Sunday, November 26, 2006

my simulated reality tv life: episode eighteen

The air temperature outside my apartment right now: -25C (-13F). That's freezing! You might as well come indoors and get out of the cold, so you can enjoy tonight's hot, all-new episode of My Simulated Reality TV Life! Miss the last episode? Click here for a rerun. New to the series? Click here to start at Episode One, or look down the left side of the main page of starfish and waffles to find links to all of the old episodes. Now don't delay, because tonight's episode begins in mere seconds!

Fire! As simulated Felix discovers, unbridled flambé can be a risky affair.

Episode Eighteen
As clearly evidenced back in Episode Four, the simulated me is pretty handy in the kitchen, with a proven record of whipping up gourmet meals on demand. But even simulated gourmet chefs like myself can get themselves in trouble when they push the boundaries of culinary wisdom a little too much.

Like tonight. With wife Bridgette and toddler Felicia out of the house, the simulated me apparently decides it might be fun to prepare a little flambé hamburger for supper. Fun? Definitely. Tasty? Well, maybe. Fire safe? Ummm, not so much.

In a simulated jiffy, my simulated kitchen is engulfed in simulated flames! The simulated fire alarm goes off. I panic. What do I do? Well, don't just stand there, simulated Felix, dial simulated 9-1-1!

Luckily, a fire engine is not far off, and a fireman with some kind of super-fire extinguisher appears and saves the day. Phew! Disaster averted. What a relief!

After all is said and done, my kitchen's become quite a mess. Happily though, somehow my flambé hamburger is still relatively intact. Well, no use in letting good food go to waste. The simulated me proceeds to plate the charbroiled burger and sit down at the dining room table with a knife-and-fork.

"Mmmmm, fire extinguish-y."

Make sure you tune in to the next delicious episode of My Simulated Reality TV Life!

Phew! Disaster averted. Props to the local simulated fire department! Now let that be a lesson to you, simulated Felix: make sure you charbroil your burgers in the barbecue, not on top of the kitchen stove.

I'm not exactly sure what's going on here, but I assume from the concerned look on Bridgette's face that simulated Felix has cooties. Haha, aren't these two adorable? They're just like a couple of love monkeys.

Surely, being declared "cootie-free" is a reason for both you and your simulated wife to smile.

Toddler Felicia continues her "learn-to-talk" sessions. Not sure if simulated Felix is trying to teach her to say "Daddy" or "simulated Felix."

"If you buy one of our rubber trees, not only will you be able to grow your own tires, you'll also become more attractive to men!" With salesmanship like that, it's no wonder that simulated -c was hired to pitch the wares in Bridgette's new flower shop.

Felicia's teddy bear explains to Bridgette: "I wanted to impress this female panda so I went with her to the Justin Timberlake concert last night. Now I feel dirty. Dirty like my gonorrhea."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

bi-polar game theorist (the fibonacci countdown)

According to Inuit elders of the Canadian Arctic, most Polar bears are left-handed. Because of this, sometimes I wonder if life for right-handed Polar bears is just that much more difficult ... it must not be easy dealing with issues such as having to use can openers designed for left-handed bears and getting made fun of for being different while growing up. Note: the left- or right-handedness of the Polar bear in the file photo above is unknown.

Thirteen (13)
This is my life. It's become a game. Sitting around a table where the next person sports a better poker-face than the last. My odds aren't good. The dealer deals. I peek at my cards. I can't believe my luck.

Eight (8)
Well, lucky me - it all comes down to simple chemistry. Boyle's Law. At a given temperature, the product of pressure and volume must always be constant. No exceptions. So when the walls start to close, I know what's coming. I need an outlet. But one doesn't exist. It's not in the equation. It's not there. It can't be there.

Five (5)
Five countries in five days, in the month of May. "You travel insensibly!" laments the man from Milan, shaking his head with a passionate anger only an Italian can get away with. But I don't care. I find comfort in the urgency of places to see, people to meet. When I travel, time slows. I can think clearly again. Pressure eases. There's more air to breathe.

