Friday, December 31, 2004

Squeeky Wheels

For those of you who are watching things unfold with the tsunami and want to help but are a little strapped for cash, my suggestion would be to e-mail your member of parliament to show your appreciation for the assistance that the Canadian government is providing.

So far, we've offered debt relief and over $40 million in aide, not to mention the possibility of sending the Distaster Assistance Relief Team (DART) from the military. That's pretty damn good, considering that the U.S. has only pledged $35 million so far.

MPs usually get nastygrams from disgruntled Canadians, so telling them that they're doing a good job (and encouraging more of the same) will probably go a long way. Peter Milliken's e-mail address is if you're from Kingston. If you're not, you can find your MP's address here.

And if you do have a few bucks to pony up, you can find the Canadian Red Cross here.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Town of Kings

The last few days have been a blur. I saved about a hundred dollars off of my flight home by getting in at 1:10 am, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but less and less of one when I was on the 401 heading west at 3:23 am, knowing full well that I need to get up at 7:00 am for work. All else aside, it's good to be home.

Cameron stuck around an extra day, which gave us a chance to visit another steakhouse (Smuggler's Inn) and go to the shooting range. When in Calgary, you might as well go all out. I was amazed to see that some people bring their children to the shooting range. And these aren't teenage children - we're talking five and six year olds, here. You're never too young to learn how to fire a grenade launcher, I suppose.

Yes, they did actually have grenade launchers, albeit with plastic dummy grenades. I opted for the Russian-made AK-47 assault rifle. So this way, if I ever have to take out a building full of terrorists Die-Hard style, I'll at least know how to fire their weapons. Handy.

We never did make it to Outlaws, and opted for some less-disreputable establishments instead. We spent a lot of time at pseudo-Irish pubs that had played top 40 and had dance floors. I think the further you get from Ireland, the less an Irish pub resembles the real thing. I'd like to think that in Vancouver they have fog machines, Go-Go dancers, and spell 'Irish' with at least three e's.

Okay, 36 hours to Cuba. Time to decide on what I'm going to pack.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Countdown to Cuba

Cuba's been booked, after a long and arduous wait. I have no one to blame for that but myself - I'd thought prices were going to drop at the last minute, and instead it was the quantity available that dropped. The Dominican Repubic has had a bit of a malaria problem, so there's no shortage of cheap flights to there. As much as I appreciate a good bargain, I think I'll pass. We did, however, managed to find a good deal on a nice four star resort. So I'm happy.

I am going to be around in Kingston for New Years, if anyone else is around for some festivities. Granted, as the flight to Cuba leaves at 6:35 am, Erin and I are going to have to leave very soon after ringing in the New Year, but we'll still be around for that evening. Give a shout if you'll be around K-town and want to go out and do something.

After struggling with an excess of time on my hands the past couple of weeks, I think I've entered into a happy medium again. Between being in a relationship, spending time with friends, planning the benefit dinner, grad school applications, Science Fair, a course in Macroeconomics, and that "work" stuff, I might just have enough on my plate to keep me busy. Let's hope. I've been watching a lot of Monster Garage lately, and I'm starting to get ideas.

There is that catapult that I always wanted to build...

Cameron's coming down for a few days to visit Calgary, which should be good times. I'm planning an all-Calgary evening to welcome him to my home town. Dinner at Cattle Baron, blackjack at Frank Sisson's, and then off to Outlaws for a little mayhem. I'm not a big fan of the 'club scene,' but people-watching at Outlaws is bound to be entertaining. The slogan they use on radio ads is "From what I can remember, it's a night I'll never forget." Classy.

Friday, December 24, 2004

The Joys of Cowtown

Calgary's been good so far. The weather has been reasonable, which is a nice change. To all of you in the east who are now under a foot of snow, I have but one word: suckers. The only down side is that it looks as though it's going to be a brown Christmas. Then -28 C for Boxing Day, apparently.

I went for a walk in a spring jacket with the zipper undone this afternoon. Inconceivable.

The flight got off with only an hour's delay, which was pretty good considering that most people flying out the next day had their flights cancelled on them. The boredom of the Ottawa airport allowed me to get through about ten chapters of next term's Macroeconomics. The course was supposed to be a vital component of my counter-boredom campaign. It doesn't seem to be helping.

