About

HoaiPhai, as he prefers to be addressed, was born in Montreal, Quebec and is a married, middle-aged man who has been living in Ontario for about a decade in spite of nearly constant cravings for cakes adorned with butter-cream icing, real hand-cut smoked meat from an eatery that knows the meaning of “medium old-fashioned”, and driving on roads where everyone adds the HST to the posted speed limits.

He also likes run-on sentences.

The photos on this blog were all taken by HoaiPhai, unless otherwise noted. Look either directly below the photo or at the bottom of the blog entry. If there’s no attribution, it’s HoaiPhai’s. If you’d like to use a photo, please contact HoaiPhai and ask permission. Depending on the use, he might only ask that he’s given credit. HoaiPhai is the world’s worst businessman.

For more information as to why he is wasting your precious time with this blog, he invites you to read his “Hello World!” post.

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42 responses to “About

  • ::Ruby::

    Hi, I enjoy reading your blog and like your awesome shots! (: I am wondering if you are originally Vietnamese ’cause the name HoaiPhai sounds like Vietnamese.

    • HoaiPhai

      Chao Duc! Manh khoe khong? I’m not Vietnamese… I live in Canada and my father’s parents came to Canada about 100 years ago from Greece and my mother’s family came here from Scotland and Ireland about 200 years ago. Anh biet noi mot chut Tieng Viet vi co nhieu ban Viet. Can you understand my Vietnamese?

      I chose the name HoaiPhai because I want to say that I am “always correct”, like in an argument… I am never wrong! Am I using the word “phai” correctly here?

      Are you living near Hue? I’ve wanted to visit your country for a long time… maybe one day I will be able to.

      Tam biet!

      Men, “HoaiPhai”.

      • ::Ruby::

        Chao anh!

        Wow, your Vietnamese is good. 🙂 “phai” means “right/correct”, but normally we use the word “dung” when we wanna say that we are “always correct”.

        And yea, I am living just 3 hours by bus away from Hue and am heading to Hue next month! I am living in Danang city, by the way. You have some Viet friends coming from Hue, don’t you?

        I have been in love with Canada for a long time and hope that I will have a good chance to be there some day in the near future! 🙂

        And Vietnam always warmly welcome you! Take care!

        Tam biet!

        Than,
        Van Duc

      • HoaiPhai

        Besides not knowing Vietnamese very well, I thought that hoai + phai sounded good together (like Wi-Fi or Hi-Fi). Also dung in English means “phâ?n” which might be an accurate description of a lot of my posts! Ha-ha. Maybe would luon + phai go together better to mean “hoai dung”? I know that words should be paired Vietnamese-and-Vietnamese or Chinese-and-Chinese like “tinh yeu” or “long ai”.

        I used to have a friend in Montreal that was from Da Nang but I moved to Niagara (Canada’s Ðà Lat!) so I haven’t seen him in many years. I also had a student from Hue (I used to teach ESL in Montreal) who lived in a house with other people from that city. They didn’t think the chilis in Canada were good enough so they sent from home for seeds and had a small chili orchard behind their house. One night he made bun bo Hue that was incredibly spicy but after a few minutes my tongue surrendered and it didn’t burn so much after that, even to eat the plain raw chilis. Delicious!

  • ::Ruby::

    “Luon dung” sounds more Vietnamese in this case. 🙂

    Haha! Yea, I guess chilis in Canada were just never spicy enough for them. Most people who are born and grow up in Hue eat extremely spicy food. The hotter, the better! I love Bun Bo Hue, too! Yum yum!

  • jennygoth

    just called to wish you a good day tommorrow xxjen

  • elmediat

    You have been included in my list of Versatile Bloggers. great work !

  • yujiej

    Dude I really like the style you write with….. It is so clear and limpid, calm and tranquil 🙂
    And I appreciate your blog. Very inspiring and reflcting 🙂

    • HoaiPhai

      I’m glad you like it and I love what you write about K-Pop. I’m kind of old to be current with any kind of pop music and I don’t have any exposure to K-Pop in small-town Canada so thanks for giving a place where I can learn more and I’m not ashamed to admit I like something even if it’s for “young people” (my wife might tell you I’m very immature for my age!).