Three (3)
There are two outs in the bottom of the tenth, the game is tied, and our best hitter is at the dish. I'm the baserunner on first, representing the winning run. With an eye on the pitcher, I stretch my lead because a few extra inches could make all the difference. The pitcher wheels and delivers. The batter swings. I hear a loud crack! and take off. In my peripheral vision, I see the shortstop stretch for the ball, but it's way over his head. I round second in a burst of speed. I don't even need to look for the ball, I know it's in the gap and I know I can score. Halfway to third, I catch a glimpse of the third base coach. He's frenetically throwing up the stop sign. I ignore him. I'm fast - faster than the throw. There's no way they can get me. So I head for home, full throttle. The catcher is waiting for the ball, blocking the plate. "Slide around the tag," I tell myself, "slide around the tag and you won't be the third out." Just as the ball arrives, I hit the dirt. Through the cloud of dust, I reach for the plate with my left hand and immediately swivel my head to the right, toward the ump, for the call. This is my moment. I'll worry about Coach yelling at me later.

Two (2)
It was a late summer evening. She watched me make supper, like she usually did. We ate. I watched her do the dishes, like I usually did. We talked. Everything was nice but uneventful, simple but profound, plain but beautfiul. I didn't want the night to end because I was happy. Had I known it would be the last, I would've told her. I wanted to tell her. I never told her.

One (1)
"Your move, Chief, last chance." So it's come down to this. One decision, black or white. I don't know what to do. I don't know which way to turn. It's not right. I'm not right.

Zero (0)
Out of time. Paralyzed by fear, I peer over the edge and fail to consider the consequences. I close my eyes and take a step forward ... truth brings me back. Shaking, I crumple to the ground, in the safety of the spot on which I had been. I understand. There's time. This is not a game. This is my life.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

taking the plunge

Take the plunge down Skógafoss in Skógar, Iceland. (2006). Actually, you probably shouldn't take my advice literally because, by throwing yourself down a powerful Icelandic waterfall, you could seriously hurt yourself. And I wouldn't want that because if you were seriously hurt, you probably wouldn't be able to log onto your computer and read starfish and waffles. And, quite frankly, I want you reading starfish and waffles because I need your attention - yes, it's true, I really am that shallow! Admit it - this is the reason why you love me.

The other night, Blogger somehow tricked me into converting to Blogger Beta, and now there's no going back. Unfortunately, along the way, dingobear:miami, the sister site of starfish and waffles, became a casualty of the conversion. D:M ... we'll miss you ... *sniff, sniff* ... may you rest in peace.

But we do have some positive news: like a good parent who immediately replaces his or her child's recently-deceased puppy with a new dog that looks and barks just like the old one, I've set up a new blog, dingobear photography. As you might expect, it's pretty much a pictures-only photo blog. So for those of you who always secretly hated my writing or only frequented starfish and waffles to steal my pictures, you now have a new place to go. You haters! (And thieves).

Monday, November 13, 2006

upsetting the apple cart

Flip, flip, flip. Do you hear that? That's the sound of calendar pages accelerating by, while life settles into a constant loop of routine. Quack, quack, quack. Hear that? That's the sound of a duck. Ok, so ducks have nothing to do with this post, but sometimes it's fun to make quacking noises. I never did promise this post was going to make any sense, see.

Presenting the warm, soothing Applejack. The shrewd editor of felix's daily starfish and waffles knows a good November drink when he sees one, and he'll stop at nothing (not even apples) to get himself a mugful.

Now where were we ... right, routine. Routine, in and of itself, doesn't necessarily have to be bad. Routine is familiar. And familiar can be comfortable. Like my Sunday evenings the past month or so, which have all approximately gone like this ...

