Monday, January 30, 2012

I want that time back!

There’s “wasted time”,  and then there’s something that’s somehow even beyond that.  

And it’s not like my time is all that all important either,  but still.

See,  I’m not much of a movie watcher.  Probably has something to do with my attention span.  Mind you,  my attention span seems perfectly fine when it comes to say,  woodworking projects or that kind of thing. 

Movies?  Meh, not so much.

Every so often though,  I decide that T.C. and I should watch something together since,  you know,  that’s what that whole “pair bonding” thing is supposed to be all about.  Isn’t it?  I’ve only been at it for 30 years,  I’m new here.

So yesterday afternoon we thought we’d watch “Meek’s Cut-off”.   This is a film that came out in 2010,  and don’t ask me how we can get to watch these kinds of things,  and I’ll tell you no lies.   However,  if you’re thinking of heading out to the theatre and plunking down some actual cash to watch this stinker,  all I can say is,  DON’T BOTHER.

My.      Goodness.

I don’t know that much about the Oregon Trail,  or at least I didn’t know that much about the Oregon Trail,  until about half way through the film when,  during a particular dry spell,  and I’m referring to the plot,  not the fact that they were in the Oregon High Desert,  I thought I’d take a look on line,  and see what I could see.   It turns out that,  not only was the film pitifully,  pitifully boring,  but wasn’t even close to being anything based in fact.   Hell,  if I’m going to watch something that’s complete fiction,  I may as well watch Iron Man 2,  since even though it’s completely unbelievable,  at least it’s entertaining. 

I didn’t expect a “shoot em up”  Cowboys and Indians type of thing,  since thankfully Hollywood is no longer quite so willing to exploit that particular stereotype,  but heading off in the complete opposite direction and relying on some sort of “character study”  that doesn’t ever happen,  is simply a waste of three wagons,  some livestock and everybody’s time.  Including mine.  I just hope they all got paid up front. 

The thing is,  being on the Oregon Trail for weeks at a time was in fact,  boring as hell.   No need to convey that boredom to the screen,  thank-you.  

I apologise here for making you move your eyes back and forth, but I have to get this out of my system.   The following is an except from a Wiki article which I would consider to be a reasonable approximation of the truth.  (Hey,  there’s footnotes and stuff.)


“Meek continued on ahead of the company, and when he reached Sherars Falls on the Deschutes River he was warned that a father who lost two sons along the trail intended to kill him, so with the help of Native Americans a rope was sent across the swift river, and both Meek and his wife were guided through the water with ropes tied around them. They hurried to the Mission at The Dalles where they convinced Black Harris, a mountain man, to return to the falls with a crew and equipment to help the emigrants cross. In this way Meek made his escape, and the crew sent to help the pioneers arrived in time to help the over 1,000 people cross with their wagons. The wagons were taken completely apart to facilitate the dangerous crossing. Some of the emigrants crossed from the low banks, using their wagon box as a boat and guided by ropes over the swift current. Others used a rope and pulley system above the high walls of the narrows about two miles downstream. It took nearly two weeks to cross everyone in the wagon train. The starving and exhausted emigrants finally reached The Dalles beginning around the 2nd week of October, having suffered 23 known deaths and probably many more.”


Oh,  he had to escape?  Really?

Was any of this in the film?  Hell no!  Would that have made it maybe a bit interesting?   Possibly.   See,  there were no “1,000 people…with their wagons”.  (200 by the way)  There were only three wagons,  three sets of oxen,  a mule and a couple horses,  and a half dozen actors.    And that might have actually been OK,  if there had been any kind of ending.  Or plot.  Or character development. 

You know,  just ordinary ‘story telling’ stuff.

Oh,  and in spite of all this sparseness of equipment and characters,  this was a film with a production budget of 2 million bucks!   Oh my.   How do you blow two million bucks in the Oregon high desert over a couple weeks?  Maybe the catering budget was enormous.

Like I said,  I hope the actors got paid up front.     I’m sure though, they could have squeezed in at least one river crossing in there some how?   I mean please,  give me something.

I need to stop now or my head will explode.


And yes,  Stephen Meek was an actual person.

July 4, 1805 – January 11, 1886.




So I guess that’ll be it for me and movie watching for a while.   I’ll try not to do any more reviews.   I ‘promise’.* 

It’s only that well,   when the weekend is a tad boring,  and I’m sitting here with a blank screen,   you get to suffer right along with me.   There you have it.


Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for stopping by.



*that’s like one of those “political promises”,  and you all know how they work.



Friday, January 27, 2012

Just a Friday.

It’s pretty hard not to notice that there’s been a few gaps in the last little while.

Sorry ‘bout that.   Not much going on.

Travelling Companion is plugging away,  and I’m just “here”.  It’s more or less a form of “stasis”,  whereby we are now waiting.  Mostly for spring.

As it was bound to happen,  winter has decided to finally pay us a visit,  although I do think I prefer it to be clear and bright out,  even if that means the temperature is below freezing.  The only thing is,  whatever temperature we start out with in the morning is just about the same one we end up with for the rest of the day.  This isn’t like the Arizona Desert,  where it might start off with a bit of ice in the dog dish in the morning,  but by two in the afternoon,  everyone is peeling off their jackets.   I vividly recall being in Vegas in October (once upon a time),  and it would get pretty danged hot in the afternoon,  but by nightfall it would cool right down.  The other thing too was,  if you did happen to find it a little too hot,  all you had to do was step into the shade.   For someone who had come down from a mostly always humid Southern Ontario,  that was quite the novelty.   We seem to either be boiling or freezing.


