Sunday, December 31, 2006


Three posts in less than an hour - I'm prolific! That last item in my last post reminded me of a posting on Brad's blog. Is there a difference between point zero zero two dollars and point zero zero two cents?

Drive, Hike, Repeat

Took the dogs to Norvan Falls again today, but took a slightly different route. Last time I took the by-the-river path to the clearing; this time I took the more demanding up-and-over trail to the clearing. On the way back, I took the by-the-river path from the clearing to the parking lot. I expected falling snow, as rain was forecast for Vancouver, but there was no precipitation of any kind during the hike. I had told my mom about calling out "no bears" last time, she said that it'd probably be cougars if anything. I was even more on edge today, every sound getting 100% of my attention, even though I was aware that it was the nonsounds I should be concerned about, this being cougar country, they are surely a quiet hunter. Left the car @ 10:53am, returned to the car @ 3:06pm.

- Locked -
Looking for

When I got back home, Biscotti said that she had just gotten home after taking the kids, 9 and 4, for a walk. She told them it would be about a 20 minute walk, then walked with them to Trout Lake, around, and back, arriving back home two and a half hours after departure. I love it!

She's since gone out, and just called me from Future Shop at Metrotown. I asked her to return my Nellie McKay cd, not cuz I don't like it - far from it - but because three people made sure that I got it for Christmas. So she gets in the customer-service line at 4:20pm, with the store closing at 5pm. After Biscotti waits 10 minutes, the people in line are told that the person currently being helped will be the last person for the day - they don't think they will be able to help everyone before the store closes.. At this point there are four people ahead of Biscotti who have all waited a considerable amount of time. Why not cut off the line, and help everyone that is already in it? There's still half an hour! Person says "it's management - but we open at 9am tomorrow". One guy was quite upset and was making an issue of it, waiting to talk to someone higher up. Biscotti thought screw it, other stuff to do, and left. Well done, Future Shop, excellent customer service.

Up Up Up

base camp

Friday, December 29, 2006

Norvan Falls

Took the dogs to Norvan Falls today. A splendid outing. There weren't many people, which surprised me, it being a sunny Friday. And then after the clearing, approximately halfway to the falls, the dogs and I were very very alone. Eerily so. I did some "no bear" calls (okay, a lot of "no bear" calls) and clapped my hands many times, much to the confusion of the dogs, as that is how we call them from a distance. It was also after the clearing that a few snowflakes fluttered lightly to the ground. I guessed it hadn't snowed there in a while, as the path, where there was white stuff, was icy as heck. Got to the falls, admired it, then turned to head back. Not five minutes later and it was full-on snowing; the path back now covered in a fresh dumping. After starting the post-clearing path, I didn't see anyone until almost back to the clearing when I passed two guys headed to the falls. I sized them up; yeah I could outrun them, no more bear worries. It continued to snow until I was nearly back to the car. It was beautiful.

I made good time, if I do say so myself. Can't give you on-the-trail exacts, but at 10:31am I was at Clark & 12th in east Van, en route to the parking lot at Lynn Headwaters, and I was back inside the car, post-walk, at 2:20pm. From the various websites I just browsed, the trail distance is either 14 or 15 kilometres and the duration is either 4 or 5 hours. I walked briskly and would break only for a minute or two every half hour or so to let the dogs get a drink from a creek. Now I'm knackered, so are the dogs.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Mmmm, Road Apples

I went for a run with the dogs out at UBC aujourd'hui. The dogs are great at staying with me. When we come upon other dogs, they say a quick hello then catch up with me quicksmart. At one point they got a bit ahead of me on an open stretch - they did so a couple of times, but this is a specific time - and found themselves a mound of road apples. I realized right away, but it took me roughly five seconds to get to them, by which point they had devoured several mouthfuls each. For the uninitiated, road apples is horseshit. Leftover turkey anyone?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Perp Deer Bell

Merry Christmas! Happy Boxing Day!
Now onto business...