Every Sunday, after watching the late NFL game on TV, I make a beeline to the cozy Starbucks down the street for my weekly infusion of chai tea latté, which nowadays seems to cost about $12 a trip. And, every Sunday, the same cute girl with the auburn hair and high cheekbones makes me my latté behind the counter. I smile. She smiles. Then she says with army efficiency, "Tall Tazo Chai, enjoy your night." I smile. She smiles. And then I sit down and go about my Sunday evening business, which usually consists of reading a book or working on my next starfish and waffles post.

So what's the point of this story? I don't know, in this Seinfeld of a post, there probably isn't a point. Maybe next week, I'll ask the Starbucks girl out. Now that would be upsetting the apple cart. Haha, "upsetting the apple cart." I love that phrase.

8 to 9 oz. Apple Juice
1.5 oz. Canadian Whisky
3 dashes Cinnamon
1 Cinnamon Stick

Pour the apple juice into a coffee mug. Microwave until piping hot (45 seconds does it in my Radiation King, but your microwave may differ). Measure in the whisky. Dash the cinnamon. Stir with a cinnamon stick. Drink up!

A warm, soothing Applejack is somewhat akin to an apple cider - except it's way less lame. So, for a less lame way to cuddle up in front of the fireplace on a cold November evening, well, you know what to do. Enjoy!

Just can't get enough of your favourite starfish and waffles drink recipes? Check out the politically-charged Canada Citrus Crush and the ethincally-inspired Shamrockhopper for more original ways to get yourself absolutely sloshed. You boozehound, you.

P.S. Please drink responsibly, boozehound.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

aperture 3am

It's kind of hard to tell because I'm pretty sure I had the aperture and shutter speed all wrong, but the snow was literally coming down in silver dollar-sized clumps when I snapped this photo a couple of hours ago. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (2006). Those who know me know that winter is my least favourite season, so I'll only admit to this once: snow is pretty when it's falling late at night and there's no one else but you who's around to experience it.

Sometime around 8pm, I fell asleep after what had been an exhausting day at work. Immediately, I began to dream ... of scraggly olive trees, island breezes, and sapphire-blue Mediterranean waters. I was skipping from rock to rock along the jagged edge of a wayward Maltese shoreline, trying hard to keep my balance because, for some reason, I happened to be eating a peach(!). Leading the way in front of me was a smiling brunette, who must have been pretty, in an apple-green sun dress with straps that made a delicate 'x' across the soft skin of her upper back. Actually, because her face was turned away from me, I couldn't tell for sure that she was smiling, but somehow I just knew that she was. Because anyone with me who was skipping from rock to rock along the jagged edge of a wayward Maltese shoreline should be smiling.

For a second, I wondered if the pretty, smiling brunette was the fictional Bridgette of My Simulated Reality TV Life, and when I wondered what I did, it suddenly occurred to me that she couldn't be so, and thus neither could the scraggly olive trees, island breezes, and sapphire-blue Mediterranean waters ...

I awoke to find a blizzard outside the window of my downtown apartment. I checked my alarm clock. 1:21am. You know what? A logical mind and a dreamy soul simply don't mix.

P.S. Because of tonight, I'm thinking of taking a trip to Malta. Anyone want to come?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

my simulated reality tv life: episode seventeen

We've let the anticpation build for a month now, and it's finally time for the next episode of My Simulated Reality TV Life! Did you miss the last episode? Click here for a rerun. Never seen the show before? Click here to start at Episode One or look down the left sidebar of the main page of starfish and waffles to find links to all of the old hilarious episodes. Now sit back and buckle up, because tonight's exciting episode begins ... now!

Sometimes simulated Felix likes to dishwash in the nude. However, as you know, My Simulated Reality TV Life is a family show, so the best we can do is this shot of him suds-ing it up in his turquoise silk boxers. Booty-dawg-asstastic!

Episode Seventeen
Many of the major paths we end up following in our real lives can be attributed to key decision points rooted in the past. Yet, upon reflection, it's funny just how many of these life-changing decisions seemed absolutely trivial at the time, as if we didn't even know we were making them. And wouldn't you know it, this axiom also holds true in my simulated life.

