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Merry Winter Solstice

Filed under: General — 19day @ 22:33:40

Christmas occurred again, as it is wont to do. This entry is being written quite late as my heart just hasn’t been in blogging for a while. Work has been unpleasant in the extreme as of late, and one has the feeling that things will only degrade further.

In the middle of that was christmas. I went back to Caledon which is apparently my contractual obligation, for a week or so. It was mostly uneventful, but as it was supposed to be a quiet holiday anyway, that’s a good thing. Christmas itself was nice, gave out some good stuff, got some good stuff, everyone seemed pleased and we did our part to keep the economy afloat for another few milliseconds. One of the weirdest things we gave was a Nintendo DS to Father. Brother gave him the DS and I got him some of those brain-training games (an unobtainable PC brain-training game is what he had originally asked for.) My father generally does not like electronic gadgets, so I thought it weird that he’d react well to a little handheld computer as it essentially is, but he seemed to enjoy using it. My mother as well, she even went out to get more games for it (I convinced her to get Elite Beat Agents). Both of them were a bit stymied by the DS boot screen, which I have to admit isn’t the most discoverable thing in the world, but they are now both on their way to current generation handheld console goodness.

Cat Bed

It took time to get this shot, as she suddenly refused to use the bed

My cat got a gift of her own, a cat bed, which somehow she knew instantly was hers without fuss. And she sleeps on it where ever I put it. The only thing I can figure is that cats really like having a puffy edge to either use as a pillow, or just to contain the sleeping area.
I got some DVDs and games, one of which was Bully for the Wii which I took to with wild abandon and beat it in pretty short order, I found the game to be slightly cathartic in it’s subject matter. Alicia gave me a shiny pocket watch, which has a window in the face so you can see some of the clockwork, as she knows I like such things.

Pocket Watch

I need to wear a suit more often

The holiday passed mostly without incident, though we did lose power for a day after boxing day due to a wind storm. The house was absolutely freezing for the duration, and only got worse as night set in. It’s fun where we live since 90% of the time when the power goes out, it’s just our house, or just us and one or two of the neighbours, so no one is ever really is a rush to fix it. This time, however, service was restored faster than we expected given the circumstances, since lots of places, we heard once the power for the TV was restored, were out of power for days.

Eventually I made it back to the apartment, and then got in on a plan for New Years at Niagara Falls. We left on the eve in the afternoon in two cars, I was in the late one since we had to pick someone up. And due to our route, we actually made it to the hotel first. Our number was 10, and we stuffed ourselves in three rooms, each room with two Queen size beds. We started with a few drinks to get us in the mood, including a vibrant green mojito with a caloric count in the billions.

The hotel had a shuttle to take us to the casino, which one of our party estimated as being a 15 minute drive away. Apparently though, the main shuttle had broken down and they had a tiny one that was pretty much full when it came to pick the lot of us up. And only half of us could get on, the other half, including myself, went back inside of the hotel dejectedly. The hotel staff were only too happy to call us a cab and give us a series of detailed and possibly incorrect instructions on how to get the hotel at the casino to pay for it, since it was their shuttle service that had failed us. The test never came, as the cab didn’t arrive before the next shuttle did, half an hour later. This shuttle had enough room for us, but it stopped at another hotel where a bunch of polish guys got on. I didn’t know they were polish, I was just reassured by a friend that the swearing they were doing at each other was, indeed, polish. The shuttle trip took 45 minutes all told, due to the weather, traffic, and the circuitous route it took. In that time I think we witnessed the end of some polish friendships, and it started sounding like it would come to blows.

Our other half of party had arrived earlier and was standing in line at the casino buffet, so we joined them and in another half hour or so, we were seated. They couldn’t seat all of us at one table, so we split into a group of 6 and group of 4 and sat close enough that we could shout insults at each other, but not much else. Everything had taken so long that we were still there at midnight, so we finished up quickly and went out on the smoking balcony to see the countdown and fireworks. Unfortunately about 12 million other people had thought of that too, so it was pretty cramped. There was also no countdown, at least, none we could make out. A few people took it upon themselves to be highly intoxicated random number generators, but we figured it was actually midnight when the fireworks started. It was about 30 seconds after midnight when the fireworks stopped. The recession has hit everything.

Niagara Falls at New Years

Synthetic rainbow at the falls

We made a hasty exit and walked down to the falls, which was neat since virutally everyone else was leaving the area, so we had it, relatively speaking, to ourselves. We wondered up and down the area for a while and then started thinking about how to get back to the hotel. The shuttle service stopped at 12:30 and we were about an hour late for it at that point. So we spent an hour or so trying to hail a cab, which was pretty well impossible. We split up into teams trying to flag one down at different points of the street, and eventually one of them got one. It circled around again to pick up another of the drivers and went to the hotel so that people could take the cars we left behind and pick us all up. We eventually made it back to the hotel at 2ish, and started partaking in some celebratory liquids until 4ish. We groggily got up the next morning, barely escaped at the checkout time and had a few amusing attempts to find a Denny’s before giving up and going to an IHOP, where, yes, I did have pancakes.

2008, we hardly knew ye. 2009, you’d best behave.

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