Saturday, July 9

Toronto Diary - Day Six.

Thursday, June 23

Here's the day in eight more easy steps:

1. We had breakfast at Perkins. It took forever, we complained and almost walked out. The waiter was less than happy. He got a bad tip.

2. We went to the African Lion Safari, where you drive through the habitat and animals attack your car. You have to promise not to roll down your window, or they have no responsibility for your impending death by lion attack. Idiots still rolled their windows down, but they'll go to hell someday, so I'm not worried.

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(This was known as the "elephant swim", where the elephants all came out and dove into the lake at once. I was secretly hoping for a bit of an elephant rampage, especially directed towards the kid who wiped dirt on my jeans. Listen parents, pay attention to your kids, or next time I'll throw them over the fence.)

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(These are lions. They were right outside our car.)

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(These are kinds of monkeys. They were everywhere.)

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(This monkey got on top of our car, and signaled us to stop. Sherry, notorious for her hard-braking, sent the monkey tumbling down the road. That is all true, except for the tumbling part.)

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(We drove through this for an hour. We were careful not to run anything over.)

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(This zebra needs to get herself an ab isolator.)

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(I love this shot, especially the Ostrich peeking in on the right. They were about a foot away from me.)

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(This giraffe loomed right over the top of our car. Personally, I think I took a brilliant photo here. The contrast of the grass with the horizon, the distancing of the giraffes, etc. I'm sick of people telling me that I can't take a picture.)

3. After the safari, we went into the city for dinner at "Le' Comensal". In reality, it was more like "Le' Cafeteria". You filled up your tray, and paid by the gram. On the bright side, it was an all-vegetarian/vegan place, so we could eat anything and everything we wanted, provided it wasn't heavy (expensive).

4. After leaving the cafeteria and relaxing at the hotel, we went across the street for drinks and dessert. It was then that I realized we spent about 80% of our cash on food and parking. We were seriously beginning to wonder if we'd have enough money to get back home.

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(Litres or not, this is an expensive tank of gas. We did this several times over the course of eight days.)

5. During an argument in the car, I coined the phrase "brake light colorblind", in reference to Ben and Sherry's combined refusal to pay attention to the cars in front of them on the highway. Every single time we had to brake, we had to brake hard. The brakes will need to be replaced as soon as we get home.

6. During yet another argument in the car, this time concerning where we were, Benjamin furiously pointed at the map and shouted, "here are we!". Any seriousness he was going for went completely out the window after that ridiculous exclamation. Perhaps you had to be there.

7. Right outside of the airport, there was a strip club called "The Landing Strip". This marks the first time I have ever seen a triple entendre used for the name of a business. I tip my hat to the brilliance of the name, but I'm also embarrassed and sad.

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(This marks the first time in history that someone took their own picture in a bathroom mirror, and used it on a Blog. I'm paving the way, here.)

8. Before we went to sleep, I went to the candy machine for a Nestle's Crunch. Of course, the bar got stuck in the coils, so I tried to shake the machine to knock it loose. I thought the machine would be bolted to the ground, but it wasn't. Completely overcompensating, I lifted the machine right off the ground, bringing it down with a deafening crash. I got my Nestle's Crunch bar, along with a corkscrew from the top row. Good for me.

COMING SOON - DAY SEVEN OF EIGHT.

(Questions, comments or concerns about day six? Sound off in the comments section.)

Thursday, July 7

Toronto Diary - Day Five Point Five.

Here's the thing. Ben and Sherry are getting married in August. Again.

They're getting re-married on their 1st anniversary, because it's some sort of weird Jenkel tradition that nobody seems to understand, but I know you get extra gifts.

They're looking for a good picture of themselves to put on their invitations, so we took a bunch of them at Niagara Falls. They chose their five favorites, and now they want the CDP to make the final decision. Just leave a comment saying which one (or ones) you enjoy, and they'll go with the top vote-getter. Simple as that.

Here are some things to consider. We're going to Photoshop that logo off of Ben's shirt, so don't worry about it. We're also going to do something about Sherry's midriff. Pay more attention to the framing, background, shadows, weather or not they look like idiots, etc. They seemed to really like the grayscale shots we took of them, even though we could make any of them grayscale, but whatever. Just pick the one that you like the most. And away we go.

Picture #1 - "The Sit."

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Personally, I don't like this one. The four other pictures have Ben on the viewer's left, and that just looks more correct for some reason. Besides, look at his hands and facial expression. "Hi! I'm Benjamin, and I want to be a Fireman when I grow up!" Sherry's leaning against him as if she's a volunteer worker at the local hospital, and she took "Little Ben" to the Falls for a day trip. This isn't a husband and wife, this is a caretaker and a very ill man-child.