The other day I mentioned something about the scaffolding type of arrangement that has been getting put up a few blocks from our front door.    They’re moving right along of course:



So,  what’s to keep that guy from taking a header down to the hard,  hard sidewalk?  Hm?




And you’re thinking,  who cares,  right?


Well,  the thing is,  I was going on about safety this,  and safety that,  and how we have these somewhat draconian rules that get shoved down our throats,  and I think you may have got the impression that that was somehow a bad thing?   Not really.

See,  if I’m sauntering along,  lose my balance and end up getting a close up look at the ground,  the worst that can happen is that I can rip my trousers,  maybe get some road rash,  possibly bump my nose, and generally just be somewhat unhappy about the whole situation.

If however,  I’m mucking about on a forty meter crane and lose my balance,  maybe it might be a novel idea to have a safety harness?

This was coincidently in yesterday’s free “rag”:


Yes,  you can click on it.

So “Bruno”,  who was just about my age (I’m 55 in case you were wondering)  was trying to open up the “Montageschutzbühne”,  so he could then proceed up into the operator’s cab.   That great long German word basically describes the screen that gets locked in place on the ladder to keep folks from getting up into the crane.   So my guess is that he was holding on with one hand,  and slipped.   The article says he “lost his balance”,  but I’m pretty sure the reporter didn’t go up and take a look for himself.   Would you?

Here’s a little primer:

anatomy of a crane


So whether you have a clue as to how high forty metres is or not,  that’s a fall from which you do not recover.  Bruno died within minutes of impact.  I’m not going to translate any of the article, since it’s just a tad grisly.

The last sentence simply says that his coworkers were in shock.  I could well imagine.


Sorry if this seems to be a bit of a downer.  Didn’t mean it that way,  I was just intrigued with the coincidence of having seen that article,  right after wondering aloud about the safety of the dudes just down the street.  

I just stand there and shake my head for a minute or two,  take a quick photo,  and continue on. 


Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.


Watch your step.

Thanks for stopping by.




Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Just a glimpse.

And then I’m done.

Saw this fellow setting up one of those over sidewalk construction safety zones this morning.


I wasn’t sure just what was going to keep him from falling through the frame work though.  He had just walked along carrying a big plank, moments before I took this photo.  He had to step gingerly from one support to the next.   The Ontario Ministry of Labour would have a conniption.  If we worked any higher than 10 feet,  we had to wear a harness.   I could totally see if you were roofing or up on a lift changing lamps in a gymnasium,  but after the “harness ruling”,  I wasn’t really supposed to even get up on a ladder.  

By the way,  if you happen to click on that link and go to the Ministry website (or the one I linked to just there) you can see all the fines they’ve doled out in the last little while.  Apparently they’ll even fine you for being stupid.  Very unfortunate that he happened to run over one of his coworkers though.  I shouldn’t make light of it.   But ya, if you’re backing up,  and your “helper” disappears,  it’s a good idea to simply stop.  Is there ever that much of a hurry?   The wheels go round and round,  and they can crush you.


Now,  don’t get me wrong.  Long after there were rumblings about workers and supervisors potentially getting fined for being dumb,  we still continued to go up on the roof of school buildings to fetch wayward balls,  or hang off ladders to attach banners on the walls of the gymnasium and such.   Much to the delight (and sometimes amusement)  of the staff and students.   That was all fine and dandy,  until one day when one of my coworkers decided to take a couple digital photos of some roof damage during a semi-annual roof inspection.  By the way,  these “roof inspections” were the only times we were supposed to go on the roof.  None of this going up there every Friday morning to get the balls down,  with quite frequently the result being that they’d get punted up there later that afternoon anyway. 

It’s a funny thing about digital photos in an intra company email system.  They can get spread around faster than the common cold,  so it didn’t take long for someone in the know to have a look at these roof pictures,  and ask the simple question, “What was this person doing so close to the edge?”  along with, “Have they not had any training?”  

Oh boy.  I’m sure you could have heard a pin drop.

See,  it’s all about the “training”.   If we train you,  and you still do something stupid,  then at least we’re partially off the hook.   Somehow in all the information that had been dispersed,  and all the “fall arrest”  training that we had under gone,  nobody pointed out that going on the roof was a no-no to start with,  and that even when called upon to do so,  there was no going within 10 feet of the edge.  

Fine by me,  by the way.   I’m not a big one for hanging off the roof,  unless maybe it’s the roof of my shed,  and even then I’m just as likely to lose my balance and take a header into the flower bed.

Speaking of digital photos,  I do wish I had picture of the look on the Principal’s face when I told her that I’d no longer be going up on the roof each and every week to “fetch the balls”.     Out of my control.   Really.  So sorry.   *snort*   I didn’t actually laugh out loud.  That would have just been mean.

Here’s the curious thing.  The kids learned in very short order that, if you were going to be a bit of an idiot and punt your soccer ball onto the roof,  you wouldn’t have a soccer ball to play with.  

Who knew?   See,  I could get off on a whole philosophical tangent here about setting “boundaries”  and what not on children’s behaviour,   but I’ll let you come up with your own version of just how discipline in general has gone straight into the toilet in the last,  oh I don’t know,  30 years?  

