Friday, August 31, 2012


I was driving home at about 9:30 at night just about to cross the Champlain Bridge.  I was doing about 20 over the speed limit as was the guy a car and a half in front of me.  You know that moment where you're driving and you're not certain if the person behind you is flashing their lights at you or if it just seems like they are flashing you because of the bumps in the road?  I'm always one to give someone the benefit of the doubt, but this guy was flashing his high beams or something.  I couldn't tell if it was a truck that was behind me or what.  The vehicle's flashing lights seemed to have a slightly bluish or purple colour to it.

Whatever... I don't care.  If this truck needed to speed down the middle of the road I would let it.  I pulled aside to let the vehicle pass and what do I see?  Pauline Marois' giant, fat face on the side of an obnoxious blue bus.  Yes, you know the one, this effing thing!!


If my anger were measured on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being just annoyed, 10 being naked fury, I went from 2 to 11 in seconds. I'm not prone to road rage, but my first thought was to destroy the bus somehow.  I wanted to do this

Now I'm not going to go on a rant against Pauline Marois.  There's nothing that I can say about her that hasn't been said about Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter.  And there's nothing that can be said about her politics that hasn't been alluded to in classic science fiction novels like, '1984' or 'Farenheit 451'.  And what the hell, let's just go full out Godwin's law,she's Hitler reincarnated.  But, unless you are one of approximately 33% of Quebecers who enthusiastically support this bigoted sociopath, the threat of having this creature as our Premier has probably caused you some anxiety this last month.

We panic, even knowing that we can't realistically expect this lunatic to execute even a small portion of her ludicrous propositions, at least not in the near future.  But my biggest disappointment is in the people who support her.  Am I to believe that 1 in 3 people don't believe that citizens should be allowed to wear yamulkes or turbans to work? But they do believe it's okay to wear a cross? Am I to believe that 1 in 3 Quebecers are behind Marois' insidious plan to exclude First Nations people from holding public office with a new slew of undemocratic language laws? (More language laws?!?)  1/3 people believe this province, with all its debt, with all of its reliance on federal funds, could be its own country?

But I'll tell you what really gets me, besides all the obvious stuff like what a PQ government will mean for the economy... What gets me is that after months and months of student protests we see that even though a significant portion of the population believes that education is free, those same people do not necessarily believe that adults should be free to have that education in English ie, the international language of business and science.  Let that soak in for a while... Remember when some of the protesters came out admitting how easily they could pay their tuition, but then claimed that they were out in the streets for the sake of those who would not be able to afford it?  And remember how you probably thought to yourself, "Wow, that's obviously a load of crap!"  Well, now is your chance to call those people out!  If they care so much about others, let them protest for people's right to be educated in the language of our choice.  While they're out there, let them protest for other people's religious freedom.  Dare I suggest they protest a person's right to run their business in the language they choose, if only to keep more business from leaving this province.  Speaking of leaving the province, can someone tell me why a doctor would stick around here when this woman is about to raise taxes on higher income earners once again!

Now would have been the perfect time to become passionate about something serious, involving other people's rights because it goes without saying that Pauline Marois plattform has at its core, an appeal to people's fears and prejudices, she doesn't even bother to hide it.  If there are people out there who care about the rights of others we should be hearing from them right aboooouuut.... now!

What?  People are still protesting tuition increases?  Oh well.  What was I saying?  Oh yeah, I won't go on a rant about Pauline Marois.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Adventures of the Amazing Coco Bongo

Do you like looking at pictures and videos of other people's vacations while being told long, meandering anecdotes?  Perhaps you are curious to see pictures of me without a shirt.  If you fall into either category, then this is the post for you!!!  Welcome to Riviera Maya!  Where my wife and I enjoyed a beautiful honeymoon!  Join us for all the adventure and romance as I highlight a few of the trips... ummm... highlights.  The first thing we saw in Mexico was an add for 'Coco Bongo'.  We didn't know what 'Coco Bongo' was at the time, but throughout our vacation we would see that the adds for  it were always accompanied by a picture of Spider-man.  Sadly, this is the most significant cultural impact that Mexico had on our lives; to this day we still call Spider-man 'the Amazing Coco Bongo'.

