You think YOUR job sucks?!

23 04 2013

Pity this poor guy.

Unpaid overtime, 12-14 hour days. Is there no relief? (Don’t answer that!)

Singapore Parody of Dreamjobs video, Massage Therapist for Models with Everijob! – YouTube.





Of Death Star and Doncaster

31 03 2013

So we all trekked off to the Auto Show on Friday. Quite a pleasant day out. We then went to the Bellaggio Café for lunch, opposite Canada Place in Vancouver. Near the Giant Blue Sperm. (It’s Art. It’s also German. Just sayin’…)

I have to say that the food was pretty good. The spelling though?! Interesting at the very least. It’s no connection at all with Bellagio (one g) in Las Vegas. There were no fountains or Dale Chihuly glass art.

Now I’m a big fan of Eddie Izzard‘s work. Mainly his stand-up, but also his straight acting. Up there with the best bits though is “Darth Vader in the Death Star canteen”. So famous in fact that it has been done in Lego and re-enacted word perfect by pre-pubescent boys a thousand times on YouTube. If by some fate of nature you’ve made it through life thus far without having seen it, try this video. If you’re well aware of Jeff, Sir Lord Vader of Cheam, then read on. Or eat cake. Your choice.

Now, I’d never actually heard of Penne Arrabbiata prior to Eddie Izzard, and I’ve never seen it on a menu. I thought it was one of those made up names. I once tried ordering the popular-in-Canada Alfredo sauce with my pasta on a trip to Northern Italy to howls of laughter and questions as to who in the name of all that is edible was this Alfredo chap?! Same with Latte – unknown in small town Italy.

Imagine my surprise then to see Penne Arrabbiata on the menu in Bellaggio’s. I opted in the end to share a proper Italian-style pizza (less crust than topping, unlike typical North American 2″ deep doughy monstrosities) with Mrs E., so can’t attest to the quality of the Arrabbiata sauce. Nor, I’m afraid can I attest to what a chocolate mouse tastes like. Even if serverd with ice-cream. Look carefully at Royal Chocolate in the photo…

Chocolate rodents on the menu at Bellaggio Café

Chocolate rodents on the menu at Bellaggio Café

Our waitress was very attentive but unfortunately it was other staff who delivered the actual orders. These others seemed to think it odd that we might want side plates in order to share our chicken wings, or regular plates off which to eat our pizzas. On the first attempt we were given teacup saucers!
The actual waitress, as I mentioned, was very attentive though. She was also English. Better – she was from Yorkshire. I know this because she told me so. Years ago, a French Canadian once told me that one need never ask if someone was from Yorkshire, as they’ll have already told you. C’est vrai! She’d married a bloke from Leeds it seems.

Over the space of our lunch we both politely circled around and determined our origins. I’d been in Canada 12 years, she 4. I was from “near Bradford” (in galactic terms at least – actually Silsden), she “from Doncaster”. My sister was born in Doncaster. Later, I said I’d spent my first 4 years in a village called Skellow, but couldn’t recall how close to Donny it actually was. It’s a suburb, she said. It’s where she’s really from! We agreed it was indeed a small world, and went our separate ways.

I just checked on Google Maps at what the old street looks like now. The one I spent my first four years on. Learning not to eat Play-Doh, alongside other life lessons. Watching the Vietnam war on black and white TV.  The old house is still there – and yes: that’s the A1 in spitting distance over the road. The Great North Road built by the Romans, and used ever since for moving untold volumes of goods North/South in England. “Go play in the fast lane of the A1” was a common repost when I was at school in later years. It really was incredibly possible…

Where QE spent his early years

Source: Google Maps – Where QE spent his very early years





Couldn’t have said it better myself!

18 01 2013

Some of my Canadian friends embarrass themselves occasionally by referring to my “British” accent. In an attempt to educate, I recommend the following video which helpfully explains the differences between England, Britain, the UK, Great Britain and the British Isles. Yes – they’re all different. The only thing missing is a mention of Yorkshire… but I’ll let it pass.  🙂

Thanks to a helpful Rover Scout for pointing this YouTube video out to me.

The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained – YouTube.





The Yorkshire Accent | AlyBongo – YouTube

13 01 2013

No idea, before you ask.