Once upon a time,   if you did something stupid,  there would be consequences.   I vividly recall getting the strap in grade four,  for “running” in the hall.  I say “running” since,  I’m sure I didn’t make it any farther than about six paces,  when I got nailed.    See,  there was “NO RUNNING" in the halls.  And they weren’t kidding.

I got two on each hand.   I’m reasonably certain that the Principal was going easy on me,  since it was my “first offence”  and all.   Either that or my hands were toughened up from simply living on a farm,  I’m not sure.   Either way,  I didn’t offer any suggestions as to his technique.  I just made sure I never ran in the hallway again.   Simple really.   I won’t get into the reasons why I thought it prudent to “run” in the hall in the first place,  but it did involve a particularly cute young lady,  and some sort of tag or something.  That part is all kind of a blur.  The part where I got the strap,  not so much.


I’ll now let you talk amongst yourselves.


Thanks for stopping by.



Sunday, January 22, 2012

I used to be an Ectomorph.

And that’s not like saying,  “Oh,  I used to be a heroin addict”,  but just the same,  it’s been a long,  long time since I’ve actually seen my ribs.  

I’m pretty sure I still have them. Otherwise well,  it would be hard to sit up I suppose.   They’re in there somewhere.  Fortunately the restrictions of my belt fall well below where my ribs used to end.  The more accurate word should be “constriction” though.  Just saying. 

I look at skinny people now and think, “Ah,  those were the days”.   No doubt young ladies think that if I’m looking at them, I must be just some old lecherous dude (although I wouldn’t completely rule that out) but it mostly has to do with seeing someone living in that carefree “Calories?  We don’t worry about no stinking calories!”  stage of one’s life.   *sigh*

Travelling Companion is presently labouring over something or other that she wants to figure out before tomorrow,  and she just used the word,  “shrinkage”,  which I thought was a bit odd.   Am I talking to myself?  Actually,  “shrinkage”  is some sort of business term.   That was just a coincidence.  *phew*


I’m never 100% sure when exactly I’m being spoken to,  but I decided a long time ago that,  unless there’s “eye contact”,  any and all alleged communication is “null and void”.   If there was no third party to “bear witness”,  a recording or other physical proof,  then it never happened.  

Besides,  if I thought I had to actually pay attention,  I’m not sure what help I could be.  I mean,  when I hear,  “Oh, I saved that file,  now where did it go?”  Or,  “Oh shoot, I just printed that at work”  or when printing here at home has been sorted out,  I then hear,  “Oops,  that’s 37 pages!”   

Do we even have 37 blank pages?  Better check.   Thankfully there’s that little feature called,  “pause printing”.

I just put in the earphones and go to Youtube, or play a music file.   Just sitting quietly here in my little bubble.




There was a suggestion recently by way of a comment that maybe I should have a “Bob’s yer Uncle”  cooking blog?   I think the short answer of “NO” will be a good start.  I’m barely hanging on here tooth and nail as it is.    There’s enough useless cr*p in blog land.  The guilt of contributing more cr*p to what I could very well be summarily convicted of adding up to this point would be too much to bear I’m afraid.   Not going to happen. 


Just go to  There’s something there for everyone. 

Thankfully,  foolishness is not an indictable offence,  or I’d already be in a heap of trouble.  Can you imagine?  “Excuse me sir,  but this is the “no stupidity zone”,  and I’m afraid you’ll be getting a citation.” 


Speaking of which,  I received a reply to my email that I sent off to my son-in-law with the subject line, “no words”. 


This was a photo that was taken while back, but it fits.  It looks as though my nephew Greg on the left is saying,  “Did you hear that Uncle Bob actually did some computer maintenance on his own?”   

And then you can see the response:



And that ladies and gentlemen,  would be your measured dose of foolishness for today.


Thanks for stopping by.



Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bit of a nail biter.

Well,  for most folks I suppose it wouldn’t be,  but since I’m only working with about a half a brain here when it comes to computer stuff,  I’m never really entirely sure what the heck I’m doing.

See,  back before Christmas some time,  my son-in-law renewed our virus protection software,  having purchased a plan that allowed for three computers to be protected.   As an early Christmas present,  he sent me the key code some time in mid December,  so that this computer could be number three.   There’s a “number two” joke in there somewhere…


By the way,  and I only mention this in passing,  but these are the type of gifts that I think TOTALLY ROCK.  Sorry to use that rather lame expression,  but it pretty well sums it up.   My supply of socks and underwear is up to date,  along with my supply of a particular type of underarm deodorant. I can’t think of anything else I could possibly need.  I’m pretty sure I have enough “stuff” in my life,  at least at the present time,  so getting me anything in the way of a gift can be a real challenge.  


Anyway,  there was a bit of a mix up and the code didn’t want to work for me when I did the routine back in December,  and I think it was because I had jumped the gun somewhat.  My memory is a bit dim,  and I’m not going to bother going back through the emails.  As a stop gap measure, I downloaded the “trial” version in the interim,  but it was getting a bit down to the wire,  since it was only a 30 day program.   And besides,  The annoying pop up every so often telling me how many days I had left was getting to be a bit of a pain.  

