What Coke Has Produced

I’ve been seeing these Coke ads for quite a while now, but never tasted them.  I think I was put off by the small cans and the fact that I haven’t seen them in the dollar store fridges yet.

I love Cherry Coke, so I was somewhat interested in these things.  I wasn’t particularly clear why they had to be diet, but I am not in charge of that billion dollar enterprise.  However, I have two words that should send shivers down their spines.  New Coke.

I finally decided to try these.  I am trying to cut down on pop (or soda or whatever you call those fizzy drinks with tons of sugar) and maybe drinks without calories is a good idea.  At the very least, if I hate them, maybe they will dissuade me from drinking any fizzy drinks again.

The Cherry version wasn’t bad.  It still had that horrible aftertaste.  We can put people on the moon (allegedly), we can get anyone elected president of the US, we can make purple ketchup, but we can’t get rid of that?  Really?  Really?

I will drink this one again, but once it’s gone, I will probably switch to cherry Pepsi…gasp, until some genius finds a way to bring Cherry Coke back to Canadian stores–and not Cherry Coke Zero.

The Orange version was much worse. I actually felt ill afterwards and I don’t know if I will drink another one.  Oh no!  They’re going to be in my fridge forever, just like that jar of pickles.


Dare to Daredevil


For reasons that are not overly important, I do not have Netflix.  As a result, I have been waiting to watch Daredevil.  I have more than enough television that I can wait until it will be released on Blu-Ray.   I have patience.  I can wait.

This is what I told myself Saturday morning.  How was I to know that by Saturday night I would have watched almost half of them.  I guess I have to thank (or perhaps curse) my friend.

To be fair, my friend is a pretty serious Daredevil fan.  He has an extensive collection of the comics and at least a few figures.  When he goes into comic shops, he utters the words “got it” way more than he sighs “need it.”

Having read this short bio, obviously, you can conclude that my friend has watched the whole series (I should probably let him write a guest blog review–he’s got some writing talent…I will have to think about this).  I digress.  As I was writing, my friend has obviously seen the whole series, but that did not dampen his enthusiasm to watch it again.

I must say that I liked it.  It had a gritty feel to it without being completely contrived.  It had great action without resorting to matrix like moves.  It also had a hero who was vulnerable, resourceful and full of conviction.  In today’s anti-hero world, that doesn’t always come through.

My friend was not only a great host (he supplied the beer and potato chips) but also an incredible asset while viewing.  Watching it with my knowledgeable friend was like watching it with “pop-up video” like balloons.  He knew even slight characters and could single out comic book references and divergent storylines.

My only problem is that I am only half done.

A Great Time To Be A Nerd


“It’s a great time to be a nerd.”

That was a direct quote from one of my colleagues.  He is far from nerdy, but his inner nerd child does show itself from time to time.

I guess he is right.  We’ve got superhero television shows and movie franchises all over the place.  Grade A actors are practically begging to be in these movies.  I just came back from a sold out viewing of the Avengers: The Age of Ultron and there were lots of different people in the theatre.  There were families, and girls, women.

Where was this when I was growing up?  I remember walking into the Silver Snail and not even seeing one woman, let alone the dozens I saw today.  When the few of my friends who managed to have girlfriends even mentioned comic books they got killer eye rolls.  Now, those same friends have wives that are reserving tickets for them.

The times they are a changing.  Can’t fault Bob on his logic, but did he really envision such an incredible change?

Maybe it is the technology.  We can put things on the movie screen that we never could before.  We can depict the fantastic so well that real life seems dull by comparison.  I’m not complaining, but my bus ride to work will never be the same.

I won’t spoil the movie for anyone reading.  I saw it.  I enjoyed it.  I may have to go and see it again.

At the Bike Show

There is something about going to a bicycle show that really gets my heart pumping.  I go to walk through row up on row of bikes and stuff.  There were mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrid bikes and cross bikes.  There were tools, tires, clothes and helmets.  The best way to describe it would be to call it a toy store for adults.
The only thing that bothered me was the entry price.  I find it rather unfair that one has to pay to go shopping.  It is like having a daily admission price to Costco.  The price was 15 dollars, and I would rather have spent that money on something else.  However, I know there are a lot of costs in putting a show like that on (security, rentals etc) but they could have at least given us a break on the food.
I would have to say that cycling is rather popular.  There were so many people who were interested in cycling.  And most of them were also very friendly.
I didn’t go to the show to shop, but rather to find out about cycling vacations.  I am really interested in going on a cycling trip somewhere.  I collected quite a few route maps and found quite a few cycling destinations.  Now I just have to get in shape because some of the routes seem rather ambitious.
As for swag–I was hoping for more.  I came home with lots of trail and route maps, some back issues of magazines and even a tool catalogue.  However, I was expecting more.  I hoped for some socks, or a t-shirt, maybe a free water bottle… something.   I guess it isn’t a car show.

Nothing But Blue Sky

I do indeed like doing puzzles, but they often come to the same conclusion.  I quickly assemble the edges (Sheldon Cooper would be so proud), and sort the sky, sky and land, and land parts.  Then I assemble the edges where the sky and land meet.  Then I fill in the land parts.

Then I am left with the sky.

The Blue sky.
As you can see, I might have left the daunting part for last.  Actually, there is no “might” about it.  I have left the most daunting part last.  If not for clouds and sky gradation, I would have to try each piece in each part.  No, that’s not true. I would have to try half the parts (the vertical versus the horizontal parts) in each spot.

