Where you can read the relatively rational ramblings of a silly half-monkey, half-boy. This freak of nature is named Joel. He also responds to the name 'Bart Wang'.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I saw three ships come sailing in

Yes, my friends, it's been a while. I apologize. Life has been hectic in the Martin household. I shall attempt to give you brief yet entertaining updates of what the hell has been going on. There's a fair bit so I hope you have more than one minute free and a better attention span than the average unmedicated North American child.

CUBA! The big trip that you missed out on. I don't think anyone that went actually reads this so that is a safe statement. We had a great time. The weather was scorching. The beach was beautiful. There was an endless supply of pizza and poutine. We got a killer picture of me in front of a sign painted on the fence of a local airport's runway that says, 'Socialismo O Muerte', which, I believe, means 'socialism or death'. That's my kinda country! Of course, the people that live there don't seem to embrace such a strong ideology. When planes take off, there is a motorcyle and sidecart that follow the planes and another dude in a makeshift watchtower down the runway to make sure that people don't charge out of the bushes, jump on the planes' wheels and get taken up into the wheel's compartment in order to get the heck out of Cuba. LOVELY! We had a marvelous time hanging out with Katie, Darren, Josh and Amanda. Travelling with friends is a blast. Here's some quick pics...

I'm excited to be eating dinner in Cuba! The food was pretty good. Darren always seemed to get the wrong thing after ordering. They were out of hot dogs, which was a real bummer. I love hot dogs.

It is customary in Cuba to have a swordfight with your dinner companions. Whoever was not killed or maimed was declared the victor and allowed to eat their meal. Darren bested me on this night. We both ordered the same meal that had large, delicious selections of different meats on these large sword-shaped skewers. That was probably the best meal I had all week. The seafood place left a lot to be desired, such as having the shrimp peeled FOR me rather than fumbling through it and doing a terrible job myself. Amanda makes wonderful shrimp finger puppets. If you are offered the seafood cocktail, politely decline. It was gross. Granted, I only like some seafood. Or, alternately, if your name is Darren and you order anything at all, know you will not get what you asked for. Instead, you will get the seafood cocktail. Consider this your warning...

These ladies enjoyed their mixed drinks and cappucinos. I think Cuba had run out of the latter by the time we left. The caffeine intake by these women was pretty incredible. My beverage choices were limited to water, juice and pop. Oh, and they had these marvelous slushies (lemonade and, once, strawberry). Sadly, Cuba does not have diet pop. We met a man who was our waiter in the buffet on our first night (I think) named Javier. Javier presented with the manners of a goat. He was gruff (get it?). Katie asked for Diet Coke (known in Mexico as 'Coca-Cola Lite' so we figured it would be the same in this Latin country) and Javier responded by stating, 'Coke'. Katie replied that she was asking for Diet Coke and Javier barked back, 'Coke'. From there on, Javier was our joke. You know the card game that is politely called 'Asshole'? Oh, if you grew up in a conservative Christian environment, you might have called it 'Bumhole' or 'Janitor'. That one. Anyhow, we changed it from 'Asshole' to 'Javier'. If you were a step above 'Javier', you were in the position of 'Javier's mom'. It was freaking hilarious and I ruled that game for most of the week. I was 'El Senador' (also the name of the resort where we stayed).

Each restaurant had musical entertainment during your visit. There was a group of ladies that we saw twice at the steakhouse who were excellent (Josh & Amanda bought their CD). There was a killer jazz band in the cigar bar, where Josh, Darren and I played pool one evening. I sucked. However, on the night that Darren left, we went back there and I beat Josh once. I was (and am) quite proud. Josh was the king of cheating at billiards when we were in high school (balls would mysteriously disappear from the table when he was walking around it).

Josh didn't send me any other pictures thus far so I can't show you more. When I get some, I'll post them. So, all in all, it was awesome. I hope you and I might get the chance to travel together sometime in the future. You won't regret it.

