Around the world, Funny, Technology

Commodore for sale…

I joined Twitter about a year and a half ago, and since then I’ve met many great people from all over the world. We chat about love, life, TV, food….you name it. I’ve made some great connections and had a lot of laughs!

Recently, I was having a discussion with a friend from Australia. She had mentioned that she was selling her Commodore, and that it would be hard to see it go. When I read this, I thought “Ahh, I know how she feels. I remember using Commodores in elementary school [20 years ago!], and if I had kept mine, I’d be attached to it too.” I didn’t think for a second that it was odd to miss a computer so much!

Well, it seems that I missed the post where she linked to a picture similar to this one:

A day or so later,I saw a follow-up Tweet of hers that said something to the effect of “I sold it; it was really hard to see it roll out of the driveway.”  I sent out a reply saying “I know how you feel; my Coleco is still in my basement and I’d hate to give it up.” Which was true, as while the Commodore was my first school computer, the Coleco was the first personal computer I ever used.

Another Twitter friend kindly sent me a Direct Message cluing me into the fact that the other person was, in fact, talking about a car, and not a computer. He brought up a good point: “Didn’t the fact that she mention that it rolled out of the driveway clue you in?” Ummm, no, it didn’t; I completely missed that point! (Anyone reading this who knows me well also knows that, while far from stupid, I can sometimes miss the obvious!  ;))

All was well in the end. My Twitter friend and I commiserated on the pain of letting go of inanimate objects that meant a lot to us, and I gave a few people a few laughs. Heck, I hadn’t thought about the Coleco in years, and the discussion sure brought back some good memories!

RIP, Coleco…I had fun playing the Smurf and Richard Scarry games on your TV-remote-like controller!

A couple screen shots/pics from my favorite games…boy, does this ever bring back memories!

Around the world, Travel

You can travel east, you can travel west…one of many travel memories :)

My best friend and I have traveled quite a bit together, and I’ve gone on several trips without him, too. I made a list in this post about the places I’ve been in the past few years (I think I might have omitted Mexico, where we took a cruise in 2008).

I’ve climbed the stairs to the Eiffel Tower, scaled the Great Wall of China, and circumnavigated the great Colosseum in Rome. I’ve seen Buckingham Palace, stayed in the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, and ridden in Executive First class on a transatlantic flight (that Haagen Dazs and warm chocolate chip cookies were great!).  However, one of my greatest travel memories took place in a pub in Prague.

Some members of my tour group were up for a night on the town, and several of us ended up in the equivalent of a sports bar here at home. We were looking for a place to sit, and asked two young men if we could sit with them. I think the mix of female Aussie, Canadian and American accents finally convinced them! The two guys spoke English quite well, and we learned that they were bankers and had to work at 7:00 the next morning. A lot of miscellaneous chatter took place; I remember them saying that it was hard to believe one woman was 28! (I was 21 at the time :)).

Is there an exciting end to the story? Nope. Just the memory of sitting in a pub, with people my age, on a different continent is enough for me. The Eiffel Tower will (hopefully) always be there, but my days of sitting in a pub with a pint (or 2 or 3…) of beer at midnight are quickly coming to a close. Long live the simple things.

Around the world, Travel

Lost in…Shanghai?

This is one of many of my favorite travel stories; I’ll share more of them eventually!

In 2006, a friend and I took a group tour to China, including stops in Beijing, Xi’an, Guilin and Shanghai. You might have heard of Shanghai’s Silk Market; it was the name we were given to denote a huge area of merchants selling everything from Rolexes to movies to Samsonite suitcases. Think of a laboratory rat maze, and you essentially have the layout of this market in your mind.

Following the golden rule of “always stick together”, my friend and I perused the many selections of the market until one of us had to use the restroom. We got separated, and in trying to find my way back to our tour bus, I wandered out of the wrong exit. Finding myself on the streets of Shanghai, with absolutely NO signs in English or anyone who spoke English in sight, I was getting desperate. It’s the only time in my life that I have been truly lost, and it wasn’t a good feeling! Finally, I remembered the card I had in my pocket that had the name of various tourist attractions written in  Chinese. I hailed a cab (yes, this girl from the Maritimes went out on the street corner of a city of 20 million and hailed a cab!) back to the silk market, and eventually met up with my friend.

Moral of the story: ALWAYS take a map with you when you’re in an unfamiliar area. It could have saved me a lot of stress and worry!