Mercules had a bit of a hard run earlier this week, during the particularly nasty weather. I came out for lunch one day, only to find that A) the power steering no longer worked and B) there was a huge mess of coolant under my truck. After waiting two hours for a tow truck (CAA was having a busy day) they finally hauled it off to the dealership. Thankfully, it was just a hose. I was bracing myself for a $2000 reverse Christmas present from the dealership.

I can't say enough good things about Van Herpt Motors. The good service wasn't entirely unexpected, but the good prices and the professionalism is good to see. Everything I've had to do with them has been quick, cheap, and easy. After being so foolish as to once take a vehicle to Canadian Tire, this is a welcome change. One time when I was a child, one of the family vehicles went in for an oil change. Except they forgot to put the oil back in. We didn't have that car for much longer after that.

Went to the Cattle Baron last night for a Baron's cut of prime rib. Fantastic. Then went to Frank Sisson's Silver Dollar Action Centre for some $2 a hand blackjack. Also fantastic. Expectant sister and brother-in-law should be here within the hour. We're getting ready to begin our Christmas Eve tradition of church and an evening at the Robertsons. This typically involves Jack Robertson's infamous hat trick, and more prime rib.

Anyone starting to notice a theme for Calgary yet? I'll give you a hint - prime rib.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

I can practically taste the Cattle Baron

Busy couple of days, which has been nice. The upside of no longer being stupidly busy is the ability to take a few luxuries that I'd been forced to pass on before. Little things, like being able to take my grandmother to church, and head out for an impromptu pint with Jake. Perhaps I could get used to this "spare time" thing, after all.

As anyone looking at the weather outside could probably tell by common sense alone, barbeque season has officially ended. As for myself, it took ten minutes of trying to light a gas-filled barbeque in gale winds in my bedroom slippers before I finally gave up. It's a tragic moment. I love the cottage, but it's just not the same without the charred meat.

I'm excited about going back to Calgary, if for no other reason than it will allow me to revisit the Cattle Baron. My friend Sean and I first went to the Cattle Baron as a dare, having seen the bright neon red sign from another parking lot, and thinking it would be a horrible, tacky place with sawdust floors and steaks the size of a regulation football. We were wrong. It's actually a really nice steakhouse. Check it out if you're ever out west.

I picked up a pack of bidis today. They're cigarettes from India, and they smell as though someone lit a mattress on fire. I was introduced to them by a friend around examtime last year, and was feeling a bit nostalgic. Having just finished smoking one, I now realize that I need to find points of nostalgia that won't give me cancer.

Still haven't booked Cuba, but that'll be taken care of in a few days, regardless of what happens to the cost of the vacations. I'm off to Calgary for 22nd - 29th December. As for the rest of tonight, I have a date with a glass of scotch and a showing of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Cheers.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Jack Freakin' Bauer

I was very excited to hear that they're starting a real-life version of 24's Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU).

I'm hoping that they require, by law, that the director's name be Jack Bauer. And he should have to kill a man just to get through the door in the morning.

Why? Because he's Jack Bauer. That's why.

The Colonel had his revenge last Thursday, when he gave me a massive case of indigestion prior to the commencement of my Christmas dinner at work, but apart from that it was an excellent night. I was given Friday off, which is nice in theory but doesn't help address my difficulty of filling the hours these days. Today my errands consisted of buying firewood and lightbulbs. The madness never stops, I tell ya.

The Landmine Benefit thing has gone as far as it can before Christmas rolls around. It looks like they're going to use it as the launch for the minefield campaign to honour the "Buffalo 9."

I suggested that we might be able to get a few local politicians to attend, when the president of the Canadian Landmine Foundation suggested we try to get General Dallaire and a senior cabinet minister or two. I'm so out of my league here, it's not even funny. But they've offered a lot of support, so hopefully it turns out well. It's (tentatively) not until March 1st, so I should have plenty of time to sort out the details

I'm in town for a few more days, and will be returning to Calgary on the 22nd. If I get a chance to do a chapter of Geriatica tomorrow, I will. But otherwise, it'll have to wait until I'm back from Cuba. If you want a souvenir (something cheap yet entertaining) post a comment and I'll see what I can do.

