So Far This Town Has Been Frustrating

And this place could have been named Windypeg.

I hope that this will be the one and only “Winnipeg Whine” edition of InsideThePerimeter. By the end of this entry you will understand when I make the statements “It could have been worse; I could have gone camping with the hash.”, “It could have been worse; I could have gotten married outdoors on Saturday.”

This is a really long edition of InsideThePerimeter. It’s not because I’ve done so much here, it’s because the weather has been so lousy that I’ve been in my hotel room a lot and have time to write.

It’s All About Change
I’ve mentioned this before, I’m not a fan of change. I’m not talking about Barack O’bama, I’m talking about currency.

In what I can only claim to be a prudent, albeit-annoying-to-me policy, the lowest denomination of paper currency in Canada is the five dollar bill. In addition to the standard penny, nickle, dime, and quarter, Canada produces a $1 coin (the Loony) as well as $2 coin (the Double Loony?).

I hate the jingle jangle of change in my pocket. In the US I’ve been known to drop pennies off as soon as I get them because of my disdain toward change; the rest is kept soley for toll booth and laundry duties. So imagine my frustration when I pay for something in cash Canada and get handed a handful of change in return. Ugh.

And Speaking Of Money, This Town Ain’t Cheap
One other thing I’m noticing is that I am spending a lot of money. I know, I’m on vacation which means that I tend to be a little more loose with my spending like getting a $14 CAD plate of food instead of something more economical. I don’t know why I thought that Winnipeg would be relatively inexpensive, but I was wrong. Not only are all products priced on the high side, there is a 5% Goods and Services Tax as well as a 7% Provincial Sales Tax. In researching these taxes I found that I can apply for a refund, but it seems like a lot of work to get what will most likely amount to no more than $100 Canadian.

I have scored a couple of cheap purchases that have pleased me. In a camera store I found these mini-GorrillaPod-like bendable tripods which will be perfect for point-and-shoot cameras or off-camera flash units — for $10 CAD; that’s 66% off their normal selling price. W00t! On Saturday I went on a brewery tour at Half Pints Brewery, which as it turns out is the only remaining locally-owned brewery in Winnipeg. Coincidentally I was wearing my “All it takes is a liver and a dream.” t-shirt from Carolina Brewery and I felt like that tool that wears an old concert t-shirt to a show to show off how cool he is. Oh well. The tour was your typical small-brewery tour ending with some free samples.

Would It Kill You To Be Open Your Stated Hours?
Since I started researching this trip I’ve been reading about a Ukranian restaurant/caterer called Alycia’s. Alycia’s is about a ten-fifteen minute drive from my hotel. I looked up Alycia’s so that I’d understand how to get to it without getting lost (remember, I still have no cell phone) and found that it closed at 8pm on Saturday night. While that seemed awfully early it wasn’t a deal-breaker since my eating “schedule” has been shattered since I’ve been here (read “I seem to be eating constantly” not “I’ve not been eating, I’ve been losing weight”). At 6pm I left the hotel, and after finally navigating my way to Alycia’s and finding a parking space I made it there by 6:30pm. I think that I even uttered the following aloud, “Oh good, there are people inside! Pierogies here I come!!!!”

And then I see the sign “Sorry, We’re Closed.” and the hours posted confirming that 8pm is the posted closing time, but they are already closed. Dangen!

All I figure is that there food is handmade (as I’ve read) and that they ran out of their portions by 6:30pm. Since everyone raves about the place (purportedly even John Candy during his life) I’ll have to give Alycia’s a go for lunch some day before I depart.

Rain, Rain, Go Away — I Want To Take Photos
On Friday and Saturday the weather was crappy and rainy all day; not so shitty that you think “Hey, I should go to the museum.” but shitty enough to keep me indoors (read “I went every where including Wal*Mart, Best Buy, and a shopping mall — that should tell you how bad things were.”)

The weather yesterday also started fairly lousy, especially if I wanted to get up early and catch a sunrise (which was the case and was denied) but at least the grey skies broke up even if it took 20-30mph winds to do so.

Most of my photography had been put on hold thanks to the rain. On late Saturday night I decided that I should have pushed myself to shoot in hotel itself but by then it was a lost cause.

Rain, Rain, Go Away — I Want To Walk
Winnipeg is an incredibly difficult place for me to drive. The combination of downtown traffic including buses, no right/left/u-turn restrictions, intersection red-light cameras which make me nervous (I’m sure I’ll get at least one ticket mailed to me) and one-way streets which always seem to be going the other way that I need to go have made getting around rather stressful.

I Can’t Seem To Shake This Guy
Yesterday I attended a Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball game. It was a day game and I was able to score an awesome seat on the first row above the visitor’s dugout.

It turns out that the Goldeyes are holding what they are calling “Flashback Fridays” and this past Friday’s and Saturday’s rainouts delay that until yesterday. The player brought back for this “Flashback Friday” was a guy named Brian Duva, who happens to hold many Goldeye records and is the only person to have his number retired by the Goldeyes.

Duva played for Winnipeg for some years and following his playing career went to Georgia State and is currently practicing law in Atlanta at a firm located on Glenridge Drive. Jeez, I come all the way to Winnipeg to see a guy from Atlanta get recognized? Wait… it gets better.