So today was the day.  Well, the last message told me it was going to expire in two days!  (so annoying)  I figured that was close enough. My son-in-law had offered to help me through the whole process if I managed to bugger it up,  but that too is a challenge,  since there’s that six hour time difference.  I’m sure as hell not going to roust him out of bed some time in the middle of the night,  nor can I stay up long enough to wait for him to get home from work.   He had given me some brief instructions in a note,  so I just figured I’d give it a go.

I sent him an email.   This was all I put in it:


and the I added this one for good measure.


sucess!!  part deux

It truly is an odd thing how some trivial thing like installing a computer program can actually make a person a bit giddy.  Well… anyway.


We’ve used free virus software in the past such as AVG,  but I have to say that this particular breed is just about the best.   It turns out you DO get what you pay for,  but just the same, we gave up on Norton years ago.  Those guys are asleep at the switch.   Or as I like to say when our internet here in Wienerland decides to take a little rest,  “I think someone tripped over an extension cord when they left work today”.   That’s because it always seems to come to a grinding halt right around six p.m.  Um,  which would explain why,  right about now when I just went out to the net to look something up,  not a damned thing is happening.   Apparently the signal I’m getting from my wireless router is “Excellent”,  but that doesn’t mean a blessed thing.


Oh wait.  It’s working now.   I’d better get this uploaded right quick.


So there we go.   Good for another year in the virus protection department.   I can unclench my butt.


For some of you,  bundle up.   For others,  don’t be afraid of the sun block.  You know who you are.


Thanks for stopping by.



Friday, January 20, 2012

Practicing for a purge.

I had this idea for another one of my elaborate examinations of what normally should be a simple task,  but it’s the middle of the afternoon,  and I’m starting to feel a little pooched.


In typical fashion,  there are times when T.C. gets back quite late from her little jaunts off to foreign lands,  and last night was no exception:



I didn’t want to tell her what the conditions were like on this end,  since it had been raining off and on all day,  with some crazy wind gusts.   What that meant was,  the flight was delayed before departure,   and that was mostly since they were backed up at this end of things.  So even though the flight was due to arrive at 9:40,  that didn’t really happen.  

I couldn’t help but notice one passenger explaining to whomever was waiting for her by means of some crazy flying hand gestures,  just what kind of a flight she had been having.  I think most everyone had a similar experience. I heard reports that there was some circling involved as well.  There wasn’t too much of a “post flight debriefing” I’m afraid.  Some things are just best left unsaid.  

I seem to recall looking at the clock next to the bed and the time started with a zero.  It’s a 24 hour clock.   Then it turns out she wanted to be at work this morning well before 8:00.  

The good part though was that she was able to get out at a reasonable time this afternoon,  so that’s at least something.  Oh, and I did the chauffeuring to and fro.


So what about the minor purge?   It was more like a “reorganisation” to be honest,  since we had run out of room in our little folding file holder thingy that we’ve been keeping all our little papers in for the last four years.  Mind you,  I had taken a bunch of stuff out already and squirreled it away in a box when we left the Netherlands,  but the space in which all the tax related stuff was getting beyond that horse choking stage.    Can’t throw that stuff away.   What is it,  seven years?   Plus,  after going from Canada to the Netherlands to Austria,  there’s a whack of it.    I’m not really sure how many years behind we are at this point,  since there was an awful long wait for the Dutch to sort out their end of things.  The whole process is backed up worse than the planes flying into Vienna last night.

I don’t even bother worrying about it.  There have been a couple massive cheques sent off to the Revenuers,  but that’s all I’ll say about that.


So I did manage to turf a few things out going back to the bunch of pamphlets and such that was given to us by the relocation lady, and then I came up against this “package”  that came with the car.

Now, the thing is,  there’s a perfectly serviceable manual in the glove box of the car,  in German of course, so I’m not sure why there’s this whole extra ‘thing’.   My instructions were to throw it out.  I think though that it should be left with the car whenever the time comes for it to go back from whence it came.

I’m not sure if the dealer decided to include it,  but it has all the different options that are available if say,  you’re about to order a new car.




But we’ve already GOT the car.    We did all this picking and choosing on line.   Of course,  I completely forgot to order cruise control,  but that’s another story.

I mean,  conceivably I could meander into the BMW dealership and pick up a bike rack,  but then what?  Once our time is up,  and we move on to other pastures,  do I sell it on EBay?   Do I have to make sure we buy a Beemer to go under it?   Um…no.


Not to be outdone by any of their competitors,  BMW has decided to add an additional unique feature to this particular “package”.   Take a listen:



I’ll have to admit,  the first time I opened it,  I’m pretty sure I didn’t say,  “Oh,  that’s cool”.   I think it was more like,  “Oh…. that’s different”.    I’m still not sure what to think of this.  What’s the point exactly?  Is this a marketing thing?  Trying to be hip?  It’s kind of like one of those nasty birthday cards that plays music for you.  Usually very annoyingly.

You know,  if this is one of the reason these cars are so pricey,  do you think maybe we could cut out some of this um,  “stuff”?   Just a suggestion.  Especially since it’s kind of “lost” on your target market?


So that was the extent of my Friday.  Did the usual Friday chores,  but other than that,  big whoop.

Does any of this make sense?  I think I need a nap.


Enjoy your weekend,  in case I forget to pass that on later.  Thanks for stopping by.



Thursday, January 19, 2012

Do I NEED to go out in this?