After watching last night's 1 vs 100 - that's right, I watched it - I was left to ponder the concept of idiocy. And the failure of the American education system. All because of one question:

Santa just successfully parallel parked his sleigh!
Which part of it is now perpendicular to the curb?
A) Passenger-side door
B) Driver-side door
C) Back end

Readers, please lock in your votes... Now, most contestants on this show have been pretty good, which is to say of high intelligence, at least concerning the questions ask. I consider the question above to be one of, if not the, easiest questions yet asked. The contestant's gut told her the answer was C), unexcitingly, and I awaited the next question. But then she said needed to think for a moment. After thinking for a moment, she ruled out B) and C). What the heck had she been thinking about? How to make lasagna? She then locked in with A), somehow convinced that when a vehicle is parallel parked, its passenger-side door - and yet, at the same time, not the driver-side door - is perpendicular to the curb.

Of course, as I hope you all know, she was wrong. And it gets better. Of the 99 mob members who also answered the question, 54 also got it wrong. Which means that 55 out of 100 seemingly educated people didn't know what perpendicular means. 55%. That is incredible.

Here's a fun game for you, courtesy one of Biscotti's sisters: Reindeer Tipping. Use the arrows on your keyboard to run around, and when a reindeer is sleeping - watch for zzzzzzz's - run into their side to tip them. 50 points for a regular tip, 100 points for Rudolph! Watch out for hazards, including Santa chasing you with a shovel. If he beats you with the shovel, game over. Let me know how many points you can get, and I'll tell you my high score, give or take a few hundred.
Edited December 27th 2006 at 8:46pm: I cracked the top 1000, twice. Click the high scores link and look at the top right corner. Also made #673. Believe it. You can see it.

Lastly, a posting I posted in February got rudely ignored. Maybe it was a little out of season. My bad. I link to it now with low expectations, but I do believe it is worth checking out. Jingle Bells Reversed.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Stop! It's Overkill!


exclamation mark - the sign (!) used in writing after an exclamation.
exclamation - 1. the act of exclaiming; outcry; loud complaint or protest... 2. an interjection.

Today I got me mitts onto a school newsletter. On the front is a message "from
the principal". It is three paragraphs long. The first paragraph consists of eight sentences, seven of which end in an exclamation mark. In the second paragraph, there are three sentences; all three end in exclamation marks. The third paragraph has two of its three sentences ending in exclamation marks. Total: twelve of the fourteen sentences have exclamation marks.

It's a bit excessive dontcha think? Halfway through the first paragraph the exclamation mark has lost all meaning. And what of the two sentences that don't have exclamation marks? If they all had exclamation marks I could at least pretend I'm reading an Archie comic.

Monday, December 18, 2006


A wonderful Christmas gift for a baby in your life. Me, I recently received a Creative Zen V Plus for my birthday. Been slowly adding songs and will be adding pics and videos soon too; wondering if I can add internet videos. Anyone out there know?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy Day

We got our car back today! Tomorrow we're going to Lynn Valley. Right doggies? Right doggies!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Rudolph the Scot

Today I found out firsthand that one has not experienced Christmas until one has experienced the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer being played on bagpipes five feet from one's ears.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Postcard from the Dentist...

According to a postcard that arrived from my dentist yesterday, my last name ends with an m and my next appointment is on January 12th, 2006. Alright.

Car update: Today is December 8. Our parked car was crunched on October 8. Two months. Good times. Maybe we'll get it back sometime in 2007. Fuck.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

December 6 2006


Saw the new Bond flick, Casino Royale last night. Was very impressed. The Bond flicks I've seen in the past, namely GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies, have required too much suspended belief. Casino Royale was a mostly-believable fun adventure, and I was impressed with Daniel Craig as double-o seven. Often times, with his facial expressions and Bond-required one-liners, he reminded me of Fox Mulder.