Best of luck to those of you still writing exams. And if you are still writing exams, then stop reading this blog immediately and get back to work, slacker.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Remember the Colonel

Twenty-four years ago today, Colonel Sanders passed away from leukemia, leaving the world just a bit less savory. Yonek and myself have a tradition, whereby we pay hommage to fallen restaurant visionaries on the anniversary of their passing. Specifically, we order something from their restaurants. We have a similar tradition for Dave Thomas on January 8th.

I encourage all of you out there who, in some way, have been touched by the Colonel's pressure fried chicken and savory spices to go out and pay tribute in the best way that you can - by eating an entire 20 piece bucket by yourself and falling asleep on the couch.

Colonel Sanders. 1890-1980. Always remember.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Cure for the Common Boredom

It took a day or two of pondering, but I think I've found a project to eat up some of the spare time I have kicking around these days. I'm going to try and host a benefit at work for the Canadian Landmine Foundation. The idea would be to hold a combination dinner and silent auction to try and raise funds for the worthy charity. Though just by looking at their name, you may be confused as to whether they place landmines or remove them. I'm pretty sure that they remove them. I should probably check on that.

It's still in the infant stages of being an idea, but I talked to my boss about it and he seemed to think it would fly. So if anyone out there has some good contacts with caterers, restaurants, companies, etc. that would be willing to donate something to the evening or to the auction, I'd really appreciate hearing from you. I'm working on getting tax receipts issued for both monetary and material donations.

Step two in curing my boredom was to create an "In case of boredom" mug that I now keep on my desk. Inside this mug are mixed-up scraps of paper. When I withdraw one, I have to follow its instructions.

For example:

"Go bake a fresh, hot apple pie. Take the pie to a friend's house. Ring the doorbell. Run away before they get to the door."

"Get on a highway. Every time a turnoff comes up, flip a coin to decide whether or not you'll take it. Continue with this until you've flipped the coin ten times or you're hopelessly lost, whichever comes first. Next restaurant you see, go there for a meal."

"Go to a bar that you'd never, ever go to of your own accord. Bring a friend. Dress in character."

"Think about your earliest childhood friend. Write a page about them - what they looked like, how they acted, where you think they are now, etc."

"Try to start a game of tag with complete strangers."

... any suggestions? The mug still has some room left in it.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Christmas Gifts on a Tight Budget

It's that time of year again - when holding a lump of berries over someone's head is romantic rather than creepy, having deer on your roof isn't a sign of a horrible practical joke, and you let a fat, old stranger into your house to steal food from you in the middle of the night. No, it's not your sister's wedding - it's Christmas!

Or Money-mas, as some would call it. Or Christ-shop. Or "Holy Pete, Why The Hell Do I Have To Buy a Thirty Dollar CD For My Parents When They Make $80,000 a Year?" Day. The point is, by now you've spent all your money on whiskey and gummy bears, and don't have enough to buy gifts. Well, decent gifts, at least - you can probably still afford this crap.

The Clay Ashtray

Remember the second grade, when all your parents ever asked of you was that you didn't try to dress the cat up like Batman? Remember when your parents gave you a mountain of toys, and asked for only "something you made" in return? Remember the smiles on their faces when you gave them the clay ashtray that you lovingly made for them in school in about twelve seconds? Makes you wonder why you even tried to get them something different next year, when you already had a winner! Best still, you don't even need to make another ashtray! You can just nab the first one and give it back to them!

The Hug

If you're really hard up, you can lift their wallet while you're at it.

A Warm Can of LaBatt 50 That You Found in Your Laundry Hamper

Canadian Beer is considered to be some of the finest beer in the world, is it not? And it is acceptable to give gifts of alcohol, such as fine wines or whiskey, is it not? So, given that, a slightly dented can of LaBatt 50 would make a fine present, wouldn't it? Not only do they get to enjoy the extra-fizzy goodness of warm, partially shaken beer but when they've finished, they can use the empty can to hold pencils!

The Empty Promise of Doing Household Chores

"Sure, Mom!" you say, cheerfully wrapping a bandana around your head as you pull out the Oven Brite to clean the couch, "I'll scrub the house from top to bottom twice while I'm back home! Sorry I don't have any money to buy you a present!" A noble gift? Sure. Will your mom appreciate it? Of course. Should you keep an eye out on Christmas Day to see which of your gifts should be pawned to pay for maid service? Damn right.