Well no.  I could probably get by in the usual manner that I do when T.C. is out of town.  I have been known to cook something when I’m holding down the fort,  but it’s a rare occurrence,  and is usually done for effect.   Sadly,  I tend to get by on things like toast, or sandwiches, or whatever happens to jump out of the fridge.  Pretty lame,  I know.

In my defence,  I know that Travelling Companion doesn’t do much better in that department when she’s on her own either.  In the two and a half years that we had our apartment in Horseheads, N.Y., (where she stayed during the week on her own)  I know she used to work late and then get home and snack.   This isn’t good.  So in that respect,  we’re certainly better off together. But let’s not get off on any nauseatingly “feel good” tangents here,  shall we?


Thankfully this winter coat I got for Christmas last year did it’s job.


Warm,  and waterproof.  Yay!



I mentioned yesterday that it was a nice day?   When Travelling Companion called last night around six,  she said that coming in over Lucerne and the snow covered mountains was really quite the spectacle.  It was a crisp clear day,  with unlimited visibility.  Just try to imagine all those snow covered mountains.

She also lucked out,  since she didn’t have to take the train to her hotel,  as one of her colleges who had come to Vienna for a meeting or whatever, and who was on the same flight, had left his car at the airport.  So once again,  she got the chauffeur treatment.  I know she’s capable of taking the train,  since she has done it in the past.  Just much less stressful to saunter out to the parking garage and get driven off to your destination is all.


Somehow I guess I didn’t realise that we were going to be set upon by some sort of huge nasty system this morning,  so when the wind and rain woke me up some time around six,  I was a little bit puzzled.   It doesn’t look like it’s going to go away any time soon either,  which means that T.C. will be flying through it later tonight.   This is one of the reasons why the whole air travel thing is starting to wear on her just a tad.  And that’s an understatement.

But enough of that. 

I was actually going to talk about soup.  It would be a good day for soup,  except that the only kind of soup I might have if I’m by myself would be the kind out of a package that gets mixed with boiling water.

What I’m referring to is the home made kind.  It so happened that on the weekend,  we were going to make potato and leek soup,  but never really got around to it (something to do with laziness)   so I figured I’d give it a go on Monday.  This one isn’t really my “deal”,  since T.C. is usually the one to make the potato and leek soup,  but I figured I’d give it a go.  Besides,  what the heck else am I going to do with two honkin’ big leeks?



This,  by the way,  is pretty much the extent of the ingredients.  Oh,  with the exception of the potato,  maybe some salt and pepper,  and about a half cup of milk at the end.   Kind of important.



And no,  I can’t chop leeks like Julia Child used to chop onions.  If I tried that,  I’d be missing a couple finger tips,  and there would be a huge change in the colour of the soup.  Believe me.


In the pot it goes,  to be sautéed in butter.  



No need to be shy on the butter either.   Me like butter.  Use a good couple table spoons full.

What about the carrot you ask?   Well,  I know you didn’t, but stay with me here.

Turn it from this:



To this:



This is another of the handy dandy appliances that we had to buy shortly after coming to Europe which,   since it too operates on 220v,  will end up being given away or whatever, whenever we get to leave.   This,  by the way,  is the reason I wasn’t willing to pay much more that about €10 for a toaster.   The iron and that gismo above were the only two exceptions.  Most everything else was purchased on the cheap.  The coffee maker for example,  was only €14,  and I’ll probably just give it the heave when we bug out.   Who wants a used coffee maker,  really?


So what about the potato you ask?  


That’s just about the biggest potato that you should use,  otherwise your soup is going to be too “potato-e”.   Not sure if that’s a word.

Cut it up,  and add it to the pot once the leeks have been sautéed.


La patate coupée.


(no more French,  I promise.  Besides,  my spell-check just goes bananas)






Oh wait.   Not exactly part of the recipe,  but it hasn’t hurt my cooking abilities in the least.   Well,  it’s all a matter of perception isn’t it?  But let’s not get all “existential” here.



So next we need a little bit of this:


It’s only 11 seconds,  don’t freak out.


Now,  this is where the handy dandy Bosch ‘chopper upper’ switches to a blender of sorts.



And yes,  that is Santa over there on top of that wine bottle.  He never seems to get put away with the Christmas stuff.   Has a job to do.



After mixing/grinding away,  it should be somewhat creamy.



And there you go,  Bob’s yer Uncle.   Ready for the bowls:





But wait! you say.   What about the broth?   Shouldn’t there be broth?   Yes,  and I’m getting there.

It just so happens that this is where the “Bob’s yer Uncle” part comes in.

See,  it was a bit of a coincidence that one of my nieces had posted something on Facebook on Monday that she had made Leek and Potato soup,  and that it was way too “potato-e”.   So….I reminded her that she needed to only put in one (preferably) small potato.   

There was one online recipe that I was checking where they said to put in a POUND of potatoes!   Are you kidding me?  Where do the leeks come in?  Don’t believe everything you read on line.   Except for just about everything you’re reading here of course.  Would I lie to you?   Please.

So then I went on to suggest that she should not forget the chicken broth,  at which point she tells me that she and one of her daughters has switched to only vegetarian nourishment,  so they only used water.

Huh?  There were no other suggestions that I could make at that point.

Isn’t that like having a wheel barrow without the wheel?   That sucker ain’t going anywhere.  The recipe calls for chicken broth which,  along with the carrot,  adds a certain amount of flavour.   Not sure why you’d make the soup if you’re going to leave out one of the most important ingredients.   But hey,  what do I know?

