Archive for August, 2007

My week in St. John’s, Canada

August 29, 2007

Last week I spent seven days and six nights in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the

easternmost city in North America. Although I was

there on business, I did manage to make a few

sightseeing expeditions.

I walked to the top of Signal Hill, a National

Park situated atop a rocky pinnacle next to the

harbor entrance. The peak of Signal Hill is capped

with the century-old Cabot Tower. This stone edifice

is where Marconi received the first transatlantic

radio message in 1901. While hiking along the stony

trails, I met a woman named Mary from Toronto, and

together we picked wild blueberries. Today’s photo

was snapped as I hiked the trail back toward town.

I also visited the museum of the Newfoundland Railway, and took a walking

tour of the east side of town. Duty called for the

rest of my time there, but here is a list of things

of note:

  • My flight northbound connected in Toronto. I

    was able to see the CN Tower from the plane, a big

    brown spike rising from the cityscape. I was

    surprised that I went through customs there instead

    of in St. John’s, but it makes sense in retrospect.

    I also couldn’t help but notice that the plane to

    Toronto was smaller than the plane to St.

    John’s. I thought it’d be the other way around.

  • Speaking of "north", I was surprised that St.

    John’s is about the same latitutde as Paris. Boy, I

    had the wrong inpression of how far north I was. It

    turns out the entire British Isles are farther north

    than St. John’s, so Edinburgh, Scotland remains my

    northernmost record.

  • There was a Canadian dictionary and thesaurus

    for sale in a bookstore. I had no idea that

    Canadian was that different from other forms of

    English. Most Newfoundlanders I met spoke with an

    Irish accent. Maybe that Canadian dictonary would

    have come in handy.

  • My boss ate a moose burger, from the same menu

    that also offered moose stew. He said it tasted just like

    moose back in The States. I ate a lot of seafood

    during my stay. Seal, unfortunately, was out of

    season. 😉

  • Strange item on a Chinese menu: Kung Pao

    Cuttlefish. I am not making this up either. This

    was a serious Chinese place, chopsticks and red

    lanterns all the way.

  • I came across a sign in a parking lot that read

    "This parking area is under surveillance from time

    to time". I am not making this up.

  • A t-shirt for sale in a game store read "You’re

    not the DM of me".

  • As a dollar coin proponent, I enjoyed spending

    cash in Canada, thanks to the loonie and the toonie,

    their $1 and $2 coins, respectively.

I’m thinking of writing a small "off the beaten

path" tourist guide pamphlet of the DC area, and

publishing it through CafePress or LuLu. Know of

any quirky area attractions that most tourists, or

even longtime area residents, have never heard of?

I’ve got several dozen ideas myself, but I’m sure

I’m missing cool stuff. Also, I’m in the lurch for

a clever title, so I open the floor to suggestions.

Nifty Wikipedia Thing:

phantom islands

Movies I’ve Seen:
With Fire and Sword (1999)
Father of the Bride (1951)
The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

What I’m Reading:
"Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut
"Lord Jim" by Joseph Conrad


Selective Delettering

August 7, 2007

In the summer of ’04, I bought this car. It was barely used with only 6,600 miles on it, great condition. On the rear hatchgate, the used car dealership had affixed their proprietary sticker, which read:


each letter a separate black decal. Dad advised that unless I wanted those letters there permanantly, I better pull them off while the glue was fresh. Applying a creative trick I had learned from years back, a process known as Selective Delettering, I carefully removed certain letters, until the ones that remained formed smaller words:


I sat back with a smirk. This was the kind of subtle creativity that should adorn my bumper, and I considered leaving it there forever. But I changed my mind, and decided to remove the whole series of decals. But first, I snapped this photo with my then-also-new camera. It came out shiny!

I learned about selective delettering over a decade earlier, when my mom brought a decommissioned delivery van home. We had free use of it so long as we peeled all the obsolete company logos off if its sides before we returned said van to its owner. I’ll have to give Dad all the credit for the SD method, with which he rendered the van to proudly announce:


I’ll leave it to you to figure out what that originally said.

On a related tangent, I think this would be a great idea for a bumper sticker:

   This bumper intentionally left blank

…You’re welcome. Feel free to use it.

But back to The Now. I visited Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s home estate, where I learned that apple trees will grow in hedges and that Washington’s will emancipated all his slaves in 1799. I helped my sister-in-law move. I’ve been watching lots of movies from the library. Jamaica, New Zealand, Eritrea, and Bolivia are new additions to my foreign coin collection. I found some free books, and $1 got me a 1937 encyclopedia volume. And if anyone needs a one-page condensed rules sheet for Lawless, I’ve got a PDF for you.

Nifty Wikipedia Thing: Ninja Golf

Movies I’ve Seen:

Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
The Band Wagon (1953)
Bonnie & Clyde (1967)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
The Forgotten (2004)
Flightplan (2005)
The Great Raid (2005)

What I’ve Been Reading:

"The Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer" by Doron Swade