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An Experiment with Limited Internet

Published January 27, 2016 - 3 Comments

I decided to take drastic steps today and cancelled my internet and home phone. Talk about first world problems…  No internet?!? Who cares about the home phone? I only agreed to get that because at the time my kids didn’t have cellphones. Now that’s not an issue. But no internet?!?

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The Man in the High Castle

Published December 6, 2015 - 2 Comments

Did you know that Amazon has a streaming content service like Netflix, CraveTV, or Shomi?  Neither did I! Well, I think a part of me was vaguely aware of it, but I had no real reason to give it much thought.  I’m sure that they have pretty much the same thing as everyone else… a bunch of older seasons of shows that I don’t watch.  Netflix has original content that sets it apart from the others, but it’s the only one.  Or is it?

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Is it Wrong That I Like the New Justin Bieber Song?

Published December 5, 2015 - 0 Comments

191b81_87f553745d8b41f194b7bde846e0aa0cThe question caught me off guard. The person asking was someone who I’d never in a million years ever think would admit to listening to a Justin Bieber song, let alone liking it!  Yet here he was, quietly asking me over the phone, while we worked on setting up a Juniper router.  I had only one answer…

“I know! It’s catchy, and I’m confused because I like it too!”

I’ve been pretty hard on the Biebs over the years.  I’m not entirely sure that he deserves the super star status given to him at such a young age.  Whatever talent he may or may not possess was greatly overshadowed by his cuteness and the music machine that moulded his public image. Where’s the street cred?  Show me the trail of blood, sweat and tears that he overcame to get to where he is today.  Like so many great musical geniuses out there… I’m looking at you Britney! And Miley… what happened to you?  Come back from the dark side, Miley!

I digress.

But there’s something about this new album.  It’s not even just What Do You Mean? (The song in question, which unfortunately still has a douche-bag music video) but several of the tracks aren’t just tolerable… they’re actually good.  I’ve been listening to Love Yourself  as well.  It’s not quite as catchy, but it’s still good.

So yes, friend… I think it’s fair to say… it’s not wrong to like the new Justin Bieber song… just don’t tell anyone.  Or write a blog post about it.

First Taste of Winter

Published December 4, 2015 - 0 Comments

I’m pretty sure that every year I’ve written a post about the first snow fall. Well guess what? Today is that day!

It’s too early to start waking up early to scrape the car! Today is December 4. It’s not even winter yet! But there I was… No gloves… Scraping the ice off the windshield and the snow off the roof. And not just a token amount either. A fair bit!

It’s going to be a long season. 

The Internet is a Tool

Published December 3, 2015 - 0 Comments

 The Internet is a tool. A tool is neither positive nor negative. A hammer is a tool. In the right hands a hammer can be used to build a home, providing shelter and warmth for a family in need. In the wrong hands a hammer can be used to destroy that same house, tearing down walls and smashing windows. 

Just like a hammer the Internet can be used to build great things. It can bring families together even when they are separated half a world away. It can also be used to destroy, shattering bonds like brittle window panes. 

The Internet is a tool. How it is used it up to you. 

The Schnitzel Parlour – A Sparkling Gem on Fredericton’s North Side

Published November 9, 2015 - 2 Comments

The Schnitzel ParlourJess loves all things German!  There’s no doubt that she was German in a past life. So when I heard about an authentic German restaurant in Fredericton, I knew that I had to surprise her.

I spent a fair amount of time on The Schnitzel Parlour’s website, reading the menu and the owners’ story.  The restaurant is owned by a German couple who came to Canada in 2000, and it truly is a reflection of their culture.

From the decor, to the music, to the authentic meals, it’s easy to imagine yourself transported to a cozy home in a quiet German town.  It really felt like we were visiting friends for supper. Everyone was extremely friendly, and we even got a chance to meet Hansel and Gretel, the family dachshunds!

JessThe food is amazing!  Because they incorporate chocolate into many of their recipes, I’ve decided that I will simply not eat another salad unless it is drizzled with chocolate maple vinaigrette!  As for the main course, my regular-sized schnitzel was very filling, and the double decadent chocolate truffle cake… Well I think that speaks for itself. We left The Schnitzel Parlour feeling very satisfied and promising to return soon.

For people looking to experience an authentic German dining experience, I highly recommend reserving a table at The Schnitzel Parlour.  Space is limited, as are their hours of operation (5pm-8pm Tue-Sat), although they do provide a take out service.

You won’t be disappointed.

