Archive for May, 2017

Soccer Golf on the Course

Pat and I are sitting in the back enjoying a Steak BBQ dinner looking over the 7th hole.  A late dining because of, well we had a lot to do in housekeeping and yard work after being away.

A couple of years ago Crown Isle golf course in an attempt to raise some interest in the evening added soccer golf after 6:30.  They laid out a course on the front nine with 18 holes.  You kick the ball from a designated spot and count the kicks to put on a flag (fortunately well away from the actual greens).  Originally for the older kids to learn how to control their kicks, but has become a team award evening for the younger players.

Tonight was an example.  Team after team of under 8 girls rollicking down our par three hole behind us.  The coach and manager just following along. No attempt to teach a lesson just watching kids have a wonderful time.  The girls are just as likely to try cartwheels and when the boys come by they are chasing each other down a beautiful golf course hole with no idea what the objective is for the game but just full of joy and passing the ball from one to another.

I coached kid soccer for almost 17 years.  I particularly loved the years coaching Meagan’s teams from the time she was 5.   (Just so James is not upset.. the years coaching him were mostly about winning).   I would have paid money for the chance to take one of my younger kid’s team on an outing on a golf course one evening.  So many evenings of practice with running the cones and in and out exercises with a mini game at the end.  A chance to chase around a golf course just having fun…. that would have been priceless.

So I watch the kids going by with the coach or manager walking along behind with a grin from ear to ear and know why………….


Penticton Evening

I write this on the balcony of our hotel room in Penticton.  We do not have a lake view but face over the grassy courtyard with the pool.  Lovely evening, clear sky and a comfortable 20 C.

We are here to participate in the Miata Okanagan Sun Run.  108 Miatas mostly from BC, Alberta, Washington and as far away as Tucson AZ. Typical for this kind of an event, virtually everyone is a retiree.

It is perfect weather for topless drives.  Tomorrow we are on a run with 20 cars to a variety of wineries.

As we are driving, we are advised to sip and spit (but that is the lawyer talk)  in any event I take my DD on all my runs.  Big banquet tomorrow night.   Sunday we drive to Summerland and take an excursion on an historical steam train.

Anyway, now we get to the reason for this blog.  We were treated to a group BBQ tonight by the beach and after they had series of door prizes.  Many of the prizes were gift certificates to parts and tire suppliers (it is a car club) but I won what was the best.  A boxed set of two bottles of Quail’s Gate reserve wines.

Lovely wooden box and superb wines.  Problem is, when you travel in a Miata, there is not a lot of spare space.  Still we will find a way.  Next problem is when would we open these expensive bottles.  Then we have a drive tomorrow in brilliant sunshine in a convertible with all the risk of sun burns.

So many problems, such a short life.




A 90% Tip on a meal

I grew up at a time when you did not tip the servers at restaurants as service was part of their job.  Much later when I travelled to Japan it was much the same.  A truly professional meal server or taxi driver or whatever, thought that doing a great job was the bare minimum of their role.  It was an insult to give a tip as that assumed that they did something beyond what they were supposed to do.

Sadly this did not carry on in North America.  If you did your job according to what was expected, you also expected that you would be rewarded above what was the norm. Upset if you did not get a bonus at the end of the year.

This became the norm for servers at restaurants.

When I was young it became a habit or rule to give a 5% tip to a server that did something special.  If the service was normal you just paid the bill no issue.

Then peer pressure came on and you were supposed to pay the 5% tip regardless.  However I remember hosting a meal for 8 people when the service was so bad (6 of us were finished before the last 2 were served) that I made point to leave 1 cent as a tip.  It was on a plate and the server came to try and embarrass me with the cent and I told him that was all he deserved.

But times changed… the expected tip went to 7 % and then 10% and eventually to 15%.  Servers would come and ask you again and again if you wanted  more water or something just to suck up the tip amount.

At group meals they would automatically add 18% to the meal and the server would purposely leave the tip line on the bill open in the hope that you would miss the fact that the tip was included to get more money.

You may notice that I am a cynic about this issue.  Still the paying a 15 % tip on just normal restaurant service is expected.  Anything less and you run the risk of the entire staff coming out and hissing you as you leave the premises…. who can take the risk.

Tonight I took my bride Pat for a meal at Avenue Bistro, probably the second fanciest restaurant in the Valley.  It was our anniversary.