Bio @ UBC

I'm not taking biology @ UBC, but my brother's friend is and my brother informed me of an interesting tidbit after I vented to him about my prof's not-lax-suddenly-turned-lax late assignment policy. The prof of this second year biology class had an incentive for the students where, if the mark they got on their final exam was 20% better than the mark they got on their midterm exam, the prof would disregard their midterm exam mark. Enough students complained about it that the prof (or department?) abandoned the incentive idea. My bro said he crunched some numbers and figured out that Person A could do better than Person B on both exams, but Person B could do 20% better on their final than on their midterm, and therefore wind up with a better mark than Person A.


I flickr'd yesterday. More pics can be seen.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Safety Measures Are Unsafe

Selections from this page:

Tear down the traffic lights, remove the road markings and sell off the signs: Less is definitely more when it comes to traffic management, some European engineers believe.

They say drivers tend to proceed more cautiously on roads that are stripped of all but the most essential markings — and that helps cut the number of accidents in congested areas.

"It's counterintuitive, but it works," said urban planner Ben Hamilton-Baillie, who heads the British arm of a four-year European project, Shared Spaces, to test the viability of what some planners call "naked roads."

Since 2004, some roads in the eastern English town of Ipswich, as well as towns in Germany, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands have been stripped of signs and signals — and authorities have been tracking the results.

"Drivers have started to act like people again, and they are relating to one another in a much more civilized way," Hamilton-Baillie said of the Dutch town of Drachten, where traffic lights were removed from the town's Laweiplein Square in 2003. "They have even developed their own hand signal to communicate with each other."

The square now buzzes with 22,000 vehicles a day, including dozens of buses from a regional bus depot. The buses, which used to spend an average 53 seconds traversing the intersection, now cross it in 24-36 seconds, officials say.

And in 2004 and 2005, there were only two accidents involving injuries, compared with 10 in 2002, four in 2001 and nine in 2000, records show.

The "naked streets" program has attracted interest in the United States and some American urban planners have visited Drachten to see how it works.

Hamilton-Baillie, who taught at Harvard for a year in 2000-2001, said "there is quite a lot of theoretical interest in the United States ... but there are no schemes on the ground that I know of ... With all the planning considerations, it takes a lot of years to get one up and running".

Psychologists have argued that a plethora of traffic signs confuses motorists, who ignore about 70 percent of them anyway. And a long list of rules makes drivers resentful, they say, adding that if allowed to interact freely, they become more cautious and more civilized in their behavior.

In Ejby, in central Denmark, planners are banking on this and have removed traffic signs and redesigned parts of the town center. "Some of our towns are now sign forests and motorists get confused," said Peter Kjems Hansen of the town's technical department.

jblue here - It was the Westender's Curious Times section that tipped me off to this; Andreas Ohrt related this to a study which showed that wearing a bike helmet increases your chance of being hit by a car because drivers give you less room if you are "protected" by a helmet. This must be the reasoning of the people who bike helmetless along busy narrow streets (I think of 12th Ave in Vancouver) during rush hour. I'd like to point out to them that a bike route is a block or two away, but those are often filled with shortcutting drivers who ignore road rules - and bicyclists - for their own benefit, making those "bike routes" potentially more dangerous. At least on a main road there are witnesses should anything happen.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.

The above is from the opening of Love Actually, which Biscotti and I watched on Saturday night after putting up our Christmas Tree. Yes, we're eager beavers for putting up the tree, but it was, coincidentally, the 25th, and we now have it done with - that's a good thing. Anyway, Love Actually is a great movie. We first saw it in a Seattle movie theatre; seeing Billy Bob Thornton as the U.S. president was funny - the audience's reaction was even funnier.