As for this puzzle, also another dollar store find, it was of much better quality than the last one.  It was a little more challenging to assemble, but that is probably a good thing.  I also appreciated being able to use the box bottom as a sorting tray–something I was not able to do in the last puzzle.

I think this is my last puzzle for the foreseeable future–but who knows.

Analog vs Digital

It has been a couple of months and three books since I started using the Kobo.  Now, there should be a moment of reflection.

The obvious advantages of the Kobo really seem to be weight.  Compared to the second book in the Game of Thrones, the Kobo is much, much lighter.  I started this book on Friday morning, just after the bus left my stop,  and by the time I got to the subway station my arms were tired.  I am regretting not buying the Kobo version.  I might have to, just to save myself.

Currently, I have about 21 books on my Kobo.  Without adding any memory, I should be able to add about 79 more.  I haven’t actually purchased any of these books, relying instead on the benefits of public domain,  I am pretty sure I can easily find those 79 books.  Good thing I like the classics.

The downside of the Kobo falls into two categories.  Durability and capability.  Both of these are affected by my own responsibility.   The Kobo itself seems durable enough, but what if I drop it?  I tend to get sleepy on a warm bus, after a long day of work, followed by reading.  As far as capability goes, I really need to read the instruction files.  Currently I have the font set pretty large, making it easy to read, but making the chapters much longer than they might be in book form.  I am pretty sure that Dr Fu Manchu isn’t six hundred pages long.

So, two months in…. I am enjoying the Kobo, but still enjoying the analog version of books as well.

Another Mini-Review

I haven’t done it in a while, but I think it is time for another book review–because reading is amazing and important.  Long live literature.

In books, perfection is hard to come by.  If any book that I have read comes close to that,  I would have to say that A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving is that book.  I realize that kind of statement is rather strong, but I truly believe it is well earned.  The book is fantastic.

What makes this book really good is how well it is thought out.  While some books seem to be killing time, inventing subplots and following meandering plot lines, this book does none of that.  In that regard it might demand more of your attention, but most really good books do.

Perhaps the greatest things about the book is how it makes you feel.  By the end, you will feel as though you have experienced something amazing.  By the end, you will feel as though you have been on an incredible journey.

I have decided not to try and explain the plot in this blog.  I would rather you experienced it without any outside influence.  However, if you need to check out the plot, well google brought you here, so I am sure google can provide you with a plot site.

I rarely read books more than once, but this is one of those books that I will read again and again. It speaks to me much in the same way that A Separate Peace does,  Youth is an amazing time, and though it is long past, I can celebrate it in books.

I had a thought this weekend.  I was gearing up to write another blog about commuting distractions and usually this involves rereading the previous commuting distractions bog.  In one of them, I asked for book recommendations.  This blog is relatively new, so I only got one.  I felt pretty good about the one, but I realized I would need to be patient.

Rather than sit idly by, I decided that I could (hopefully) write one blog a week recommending books.  I am not sure how this will go over, but any feedback is welcome.

I am not entirely sure of what type of books I am going to review.  Considering this blog, and considering my previous posts, you can bet it will include:

1.         books about Japan (the obsession boils close to the surface)

2.         science fiction (that was a given)

3.         unusual books

4.         books about trains, and hobbies

5.         books that I like quite a bit and feel like recommending

For my first book, I have decided to write about Cathy N. Davidson’s 36 Views of Mount Fuji.  This was probably the first book about someone teaching, or travelling in Japan that I read. It was rather ironic, since I was living in Japan when I stumbled across the book.  It was amongst a bunch of books teachers (I suppose) had left at the school in the teacher’s room.  There were about 30 of them, and they comprised an unofficial lending library.

I don’t know what drew me to the book, but as I didn’t live in Tokyo, and there wasn’t any online shopping,  getting my hands on an English book, while not impossible, was a pretty mean feat.

I wouldn’t call this book a masterpiece.  I like it more for sentimental reasons.  Since that day I have read quite a few books in the genre, but this one will always be the first.  The story in no way resembles my own experience–but then again, I have yet to find a book which does. (I guess I should write that one.  If blogging goes well, maybe I will rekindle that dream)  I have reread this book a couple of times, though more for sentiment, rather than any desire to probe between the lines.  I have found things I have missed, but the effect is not that profound.

This book chronicles the three extended stays the author had in Japan.  It spans her days as a professor at an elite women’s university to lazy days spent in a fishing village on an island.  In between we get the classic stages of cultural adaptation (I know there is a better way to express this, but for the life of me I can not think of it as I type this). 

There is less explanation of the Japanese way of life in this book than there is in other books of the genre.  There are fewer stories of overwork and cram schools. 

That being said, there are still judgements about Japan, and explanations of cultural phenomenon which many other reviewers found lacking.  Other reviewers criticized her for her unfair treatment of foreigners like herself.  It is true that she seems to have only two characterizations–ugly tourists who don’t fit in, and those that have gone completely native.  This is a fair criticism.  It would be fair to say the author spends a lot of time looking outward, when perhaps more introspection would have helped.

Nonetheless, it is a worthwhile read, if only as an introduction to the genre.  The writing is decent and the story flows well enough.  Check your library, and you might find it there.