An Evening With Whoopi Goldberg… and the Moncton Fire Department

Published October 26, 2015 - 0 Comments

whoopiWhen I saw that Casino NB was bringing Whoopi Goldberg to town, my initial reaction fell somewhere between “meh” and “shit”.  On one hand (we’ll call that the “meh”) Whoopi Goldberg is someone who doesn’t overly excite me as a comedian.  Sure, I’ve seen her in movies and on TV, but if I’m ever asked to name my Top 10 ladies of comedy… she’s not going to be on it.  On the other hand (and we’ll call that one “shit”, I knew for a fact that Jess IS a huge fan of Whoopi (Goldberg, that is) and would absolutely want to see her.  So then the internal struggle began… do I take the chance and hope she doesn’t find out… or do I tell her and try to spin this to make myself out to be the hero who obviously was single-handedly responsible for bringing Whoopi Goldberg to the Casino?  I guess I chose somewhere in the middle.

And while Whoopi Goldberg may not necessarily be my first choice for live comedy, I really have to be honest… that woman is funny!  A lot funnier than I gave her credit for!  She played to the crowd, and she was good!  A little cruder than I imagined, but that doesn’t bother me.  I’ve been known to drop the occasional F-bomb here and there.

So what was originally going to be an evening of somewhere between “meh and shit” was actually turning out to be pretty entertaining!  And then the smell started…

An electrical fire has a very distinctive smell.  There was no smoke in the casino, just an odor.  People were looking around to see where it was coming from, but nothing appeared amiss.  I initially thought maybe someone’s phone or camera had blown a circuit.  Then again, I also took note of the nearest fire escape doors in case I was wrong.  After a very long couple of minutes Security alerted Whoopi to the fact that her tour bus was on fire.  There was no danger to anyone in the casino, but they were stopping the show because of it.  We began to shuffle toward the exits.

Apparently Whoopi was almost done the main part of her show anyway, so we didn’t miss very much.  She apologized as we were leaving, and said that she would be back.  It’s funny… my evening with Whoopi Goldberg was far more memorable than I would have ever imagined!

A Clear Sign That I’m Getting Older

Published October 7, 2015 - 2 Comments


Apparently it’s been 6 years since I last had my eyes tested!  I really didn’t think that it had been that long, but the optometrist had it on file.  2009.  At that time, I went in because I was having headaches, and thought that my eyesight might be causing them.  I could see very well, but you just never know.  He wrote me a very light prescription, which I never bothered to get it filled, and my headaches went away on their own.  I think part of it was the shift work, but regardless, I’ve been good since.  Well, until now.

I’ve noticed recently that it’s getting harder to focus on things close to me.  Sometimes when I wake up and reach for my phone, I can’t read the text.  It’s just a blur.  After some forced blinking and holding it further away for a few seconds everything comes into focus and it’s all good.  If someone holds something up for me to read, I often have to push it back a little before I can focus clearly on it.  I can go days without noticing any problems, but then something happens and it reminds me that I should really go have my eyes tested.

So that brings us to 2015.  Apparently I am a candidate for bifocals.  Whenever I think of bifocals, I think of old people.  But at 43, I’m no longer a spring chicken.  Still, is 43 old now?  Apparently for my eyes it is!  The optometrist told me that by age 45 I would start to notice a deterioration and by 50 I wouldn’t be able to focus on short range at all without the glasses.  Yeah, something else to look forward to!

So now I have one of these… and I’m not sure what I should do. Prescription - zoomGet it filled?  Wait for my re-check in 2 years?  It’s funny because there was a time that I really wanted to be an optometrist.  I even sent away for the admissions forms from Waterloo… alas it was not in the cards.  Too bad, too.  I think my optometrist is doing pretty well for himself!

First Day of Fall

Published September 21, 2015 - 0 Comments

smbelyea_2015-Sep-21It seems to be a thing for me… I write about fall. It’s my favourite time of the year. It’s not too hot. It’s not too cold. Unfortunately it also doesn’t last very long, and as soon as it’s done… BOOM… I hate what comes next.

This morning I got up and took the dogs out to go pee. There was a certain crispness in the air that hasn’t been there until today. I looked at my phone and asked Siri what the temperature was… 4c.  4 degrees?  That’s almost freezing! And true to that, when I got into the car a little later, there was frost on the windshield. FROST!

Today is supposed to be beautiful. All week is supposed to be beautiful. I’d better enjoy it while it lasts.