Picture #2 - "The Look."

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This was just featured in the last post, also known as the "Natalee Holloway picture", even though that is a very cruel and unnecessary joke. Nonetheless, I find it hard to turn away from a good caption when it pops into my head. Anyways, this is a decent and peaceful picture, certainly good for a Blog entry or slideshow. It's not so good when it comes to invitations. Turning your back on the camera is like turning your back on your family and friends. While that's always fun to do from time to time, keep in mind you're trying to come off as inviting, here.

Picture #3 - "The Third Wheel."

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This is a pretty decent picture. The idea here is to bring the Falls into the picture, almost introducing it to the viewer. Ben and Sherry are out of frame to give the Falls some room, let it get comfortable and help itself to whatever's in the fridge. Personally, I don't think that Niagara Falls would make a very good friend. I mean, it's up at all hours of the night, constantly makes noise and having all of his damn friends over who can't speak English. All I know is that I wouldn't want to share a place with him. The wind managed to blow some sort of a part into Ben's hair, and they're both looking at the camera without blinking.

Picture #4 - "The Domineering Husband."

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This picture is just slightly wrong. First off, in trying to capture both of the falls in one shot, you're left missing out on just about everything. The camera is just a little too far away from both of them, and Sherry is leaning way over onto Ben, almost shaping herself like the letter "S". Also, the wind is blowing Ben's hair into Sherry's hair, making it almost appear as if they are joined by hair. Being joined by the hair would suck, because you could never cut it.

Picture #5 - "The Pants."

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This photo has the best shots of Ben and Sherry's faces, but everything else about it is no good. Again, the Falls is really obscured and pushed to the back of the photo, instead of welcoming it into the frame. The camera is pulled back way too far, exposing too many pants. Look at the tents and bunches that make up Ben's pants, and then tell me that we should put it on a wedding invitation. No thank you.

If it's all the same to everyone else, I'd like to propose my own personal pick for wedding invitation.

Picture #6 - "The Drink."

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I think this photo really says it all. They drink, they wrestle and fight, then they sleep and go to work. Why shouldn't they get married all over again?

So, there you have it. Ben and Sherry thank you in advance for staring at several photos of them, as well as choosing your favorite. I'll return with Day Six of the Toronto Diary in no time.

Tuesday, July 5

Toronto Diary - Day Five.

Wednesday, June 22

Here's the day in 10 easy steps:

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(Niagara Falls was huge. It felt like a constant earthquake all around you. I'm not much for land formations and whatnot, but Niagara Falls delivered the goods.)

1. Drive to Niagara Falls.

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(This boat took you right into the falls. I was in no mood to ruin my camera and wear a poncho.)

2. Enjoy Niagara Falls.

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(See Mom? I really was calling you right from the falls. I could use my cell phone in Canada briefly when it was bouncing off the New York tower back in the states. USA! USA!)

3. Enjoy Niagara Falls strip.

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(Ben and Sherry quietly contemplate where to dispose the body of Natalee Holloway.)

4. Enjoy Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum.

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(This was a life-size model of Dr. Atkins just seconds before his mysterious death.)

5. Enjoy Dinosaur Miniature Golf.

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(By this point in the day, Froggie here was the only person who would listen to what I had to say. The food at the Rainforest Cafe always sucks, so take a few pictures and move on.)

6. Enjoy Niagara Falls arcade.

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(Here in the states, we don't have statues of cops in the street, so this seemed a bit out of place as far as I was concerned. Ben was arrested less than a minute later.)

7. Enjoy Hershey's Chocolate store.

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(This place was beautiful. There was chocolate everywhere, even the money was made of chocolate. That reminds me, I have to deposit some of that chocolate money at the bank.)

8. Enjoy Kelsey's restaurant for dinner.

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(This wasn't a staged photo. I was really that happy to be there, holding my giant peanut butter and chocolate cookie.)

9. Drive to Toronto.

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(This shot is for the Abercrombie catalog. They just need to photoshop my clothes off.)

10. Sleep.

COMING SOON - DAY SIX OF EIGHT.

(Questions, comments or concerns about day five? Sound off in the comments section.)

Sunday, July 3

Halftime. (Drink & Regret.)

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We're at the halfway point of the Toronto trip diary, so I figured this would be a good time to step away from it for a bit, and catch up on some other things that have been going on in the last week. Frankly, I'm sick to death of talking about the trip, and it's really starting to show. Perhaps this may get worse before it gets better, but here's hoping that I'll be able to paint a better picture of the vacation if I've completely forgotten about it for a couple of days. We had a good time, and just because I'm sick of talking about it doesn't mean that I should portray it negatively.