Around the world, Olympics

Olympic post #2: Likeability

Man, this Shaun White guy really IS an animal! According to this article, he made $8 million in endorsements last  year from companies such as Burton, Target, Red Bull, Oakley, Ubisoft and AT&T. What I liked most about him, though, was his complete ease and candor while being interviewed in the studio by newscasters. No stiffness, or scripted answers; just lots of smiles and an easygoing nature!

Then there’s Clara Hughes, the athlete who has won more medals ever after competing in both the Summer (2 medals in cycling) and Winter  (4 medals in speed skating) Olympics (oh yeah; she’s Canadian!). The best word to describe her is classy in my opinion. No obnoxious fist-pumping after she set her record, no screaming, no yelling…just a low-key acknowledgment of her family, friends and fans who came to the race to support her. She’s a woman who seems genuinely proud of her accomplishments, and who holds family close to her heart.

There are many, many other athletes who have really inspired me these Olympics, and a couple have even brought tears to my eyes. I’d love to hear about your favorite likable athlete!

Around the world, Olympics

Olympic post #1: The first 6 days

Well, the Olympics have been going on for 5 days now (yes, there WAS a competition on the day of the opening ceremonies!)  and I must say that I’ve been having a blast  watching them. The opening ceremonies were beautiful; I honestly think my favorite part was kd lang singing “Hallelujah”. I wasn’t able to find the live video, but here is the live audio:

She has been a favorite of mine to listen to for the past number of years, and I don’t think she gets the recognition she deserves.

Now, onto the competition! Thanks to my new laptop, I am able to watch live streaming of events wherever I am. Hockey, snowboard cross, figure skating; all are available at the click of a mouse. I’ve also watched a number of events on television, and I’ve seen some spectacular performances. I think my interests differ from most Canadians, though; to be honest, I have no interest whatsoever in the hockey competition! To me, it’s just an opportunity for various countries (namely Canada and the USA) to show off their athletic prowess using professionals from professional leagues. To me, the Olympics are all about figure skaters like Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue, the Chinese couple who won a gold medal at the ages of 36 and 31, respectively, after leaving the professional circuit to be able to compete. Or Clara Hughes, our flag bearer, who didn’t win a medal in this games but who has competed and won medals in both past Winter and Summer Games. Or Alexandre Bilodeau, who won a gold medal in moguls with his disabled brother Frédéric cheering him on. THOSE are the stories of the Olympics to me, not a bunch of multi-millionaires celebrating 10-0 wins over countries whose hockey teams are made up of guys with regular jobs, just wanting to make their country proud.

However, I’ll certainly enjoy watching whatever sport might be on tv. I’m rooting for all Canadians, and hope that we bring in as many medals as possible. Go Canada!

Around the world, For a Good Cause, When Life Isn't Too Great

Thoughts for and about Haiti

Back in March 2006, I felt very privileged to be able to visit Haiti. I will add a disclaimer; I didn’t go to Port-Au-Prince or any of the other large cities, but rather to a private resort operated by Royal Caribbean International called Labadee.

However, any ideas I had that this stop would be just like any other was dispelled when I met my tour guide for our walking tour of the area. His name, unfortunately, escapes me now, but I’ll call him Daniel. Daniel was a young man in his early twenties, and he was entrusted with telling us about the history of Haiti in the span of just over an hour! We heard about how seriously Voodoo is taken there, how the unemployment rate in the country is eighty percent, and about how working in Labadee for Royal Caribbean is considered to be one of the best jobs you can get in the entire country. Daniel was one of the lucky ones; the mere fact that he could speak English attested to the fact that he had been given opportunities that the vast majority of Haitians do not get and never will.

When I heard about the devastating earthquake that shook the country, I immediately thought of Daniel and all that he had fought through to accomplish what he had done. I pray that he has gotten out of Haiti since 2006, but if not- Daniel, I hope you are all right and that your family is safe as well.


If you would like to help Haitians affected by the recent earthquake:

This link will connect you to and a verified, registered, dependable list of charities that are accepting donations. Unfortunately, at time like this, there will be people that will try to scam you out of your money. Before you give to ANY organization, call their 1-800 number and verify that the information given to you is correct. Be VERY wary of any organization that contacts you by mass e-mail, phone, or any that does not have contact information readily available.