I’m not entirely sure just how that kind of soup would taste,  but that white glue we used to use as kids comes to mind.   And oh,  what about the butter and milk?  They ain’t vegetarian.   Are they?  I didn’t think so,  but I’m never too sure about these things.  Sooo,  soup that’s kind of pasty with no flavour.   Hm.

I suppose this is why I take a dim view of these kinds of “conditions”  that one imposes on oneself,  since there are just too many things to consider.  How do you justify being a member of PETA,  for example,  when you don’t know for a solid fact whether or not there are things in your life that have come about as a result of the slaughter of some animal or other?   I mean,  if you’re using a leather belt to hold up your trousers?  Hello?  What kind of shoes are on your feet? 

Let’s just not go there shall we?  There’s something about hypocrisy that just makes my head start to throb.

And don’t get me wrong,  I can perfectly well understand that there needs to be a system of checks and balances when it comes to what we put on our plates,  but let’s not get carried away. 

Now if you’ll excuse me,  I think I’ll take out some of that sliced ham I bought yesterday and make a sandwich.


Thanks for stopping by.




Wednesday, January 18, 2012

“How many trips…”

…have we made to the airport?”  was a question I had for Travelling Companion this afternoon.   I’ve lost count.

Last year she figures she was in the air roughly three times a month. 


The good news is,  the airport is only a half hour away.  More or less.  It can be more depending on the time of day.

Oh look,  we can follow the whole flight.  Now she’s just south of Munich.

_half way


Fine,  I’ll stop now. 

Other than that,  it’s a nice day,  bla bla bla.

Take it easy.   Until tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by and all that.




Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Need to feel better?

That will depend on just where you might be at this particular moment I suppose.  If you’re already somewhere warm,  you may not need to feel any better.

Unless you had to put on a sweater or something equally as daft.

This is what we woke up to this morning.  


And now that it’s mid afternoon,  we have considerably more.

And that’s all I have,  really.   No complaints,  just an observation.  Which reminds me,  I have to go down to the storage locker and bring up my *shudder* snow shovel.  I like to keep it tidy out there.

The other slight “issue” that arises when there’s a given amount of snowfall,  is that Travelling Companion gets ever so slightly stressed at even the thought of driving in it.   Much to her credit,  and this coincides with the switch we made from “all season radials” to actual winter tires about 8 years ago,  she has been much more courageous when faced with driving in the snow.  She’s had a few experiences in the Czech Republic,  among others.   But she does get stressed,  which meant that I drove her this morning.  

I’m not even sure what it is exactly,  with the possible exception of spending the first ten years of my life in Nova Scotia,  but it doesn’t bother me in the least.  Maybe I’m too dumb to let it bother me?   I don’t know.  Admittedly driving in a snow storm in the dead of night is another story,  and that has more to do with visual acuity than anything else.   Just like my memory,  my eyesight is also getting dim.



Coming back up Mariahilfer Straße this morning:




One of the other “joys” of a snow fall:


I thought it was a little cooler than usual when I went out for my morning jaunt,  so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see one of the windows in the stairwell had either not been closed properly,  or simply left open.   Who does this?   I’ve opened the one on the floor just below us in the summer time,  but would never consider it when the temperature drops.

It will shortly be time to head out again to fetch T.C.   I can well imagine that the traffic will not be in top form,  so I’ll probably give myself a good hour.   Yes,  an hour.
“Gee,  what do you do all day,  Bob?”


This next photo will be a test.  Study hard.

so just click on it already!

Travelling Companion is heading out tomorrow,  so I did a quick check to see if she had enough local currency for her destination.  She’ll have plenty enough for cab rides,  although some times she comes back with all the money she left with,  depending on the circumstances. 

She mentioned that, the last time that she was there,  she took a cab to her hotel,  and it turned out it was probably 400 meters.  She could have walked.  Not a huge deal in terms of our personal resources,  since the Company That Cannot be Named reimburses her for these things,  but nobody is particularly fond of getting hosed.   I suspect this time around she might just walk.   I’ll find out tomorrow night.

There has only been one time where I’ve knowingly taken a cab for a distance where we most likely could have simply walked,  and that was in June of 08,  when T.C. and I were spending a week in the Netherlands in order to look for a place to live.  (I know!  A week?)  They were having one of the hottest days of the year there,  the temperature was something like 32°C,  we had just stepped off the non air conditioned two hour train ride from Amsterdam airport to Enschede,  and had to get to Europcar to pick up our rental.  That was after the usual overnight flight too,  so I had no desire to walk.    By the way,  Enschede is pronounced,  “Enskeday”,  with the accent on the last syllable.   I had to have someone tell me how to pronounce that one,  since I would have never figured it out on my own.   Actually,  the “sch”  part is more like the “ch” in the Scottish word “Loch”,  but that’s only a minor technicality. 

They say one of the ways to determine if a person is a native speaker (this seems to have started during the second world war)  is to ask them to pronounce Scheveningen.   Many a foreign spy was ousted after that failed attempt.   I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that one,  but it could be true.

I think that will be it for today’s geography, meteorology, linguistics and history ‘lesson’.  


Thanks for stopping by.



Monday, January 16, 2012

So…we bundled up.


For later…


OK,  not really.  I just thought it was amusing.