Anyways, I have a new review in the latest issue of Core Weekly. I'm proud of it, because I haven't had a published review in a few weeks, and I get to make fun of Sublime fans. Don't get me wrong, I have every Sublime CD, but they haven't been listened to since I was 14. As someone who's not a frequent drug user and lover of fake reggae music, I've found at least 500 bands that are better than the embarrassing drivel that they laid onto tape a decade ago.

Work has been interesting since I've returned. They have me started on a different position that I'm hoping to take over in the next couple of months. It's a pain in the ass, but I'm nothing if I'm not a patient guy. If something better gets offered to me before they offer me the position, I'm outta there. More information on that as it warrants.

I have a DVR now. I'll never miss another episode of anything ever again. I record crap that I don't even care about now, just because I can. It's so unnecessary, and I can no longer live without it.

I've added the link for the band Minus the Bear over on the sidebar. They make good music.

It's been no lower than 90 degrees every day for the last two weeks. As a guy that doesn't fare well in the sun and heat, I've been pretty miserable. I got a sunburn walking to my car yesterday. We had some friends over on Saturday on a count of Sherry's 21st birthday, along with the world-famous Madison fireworks. That went okay, I guess. The Missus got a beautiful new tattoo (her fifth), so I was pleased even though the day was less than splendid.

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You see, since I've returned from Toronto, I've felt even less sociable than usual. For some reason, I feel about a mile away from everyone who tries to converse with me. I don't want to listen, I feel like I don't particularity care what they have to say, and I find myself pretending to be happy and interested more and more. I understand that this may come off as arrogant and selfish, but I'm just trying to be honest. I'm not happy with this direction (I mean, how less approachable can I get?), so I'm trying to figure out what the damn deal is. When we had the kids over this weekend, I make several attempts to step away from the group every now and then, just so I could take in a few seconds of solitude.

I think that's what it is.

It's not that I can't stand everyone. It's not that I'm purposely being a distant jerk. I think it has to do with the fact that I've been constantly monitored by people for the last several weeks. I've had absolutely no time where I wasn't in a social situation. I can only take that stuff in small doses, then I'm looking for a room to lock myself into for a few hours. I'm not nearly as personable as I used to be, and it really starts to grate after a while. I'm still a social guy, but my friends aren't stupid. They're starting to catch on, and I really apologize.

My sanctuary is nonexistent. I normally had work to clear my mind of everything that's going on outside of it, but recently, work has turned into one of the biggest problems on my list. I'm sometimes doing what I swore I'd never do, which is drag my "work mood" home with me. Things around the house have been going great since we've returned, but I can't seem to sleep very well (the heat), and our schedules have been less than peaceful. The next few weeks should be better, and maybe I can turn the corner of "Whining Pansy" Street.

Until then, I'll continue to vent and apologize for the next few days.

I should be fortunate that I actually have friends to walk away from. Lord knows I bring nothing to the table. It seems that some of my acquaintances care more about less mature ventures than they used to, and it concerns me. I don't fall into that category, and can you believe it, I actually feel like a bad person because of it. I shake my head at the sheer audacity of that statement, but it seems like the problems I had with my friends in High School have actually come full circle for me at the age of 23. Again, I feel like the loser. Unreal. If history is bound to repeat itself, my friends will eventually drop me like a bad habit because I no longer fit their definition of "fun".

Scratch that. I actually dropped all of my old friends for that same reason, not the other way around. I'm better than that, and I chose my Wife over the depths of loser-dom that was my clique in 1999. If anything, I got to be in a cool band because of it.

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Enough of this. I hang around some wonderful people who have just as many faults as me, and we all find a way to put up with them equally. We're all great because of our versatility, coupled with our unbelievable stubbornness, if that makes any sense at all. I never want to leave behind the people I know now, and here's hoping that they never want to leave me behind. The ultimate irony of this whole thing is that I've been drinking today, so what I say needs to be taken with a grain of salt and an aspirin.

I'm not even close to the person that I think I am. Keeping up the lie is half the battle. I never said I was a fun guy to hang around.

But the bottom line is this. I surround myself with people so good, they've decided not to banish me.

Thanks.

But, because Sherry was being completely unreasonable last night, here's a picture of her (with husband) that she's gunna hate. Happy 21st Birthday.

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Feel free to defend yourselves in the comments section. I'm watching the end of "Tommy Boy" and going to bed.