I choose you, Pokemon!

This needs my help protecting it's public image. photo credit: bizmac via photopin cc

This needs my help protecting its public image.
photo credit: bizmac via photopin cc

I’ve played a lot of the new videogame, Super Smash Bros. 3DS, lately. I own every version of the game, so naturally I bought the new one at midnight the day it came out. For those of you who have never experienced true joy, the game is a bunch of iconic videogame characters (typically from Nintendo franchises) beating each other up using their various abilities. Fighters like Mario, Link, Kirby, Samus, Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, and a bunch of Pokémon (among others).

I’ve taken it everywhere I go and spent a lot of my commuting downtime playing the game. The other day, late at night, I briefly looked to my right and noticed someone was watching my 3DS’ screen. I wasn’t going to say anything to him, if he wants to watch me own this game then who am I to stop him, but he decided to talk to me. The first thing he said was, “It’s been a while since I’ve been around video games.” 

OK, that’s cool. Kind of a strange thing to say, since videogames are everywhere, but I get it. He was fascinated with the game. Then, like an internet troll, he says to me, “I choose you, Pokémon!” And like someone who’s never been on the internet before, I tried correcting him by letting him know that the somewhat common phrase is actually “I choose you, Pikachu.” And that “Pokémon” refers to a bunch of different animals. To which he says, “Pikachu is all of them?”

“No,” I say back, “he’s just one of them.” Like they’re real. And need me to defend them.

 

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The Highest of All Domains

I’m a web guy, so I get lots of emails asking me to register more domains. Over the past year or so, “they” have been adding more and more top-level domains (TLDs) like .com, .org, .info, et cetera. Anyways, I decided to look into the photography TLD and see if landmines.photography was still available and, for the record, it still is along with quite a few others using landmines as the second-level domain (SLD):
landminesSo, for just under $700 I could acquire NoMoreLandmines.com or for $1,200 I could move my website to cashlandmines.com.

Then again, most of “The Latest New Domains” are pretty great:

  • landmines.club – Land Mines Only, No Homers.
  • landmines.expert, landmines.guru, and landmines.solutions – Good for getting rid of or installing a variety of land mines.
  • landmines.ninja – When its necessary to sneak around a battlefield.
  • landmines.reviews – With so many land mines to choose from, make sure you read up on them all.
  • landmines.tips – Stay away. Or, use liberally.
  • landmines.today – This morning on Land Mines Today, we interview a land mine from The Greatest Generation.
  • landmines.works – A poor grammatical choice for a corporate slogan.
  • landmines.zone – Use land mine tip #1.

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What a fascinating life you’ve lived!

A nice view of the Nyhavn Canal area of Copenhagen. I guess. I've never been.

A nice view of the Nyhavn Canal area of Copenhagen. I guess. I’ve never been.

Normally, I wear headphones when I’m traveling around on the subway or taking a walk but I’m trying to take in my environment more, so, I’ve cut down some of my headphone time.

Apparently, without headphones, and my usual scowl, I’m a very approachable person. The other day I was outlining a blog post in my notebook while waiting for the subway. A man sat down next to me on a bench with four or five other people on it. He pointed out how weird it was that six people (by his count) would sit together and not talk to each other. I chuckled at this, partially disproving his point, but he was right. Of course he was right, people who strike up conversations with strangers on the subway are uncommon. I actually thought about engaging with him for a second, but he kept taking. He said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I spent the last year living in Copenhagen. I forgot we aren’t supposed to acknowledge each other here.”

Really? Pull the, “Copenhagen,” card on me? If I had a nickel for every time I’d heard about how friendly the benches were in Copenhagen’s subway stations are…

I need to get to Europe, I guess.

photo credit: archer10 (Dennis) via photopin cc

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Toronto’s Quirks

I wasn’t sure what would be different about Toronto from other cities I’ve been to. Would there be something strange, even though it seemed like just another American city from the outside? Before I left for Toronto, I was warned by a New Yorker that if I wanted to buy beer that I needed to find a liquor store and couldn’t just find it anywhere I wanted. Well, this is also true of the, still, very puritan Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where I’ve spent most of my alcohol buying years. I was well prepared for that situation.

The view of Toronto from the top of the CN Tower.

The view of Toronto from the top of the CN Tower.

Turns out, not all that crazy. I mean, every city has it’s quirks. For example, New York City has metal coverings on all of their curbs, a thing I’ve never seen elsewhere. No one ever seems to have noticed them when I bring it up but I think about it every time I look at the ground. Then there’s Boston, which has the most historic (read: oldest) subway system in North America but is actually ashamed of their street cars (the Green Line) where every other city with a trolley system, including cities like San Fransisco, St. Louis, and Toronto, are extremely proud of them.

