We check out of our room in Varadero Cuba at about noon on
Sunday, after spending a fabulous week in the sun with some friends, get into
our traveling clothes, and continue to hang out sampling the wonderful ambiance
of the resort, not to mention the delicious rum drinks. We’re picked up at our
hotel at about 6:30 Sunday evening. We go to the airport, a short trip of about
15 or 20 minutes. We get there just in time as it’s starting to rain. We line
up to check our bags in, which takes about an hour. Then we go through
security, which takes another hour. Finally we get to the departure lounge. I
buy a few cans of Cristal beer, and wait. The flight is supposed to leave at
10:30 p.m. The schedule on the monitors shows it to be on time. 10:30 comes
& goes, 11:00 comes & goes, as does 11:30 and 12:00 midnight. Shortly
after 12 we are told that we have to get our luggage and get on a bus, which
will take us to a hotel, the flight is leaving at 11:30 tomorrow morning. Lucky
us, our luggage had been left on the tarmac in the rain for several hours while
they tried to figure the aircraft out and everything we own is soaking wet. We
spend 45 minutes on the bus traveling to a hotel on the Varadero strip, which
incidentally is as far away from the airport as you can possibly get and still
be on the strip. We are told that the aircraft has a flat tire that they are
having some difficulty replacing. Once at the hotel, we line up for another
hour to get checked in. We get to our room at 4 a.m. The bus is supposed to
pick us up at 10 a.m. Do you think you can sleep? No way, you’re waking up
every 15 minutes or so to check the time; after all, you HAVE to make that bus!
At 9:00 we get up & head to the lobby. 5 busses come to
pick 195 or so of us up. Another 45 minutes to the airport, another hour to
check our bags in, another hour to go through security. It is already past the
time that the flight is supposed to leave. At about 1:00 p.m. we are told that
the aircraft is still unserviceable. It seems that when the tire blew on landing,
some rubber from it was sucked into the engine. We are going to have to get our
luggage and go back to a hotel. Our flight is now scheduled to leave at 11:45
tonight! OK, I have to make some phone calls. No cellular service, perfect. I
go to the service desk & ask if the telephones will accept my credit card,
I have to make some international calls. No, I am told, you have to buy a phone
card. OK, no problem, where can I get one? Well, the lady that sells them isn’t
here today I am informed. Perfect. We wait for ½ an hour or so to get our
luggage (after going through security again), then as we board the busses are
handed a piece of paper. Sorry for the inconvenience, sign this & we’ll
give you a $125 voucher for our airline. I don’t think so! Another 45 minutes
back to this hotel, then because they are waiting for us this time, only ½ an
hour to check in. It’s 30C and humid, the sweat is literally running down in
cascades from my pores. I’ve been wearing the same clothes for a while now, and
haven’t eaten in almost 24 hours. Is the dining room open? No, it’s closed, we
are too late for lunch (it’s now 3 p.m.), and we will have to wait until 6:30.
We manage to find a snack bar after dragging our exponentially heavier bags to
a room. We sneak in just under the wire as it closes 5 minutes after we get
there. Back to the room for a shower, donning the same sweat soaked clothes
that we’ve been wearing since about noon yesterday, and a cat nap.
(nothing but naps for the last day or so) we head to the lobby at about
8. At this time we are told that our flight is delayed yet again, and the
busses instead of picking us up at 9, are now picking us up at 10 p.m. It seems
that the aircraft dispatched from Toronto to come & get us (the one in Cuba
must really be screwed) also broke down. Another aircraft is sent, a different
bigger one. UH OH, I paid extra for emergency row seats, I don’t fit in normal
aircraft seats. 6’3” 237 lbs. No man, normal seats will not work! If this is a
different aircraft, will my seat assignment put me in the emergency row? I get
hold of the poor harried tour rep. who makes a phone call, gives me a name of
the tour rep. at the airport, and assures me there is no problem.
At 10:00p.m., the busses arrive to get us. We travel yet
another 45 minutes to the airport, they’re waiting for us this time, I check
with our tour rep., yes no problem, I have confirmed emergency exit seats.
Check in is only 20 minutes or so, 10 minutes or so to clear security as we are
the only people in the airport. Into the lounge we go. Everything is closed
pretty well. Good thing I bought my duty free stuff the first time we were there!
We board the aircraft at about 1:00a.m., and I am directed to my seat,
strangely enough, NOT an emergency exit seat. No way man! I stand by the
emergency row seats & refuse to sit until I get one. The steward is very
nice & gets me the seats, trading with someone who was assigned them but
who didn’t pay extra for them. One problem solved.