Do you remember, a month ago, me mentioning a wordbook that I was working on? Well I did, and I wrote that I had completed two words. Yesterday the entire wordbook was due; seven words in total. Well, until late last week, me being me, I hadn't done a thing since completing the first two words. Friday I went to the UBC library and dug my nose in many books, dictionary upon dictionary. Lost track of time and consequently was late for work. Oops. Over the weekend - snow! - I didn't do much wordbook work. Handing it in late wasn't an option, as it was made very clear on the outline that "in fairness to students who work very hard to meet deadlines a 5% per day penalty will be given to late assignments". So, Monday evening I ended my procrastination and began my obligation. At 3:30am I finished my fifth entry of the night, completing the project.

Since I only have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I didn't know until arriving there yesterday morning that UBC didn't have power on Monday and classes had been canceled. Oh well. Sitting and waiting for class to start, I commiserated with neighboring students about working on the wordbook the night before and getting little or no sleep. The 8am class started late, as the prof waited for the many latecomers due to the snow. Near the end of class, a late student entered the room and, walking to the front of the class, made an entertaining scene describing his morning ordeal. He had caught a bus in Coquitlam at 6:15am and the bus had made it five blocks before breaking down. He then trudged back home and got a ride to the Skytrain station, which would take him to Broadway for the B-Line. After his engaging monologue he triumphantly slammed his wordbook onto the prof's desk and made his way to an empty seat amidst some light applause (initiated by yours truly).

At this point, a student asked if he could hand his wordbook in the next day (today). The prof did a floppy on-the-fence mini-dance, before grudgingly (or so it seemed) saying yes. Another student then asked if he could hand it in on Thursday. There was silence as the prof considered the question, and then he said that yes, because of the power outage and snow and what-have-you, he would accept wordbooks on Thursday, with no penalty.

There were audible gasps, and not just from me. What about the statement on the outline? What about all the students who, despite the power outage (which admittedly didn't affect me) and despite the snow, completed the assignment on time? What about monologue-boy? Fair? I think not. No one said anything in protest. I wanted to, but didn't know how many others had completed their wordbooks and feared the evil eye from the majority of the class. However, at the end of class, most of the students handed in workbooks. I considered for a half-second using the extra time to do revisions, but no, I had finished it, it was done, didn't want to think about it anymore.

Today I came close to emailing the prof to say that since there would be no penalty for lateness, how about a bonus mark or two or five for those who were punctual. I would have worded it politely, but the tone of an email can be misread, and I didn't want any ill-feelings coming my way. If I can bring myself to do it, I will talk to him after class tomorrow.

While I was at UBC, Biscotti got a call giving us a time-frame for delivery of mattress and the extras. Between two and five. Alright, I would stay home for work for the afternoon, no problemo. We've had problems in the past of staying home from work and deliveries or repairmen being no-shows, but the store was a ten minute drive away, and while they were no doubt doing other deliveries there shouldn't be, wouldn't be, couldn't be a problem right? Wrong.

Four o'clock got the call. Hi, we're uhh, bringing a mattress to you? Yes, I said hopefully.. they must be close, I thought. Well, uhh, we're not gonna be able to make it today. We're kind of, uhh, stuck in a ditch. Oh. Yeah, sorry about that. That's okay, I guess. So we need to reschedule? Yeah, just call your salesperson. Alright, thanks, bye.

Called our salesperson, who said that he would try and have it delivered that night; he was working until 10pm and would work on it. I fell asleep watching the Canucks - I blame their style of play in addition to the previous night's lack of sleep - and was woken by the ringing phone. It was a woman asking if the mattress had been delivered. I said no. She said okay, it will be on Thursday. She asked what time-frame was preferred, 12pm-2pm or 2pm-5pm. I chose the former and she wrote it down while saying it wasn't guaranteed. So now we'll get a call tomorrow morning and hopefully have our mattress and the extras (LCD HD flatscreen TV!) by 2pm. We'll even accept it after 2pm. Fingers crossed.

On November 11th I wrote Parked Car Crash - The Sequel. In that post, I wrote that we were told that it would be another 10-14 days minimum before we got our car back. Today is November 29th, 18 days post-post, and we have heard not a thing. Not a thing. It being 8:44pm at the time of this sentence being written, hearing anything today is unlikely, so let's bump the total to 19 days. Having our 4X4 Tracker sure would be nice during these days of snow.