I did find a couple little quirks with Toronto:

Pedestrians Yield to Traffic

Drivers don’t even need to use their horns.

Cars > People
I saw several intersections where signs clearly stated that motor vehicles had the right-of-way over pedestrians. I’ve heard of this before in the U.S. but is strange to me regardless since pedestrians have the right of way in so many places. I know that jaywalking is taboo in a lot of cities, especially the west coast, but most of the Northeast wouldn’t fare so well if cars had the right of way.

Backwards Bus Stops
There’s no other way to put it, the bus stops in Toronto are backwards. The glass shelters that many cities use for bus stops have glass on the back of them and optionally have wall to the side and maybe even a panel on the front to protect bus riders from the elements. Toronto has these four-walled bus stops, but the exit is on the building side of them. When the bus arrives, a person in Toronto would have to walk out the back and all the way around the bus stop to actually get to the bus. When I first saw it, I thought they put in one station wrong. Turns out, they’re all that way. My best guess is that this keeps people from being splashed by water on the street.

The Machine
While I was waiting in the airport to leave the U.S., I called my credit card company to let them know I’d be using it in Toronto. They warned me about using it there by saying , “If they can’t−something something−credit card−something something−enter the number manually.” …I wasn’t really paying attention because I didn’t think it would matter. As it turns out, I’d be making all my credit card transactions while I was there. If I was at a restaurant or bar and wanted to pay by credit card, the server would come by with “The Machine,” as so many of them called it, and I had to swipe my credit card, enter a tip, and print myself two receipts (one to sign, one to keep). Adding to the confusion was that every time I swiped my card in a machine it would switch to French, a language I know about ten words in. “The Machine” was just a typical credit card machine but rarely am I the one swiping it at a restaurant.

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Have you witnessed any of these quirks, either in Toronto or elsewhere?Twitter #quirks

The Rogers Centre

The latest pennant added to my collection.

The latest pennant added to my collection.*

My first game at the Rogers Centre was on September 9th, where I watched the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Chicago Cubs. The Blue Jays won which is nice since I’m generally rooting for the home team wherever I go. The game was good but I think the more interesting thing to report on, and why I travel around to different ones, is what the stadium had to offer.

The game was probably the most sparsely attended Major League game I’ve ever been to. Certainly the lateness of the season and the fact that they were mostly out of playoff contention contributed to that but I saw a Royals/Pirates game in Pittsburgh a few years ago, when neither of them stood a chance at making the playoffs, and it was sold out. I will say that the staff was still there in abundance. There were dedicated ushers in sections with barely any people in them.

A few more stray observations before I get to the photos:

  • The park, much like Toronto on the whole, was very clean. It’s like people respect the city they live in. Crazy!
  • I had amazing seats, that were also a really good deal, behind home plate. It seemed like there were plenty of good seats in the stadium too, with a large lower bowl that didn’t have any overhang covering it.
  • I found it worth noting how round the stadium was. This was my first domed stadium experience, so maybe that contributes to how round it was. Roundness is not a pro or a con. Just a thing.
  • There were relatively few ads, something most stadiums have an overabundance of. (I’m looking at you in particular, Citi Field, but really it’s like every ballpark.)
  • I looked around for a bit but found nothing historic, which is strange since the Blue Jays aren’t that new of a team and have won a couple of World Series championships.
  • There were a lot of giveaways for really cool prizes. Someone won a full tailored suit.

Now, on to the photos:

An Open Dome at the Rogers Centre

Thankfully, the dome was kept open for the game.

The CN Tower Looks Down on the Rogers Centre

The CN tower peers into the Rogers Centre. I had no idea how close the tower was to the stadium going in and I’m very glad the dome was open to see this.

Beer Sippy Cup

A first for me was seeing this beer sippy cup, which I suppose is fine for tasteless, odorless beer.

The Bar

Speaking of tasteless beer, this is the beer ranch where they corral all the drunk people in center field. These seats are so cheap, there aren’t even seats.

Nosebleeds at Rogers Centre

The highest section of the stadium, which felt very high up.

Foul Pole at Rogers Centre

It’s a crane holding up the foul pole. Weird!

And that’s the Rogers Centre.

*This is the smallest “full-sized” pennant I own in my collection and it was impossible to find. I got it in one of the two dozen merchandising areas at the park.

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