We land in Toronto at about 4:00 a.m., going through customs
the guy asks us what we have to declare. I think that they were called in JUST
for our flight! I say some rum, cigars, a cap, box of dominoes, and a jar of
honey. HONEY he says, marking my card with all kinds of red lines. Perfect. We
go to the luggage carousel, which spits out about a dozen bags, then
inexplicably stops for 20 minutes. ½ an hour later we finally get our bags. We
get stopped at the final customs check because of all the red marks on our
card, but they are tired too, so the guy who is asked to handle us says hen
doesn’t care & we are let through. A 24 hour shuttle gets us to the hotel
we had paid for the previous night at about 5 a.m. We had a reservation last
night but our flight was delayed. Sorry, we’re full. Of course you are. We
drive back to Stratford, the window open, I’m shaking my head trying to stay
awake. I’ve been up for about 22 hours or so and haven’t slept fully in ages.
At one point I have to stop & walk around for a while to wake up. I’m
seeing double at times and driving is a real concentration nightmare. We make
it back home at 7:00 a.m.. In bed until noon, then I have to get up so I’ll be
able to sleep that night & go to work.
I have to drive Cal back to Kitchener in the afternoon.
Zombie like I make the trip. On the way home my exhaust system starts making
all kinds of noise. Perfect. I stop & make an appointment for the next day.
They call me at lunch the next day, $520. Nice. I go to pay for it & they
give me “good news”. It’s only $320. What a perfect end to a vacation. I need
another one to recover from the trip home!
Filed under Adventures in the Caribbean, Feb 7, 2010
So I’m posting photos on my favorite photo sharing site,
flickr.com, and posting in a number of groups to try & give my shots some
degree of exposure. Several of the groups are “interactive”, requiring you to
comment on other photos when you post one of yours. Fair enough, I always
followed the rules and made comments on worthy photos. Several of these groups
that were interactive were run by the same administrator, this person who’s on
line moniker is “Air Milikay” (yes I’m naming names!) decides that as the
supreme overlord god king emperor of the groups, he’s going to kick anyone out
who has tags that are specific to other groups. In other words, if you have
your shots in any other groups than his, and have that groups tags on your
photos, you will get kicked out of his groups. He posted some sort of
reasoning, but it was unintelligible and didn’t make any sense whatsoever.
Now a bit of background, this “person” is absolutely
OBSESSED with Explore, one of the most stupid things Flickr ever did. If you
don’t know what Explore is, read some of my previous venom filled rants on the
subject. Anyway, this is a ploy by this fucking asshole (oh, did I write that
out loud?) to make his groups more “explore” friendly. Well, a bunch of people
got the boot from his groups because their photos were actually in other
groups. Some folks started a thread (discussion) of how this was unfair &
what the heck was going on & that the administrator was a despot. Well, I
agreed with the comments and quit the group that this was posted in. The next
morning, I find myself BANNED from his other groups, and any dissenting threads
to his magnificent omnipotent excellence deleted. SO, I’m banned for agreeing
with an opinion. Not even for offering an opinion, but for agreeing with
someone else’s. Free speech my fucking ass. This despotic asshole is a scourge
that should be banned not only from all other groups, but also from flickr
itself. Any threads disagreeing with his narrow minded opinions are summarily
deleted, and the contributors banned.
Fortunately other groups have been formed as a reaction to
this morons policies, in a few short days hundreds of people have flocked to
the banner of freedom and reason, myself among them. The overwhelming consensus
is that this piece of shit shouldn’t even be allowed on flickr.
My point is, how can stuff like this happen in an open &
free society? The behaviour of this person is reprehensible and disgusting.
Repugnant censorship and dictatorial despotism. This guys picture belongs next
to Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, and all other despots in history. I personally
hope that if there is a hell, this cocksucker burns in it.
He deserves it.
Filed under General, Mar 1, 2007
Pat on the Back
You know, I?ve been paying a lot of attention to camera settings
lately. More than I used to. You know what? I?ve taken some shots I?m very
proud of. Is anyone going to care? Probably not, but I?m getting more & more
into the sub culture of the photographer. Understanding the allure to a deeper
I posted a picture the other day on flickr, and some asshole
left a comment that so much expensive equipment was a waste; you could get the
same result with a $200 camera. What a fucking moron. Is he BLIND? The
difference is night & day. Dink.
Anyway, this is just a pat on the back from me to me, because
I think I?ve taken some pretty damn good stuff lately!
Filed under General, Nov 7, 2006
Detroit. Detroit Michigan. Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Ever been there?
I live in Canada. Been to ?The States? on many, many
occasions. Florida on vacation quite a few
times, (hell, my folks used to live there) up & down the Eastern seaboard as a kid, D.C. to see the seat of
power and the monuments, N.Y City a couple of times, South Carolina to golf. I
haven?t been lately though. It?s the whole Bush terrorism thing. Scary shit.
Anyway, the past few days, I?ve had occasion to visit
Detroit twice, once today, and once yesterday. It?s a fair drive from where I
live, about 3 hours each way, but it was work, I was paid to go. Which quite
frankly, is the only way you would ever get me there.
The city itself has quite a few impressive edifices, but as
a whole, is very depressed with a lot of empty buildings and a depressing
oppressive atmosphere. The first thing that greeted me was a guy in a dark
uniform with a gun. They were in the custom booths at the border. They directed
me to an area where my car was examined, where there were more guys in dark
uniforms with guns. Jesus fucking Christ on a fucking rubber crutch!
