Monday, October 05, 2015

Lego with the Son #1

So recently at Walmart I suddenly spotted the Lego set 76026 on clearance, and picked one up.

This Sunday, with no plans but to stay home and rest, I decided I would build this set with my three-year-old son. Yes, I know the set says age 6 and up, but as everyone knows, Lego age ranges are conservative.

I helped him with some of the tougher steps, and soon he was playing with Grodd and Flash.

"Now, remember." I told him. "Grodd the gorilla is the bad guy, and Flash is the good one."

"But ..." He was puzzled. "All Grodd wants is a banana. What's so bad about that?"

Well, how do you answer that. Soon, all the figures were assembled.

"This is Captain Cold." I told him. "He is also a bad guy."

"I like his gun. I will make him the good guy."

"No! You can't do that." I tried to tell him. "You are playing it wrong."

I left him alone for some time, and then I came back to find all the figures sitting in one spot on the table.

"What are they doing?"

"Well," He said. "They are all watching a movie. They are friends."

OK. I am guessing this was for 6 year olds after all. Three year olds are too innocent!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tobermory and Cottage

So it has been a busy summer, and therefore a lack of posts here.

Cottage. Now there's a word that has completely flipped its meaning for me. When I was a child, I knew that in Bangladesh, the rich and middle class lived in nice houses and apartments, while the poor people in villages lived in kure ghor, or huts and cottages. Coming here to Canada, a cottage is something a well to do person owns. It's a nice rustic place in a scenic environment, usually by the lake, and far from the maddening crowd of the city.

This summer, we rented a small cottage up north, in the Bruce Peninsula, near the town of Tobermory.

It was nice and modern, so we weren't completely "roughing" it. There was running water, and a hot water tank so we could take hot showers. There was heating and an air conditioner (we didn't need it, even though it was June).

In the humid afternoon you could just sit by the deck chair. We weren't quite by the lake, so we didn't have a lakeside view, but there were places to BBQ and a fireplace if we wanted to build one in the night.

The rooms were amply decorated with sparse but adequate furnishing, and we had a good night sleep after a busy day of excursions. It's also quite a relaxing feeling waking up early morning to a warm cup of tea.

Tobermory is a small town. The whole downtown of it could probably fit between Aisle 1 and 7 of a typical Walmart Supercentre. I was last there in 2009, and not much has changed in what the town offers to tourists and visitors.

Like most visitors, we chose a glass bottom tour to the Flowerpot Island. Be warned, if you have a baby in a stroller (like we did) and another toddler, this is not for you. We didn't know, but there is a ship-to-ship transfer near the island (try doing that in a windy lake with a heavy stroller!) and also, the trails on Flowerpot Island aren't proper wooden paths, so very stroller unfriendly.

The ship sails over shipwrecks that you can see through the glass bottom floor because the water is so clear. However, the best (and stunning) view is from the top deck, where you can truly see the wreck in its entirety.

There's lots of nice vistas and scenic views to take pictures of during the cruise. It reminded me of our Thousand Islands cruise.

The "flowerpots" come into view.

Can you spot the "old man facing out to the lake" in the flowerpot above?

Here's a snap of the two big flowerpots in the same frame on Flowerpot Island.

The turquoise clear blue water is one of the big highlights of Bruce Peninsula.

Of course, I have to include a word about the Fish 'n Chips here. You cannot visit Tobermory without trying the fresh whitefish. It is delicious to the power thousand.

This time, many restaurants also include veggie samosas as an option!

Overall it's a very nice town, and a scenic departure from the usual city life. "Cottaging" and trekking up north is a very Canadian thing to do, it's almost a summer ritual.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ignoring Phone Calls

This actually happened today at work.

C: Hey man, why didn't you meet us for lunch?

D: Oh, I didn't know you guys were going. Why didn't you call or text me?

C: I did! Look at your phone! You must have over 4-5 missed calls and texts!

D: Oooh ... right. I actually thought it was my wife, that's why I didn't pick up. Sorry man.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Why I am skeptical about the US led witch hunt on FIFA

By now it's old news that an US-led investigation has led to Swiss officials arresting seven top FIFA officials in Zurich, and the US fraud inquiry has already indicted 14 people. Loretta Lynch is the woman who took on FIFA. Amidst all of this, Sepp Blatter has just won re-election as the head of FIFA.

Pardon me if I am not amongst the majority who are 100% enthusiastic about the US led witch hunt into FIFA.

  1. Blatter has been good for world football. For so long has football remained an Euro-centric game, with some token South Americans. It was Blatter who took the World Cup to Asia (in Korea/Japan 2002) and to Africa (South Africa in 2010).
  2. It was Blatter who expanded the World Cup to 32 teams, and then changed the rules so that African and Asian teams have a greater chance of qualification.
  3. It was under Blatter that a lot of investment has gone into football outside the traditional powers. Cricket could learn something from the way FIFA globalizes the game. No wonder Africa and Asia loves Blatter.
  4. Everyone seems up in arms about the decision to award the games to Russia and Qatar (with allegations of bribery and corruption) yet no one bats an eye into the way Germany nipped the World Cup in 2006, right when everyone assumed it would go to South Africa. The media keeps bringing up the corruption of the Qatar bid, yet no one talks about how Salt Lake City got the Olympics from IOC in 2002.
  5. When did the US start to investigate FIFA? Right after their failed bid in 2010. If they had been awarded the world cup, all things were then hunky dory?
  6. US Senators repeatedly tried to pressure FIFA into dumping Russia as a host. Citing the occupation of Crimea and Russia's involvement in Ukraine, they conveniently forget all the wars and lands occupied by the US soldiers since the Second World War. The Iraq war alone has caused the deaths of far more civilians than any recent Russian military adventure.
  7. All of this as FIFA was set to suspend Israel. The Palestinians have now dropped their effort after the corruption probe.
So yes, it does look like there was corruption in FIFA, but there's a whole lot more going on than it meets the eye.