We made it to our first anniversary! Not bad, eh? Pretty damn good, if you ask me. It feels paradoxical, like it hasn't been very long but also that it could be more than a year. Thanks for all your best wishes (if you didn't send any, screw you). Does anyone know if you're no longer considered a newlywed once you reach your first anniversary? I've had conflicting reports.

David Blondel becomes a man. But not just any man. A bearded man. A very bearded man, in fact. That thing is insanely thick and long. Check out the pin on his sweater. Bottle Breaker, for life!

I am so irritated with work now. Remember I got turned down for the supervisor positions I desperately wanted? I got high praise for my interview and that I should apply for the new 'supervisory intern' position when it was posted? Well, I did that. But then I was told I couldn't apply because I didn't have experience in the other department (on-going services). WHAT?!?! So they were very impressed by my interview and presentation but then deny me the opportunity to get experience (which is what I was lacking). And they're considering people who did not even apply for the previous positions. Egads. I don't know what I'm going to do. It's so frustrating. There are two other supervisors in that department that had NO experience in there either but they got jobs (one wasn't even interviewed in person, just on the phone). It's inconsistency like that that drives me crazy.

Christmas time is here. Happiness and cheer. Yes, boys and girls, we're getting close to two important birthday celebrations - Melanie and Jesus. My two favourites. We might be decorating the house today. We're almost finished gift-purchasing, and have been for a week or so. Just one thing for Melanie's sister and then her brother. We know what we're getting already, it's just a matter of picking it up. Buying presents for Melanie is fun yet challenging. Her birthday is one week before Christmas so it requires a lot of planning and ideas to have adequate presents. Fortunately, I try to buy things throughout the year. I've also given in to buying some items when she tells me directly that she likes them and we're somewhere I will not be able to access after we leave (e.g. Barry's Bay). Wow, did I buy a lot this year! There's a ton of stuff, some of which I may save for Valentine's Day or next year! Hahaha. She won't want me to do that.

You may one day be visiting us at this place. You may have heard that we were looking to buy a house. We will be making an offer on this place later today. Melanie has spent several hours visiting various houses in the areas closeby to see if there was anything that would suit us. Our good friend, Len has been accompanying us on our search and has been incredibly valuable to us. Thanks, Len! The one picture on the site makes it look like an average house. Inside, it's really nice. Very open between the living room, dining room and kitchen, which Melanie adores. Two bathrooms, though none on the second floor (it's one-and-a-half-storey) which I hope won't suck too bad. If it does, I'll just get used to using a bed pan. The basement is completely finished with a fruit cellar (I like that). Only things that need repairs are the kitchen faucet and the chimney. Other than that, it's in mint condition like my Kelly Gruber rookie card!

Lots of cool things going on with our friends. Scott & Janice had a baby girl a week ago (or was it two now?). Jenn Moreton got a full-time position at work (911). I ran into Ken Brill and he is doign well, also buying his own home and moving in last week. Yesterday was Summer's THIRTIETH birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SUMMER! Whitney and Jon-than are leaving Portland on December 16th to be home for Christmas. Whitney told me that Laurie might already be back here but I haven't heard from her. Steve Ertl & Karen Golledge got engaged the day we got back from Cuba. Congratulations to them!

A pretty bad thing that happened, though, was Sandi's parents' house burned down. Yeah, pretty scary and terrible. A crazy story that raises some questions about divine intervention. All the people are safe and no one was injured. Their dog did die, though, and they lost everything. Pray for them.

I think that largely brings you up to speed. It's 1:30PM on Sunday afternoon and I'm hungry. I haven't eaten an actual meal since Friday morning. No kidding. I had a couple small rolls with tuna on them Friday afternoon (lunch on the run), no dinner (just lots of chips while playing poker and ping pong at the home of Rod, Patti & Justin Tombs with a lot of friends - it was great!), no breakfast or lunch or dinner on Saturday (a fair amount of chip nuts, though) and a quick meal replacement shake this morning. I wonder if that's why I couldn't sleep and I had a headache. I'll do an experiment. I'll eat and see if that helps. I'll be sure to document the results. The scientific consequences of this experiment could be tremendous. I appreciate your support. PEACE!


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