GUYS WITH FUCKING GUNS!
This, apparently, is the United States of America. Guys with
I must say, if I lived in Detroit, I?d feel much safer with
a gun too.
I was uncomfortable being there. I felt I was at risk. I
mean, there were guys with guns there, presumably to protect the public. Lots
of guys with guns. EVERYONE with a uniform, and there were LOTS of them, had a
GUN. But one never knows. They all had patches?.?Homeland Security?. The signs
were in English, Spanish, and Arabic. Fucking wild! I get pissed off when I
pick up a package & have to read the French side first! I can?t imagine a
package in Arabic. I think it must just be a border thing. ARABIC????? Gimme a
break! It?s DETROIT!
You know, when I crossed the border & got back in to
Canada?..sweet safe Canada??.I felt an immediate sense of relief. I couldn?t
get out of Detroit fast enough.
I feel the same way about Detroit as I feel about NYC. I?m
scared to go there. If I have to go to either place again in my lifetime, it
will be too soon.
Guys with guns place???you can keep it!
Filed under General, Nov 4, 2006
The Stupidness pool
So ya know?..I?ve been kinda pissed off lately about the
whole ?Interestingness? thing on flickr, oops, sorry, ?Explore? as it?s called
I?ve had a ton of my shots featured, but none lately, and I
do not expect with the current rules to have any more featured??.ever. They
recently changed the logarithm for the 4th or 5th time
over the past several months and it seems that there are several important
changes, which A LOT of people just don?t agree with.
OK?so a bit of background?..
As you know if you?ve read my previous rants Flickr used to
be Canadian. It was GREAT, Awesome in fact. Then because it was so great Yahoo
bought it. The Yahoo people (lets call them morons for now) instituted this
entire ?Interestingness? ?Explore? thing where the 500 most ?interesting? shots
every day (about.01%) are featured in this pool called
OK, so basic human nature makes this, to the average person,
a contest. I mean, most normal people would think that if you can make the
?top? 500 photos of the day?damn you?re good! Over time the same photographers
were featured time & time again (I?m sort of sad to say I was fairly regularly featured)
which sort of screwed things up, so the morons (see above) started applying
rules in a more and more obscure fashion. This of course started people
weaseling ways that they could make the elusive ?Interestingness/Explore? (lets
call it the ?This has Become Stupid? pool shall we?) daily list, because, lets
face it, they are humans and are subject to basic human nature. Hence, this
naturally spawned the birth of ?you must make so many comments? groups, and the
So, the morons (see above) are now saying??OH?it?s not a
contest?, ?It?s not about good or bad?. Reading several threads in several
different groups today, I was amused to see that many people, some of whom are
included in my original contacts and very active on flickr, still think that
this is indeed a benchmark of quality. They are sadly deluded.
So, the morons (see above) applied some rules, which after
some research today became crystal clear. It seems that to combat the same
people being in the ?This has Become Stupid? pool (see above), the morons (see
above) are punishing multi group posting. Not only that, they are punishing
posting in selected groups. i.e. groups where you are required to leave
comments on others photos. They even actively discourage multi group posting,
while at the same time giving tutorials on why you should post to groups, how
to post to groups, and how to make your own group!
Without posting to a group or forum where you can expose
your efforts to a wide audience, how are you going to be seen? Sure after time,
you?ll develop a bit of a ?clique? (don?t get me started on this, flickr is one
fucking clique spot & this pisses me off even more! There are plenty of
groups that you won?t get to post in unless you?re part of the favored inner
circle) of people who regularly view your work. Hence the ?family/friends and
Contacts? concept. BTW?the morons(see above) are now even figuring into the
formula for the ?This has Become Stupid? pool (see above) on how many contacts
NOW?..I post on flickr to expose my shots to a wide
audience. To let people see what I am doing with my camera. It has expanded my
artistic ability and broadened my horizons immeasurably. I have made many
friends. NOW, the morons (see above) are restricting my outlet for creativity
by PUNISHING me for multi group posting, particularly in groups where I KNOW
people have an opportunity to look at my shots because they are required to
comment or view.
So, it boils down to this. The morons(see above) have set up
a system whereby people naturally compete to be in it. It?s called human
nature. They now say?"We just want to show a cross section of "interesting" photos" and ?Oh it?s not a contest?, but they set it up that way.
YOU STUPID FUCKING MORONS THESE ARE HUMAN BEINGS YOU?RE
DEALING WITH. THIS IS HOW THE THING WAS SET UP. EVER HEAR OF HUMAN NATURE?
OK, they should abolish the ?This has Become Stupid? pool
(see above) and make it a completely RANDOM viewing of shots from the day. That
would solve ALL the animosity, competitive bullshit, hundreds of discussions, and myriad of problems.
Now that I've spewed as much venom as possible and have that off my chest I feel marginally better. After all, it's my blog!
Just my 2 cents worth!
Filed under General, Nov 1, 2006
Internet Movie Database
Trickle and Thrum