I clicked here, I pressed there. Read something about “accent tag”, clicked on “South Yorkshire accent” which seemed to start off with a L’Oriel shampoo commercial, then I saw “AlyBongo” which reminded me of a very sad old UK comic magician Ali Bongo I used to watch as a kid in the early ’70s… then Nirvana!

This girl is a little cocky, for sure. But then she’s from Leeds, so I’ll let her off. (I do wonder if the hair colouring is deliberate or whether perhaps she’s afflicted with colour-blindness… though I recall that’s a male thing.)

This seems to be the result of a project to get people to say particular words in their own accent and answer a few questions to determine their local dialect word for things like pop/soda; trainers/sneakers; etc. Glad she corrected “Aluminum” into “Aluminium” 🙂

One word which threw her was the pill-bug/woodlouse question, but I suspect being an urban girl wood lice weren’t high on her list of familiar things in Leeds. By the end, I was feeling a little home-sick. This folks, is exactly how I used to speak before my accent softened with 20 years of “living down South” in Milton Keynes and then ultimately transplanted my ear and attendant accent to White Rock, BC.

I apologise in advance for any American readers who choose to click on the link: for her merely OK-ish rendition of your own accent as well as her bad language regarding it. If on the other hand you’re from Lancashire, I’m sure you’ll understand why I don’t feel obliged to offer the same apology for her initial comments. Nothing personal you understand – just 500+ years of rose-colour preference. 🙂

I did smile when she struggled with the question “What do you call it when the rain falls while the sun is shining?” She points out that ” ‘ sun never shines in Yorkshire” and beautifully illustrates the glottal stop I so dearly miss. (That’s the opening apostrophe… it marks the passing of entire word “The”).

And the US prank of throwing toilet paper over a house is still largely unknown in the UK I believe. In Yorkshire, it’d just be considered wasteful, probably!

So, in answer to “How do you greet a group of people”: Eh-up!

The Yorkshire Accent | AlyBongo – YouTube.





The Hobbit: An Unexpected Briefing / AirNZ 2012 advert – YouTube

6 12 2012

Now I’ve flown a few miles in my time. Sat through a few hundred totally forgettable in-flight safety announcements. Once even got chastised by a matronly attendant for not paying attention. This one though? I loved every second. All 4.5 minutes of it! Peter Jackson even makes a precious cameo appearance.

Cashing in? Maybe… but if you remember it, I guess it did its job!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Briefing / AirNZ 2012 advert – YouTube.





How the US got to be the most powerful nation on Earth…

6 11 2012

Redneck Skeet Shooting.wmv – YouTube.





The Push for Change

26 05 2012

The Push for Change | The Push for Change.

Passions are amazing.

Possibilities are awesome.

But without action, we are only left to dream… and nothing changes.

Today I went to a retreat as a member of my local Scout Council leadership team (what can I say?) The keynote speaker was Joe Roberts. He is now a consultant, but draws from his own background as a troubled youth, living on the streets of Vancouver, a junkie. He speaks well. He’s careful to not ask for sympathy. He doesn’t need it. He’s a successful businessman. Now.

Instead his message is that there are many youth out there who have made some of the same poor choices he made, or who have by some other means been forced into living on the street. Having come through that and grown from it, he is keen to offer that illustration of positive change to others. Obviously this was a message that resonated well with the gathered Scout leaders. Scouting is all about offering positive opportunities for growth to youth.

This summer (1st of July) he’ll be pushing a modified shopping cart from Calgary to Vancouver. Symbolic of the carts pushed on the streets of Vancouver by people collecting cans for recycling to feed their habits. This one has been engineered for the event, and will collect money for the charity Roberts has co-founded. But this is only the start. A trial run for his May 2013 goal of walking coast to coast – finishing up in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where he had his epiphany and turned his life around. He is careful to acknowledge others who helped in that rebirth. His mother, and a kindly old gent called “Gus” in the DES who not only gave him the cigarette and toonie he was bumming off him, but also a pearl of wisdom: “you could be something great”.

His pitch to Scouting wasn’t for money or access to our membership as fundraisers. He’s confident of his organisation’s own ability to do that. What he was looking for was engagement with Canada’s youth. He’s aware that unless youth engage with his cause he’s largely just some old bloke pushing a cart across Canada to no great purpose. Kudos to him for that.

I wish him well, and look forward to the YouTube awareness he expects from his trial run from Calgary.

His “day job” as motivational speaker can be followed at Skid Row CEO.