Maybe now I'll start thinking about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. Maybe then I'll start feeling better.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Cycle #22"

drum anda wheel
anda drum andaw
heel anda druma
ndaw heel andad
ruma ndaw heela
ndad ruma ndawh
eela ndad ruman
dawh eela ndadr
uman dawh eelan
dadr uman dawhe
élan dadr umand
awhe élan dadru
mand awhe eland
adru mand awhee
land adru manda
whee land adrum
anda whee landa
drum anda wheel

-- bpNichol

Seen performed in a bizarre biographical video and subsequently copied and pasted from this site, where the poem's layout is preferable. Read the short blurb above the poem and you'll see what I mean..

Sunday, November 26, 2006

TV for BDay? Scratch That

Biscotti and I went mattress shopping today. The Brick is selling an Opus Mirrorform Memory Foam Queen Mattress Set (whew..) for a low low low price; low low low is in my unknowledgeable opinion. Annnnnnd, as a special offer, which is what prompted us to go in on this very snowy day, they are giving us a compact DVD player, a digital camera, and a 19.1" LCD HD flatscreen TV - valued, according to them, at $99.97, $119.97, and $599.97, respectively. It's not a huge TV, but it'll more than do as a replacement for the hunk of junk currently downstairs, which cuts out for a second or two every second or two. It all gets delivered on Tuesday, can't wait. But I will, cuz I have to.

Also today, we took our dogs to McDonald Beach Park in Richmond, on the banks of the Fraser River. We'd never been and were quite impressed with the size of it. We didn't explore much of it, we'll save that for a not-so-snowy day, but of what we did see there was a lot of room for our dogs to run and swim and frolic and sniff bums and jump up at a woman holding a coffee cup. We'll be back there again no doubt.

Admin stuff: four more videos by us - Rapid Water Movement; Maui & Holly and Siblings; Snowy Backyard; and Feeding Dogs Snow.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dog Shock Collar on Human Man

I wasn't going to post this, partly due to not being able to embed it, but I've decided it's too good not to share.

Dog Shock Collar on Human Man

Your reactions?

Dates. Not Raisins.

Nothing exciting to write about, which is why I haven't done much blogging. I have been keeping my eyes and ears open (which is out of the ordinary for me), hoping to see or hear something out there in the world that I wanted to post about, or even link to. I would discover something, mull it over, then decide that it was not post-worthy.

For now, some dates I'm looking forward to, and why:
  • November 30 2006 - Canucks vs Ducks! Years ago I worked at Canucks games. For six seasons I "attended" almost every game. I saw McSorley hit Brashear. I saw Bertuzzi hit Moore. I saw a lot of goals. My last shift there was the heartbreaking game seven OT loss to the Flames in round one of the playoffs in 2003. Since that game, I have not been back inside GM Place. Until this coming Thursday!! Biscotti and I bought tickets, first row balcony, and are salivating in anticipation - more me than her. Serendipitously, the game is on my last day of classes, and is PayPerView. An old joke: the Anaheim team should be called the Anaheim Ucks. Why? Because they've got no D! It's an old joke partly because the last meeting of Nucks & Ducks was a 6-0 romp by the bad guys.
  • December 2 2006 - my birthday! Biscotti and I are getting the heck out of town, and into a B&B on Bowen Island, courtesy of K&K. For those of you who have yet to buy me anything for my bday - c'mon people, seven days and counting (down), what are ya waiting for - a new flat screen TV would fit real nicelike in our living room. And I mean real nicelike.
  • February 3 2007 - Barenaked Ladies! In concert at GM Place. How we got tix - link.
  • Spring 2007 - Surrey Indians! A whole new baseball season begins. After last season's oh-so-close finale, I am eagerly awaiting this coming season and all the promise it brings. Especially with yet another team website; somehow they keep getting better, attaboy Kel. Click here to see Kel's masterful creation.