When I got back to the hotel I naturally Googled “Brian Duva Atlanta” to find more information about this guy. It also turns out that Duva played baseball for the University of Florida at the same time I attended the university.

WTF, Yo!?!?!?!

ITP Flickr Pic
Sure, you get a photo too
Winnipeg Goldeyes

And Finally For Today, Kudos To Skype
For years I have known about Skype, the software that allows you to place telephone calls via the internet. I’ve installed it on occasion, but have never had a need for it — until this trip.

Since landing in Winnipeg I have no cellphone service at all. No analog phone service, not digital phone service, and certainly no data service. My iPhone has become an almost completely useless device — save for it’s ability to act like a clock, alarm clock, and notepad.

On Saturday I once again install Skype on my laptop, figured out how to create an account — a task made much harder since my standard “real-life” user name has been apparently taken by someone else, added Skype-Out credit to my account, tested my setup, and successfully called my mother’s cell phone to let her know that I was okay (she’s a bit of a worrier).

Kudos to you Skype, for 15¢ you allowed me to do what AT&T wanted at least $5/month to do, and Rogers couldn’t provide for me.

Stats & Goals
Daily
Current Mood – FAT. If Winnipeg has any healthy restaurants I’ve yet to find them.
Current Music – listening to last week’s “le Show” podcast
Website Of The Day – If this were a business trip I might be tempted to use the services of False Expense to make sure that I had all of the necessary documentation to get reimbursed for all my expenses.
Mode Of Transportation To Work – n/a
Exercise (b)Log – none, weather has not been amenable

Monthly
Foot Mileage – 4 miles, Wheel Mileage – 0 miles
Consecutive Days Of Bed-Making (Longest Streak) – 25 (25)
Vegetarian Days – 0, Carnivorous Days – 29
Marta Rides – 0

June Goals
– lose four pounds… plain and simple (not going to happen)

2009 Goals
– Reduce my weight to 190 pounds (today’s weight was 199.5 pounds)
– Completely read the book 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die
РEarn at least $150 through photography sales in order to cover the cost for the renewal of the Jalape̱o Beach SmugMug account I opened the other day.
– Save $500 for the sole purpose of donating to charitable organizations of my choice
– Attend at least one professional photography workshop

The Unmeasurable
– Continue backing up all data, including the off-site storage
– Become a proficient programmer in Objective-C (iPhone development) and Ruby on Rails (Black Sheep web page concept)
– Do not create a solution for something which is not a problem

Cheers,
Paulie [eatl/ga]

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5 Responses to So Far This Town Has Been Frustrating

  1. Holy crap, I’m so embarrassed. I got sunburned yesterday. IN CANADA of all places!

    As I was going to buy my ticket for yesterday’s game I saw a canopy being set up to hand out free sunscreen. I thought “huh, that might be smart I should get some when I come back… I bet my base tan is good enough, it’s not like I’m Canadian or anything.”

    But then when I went back to the game the canopy was gone (probably because the wind was so strong that they couldn’t keep it from blowing away) so I couldn’t get any if I wanted to.

    And this morning I find that my arms are red and that the back of my neck stings a little. Looks like I might have to find my way to a drug store for sunscreen today as I’m sure I’ll be spend a lot more time outside this week.

    Let me also add that I’m not stupid, I do know that the sun shines brightly in Canada. Proof of this fact is that I packed my big floppy hat that I bought in Arizona a few years ago. I just didn’t imagine that I would get this much sun on a cloudy (yes, I know UV rays penetrate clouds) Canadian day — I thought that my body was better prepared than it proved to be.

  2. Barb says:

    I got a little sunburned, and Allan got more burned than me up at Lake Lanier this weekend, but it was sunny and hotter than hell. I just need to remember to reapply more often…..

    I didn’t know that about the Canadian money – a $2 coin – very interesting.

  3. brenan says:

    I believe the $2 coin is called the “Toonie”. Pretty clever, eh? I actually like the dollar coins — they’re very handy and a lot easier to use than bills — especially in vending machines which may or may not decide to accept that crumpled up dollar bill you’ve had in your wallet for the past two months.

  4. sal says:

    Didn’t get burnt…just chased by a lot of dogs on the Cartersville Century.

    Thanks for sharing the photo….nice forearms! 🙂

  5. Hey everyone! I just got back from about five hours of touring the state. Sadly, I didn’t see much other than grey skies and farm land. I have one photo taken at the most northern point to which I traveled. When I got back into the car from taking the shot I saw that the temperature outside was 12º C (that’s almost 54 American Degrees). It looks as if the clouds are finally clearing. I may get some nice weather out of this trip yet.

    Thanks Brenan. I just spent $12CAD on a lousy lunch.. at least I got rid of most of the change. 😉

    Sal, you may not believe this, but the forearms are the reason I posted that photo. When I saw it I thought “Jesus, look at the arms on that guy. Hey, and they are completely in focus!” 🙂

    Barb, I think a single application yesterday would have helped. But, because I didn’t see the people handing out the free samples I had nothing.

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