The Goldfish

There's nothing that says "I love you" like the gift of a small fish with the life expectancy of a lit match, stuffed inside a plastic bag. In fact, your friend will spend countless hours watching the goldfish swim to the left, watching the fish swim to the right, watching the fish eat what looks like carpet lint, and trying to pry the fish out of the toilet. If that doesn't inspire peace among all mankind, I don't know what will.

The Collect Call

Even if you're really stuck, there's still no reason why you can't reach out and touch those close to you with a collect call. Granted, you're not so much "reaching out and touching someone" as you are "asking someone to pay perfectly good money to put your cheap, guilty mind at ease," and they aren't so much "those close to you" as they are "people you feel obligated to buy things for," and this article isn't so much "finished" as it is "finished wasting your time with worthless suggestions when you should be writing a nice card or making an ashtray or something."

Life in the Slow Lane

(N.B. This post is about boredom. For those of you in the middle of exams, I understand I won't get much sympathy. But at least reading it will help you kill valuable minutes that would've otherwise been wasted studying.)

It happened at around 2:35 this afternoon. I had completed every single errand that was on my "To Do" list. Some of these items had loitered for months, like vague promises that I knew I'd never keep. Well, now I've kept them. And in the mean time, I'd finished season three of 24. That's 18 hours of television in a four day period. Between that and the three blog posts I put up yesterday, I'm starting to realize that I need a new hobby.

In any case, the last item on the list was to take care of the recycling pile that'd built up at the cottage for the past month or so. I elected to walk the stretch of road from here to the mailboxes, and I'm glad I did. The snow we've had over the past few days has left an inch of snow on every branch along the cottage road. Combine that with the hushed silence of the country and the faint smell of wood smoke, and you'll get an errand that turns into an hour-long stroll.

It's times like this that I'm glad I elected to stay out at the cottage this year, despite the fact that it's left me a little isolated at times. There's just not many people close to my age around here. But having a crash pad in town and friends who can make it out to the cottage for weekends has done a lot to make a year in the country a reasonable idea, and to keep me from turning into a beard-growing, canned-goods-stockpiling survivalist.

In another three and a half months, I'm officially a Man of Leisure once again. There are going to be some big choices that need to be made in terms of my future. I feel I'm a little wiser than the 17 year old who chose Cognitive Science as his major back in high school, but this "time to decide your future" thing has still snuck up on me.

As much as I think the plan I set up earlier is sound, there are still a lot of options to weigh. Long walks in the woods are good for that. Hopefully by the time that I'm a Man of Leisure - that really does sound so much better than Unemployed - I've either grown accustomed to my relaxed schedule, found a new job in the area, or taken up a new hobby.

Here's hoping. The next season of 24 won't be released on DVD for another 361 days.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The lake in winter Posted by Hello

On hope and idiocy

Two articles for those who are interested. This one, in my mind, provides a very real glimpse on why the U.S. is failing in their current foreign policy. It's about how sky marshals are under threat of being suspended if they don't heed the sky marshal dress code.

No, I'm not making this up. A dress code for undercover agents.

This is the kind of intractable mindset that, in a real war, can get you or those around you killed. Yes, our people are our most important resource. Yes, these are front-line soldiers on the war of terror. But God help them if they don't wear a sport coat while on duty.

It seems like each day there is more from the current U.S. administration on how the war on terror is being won. Or how progress is being made. As a contrast, this article provides a snapshot of how life on the international stage was back in the early 1990s, immediately after the Cold War. It describes KGB-guarded borders turning into round-the-clock block parties, and American soldiers being hugged by complete strangers, just because they were American soldiers.

Now I know why the term "progress" is so vague.

It will be our generation at the plate the next time a chance like that comes around. Let's hope we don't blow it.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

I love scotch. Scotchy scotchy scotch.

Thanks again to everyone who came out to Gusto's on Friday - I had a great time, and it was really good to see all of you again. Thanks to the generous river of scotch that was sent my way, my liver now smell like an oak barrel, with a hint of peat moss.

I've spent a significant portion of the past few days watching the third season of 24. It's a fantastic show, but after watching five episodes in a row, you can get a little messed up. Every time the phone rings, I think it's the President.