  • Josè Pascal

    Surfing the waves of the web I am pleasantly stranded in your interesting blog.
    I write under the pseudonym of Josè Pascal (a descendant of the great Colonel Aureliano Buendía).
    I invite you to visit my “italianglish” writing blog http://parolesemplici.wordpress.com/mytinbox/.
    I define this blog “In parole Semplici” as a “virtuacultural tin” box where they are guarded thoughts, memories, images, sounds, and simple stories”.
    I dream an intercultural blog. Already involves more than 100 authors/friends.
    If you want to participate and to have more informations send me a letter to inparolesemplici@gmail.com

    Good life and I hope to soon

  • Winter’s Cold Comfort « Dark Pines Photo

    […] HoiPhai  posts  -Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter   & Update to Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter Share this:ShareStumbleUponRedditEmailTwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  • theplaceswevebeen

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. I’m nominating you for the Versatile Blogger Award.

  • On Beach Balls, Dear Ones, and Staying Small « Hippie Cahier

    […] HoaiPhai:  Also racking up the awards of late, this gluten-free raccoon character is an exceedingly knowledgable photographer and the proof is in the pudding.  He participates in the Weekly Photo Challenge and I so enjoy the photographs as well as his descriptions of how they fit the weekly topic. […]

  • Lisa

    Thanks for the pingback! I love your sense of humor! You might prefer my more snarky blog however “Boldly Mocking” which I’ve just dusted off after several months of hiatus. Keep on keeping on 🙂

  • ns

    I love your seven minute bursts (although some, I think, might have taken longer).

    • HoaiPhai

      Lately I haven’t had many chances to really sit down and work on the blog or comment on others’ so I have been dropping in and adding a bit here and there to the several drafts I have on hold. I did spend an afternoon taking pictures all at once for about three posts I haven’t even memorialized as drafts. So, yes, most of the posts from the past six months were written in many instalments of short bursts.

  • reb

    Coming here for the sole reason you have a raccoon as an avatar 😀
    Saw it in another blog, and thought «anyone who has a raccoon as an avatar must be nice».

    The first time in my life I saw a raccoon was 2004 in Quebec. He looked in through the patio door … our eyes met, and it was Love!

    • HoaiPhai

      While I’m not really a raccoon, I chose that image because I’m very nocturnal, and my wife says I’m cute and cuddly and very tenacious when motivated. I’ve found other parallels — I enjoy being a little mischievous, for example. People who don’t like me might say that I share another trait with real raccoons… if you feed me, I’m really hard to get rid of and might show up unexpectedly at dinner time!

      The first raccoon I ever saw was also in the Province of Quebec… I grew up in Montreal. I remember my first encounter with them, there were three in a ten or fifteen foot tall tree the city had planted into the sidewalk on Park Avenue (just south of Pine). They weren’t too interested in me but reminded me of hyperactive koalas. I now live in Niagara where I see them almost daily. Having gotten to “know” them a little better, I’ve gained a lot of respect for them. They’re attentive parents (I’ve witness many “training missions” where the mother raccoon is teaching her kits how to look for food. They’re really intelligent and once they know you’re not a threat, they go about their business and are a riot to watch!

      So in a word, you’re right… like the honourable raccoon I am “nice”. Just never let me find out that you have something interesting in your garbage can!

      [And thanks for drawing my attention to my About Page. I really have to revamp it!]

  • island traveler

    Can’t wait to follow your blog’s journey. Inspiring post!

  • intuitivejuliemarie

    I know you no longer nominate others for awards, but I found you by trolling for outstanding blogs to nominate for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. It’s how I found you, and I nominated you. What you choose to do with that is of course, wise raccoon (that IS what hoaiphai means, right?) up to you. I am going to leave you up at http://www.LivingbyIntuitionandInspiration.wordpress.com anyway. So there. May new people come and be uplifted by your wit and your wisdom.