If that story doesn't whet your appetite for adventure, certainly tales of the legendary Chichen Itza will enthrall your imagination.  Chichen Itza was once a very important spiritual site in the Yucatan Penninsula.  They had an astonishing mastery of mathematics that they applied to the design of many of the temples in the area.  There was a ball court where teams played against each other to decide whether or not the Gods would favour them that year.  The acoustics in that place were such that everyone would be able to hear the chieftain speak wherever they were in the football sized field.

The Temple of Warriors
Mayan Obersvatory

According to our tour guide, Mayans from all over the Penninsula would come to see the temple in Chichen Itza during the summer solstice.  The mathematically inclined Mayans designed the temple so that during the summer solstice, the sunlight hitting the dark side of the temple would give the appearance of the snake god Kukulcan slithering down the side of it.

File:Chichen Itza Temple of Kukulcan Serpent.JPG
Kukulcan coming to visit
Here is a picture of a cenote not far from the ruins at Chichen Itza. The water was cold and teaming with catfish.  It was not a pleasant swim but one of those things I told myself I would do regardless.  I think it's a feather in my cap, don't you?

"Can you see me??? I'm swimming in the cenote?!"
The adventure continued as my wife and I braved the coral reef off the coast of Cancun.  If you do go to the area I would highly recommend the Aqua World Jungle Tour.  They give you a boat and you drive out to the reef at what I consider death defying high speed.  Now that's adventure!  You can tell because I'm wearing my adventurer hat.  Of course I drive my boats the way I drive my cars:  Like a 70 year old man who's not too sure where he's going.  Afterall, I saw no reason to go careening through the jungle like I'm the Amazing Coco Bongo or something!  Safety first!
I'm on a boat!

The reef itself is beautiful.  When you get there, you jump off the boat suit up with flippers and snorkling gear and go for a nice swim in the ocean.  We were able to take some pictures underwater with a newly purchased camera.  Yes, the camera can be submerged in the ocean.  Welcome to the future, my friends.  Look at the fish!  Look at the squids!  Look at various people's rear ends!

The resort itself was beautiful.  We stayed at the Excellence Riviera Cancun Resort.  They made the room all fancy for our honeymoon.  There were swans made of towels, rose petals and a bottle of champagne! Romantic?  I think so!

The vacation reached a turning point when I had trouble deciding whether or not to order ribs or filet mignon for supper.  So I ordered both! This became a trend, possibly a very unhealthy one
 as I ordered every meal with a side of steak : ribs and steak, lobster and steak and of course shrimp and mahi mahi .... and steak!

I didn't have steak for breakfast though a decision that was probably much appreciated by my arteries. Mornings at the resort usually involved staying in bed watching cartoons and ordering room service.  I discovered a new Looney Toons cartoon as well as my new favourite cartoon, Adventure Time!

Watching cartoons in the hotel room.

 There were activities and shows at the resort.  There was a Michael Jackson band, Madonna impersonator.  A few times after dinner we would walk outside to see fire jugglers in the main plaza.

I hope my wife didn't notice me checking out the hot girls.

It didn't seem terribly safe.  I kept imagining one of their flaming nunchucks flying into the crowd or one of their fiery staffs getting someone in the face.  After all, they did drop their flaming accoutrements more than once.  Of course, any country that would let me drive a boat without a license can't be too preoccupied with people's safety.  Good times. 

The keen adventurers that we were we thought we had earned some downtime at the resort.  Taking strolls, talking to our friend Sanchez the Iguana.  It was all a very relaxing experience and was much appreciated. 
The wife looking mighty fine!
Romantic Dinner

Me doing an impersonation of the Amazing Coco Bongo
Chilling in the pool

 Drinks were on the house and off the hizzy!!!  One of the pools had a swim up bar. And you know how I like the hard stuff :  Pink and red stuff... Stuff with the word 'virgin' in it.  Yes, I got very krunk.

 It was hard to leave and go back to the realities of work and cooking for ourselves.  But we soothed ourselves by appropriating a few souvenirs from the hotel room.  Best vacation ever!  Would be nice to go back some day.