I've posted Chapter 3 of Geriatica, and am looking forward to doing some more editing and writing over the next few days. The usual: some commentary, some funny, and more Geriatica.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Birthday Madness

Some of us are getting together at Gusto's this Friday (the 10th) at around 9:00 pm to celebrate my hitting the big two-four. If you're in town and exams aren't monopolizing your life (what would a little break hurt?) then swing by. We're not going for dinner, just for drinks.

If you've never been there before, they have a nice lounge area with couches and serve martinis named after the seven deadly sins. It's pretty keen.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Destination: Cuba

I'm looking at going to Cuba with a few friends over 1 - 8 January. There had been some debate as whether to book sooner or later, but it's looking like sooner may make more sense. We might save $100 per person by waiting to the last minute, but it's good to have things laid out in advance. And the price is already pretty damn good.

If anyone else is up for joining us, let me know.

Details as follows:

Resort: Club Amigo Guardalavaca
Cost: Under $700 per person, based on double occupancy

The fare covers food, airfare, hotel, and booze for a week. This is the same resort that Dan, Yonek and myself went to last year, and it was good times. Booking by Dec. 11th would be ideal. I'd be able to provide transport for myself and four others up to the Toronto airport, and we can split the cost of gas / parking.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Things not to say when buying a girl a drink

“Don’t worry about paying me back for this, I squeezed it from some guy’s beard.”

(To bartender) “Get me a blow job! Ha ha! Haven’t had one of those in a while! Hee hee h…” (fixed, unblinking stare at girlfriend)

“Sure, you can have another one! You’re a big girl! It’ll hardly hit you!”

(To bartender) “Can I have a ‘Girl Who Doesn’t Sleep Around With the Rugby Team’? What? There’s no such thing?” (mumbling under breath) “Didn’t think so…”

“And they tried to tell me that amaretto doesn’t mix well with Mountain Dew and cheese curds! Do you believe that?”

“Hi, my name’s Hank. But you can call me Stephanie.”

“Whisky is the only drink that won’t affect my time-traveling abilities. (extending arms and twirling in circle) WHOOOOOOOOOSH!”

“You may drink for free if you answer me these riddles three. Riddle the first: I am old and lay beneath warm ro-hey! Where are you going?”

“…and could you use diet mix? And diet alcohol? And could you get me something that would make this girl beside me appear attractive?”

(To bartender) “Do you have anything that will take the yellow out of my teeth?”

“Two waters, please.” (tip the bartender a nickel, then wink at date) “You can get the next round, snookums.”

“While Communism was sound in theory, I think common sense would dictate that, when put into practice – hey, want to see me stretch my bottom lip over my forehead?”

Fox News slams Canada. Again.

Recent commentary from Fox News on the G.W. Bush visit to Canada appears to have been written with the sole goal of being divisive and infuriating to Canadians, further separating us from our brothers and sisters to the south.

Interspersed liberally throughout the article are comments that seem to have been written solely to get a rise out of Canadians. These include:

"Here is a country which depends on America for 85% of its products for $1 billion a day in cross border trade..."

One of the most basic principles of economics is that free trade benefits both nations. However, the implication is made that by trading with us, Americans are doing us some kind of favor when, in reality, that favor goes both ways. Perhaps the underlying argument is that, if it weren't for the U.S., Canada would be an economic backwater. I'll resist the temptation to point out that, if Canada didn't export certain products, Americans may have trouble paying for prescription drugs, turning on their lights and perhaps one day, running a bath.

Economic backwater, indeed.

"[A country that] depends on America to provide an audience for all those Canadian entertainers who would starve to death if they had to depend on a Canadian audience for their paychecks."

If we make the assumption that Canadians and Americans spend roughly the same amount on entertainment, and produce the same number of talented people per capita, then the exchange is roughly equal. So Canada produces fewer entertainers that each receive a larger proportion of revenue from the U.S., while the U.S. produces more entertainers, that each receive a smaller proportion of revenue from Canada. Summing up each nation's proportions and viewing it as per capita sponsorship, the two should be roughly equal.

So while the U.S. is responsible for getting Avril Lavigne out of Napanee, we helped J. Lo buy her new Porche.