Since we absolutely didn’t go anywhere last weekend,  we made an effort to get out on both days this time around.  It was considerably colder,  but we do have the proper equipment for such outings.   Speaking of gloves actually,  my finger tips were starting to get a bit numb,  but I think that mostly has to do with having pitiful circulation.  I’ve always had issues keeping my hands warm in wintertime,  whether working outside or just going for a stroll. 

Also,  I just noticed something on yesterday’s post.  My usual routine is to post an entry,  and then out of some sort of navel gazing type of behaviour,  I’ll read it once again,  even though I might have read it a couple times already when it was still in Live Writer. 

I didn’t quite manage that yesterday,  since our time was fleeting and we were heading out.  I just now looked and there was a whole chunk of one of the “spam” messages missing.  Bit of a mystery but I think it must have something to do with the type of font it was in?   I dunno,  but I shoved it back in Live Writer,  made a couple changes to the html,   reposted it and it appeared.  I think I learned something,  but that’s doubtful,  since I’m still never quite sure just what I’m going to end up with after I hit that “publish” button.  Even then if I proof read until the bitter end,  I still sometimes miss things.


Anyway,  let’s press on shall we?

It so happens that the scenery is once again being changed in front of Vienna’s city hall,  and we thought we’d float on down there and check it out.  

So far we’ve had the circus back in the fall, then there were the Christmas markets leading up to Christmas,  and now they’re working on a huge ice rink extravaganza.  I’m not really exaggerating here either.  This whole endeavour will open on the 19th,  and will be quite elaborate.

Take a look:



Where the Christmas tree used to be,  there’s now a bridge over one of the skating rinks:


I’m not entirely sure what the deal is with all the plywood,  unless it’s so you can hobble over to the toilets or one of the vendors without having to put on your skate guards?  Just an idea.



So if you don’t want to confine your skating to a proper rink,  you can go booting around the “track” they’re making!  





Note the lines for the refrigeration.   Last year they said the ice rink/track/whatever was perfectly fine up to 15°C!  I’m sure it will be the same this year.  

There wouldn’t have been too many problems yesterday though,  since it was hovering around zero.


Remember the bridge?  This is looking out from the corridor in front of city hall:


That would be this corridor.  They’ve got everything fenced off for the time being…




There wasn’t a whole lot of activity going on but still,  there were guys working on a Sunday plugging away.


Just another view.  Hey, if I don’t put these pictures here,  what the heck else am I going to do with them??




I suspect it’s going to look like this when they’re done:



And yes,  I pinched that off one of their webcams.

Here’s another one I pinched.   Like I said.  Amazing!

Click on it for a larger view.

"Vienna Icedream"


I always enjoy the whole “ambiance” of Vienna’s city hall.    There’s a brief wiki article here if you’re remotely interested.


That’s it for today’s missive kids. 


Thanks for stopping by.



Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fun with Spam

OK so,  I know I said I’d mention something about this yesterday,  but some days I just don’t “feel like it”,  in the blogging department. 

I skipped a day.  So shoot me.

Travelling Companion and I actually went out yesterday in search of an elusive pair of shoes she had seen a couple weeks back,  and she did manage to find the same ones,  but not in her size.  We figured that was the reason they were on sale,  since the only shoes they had on offer were for ladies with exceedingly small feet.  We’re talking size five here.  My sister takes a size five or six,  and usually has a heck of a time finding shoes.  Apparently she needs to go shoe shopping in Vienna?

Since we didn’t have any success in the shoe department,  the idea of meandering around on the streets yesterday wasn’t overly appealing,  since it was cold and blustery.  And that’s all I’ll say about that. 

I haven’t had cause to go out yet today,  and I’m not sure if I’ll even come up with a reason.  It’s sunny, with the temperature hovering around a balmy zero.  Doesn’t matter what system you use,  0°Celsius is the temperature at which water freezes.  That’s all you need to know.

So in that instance,  “sunny out” isn’t enough of a reason to go anywhere except possibly,  and only possibly,  out on the terrace.   We’ll see. 

As a further diversionary tactic,  I submit for your perusal the following:



First of all,  if you have the ability to actually read the words on this page,  you’re quite likely familiar with the sight of this object.   I realise not everyone drinks wine of course,  but this is still a fairly common tool.  Take a good look.  Do you see anything wrong?

Being at a certain point in one’s life,  I can safely say that,  breaking a corkscrew is no longer a big deal.  We probably have a dozen or so scattered between two residences.   Some are simple.  Some not so simple.   Some are so confusingly complicated that they’ve remained in their lovely little gift boxes to this day.

Just as an example of how these things multiply, I should mention that,  after we had signed the lease for the house we rented in the Netherlands and I then flew over to join Travelling Companion in August of 2008,   not only did I make sure to bring a cork screw with me,  but she had made sure she bought one to have on hand as well.   See how this works?  Opening up a kitchen drawer without being able to find a corkscrew is no more a possibility than going out of the house without wearing proper undergarments.   Either of these things might possibly have happened some 30 or 35 years ago,  but not these days.   And actually,  that’s not even a proper simile,  since I’ve never been able to go “commando”.   Some little kids have “security blankets”.  I feel a certain comfort in a pair of snug fitting Stanfields,  and being able to yank a functioning corkscrew out of the kitchen drawer without hardly looking.   It’s all a matter or priorities,  and I find these two things to be of equal importance.