Time to go!!!  Let go of that post!!!

Here's a bright idea.  Let's steal the lamp.!

I don't know if this will fit in my bag.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Second Annual Gregg Wedding

It's been a long time since I've posted on the ol' blog, and what better memory to have on the ol' blog than my wedding day!  Technically, it wasn't our wedding but our vow renewal which was an opportunity for my wife and I to celebrate our marriage with friends and family.

We were blessed with good weather and most of the details seemed to have been taken care of (mostly by my dear wife) but the morning of I was stressed.  I can't say exactly why, but I felt it.  And so the morning of the ceremony I bombarded my wife with questions before she left for the hair stylist.  "Did you remember your garter?  Did you remember your corset?  Did you bring a snack?  Do you have your shoes?  Do you have your flowers?" 

My beautiful wife and her lovely bridesmaids, Soyeon, Natalie and Claudia.

She had not forgotten anything.  In fact her and the bridesmaids had their affairs very much in order that morning.  I as the groom, only had a few things to remember myself, most importantly my tux which I brought over to the Kim Chiaw residence, while Justin, Pat and his wife Mel watched me stress out for a while before the wedding.  We went to the church, had a snack.  Everything was going smoothly and the ceremony was in less than half an hour.  All I had to do was get dressed.  I opened up my garment bag and my jaw dropped.  "Guys, you won't believe this."

My groomsmen looked at me and reluctantly asked.  "What?"

"I forgot my pants!"

There was very little left to say after this.  Justin and I jumped into his car, Dukes of Hazard, style and made the trip from the church (in Westmount) back to my place (in Brossard).  Who knew Justin had mad driving skills?  He drove that white Hyundai Elantra (adorned with ribbons) like it was the Batmobile.  With my cousin Chad on the phone giving us a breakdown of what traffic was like in the city that day, and Justin attaining speeds one might not have considered reasonable for the vehicle, all my stress dissolved.  It was a kind of an epiphany.  If I could do something as stupid as forget my pants and the world didn't come to an end, perhaps the rest of the day would be okay.
The groomsmen had my back! Pat, Chad and Justin FTW!

Considering the traffic caused by an accident that morning, and pervasive roadwork throughout Montreal, the trip from church, to my house and back was made in miraculous time and the wedding began only 15 minutes late.  I don't consider myself an overly emotional person.  My feelings normally range from feelings of hunger, to feelings of tiredness.  But when I saw my wife coming down the aisle... well... I wasn't hungry.  Or even itchy.  It was something else.  I was in love and stunned by how beautiful she looked!  One of the most overwhelming feelings I've ever had.  And knowing that when she looked back down the aisle she would see a man, not just any man, but a man with a pair of pants made it that much sweeter.

"Does she know that I forgot my pants?"
And so the rest of the day was just beautiful.  We took photos downtown, the reception was a mixture of good food, good music, dancing and of course an impromptu lightsaber duel.

I'm reluctant to name names out of fear of leaving out some of the people who made it the amazing day that it was, but the support of friends and family was simply overwhelming. It goes without saying that the wedding party was awesome.  Thanks to wedding veterans Pat and Mel for helping us with so many of the details and taking the great pics I put in this blog post (while we wait for the photographer to touch up some more).  Thanks to Julie and Yeusung for managing decorations and seating at the restaurant!  Thanks Cris and Yeusung for reading.  Thanks B and Viv for the slideshow!  Thanks to my cousins Sean and Duane for showing everyone such a good time at the reception, best MC and DJ ever!  Thanks to Charlene for the beautiful song and the delicious cake!  Thanks to the photographers, Juan, Jessica and Ming! Thanks to Pastor Chris for the wonderful sermon!  Thanks to our parents for love and support!  God blessed my wife and I with good people in our life and an opportunity to celebrate with them. My prevailing feeling for the day was one of immense gratitude. So this is a big thank you to all who were a part of that day both physically present and present in spirit.  You don't know how much it was appreciated. 

The gang!!
Looking sassy with cigars!
Looking cool in downtown Montreal

The fam!!