were the norm. It's not hard to spot them (the tourists, that is, though the asses are right behind them)....they move around in large confused-looking herds, carrying the standard-issue blue and white striped cruise ship beach towels and asking which way the pink sand is.

The population of the Rock spikes when the ships are in town (sometimes two or more at once), and the roads suddenly become even more dangerous than they were before, with hundreds of tourists wobbling around on their rented scooters, trying to simultaneously sight-see and stay on the left side of the road, while taking photos and carrying on conversations with the scooter behind them. What a shitshow. At least they all seem to be enjoying themselves, which I suppose is the important thing. And we all enjoy ourselves on those rare nights when the ships are gone and you can actually get from Point A to Point B without having to shove your way through crowds on the already crowded sidewalks.

After our three weeks away, we came back feeling pretty blah so we (I) decided that our kitchen needed an overhaul (again) and we needed to get back into cooking healthy meals for ourselves, instead of cooking easier but decidedly less healthy meals just because we are lazy by nature. So far, so good. Again, I don't want to jinx it, but we had a phenomenal week last week, food-wise. We did not buy one meal. We brought a healthy lunch to work each day, complete with morning and afternoon snacks AND (and this is the impressive part) we dragged ourselves to the gym bright and early every. single. morning. Even Friday. And again this morning (Sunday). Astounding. I'd kind of been missing the morning runs but it is just far too damn hot to be out there pounding it out on the pavement, even early in the morning. So, we're finally taking advantage of a sweet deal Kurt gets through work on a gym membership and it's been great. We pretty much have it to ourselves each morning, so we can run or do our weights and get in and out of there with time to spare before having to be at work (which, incidentally, is right across the road...for both of us). Even after just a week, I'm already feeling much better. It's amazing what watching what's in your food can do for you.

Tonight's dinner was barracuda filets, steamed in parchment paper with fennel, carrots, orange juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Very easy...very delicious. For dessert? Frozen grapes. They have nearly replaced my beloved Minstrels as my favorite evening treat.

True to form, I'm already getting antsy about our next trip off the Rock and having a very hard time swallowing the fact that there simply won't be one for the rest of this year. I'm going to be clawing my eyes out by the end of September, so this should be interesting. However, the bank accounts are more important right now and I really don't think that the airlines need any more help from us this year, thank you very much. I'm already looking into booking our Easter NYC trip and thinking about it very well could be our first trip off the Rock, meaning that we could potentially be staring down the barrel of an EIGHT MONTH stretch of island fever. Awesome! I know at least one person is rolling their eyes at the thought of me complaining about spending time here and so, once again, I want to reiterate the fact that it's not the Rock that's the problem. It's the whole being cut off from the rest of the world thing that gets to me. You really do forget that it's out there, especially if you avoid the news for a week or so. It's a really weird feeling.

Anyways, this weekend is coming to a close pretty quickly now. Laundry is done, lunches are made, book is finished (David Sedaris - When You Are Engulfed in Flames) and new book is waiting (Stephanie Meyer - Twilight - yes...I am jumping on that train, and if this is just the new Harry Potter, which was bitterly disappointing to me, I'm going to be...bitterly disappointed), so it's time for bed.

Night, y'all.

Getting all Canadian.

Having grown up in Canada and having lived there for nearly all of my life, I suppose I've always been pretty sheltered as to what the rest of the world thinks of Canadians. Since none of my vacations outside of Canada have ever been longer than a few weeks, I've never really experienced the down and dirty viewpoints on, well, myself and my glorious country. Nor have I ever cared, to be quite honest. I like Canada and generally, I like Canadians. As a whole, we're OK. I've certainly always been proud to call Canada my home.

Well, I've heard my first anti-Canadian comment...apparently Canadians are known for being cheap. In fact, there's even an acronym here...TAC, which stands for "tight ass Canadian". I've learned that, apparently, I am one.

They have a very strange tradition on the Rock that I'm not a big fan of. When a large group goes out to eat together, instead of everyone paying for what they ordered, the split the bill by the number of people at the table and everyone pays their share. Now, this makes sense to me when you're eating at a restaurant where the very nature of the food means that everyone shares - like Indian, for example, or Thai. But that kind of restaurant style simply doesn't exist here - even the Thai place serves individual portions. I'm talking about everyone ordering their own entree and drinks and then just averaging the bill afterwards. Kurt and I have come across this situation a number of times since we've been here and, for the most part, it's left us paying a lot more than we would actually have owed, since we don't usually order big meals (because big meals here are expensive), don't really drink and most of our friends are alcoholics. We've sucked it up though, cursing ourselves the whole way home for not saying something. I'm not talking about a difference of $10 here...we once paid (no joke) $105 for a salad, a burger and two margaritas, just because that is how the table treated the bill and by the time we'd thought to say anything, everyone else had already forked over their portions. They were getting a great deal, since they'd been ordering jug after jug of margaritas. I'm still pissed off about that night.

After a year of buying a house downpayment worth of plane tickets, we've made a conscious decision to lay low for awhile and do everything possible to hit our financial goals for this year. If we stick to it, we should do fine. One of the things we've cut back on (the easiest thing) is eating out - meaning that it was time to stop pussyfooting around those awkward split bills.

Last Friday, we were invited out to meet up with some friends for a casual dinner at a local pub. Well, three of them were our friends, and the other three we'd never met until that evening. I ordered an appetizer ($13) and a drink ($6), and Kurt ordered a burger ($15) and a beer ($5). Total bill for us should have been $50, including a tip (which they graciously include for you on the bill, at 15-20%, no matter how crappy the service is). So, when the bill came and they announced that each person owed $45, I spoke up and said no fucking way. The rest of the table had been drinking glasses of beer large enough to comfortably bathe a cat in, and each had ordered a large entree, with appetizers. I thought that my point would be taken, but one of the guys...hereby known as arrogant English asshole....turns to me, wipes his lips daintily with his napkin and says "well, time to get all Canadian then." He followed this up with an impressive eye roll.


This came after he basically told Kurt and I that having a wedding was just a big show and that if we were in it for all of the right reasons, we would just elope together and spare everyone else the stress. Oh yeah...and we'd only met him about 20 minutes before he unloaded his opinions on everyone, as if we all cared. It was funny until he flat-out insulted us.

I stood my ground though, re-explained my position, and waited it out. Had we had similar orders, we would have been happy to just pay the averaged amount. It's actually much, much easier than trying to split the bill down, but I just couldn't give in this time. Eventually, and thanks to back-up from everyone else at the table minus the two English guys (perhaps it's an English tradition?), it was settled and we paid what we owed. Still, I'd never been insulted for being a Canadian before and I wasn't impressed by the whole situation. It got awkward. But, if "getting all Canadian" means not being dumb enough to pay for strangers to get drunk and eat curry then yeah...sign me up.

It's hard to deal with these kinds of things because when you're on an island this small, social events like this kind of make the world go 'round. There isn't that much else to do, so we look forward to getting together with our friends. However, we're just going to have to find some crafty ways around paying for other people's fishbowls of beer.

Kurt's suggestion? Lobster and champagne, as a rule.