Now onto this whole “spam” thing.  

First of all,  there was a comment about luncheon meat.  You know,  I had completely forgot about luncheon meat!  We’ve become so used to spam referring to annoying cr*p on the internet that the meaning of the term has taken on a major shift.

As a result of that comment though, I thought back to a particular dish that we used to have years ago when the kids were small.  Coincidently, so was our bank balance.   I seem to recall that it was a product called “Klik”,  which was a type of luncheon meat available in Canada.   Turns out (with a little help from Google) that it’s still available. 


So here’s the way it worked.    Start by boiling up a pot of macaroni,  and when that’s just about done,  sauté a finely chopped onion (or maybe it was a half,  I don’t recall)  and when the onion has started to brown,  add your by then diced luncheon meat.  You may need to fend off anyone hovering around and helping themselves to the pieces of luncheon meat however.  I’ve been known to add a little garlic salt at this point as well, along with any other seasonings that might strike one’s fancy.  Remove your macaroni from the water and add it to the sautéed mixture.   Stir it up a little to mix all the flavours and serve immediately.    The only condiment needed is copious amounts of Heinz ketchup.   The kids lapped it up.  AND it was a cheap meal.   We didn’t tell them that part though,  nor would they have cared.   We haven’t had it in years,  since we possibly got tired of it along the way at some point.  Fried luncheon meat and macaroni once a week for a few years is going to start to lose it’s charm at some point. 





There must be something wrong in my head,  since every so often I see something that otherwise would be annoying,  but instead makes me giggle.   I forget that blogger will separate any comments that have a “Spam like”  air about them,  but once in a while I’ll take a look,  and there will be a half dozen or so messages that have been corralled for my perusal.

Along with a very small amount of “comment spam”  I do get about three messages a week in the more run of the mill ‘appendage enhancement’ category.

I’m putting in these few pre-emptive words,  since I need you to realise that I’ve copied this subject line just exactly as it appeared in my junk mail folder,  AND I had to make sure not to subconsciously correct the poor grammar…and spelling….and syntax.  Gah!  Never mind. 


So here we go:

“Viiagra offers! Take a glance of Viiagra abatement!”


Whoa!  Is that even English??

OK,  presumably you can get an “abatement” on your rent,  but I’d still be more inclined to just use “reduction”,  or maybe “discount”?    I actually had to look up “abatement”,  since it made absolutely no sense in the message. 

I could go on and on but really,  aren’t they trying to actually sell something?  I just don’t get it.


And it continues….

And I quote,

“Go and buuy Vigar@ at grand cut rates.”


(And this was in blogger….)

“hey blogger found your website via search engine but it was hard to find and I see you could have more visitors because there are not so many comments yet. I have discovered website which offer to dramtically increase traffic to your website (I took out the link) they claim they managed to get close to 1000 visitors/day using their services you could also get lot more targeted traffic from search engines as you have now. I used their services and got significantly more visitors to my blog. Hope this helps :) They offer url service online seo backlinks backlink booster Take care. Jay


Best Legal Steroid. Order Legal Steroids is a pioneer in the Bodybuilding Supplement Industry. Our field is in the advancement, study, and production of muscular site enhancements, anabolic steroid supplements, and body building supplements. We have a variety of products to enhance your physique. It is usually recommended to order stacks, a combination of supplements. One stack might consist of dianabol, anadroll, and deccabolan.”


OK,  at least that last one was something that I could read without wanting to punch something, or getting a big headache.

I hear that the amount of THC in today’s marijuana is the highest it’s ever been,  which might explain some of this silliness.

What’s the point?  Really?  I’d like to meet up with the guy who actually decides to get an “abatement” on his,  what was it again?  “Vigar@”?  (I think the goofy spelling is a lame attempt at getting around the filter.  T didn’t work.)


I’m lost here.  Just give me a moment.


Wait!  I think I’ve figured it out.   Here’s what they’re talking about!



There we go.  It all makes perfect sense now. 


I *promise* I’ll never bring it up again.   Promise.   I’ll just quietly delete this cr*p and never speak of it again.


Enjoy the rest of your weekend,  and thanks for indulging my silly little meanderings.




Friday, January 13, 2012

Stupid stupid stupid.





Why is it that,  even though “they” said we were going to get snow,  it still seems like such a shock?

We run around when we’re kids,  all excited and yell,  “It’s SNOWING"!”,  “Yaay”  I remember the “how”,  but I fail to remember the “why”.

Only a distant, selective memory.  Now it’s more like,  “Ew cr*p,  it’s snowing”.  


Travelling Companion just called to ask about the conditions,  but to also point out that she has calls until 4:30 p.m.   On a Friday!   


I suppose it’s just as well,  since the traffic last night was pretty abysmal,  and she couldn't even get on to the highway,  let alone get stuck in the traffic on the Gürtel.

I’ve decided on burgers for tonight,  so it looks like I’ll be grilling in snow flurries.   Hey,  we’re CANADIAN!   We can take it!   Although,  those conditions aren’t exactly my first choice.    Shorts,  sandals, and only having a shirt on out of a sense of propriety would be preferable. 



Speaking of stupid,  I was going to have a whole post about SPAM, but I think I’ll leave that for tomorrow or a later time,  since we have absolutely no plans for the weekend.

Enjoy yours,  wherever you are.


Thanks for tuning in.