    • HoaiPhai

      Thank you for the nomination! I’ve little time right now to post an acceptance speech but I’ll do it after I finish my “What I Did on my Staycation” series.

      HoaiPhai is very bad broken Vietnamese for “always correct”. I chose this flawed arrangement of words because it sounds a lot like Wi-Fi and the real phrase for “always correct” involves the word “dung”, which English-speaking blog readers might take the wrong way and direct my comments to spam boxes or otherwise flag my stuff as inappropriate.

      • intuitivejuliemarie

        I still insist that HoaiPhai means ‘wise raccoon’, which is a perfect explanation for the image of a wise-looking raccoon that is your public face. I was kidding with the comment I made above…guess I need to work on sharpening my wit as well as my pencil.

      • HoaiPhai

        Why thank you! And no need to sharpen your wit… sometimes I reply to comments during the small hours so my brain gets a little cloudy at times.

  • mainoo

    i write again to tell you that reading your blog reminds me of a a few days spent reading catch-22 in Togo many years ago. i was alone at home and the book made me feel like i had entered a different place – anarchic and free – a feeling that anything could happen. that’s how i feel reading your blog at my desk (i also just read the quitting entry – so apposite). as we used to say in Nigeria (where i grew up (i also read the 419 dialogue with apester) – more jelleen to your elbow!

    • HoaiPhai

      Wow… I think I’ll have to frame your comment. I wish there was a “blush font”. The wonderful thing about hiding behind a raccoon avatar is that I can fulfill what Dr. Timothy Leary once said, “You can be anyone this time around.”

  • Professor VJ Duke

    Isn’t whip cream icing superior to butter cream? 😉

    • HoaiPhai

      Tough question. Whipped cream icing is heavenly on the right type of cake, and it’s devilishly difficult to get mass-produced WCI that is not a failure. There’s nothing worse on my dentist’s verboten list than a cake slathered in corn-syrup-bolstered whipped cream foam.

      Butter cream, however, travels well and even cheap widely-available “mercy cakes” hit the spot. A pastry crowned with butter cream at at just the right temperature (and therefore consistency) and sweet-to-cream ratio is sublime. I once actually proposed to a bowl of the stuff but the wedding was called off when the engagement ring got mulched in the mixer blades.

      • Professor VJ Duke

        Hahah. You’ve definitely got a point there. But do coons like icing? A professorish question, definitely.

      • HoaiPhai

        Icing and the foods under it are not on the traditional coon dinner table as they tend to disintegrate and disperse downstream when we dunk them in water. But for those of us who fight the instinct to rinse our food before tucking in the experience is most rewarding!

      • Professor VJ Duke

        I understand. Do coons usually beat house cats–in battle?

      • HoaiPhai

        We coons have enough to deal with what with dogs and humans making their attics and garbage cans (you’ve thrown it out but you want to deny us the opportunity to glean a meal?) hard targets for us. We generally don’t have problems with cats — we have a lot in common in fact — but we’re more like the blue collar backyard mammal and we see them as Macbook Air-toting middle management types. When humans leave “cat food” outdoors, it’s fair game for everyone if they don’t want to share, they can bring it on but essentially cats are pussies… even the skunks know this.

      • Professor VJ Duke

        Hahaha. That’s what I thought. 🙂

      • HoaiPhai

        I better clarify… I didn’t mean to make skunks out to be dummies. They are actually the philosophers of the habitat we share and are the calmest, sweetest, least agressive guys you’d ever want to share a a roast turkey carcass with. Possums are the ones who are a little on the clueless side and few of them allow cats to intimidate them.

      • Professor VJ Duke

        You know, I always knew the posssums were the dummies! Though I think my bobcat, Bob, would scare off any coon!

      • HoaiPhai

        Bobcat? Bobcats and house cats are to cats as dobermans and Lhasa Apsos are to dogs. If one of those guys ever showed up I’d be under the toolshed quicker than you can say “steaming carrion”.

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