I don't think either nation has the moral high ground on this issue.

"This is the country whose politicians called President Bush a moron, and referred to Americans as bastards, and refused to help in a war the U.S. wanted to fight — in fact, refuses to believe that the 9/11 attacks on America were unprovoked. The U.S. had it coming, they say."

That's definitely too broad of a stroke. We restricted our assistance to Afghanistan and naval missions in the Persian Gulf. However, we still have taken casualties and made sacrifices to help safeguard the security of our allies and ourselves. Canadian soldiers participated in the invasion of Iraq, believe it or not.

"OK, OK... it's a minority which says all those things, but the minority is the elected politicians and the snooty condescending media."

After acknowledging that it is a minority of Canadians who are responsible for flip remarks and broad stroke complaints against the U.S., the article goes on to ask the final, all-encompassing question:

"Frankly, Canada, it's all a bit tiresome to us. Would you like us to just ignore you?"

In a way, I'm glad that this "article" was written. Despite being a gut reaction lacking hard evidence and reasonable conclusions, it helps highlight a key problem in the relations between the U.S. and Canada: the 'U.S. and Them' phenomenon. Perhaps remembered most vividly through the comment: "If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists," the 'U.S. and Them' argument essentially states that if someone does not agree with our way of thinking, they're our enemy, and there can be no compromise.

An article like this will have one impact: to widen the gulf between Canadians and Americans. When did this gulf become unbridgeable? When did our respective countries start thinking, "That's it, there's no hope, they're just crazy" of one another? When did we lose the common ground that we shared, the same common ground that we used to help build the world's largest undefended border?

This article calls into question my own statements and mistakes. The times that I've used the blanket statement 'Americans' when I should've said 'current American foreign policy.' These aren't faceless 'others.' These are our friends. In the international equivalent of a neighborly argument over the placement of a lawn gnome, we've let this quibble get out of control.

Now, there's an icy silence across the fence, and no one wants to be the first person to say they're sorry. We need to close that gulf. We need to let our neighbours know that, just because we don't agree with certain aspects of what's going on, it doesn't mean that we're no longer friends and allies. We need to find common ground, and go from there.

Let's debate the policies, not the people. There's no denying that Bush makes a pretty tempting target. But if Americans had made fun of Chretien for his facial ticks and speech impediment, you'd better believe we'd have gotten our backs up pretty quick, whether or not we voted for him.

Let's acknowledge the fact that the policies aren't necessarily evil, but that they don't mesh with our values. Let's offer constructive criticism. Suggesting that we internationalize Iraq and build a viable, non-puppet democracy is bound to go over a lot better than suggesting we indict their President for war crimes.

There have been good things about this presidency. An interventionist foreign policy isn't necessarily a bad thing, provided that it has broad support and a worthy mission. Could you imagine what $148 billion could have done in Haiti, Sudan, and Rwanda? We criticize the current President, but many of the current problems started on Clinton's watch. To criticize constructively, you first need to find something positive to build on. There's no denying this is going to be an uphill battle.

One look at the article, and you'll know that the author is clearly passionate about the subject. You can tell that his pride was stung. "We used to be buddies," the article seems to say, "Now you're saying I'm a dick. Well, I think you're the dick. Dick."

Someone needs to extend an olive branch, and find a place of mutual compromise.

It's possible that your goodwill may be met by a tirade against "Soviet Canuckistan." But more likely, once the emotion is taken out of the debate, perhaps we'll have the chance to learn a bit more about what drives our Southernly friends. And perhaps they'll learn a little bit more about us and our wacky, non-preemptive ways in process.

Until then, I'm going to re-read the article, and dream of the day that Congress imposes sanctions on Avril Lavigne.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Chapter 2, Geriatica

Chapter 2 of Geriatica is now online. Get it while it's hot!

Travel guide: Tamarindo

Odds are good that you’ve never heard of Playa Tamarindo. Well, for starters, it’s in Costa Rica. You probably know a bit more about Costa Rica, as you're likely aware that it's warm there and they may have monkeys. Or possibly Communists. Or Communist monkeys. But it is warm, right? Is it an island? Oh, it's in Central America. Like in Nebraska?

Okay, odds are good you don't know that much about Costa Rica, either.

Read the rest of the article here.