Actually, make that 18 things

Last week, barely hours after Independence Day here was over, the stores started switching over their wares from Mother’s Day (in August) to … Christmas decorations.  
Santa Claus is already in the aisles. This is so not fair. It’s the middle of freaking September, people!!
Fortunately, they haven’t started playing Christmas music. I think I’d have to kill myself if they did. Ugh.

17 things I hate about Costa Rica

I don’t mean to have a longer “hate” list than I do a “love” list, but when you come to a new country, you have to expect a number of things to bug you. Sadly, I’ve ended up with a few more than I’d like. But that’s okay. It’s expected, and it’s part of adjustment to a new home. Still, they make me long for Canada, where I find these things don’t bug me as much.
(Though it might be fair to say that some of them would bug me pretty much anywhere.)
And just so you know, I’m not speaking out as a disgrunted ex-pat who wants to bitch about how this country isn’t conforming to me. I’m the one who needs to conform, and there are things I simply have to accept. Some of these things are purely my points of view, and are probably things that most Ticos don’t mind, and might even like.
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14 things I love about Costa Rica

Well, I’ve been in Costa for nearly two straight months now — this is the longest continuous time I’ve ever spent outside of Canada — and I think it’s high time to answer the two most often-asked questions that I get: What do I like about Costa Rica, and what do I hate?
I’ll answer the latter in a separate post, but like all reviews, there’s reason to start with the positive stuff. Of course, these are not in any order whatsoever — they’re just as they come to mind.

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Dear Canada: I'm going to break the law

Well, it would appear that short of an Act of God (or, heaven forbid, some actual common sense runs through Parliament), Bill C-61 will forever handcuff Canadians and prevent long-term technological evolution. It’s one of the worst-written pieces of legislation to hit Canadians in years, as it does not take real-world habits into account at all (short of the negative views, of course), and penalises everyone for something most of them haven’t done.
I’m going to get the Government in on a little secret. I’m breaking it. I refuse to let your ridiculous industry ass-kissing paperwork prevent me from moving with the evolutionary tide. I’m breaking the law and doing what I think is right.
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Weekend at Tabacon

When Alex and I first came to Costa Rica 3.5 years ago, we went on a little packaged tour. The tour included a two-night (possible three-night — Alex and I are struggling to remember which it was) stay in the Arenal area. Our first afternoon/night included a hike around the south side of the active Arenal volcano, and dinner and a splash at the Tabacon Hot Springs.
At the time we’d been there, it was highly magical. We’d seen lava (in the form of red-hot tumbling rocks) rolling down the side of the mountain, the clouds of steam rolling through the trees illuminated by the carefully-placed lights. It was something to behold.
Ever since then, Alex had wanted to go back. Rack up Surprise Weekend in Costa Rica #3.
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Kids' music kinda sucks, but there is good stuff out there!

I remember kids music when I was young. A lot of it was Disney (or published by Disney), available on vinyl 45s that we played on our Mickey Mouse record player — you remember, the one where Mickey’s arm is the arm for playing the record, and his forefinger contained the stylus?  
You don’t remember… You don’t even know what a 45 is?  Frick, I’m getting too old for this.  
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Steve Jobs blows it. Again.

Sigh.  There’s nothing more frustrating than watching Apple come so close to finally tying the knot, only to leave threads dangling.  
I speak, of course, of yesterday’s Let’s Rock event where the apparently-not-dead (but much gaunter-looking) Steve Jobs talked at length about iTunes and iPods. And they played Jack Johnson, who is somehow the most popular male performer on iTunes to this point in history. (Yeah, I don’t get that either. Don’t get me wrong, Jack, you’re a great performer — just didn’t see that coming.)  
But why — oh why! — does Apple have to continually deny us a complete entertainment experience?  
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Conservatives win the next Canadian federal election!

This isn’t a predictive headline, folks. This is truth. The Conservatives will win the election in October. I, as an Expat, can’t vote in it, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t take at least a sense of interest in it. Or stock in the fact that the Conservatives are finally getting what they wanted the last time: Complete control.
For the last two years, Canada has been living in the most blessed of political states: a minority government. As close to having the car in neutral as it gets. It means the least chance of political scandal (the “ruling” party doesn’t want to make mistakes that’ll haunt them come election time), and the opposition enjoys a place of perceived power as they get courted by the ruling party to help push through votes.
Well, that’s all coming to an end now. So brace yourself, Canada — things are likely to get worse.
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