I like to call it: "The Rock Paper Scissors Match That Shocked The Simulated World" (or, TRPSMTSTSW, for short). The adversaries in the aforementioned said rock paper scissors match? The sexy simulated me and my dangerously-smart-and-beautiful simulated wife, Bridgette. The stakes? The loser buys the winner anything he or she wants.

Luckily for the simulated me, I know I can't lose ... because nothing - EVER - beats rock. So, needless to say, I'm feeling pretty smug right before we begin. Ok, here we go ... one, two, three ... and the simulated me, without a second thought, chooses rock! And, the smiling Bridgette chooses ... paper!

Yes!! I win! No, wait ... paper beats rock ... oh no, I've lost! Bridgette celebrates - and a little too much, if you ask me. I'm left frowning in puzzlement. How did I lose? Nothing ever beats rock, right?

"All right, Bridgette, you win. What do you want?"

"I want $10,000 so I can buy a store, start my own flower shop, and quit my job as a professional soccer player!!"

Oh. My. God.

Only one episode after reaching the echelons of the upper middle class with our plush new pool, I have a feeling we're going to be poor once more.

Wife Bridgette and simulated Felix in the rock paper scissors match of the century. "Good old rock ... nothing beats that!" Poor, predictable, simulated Felix - always chooses rock. As you can see, the cunning Bridgette is already way ahead of him, outfoxing him with paper.

Bridgette wins! And just why is Bridgette so happy and simulated Felix so not? Because Bridgette's win was worth an estimated $10,000! With the proceeds, Bridgette buys a flower shop, and our simulated lives are never the same again.

In no time at all, Bridgette uses her winnings to buy a tiny flower shop on the other side of town. It's actually quite a cute little place with a lot of potential. Bridgette's just downright giddy. The simulated me, however, seems a little worried. C'mon, simulated Felix, lighten up! Money's for spending, right? Besides, it'll probably be fun being entrepreneurs.

My concerns are quickly assuaged when I see how many customers stream into the store as soon as Bridgette opens for business. I help out by stocking the shelves. Bridgette works from behind the cash register. Customer after customer rings up purchases. Phew! This venture looks like it might be profitable but it's going to be a lot of hard work. Before long, it becomes apparent that we may need to hire some help.

In typical fashion, Bridgette wastes no time. Immediately, she spots a girl in the store with the kind of California cool image she wants her flower shop to portray.

"Hey you, in the pink looking at the sunflowers, have you considered your career opportunities with Bridgette's Flower Shop?"

Simulated -c turns around.

"Are you talking to me?"

And the rest is history. (-c, I'll have you know that the simulated you accepted a job at Bridgette's simulated flower shop for a paltry $15 an hour).

Ohhhh, this is going to be fun. What adventures are in store for the next episode of My Simulated Reality TV Life? Make sure you tune in to find out!

Bridgette tries to figure out the cash register as she rings in the very first customer in her beautiful little flower shop.

Ooof! Oops, wrong button ... Bridgette takes one right in the gut! Good thing she's a former pro soccer player and has washboard-like abs of steel.

Bridgette interviews simulated -c for a position in the flower shop. Apparently, as part of the standard interview process, Bridgette likes to tell some kind of Halloween ghost story. Simulated -c's reaction suggests it was a good Halloween ghost story.

Bridgette hires simulated -c. Sold! For $15 an hour.

My Simulated Reality TV Life's resident novellist, simulated Penny, has been very busy with her graduate studies lately. If you ever wondered what kind of books they study in the English departments of those Ivy League schools neither me nor you could ever get into, now you know ... Harlequin romances! Wow, I never would have guessed. Penny, I just lost a little bit of respect for you.

Felicia's teddy bear explains to simulated Felix: "Donald Trump kept going on about how much money he made in the stock market - and how much money I didn't have. He was obnoxious and made me feel bad. So I slept with his wife."