Monday, October 31, 2005

happy hallowe'en

Happy Halloween from the staff of felix's daily starfish and waffles. Some free advice: eat lots of candy. Trust us.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

my simulated reality tv life: episode two

And now, the much-anticipated new episode of My Simulated Reality TV Life, a simulated reality series exclusive to your favorite website, felix's daily starfish and waffles. Miss the last episode? Click here for a rerun and catch up.

Bridgette blasting her quads before the upcoming semi-pro soccer season. I don't know about the cherry-red jumpsuit but she sure has cool sneakers.

Episode Two
In real life, I must work to pay the bills. Therefore, in My Simulated Reality TV Life, it only follows that the simulated me must also work to pay the bills. In the last episode, we learned that I'm working in the field of medicine. For now, I'm only an ambulance-driving paramedic but you and I both know it's only a matter of time until I become a world-renowned neurosurgeon. But what about new wife Bridgette?

Since I met, proposed to, and married Bridgette in less than 20 minutes - what can I say, I'm very convincing - I neglected to ask her what she did for a living. So, you know, I ask. Her answer? Semi-pro soccer player. Cool! Makes sense, too, since this is one profession where Bridgette's deforming hand disability won't be a problem. In addition, if she ever makes the big leagues, we're going to be rich, rich, rich! Yes!! Everything is coming up simulated Felix.

The simulated me, hanging my head in shame after being fired as a paramedic.

Or is it? That night at work I'm faced with a difficult dilemma. I'm driving the ambulance while me and my partner are responding to a critical emergency. Problem is, we're stuck in a traffic jam two miles long. Do we get out and run 20 blocks to save the patient or do I steer my ambulance onto the sidewalk? To me, the answer is obvious: sidewalk.

However, I soon learn there's a reason why ambulances don't often speed down the sideWALK ... so yeah, I guess sometimes people walk on them. Anyway, long story made short: there's this old lady who's walking on the sidewalk and I don't see her and, well, let's just say there's some, um, "unpleasantness."

Luckily, the old lady doesn't die - immediately. But here's the real tragedy: when my supervisor finds out, I get fired!

A close-up of my shame. What am I going to tell Bridgette?

Now what am I going to do? How am I ever going to become a doctor so I can prescribe myself drugs? What am I going to tell Bridgette? Will she leave me? Tune in to the next episode of My Simulated Reality TV Life and find out!

Scenes from My Simulated Reality TV Life are brought to you by The Sims 2.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

lancelin 6044

The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to return soup at a deli. But Toby didn't care. And neither did I.

Lancelin, Western Australia. (2000). I took Toby out for a walk along the beach on a blustery June afternoon. He's a lucky dog: I wish my backyard had this much fine, ivory-white sand for me to play around in.

About an hour's drive north of Perth along the Indian Ocean coast lies Lancelin, a sleepy little crayfishing (that's Aussie for "lobsterfishing") port and emerging resort. Population: 600. Come for the lobster, windsurfing, and sandboarding. Sleep at the Lancelin Lodge, the finest backpackers' hostel in Australia and home of Toby, the playful Yellow Labrador retriever in the picture above. Stay for the gorgeous ivory-white sand, turquoise water, and quiet ambience. Now that I'm just another minion in the big-city rat race of work and career, sometimes I wish I were back in Lancelin, where time seemed to move a little bit slower.

Click here or here for travel stories previously posted on felix's daily starfish and waffles.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

x + y = 1


By now, you know who these guys are. Coldplay's meteoric rise to rock 'n' roll superstardom has been rather remarkable. If the spacey dreampop of Parachutes was the revelation and the vivid soundscapes of A Rush of Blood to the Head the amplification, then surely the earnest passion of X&Y is the confirmation.

Arguably the most eagerly anticipated new music release of 2005, it was virtually impossible for X&Y to live up to the hype, fanfare, and expectations. And while it might be true that X&Y may not even be Coldplay's best record to date (A Rush of Blood to the Head would have my vote), the album is ultimately impressive in its emotional and refined delivery.

Clearly, this is an album that establishes Coldplay in the starry firmament of the world's megabands. In fact, I'll even take it one step further. Congratulations, Coldplay: felix's daily starfish and waffles has just declared you to be the biggest rock band on the planet.

dingobear track selections:

2. What If. Simple lyrics, melodic composition, anthemic chorus. Vintage Coldplay. "What if you should decide / That you don't want me there by your side / That you don't want me there in your life?"

3. White Shadows. Guy Berryman's work on the guitar here is worthy of The Edge.

5. Talk. A stunning showstopper. Incorporates a sample from Kraftwerk, the German electronica icon. "Oh brother, I can't get through / I've been trying to reach you 'cause I don't know what to do / Oh brother, I can't believe it's true / I'm so scared about the future / And I want to talk to you."