Now last year we had a horrible winter with days and days of dumps of snow.  As the only guy in our neighbourhood with a snow blower, I would go out and clear the neighbour’s driveways and then do sidewalks up and down the street.  Day after day and many tanks of fuel.  It was an exceptional winter.

At the end a couple of neighbours brought me prepaid cards for Avenue Bistro to thank me.  (others brought me bottles of wine)  I saved the cards to share a special meal with Pat on our anniversary.

A wonderful meal with fresh oysters and … whatever…  no need to look at the price of the entrees or the wine…  In the end the cards covered most of the meal so I was presented with a bill for the remaining.  The service was wonderful so I gave a 90% tip on the bill after the cards.  The server mentioned she had never received a 90% tip before.

Puts me up there with Jack Nicholson

My Latest Model Project

For those that follow my blog, you may recall that after finishing  the Diana, I wanted to do a shorter project.

I have a buddy Harry who is attempting to be a model builder (but he has not yet committed to spending 800 hours a year on the passion).  He bought an expensive kit of the Golden Hind many years ago and finished the basic hull.  Problem is the plans that come with the kit are shite.  They assume you are an experienced model builder to handle the details.  Definitely not a kit for a beginner.

As a result he gave up and over the years when I visited his workshop there was this forlorn hull sitting on his assembly jig.  Harry did not want to go on.

So at Christmas I made him an offer to take the partially finished model and complete it for him.  He agreed

Like most kits the hinges and metal fittings are complete.  The exterior planking (really thin) is there just needing shaping.  Problem is that some of the choices of wood just does not make sense.  Mahogany, while wonderful as furniture does not work well in small pieces.  Same as the walnut used for the planking and frame extensions.  I can just imagine some naive model enthusiast reading that the kit came with Mahogany and Walnut thinking this is great… but any experienced Model Shipwright would know that this is not good material.  Nevertheless I have worked with it as much as I could and substituted good Swiss Pear and Balkan Boxwood and Cherry where needed.  (if you look at the chain rails close up they are Mahogany and just not right)

Check it out.  I think it will be a great model when it is finished (not the detail that I would like) but a good model to sit in a living room for the amusement of the vast majority of people that do not appreciate real models.

I should complete this by next fall… but I have to face the decision of finishing the model with sails.  Personally I think that sails on a model are just dust collectors and hide the details of the hull, but Harry seems interested.  It does double the amount of rigging.  Maybe I will compromise and make the sails furled (pulled up to the spars as they would be in harbour)

TV Car Shows

I used to love the BBC program Top Gear.  A highly rated program about expensive cars in exotic locations.  Even Pat liked to watch it although it is totally focussed for gear heads.

As you likely know,  after many years BBC had to shut it down because the main host Jeremy Clarkson assaulted one of the producers.  This is after a long series of his making racist, misogynist and nationalistic faux pas in the past.  Let us face it he is an arrogant jerk, and that came across clearly in the programs…. but he was amusing.  His other 2 host partners (Hammond and May) left the show at the same time (although they are innocent).

As it was the top rated BBC show in Britain and internationally they attempted to continue it with many new hosts including Matt LeBlanc but frankly they never captured the humour and joy of the show and it is an utter failure.

Meantime Amazon were launching their internet TV network (to compete with Netflix) and wanted a draw so they offered $200 million to Jeremy to duplicate Top Gear only based in America.  They would only offer the show on Amazon.  Which we do not bother to get.

We have a friend who was an even bigger fan of Top Gear so he subscribed and recorded the first season of the new show called GT (Grand Tour) with Clarkson, Hammond and May and gave me a set of disks.

Pat and I watched the first episode tonight and it was terrific.  Probably better production quality than the original BBC top gear shows.  Not sure if it is going to make Amazon the top internet channel but it is a good start.  Anyone that wants to watch 3 middle aged guys race cars that cost $2 million each around narrow roads in Portugal would love it

5 Second Rule

We all know the 5 second rule.  Drop something on the floor and if you pick it up in 5 seconds you are OK.

Obviously not a scientific rule but those that grew up following that rule have immune systems that little kids could only dream of.

But this picture about a girl falling asleep on a filthy public subway and losing her Pizza….  well that does stretch the theory…. but Pizza…. anhnaghhhhh

There is paper underneath it so I think it would be OK .  Maybe a 5 minute rule.