7. Speed of Sound. Album's first single. Not the strongest track on the record but enough to warrant a mention here.

11. Swallowed In The Sea. A rueful return for sure, but to her open arms? "I can write a song / A hundred miles long / Well, that's where I belong / And you belong with me."

Coldplay is Jon Buckland, Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion.

Album reviews are a regular feature on felix's daily starfish and waffles. Click here for reviews of Endtroducing ... by DJ Shadow, Diamonds on the Inside by Ben Harper, and Asianblue by Emm Gryner; here for a review of Back to Mine by Everything But The Girl; or here for a review of Pass In Time by Beth Orton.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

my simulated reality tv life: episode one

Survivor. The Apprentice. The Amazing Race. Reality TV is alive and well for another season and, quite frankly, it's been destroying felix's daily starfish and waffles' ratings. That is, until now. Because today, I fire back and bring you scenes from the exclusive world premiere of My Simulated Reality TV Life*!

Take that, Trump.

That's the simulated me on the right. On the left, my new wife, Bridgette. I had a hard day, so Bridgette's giving me a backrub - because that's the kind of standup gal that she is. Apparently, Bridgette suffers from a debilitating, disfiguring disability that has rendered the middle, ring, and pinky fingers of her right hand so frighteningly webbed that they collectively resemble a 2x4 that's been left to warp out in the summer rain. But I married her anyway - because that's the kind of standup guy that I am.

Episode One
Welcome to my simulated life. On a non-descript kind of day, I move into a non-descript bungalow on a non-descript street in a non-descript kind of neighbourhood in a non-descript town. The new home is actually quite nice but furnishing it doesn't prove to be cheap. Alas, I'm quickly running low on cash and need a job. But in what profession? It has to be in medicine. Because as everyone knows, chicks dig doctors. (Haha)

My incredible logic and foresight pay off. Before long, Bridgette, the girl who lives across the street, comes over to introduce herself and it's love at first sight. Soon afterwards, in what has to be the shortest courtship ever known to humankind, I propose, we get married, and she moves in. Woohoo!

All is happy and blissful in my newfound simulated life. But can it last? Will I be able to defy the odds and continue advancing my career in medicine despite not having any kind of formal training whatsoever? Or will I leave a trail of casualties as I blaze down a path of some shockingly blatant medical malpractice? On the surface, Bridgette is sweet and considerate but what skeletons are hiding in her closet? Stay tuned for the next episode of My Simulated Reality TV Life and find out!

A perfect Thursday afternoon is playing hooky from work to lounge around in your underwear and read books with your hot wife. Note: in real life, I have much bigger muscles and am much better-looking than the simulated me in the picture above.

* All footage of My Simulated Reality TV Life provided by The Sims 2, people simulator extraodinaire, for my Mac.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

pennant race

No, I don't mean the Red Sox, the Yankees, or the Cubs. I mean, who cares about major league baseball anymore, what with all the steroids, competitive imbalance, and the fact that the only real team that was left in the bigs, the Montreal Expos, is now gone. What I'm talking about is across the Pacific, in the Japanese major leagues.

Forget about singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch ... in Japan, they just release a bunch of balloons.

Like in North America, there are two leagues in the Japanese majors - the Central League and the Pacific League. Each league has six teams, and the champions of the Central and Pacific face off against one another in the Japan Series, which is usually played in October.

The playoffs haven't started yet this year, with the pennant race still in gear. In the Pacific League, the excellent Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (89 wins, 45 losses, 2 ties) and the Bobby Valentine-managed Chiba Lotte Marines (84-49-3) are still battling for league supremacy. In the Central League, the Osaka Hanshin Tigers (87-54-5) have run away with the flag. And you know this just can't be sitting well with the folks in Tokyo - the struggles of their own Yomiuri Giants (62-80-4) are bad enough without having their rivals in Osaka celebrating in first place.

It's been a tough season for the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants.

By any measure, it's been a tough season for the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants, Japanese baseball's version of the New York Yankees and probably the most popular team in the country. Despite the the Giants' proud history of pennants, championships, and the highest payroll in the league, in 2005, they've already set a club record for losses with 80, and the season isn't even over yet. Mired in second-last place in the Central League, the Giants are ahead only of the lowly Hiroshima Toyo Carp (58-83-4), whose payroll is Montreal Expos-esque in its frugality. For Giants fans, this nightmare season can't end soon enough. But look on the bright side, Tokyo: at least George Steinbrenner isn't running your team.

Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan. (2002). Affectionately known as the "Big Egg" by fans and non-fans alike, the Tokyo Dome is home to the Yomiuri Giants, the New York Yankees of Japanese baseball. I took this photo early one November morning not long after the season in 2002. Note how amazingly clean the stadium grounds are kept. North America, this isn't.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

an important public service message

Go ahead, put that rake away and leap in. (You know you want to).