Admin stuff: new pics have been added to flickr. Not many, but I've hit my monthly max so you'll have to be waiting jusqu'au Decembre for more. Waaaaiit for it. Also, two new videos by us: Sexson Homer and "Beeeeeeeer Heeeeeere"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tragically Hip "Fiddler's Green"

The song itself is a lament-in-lyric for a mother, related to Downie, who has lost her son. It is an elegiac, mournful and beautiful farewell and reassurance all at once. Falstaff, another reference to a Shakespearian character within Hip lyrics, is a comic creation who appears as relief in four of Shakespeare's plays. His presence here sheds light on just how sad this moment is, as even the legendary literary clown is moved and reticent.

Fiddler's Green is a kind of Celtic Heaven for men lost at Sea. It is said to be "...the happy land imagined by sailors where there is perpetual mirth, a fiddle that never stops playing for dancers who never tire."

Due to the personal nature of the song, it remained famously unplayed for fifteen years. There were no known instances of "Fiddler's Green" being played live until October 28, 2006 in Calgary, Alberta.

From the Fiddler's Green page at

Sunday, November 12, 2006

You're a defective, ill-favoured, scurvy, greasy, lily-liver'd, bed-swerver.

A couple of Christmases ago I received a Shakespearean Swear Box. Loved the idea. Takes the concept of magnetic poetry on fridges and makes it rude. "These sixty magnetic words, all specially selected from the works of the Bard of Avon, Mr. William Shakespeare, allow you to compose millions of different curses, insults, and oaths."

After packing the SSB and keeping it packed for two moves in five months, I recently came across it and opened it for the first time. We are encouraged to "start each day with a new description of your boss, or let a loved one know just how much you appreciate them the morning after". The day after I randomly scattered all sixty words onto the fridge, I found that Biscotti had created the subject heading seen above - thanks, love!

Your task: insult me! Click on our fridge, take a few minutes to ponder each word, then spark the glow with your meticulously crafted insult. C'mon people, see if you can make me cry...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A-Flickring We Will Go

The more observant of you may have noticed a new addition to the sidebar. That's right, I'm now a flickrer baby. Click on any pic on the fluid collage and you will be taken to that pic's page on flickr, a picture-sharing website. Once there, you can browse all the pics that I have posted there, as well as all the pics all flickrers have posted there. Each pic can be commented on; please do so!

FYI, more videos have been added to videos by us - rather than add a video here, video there, I will be adding a bunch at a time and likely informing you of this. Will probably do the same for pics on flickr.


Parked Car Crash - The Sequel

As the heading states, this is the sequel to Parked Car Crash, found here.

Our parked car got smasharoo'd by a drunk driver on Sunday October 8th. Friday the 13th we went to our ICBC appointment, expecting to see our car and find out what damage there was. Didn't happen. We were told the police still had our car, and that he didn't know why they had us come in. Nice, that's what we want to hear after taking 45 minutes to bus there. Nothing better we could have been doing. We ask about the woman that hit our car and he looks at his sheets and says it's disappointing. That it looks like the police are only going to do a 24-hour driving suspension. I'll let that sink in. Keep in mind that this is a drunk driver who hit a parked truck, kept driving, hit our parked car, kept driving, and only stopped when her car lost a wheel. Cracking down on drunk drivers, my arse.

We asked our rep about getting a courtesy car. We had thought that we had to wait until the repair shop had our car before we could get one, but our rep said that we could have gotten one right away. Not too big a deal, it had been a sunny five days and we'd walked to work and such. He gives us an ICBC business card with our case number on it, and tells us we can take it to any car rental place. We ask him what to say when the rental place asks us how long we want the car for; "you'll just have to return it when you no longer need it". Sounded sooo simple. We hopped a bus and, unfortunately, headed to Burrard and 2nd - Budget Rental.

It took a while, them figuring out the whole courtesy car aspect of it, but we eventually got a car. They didn't have anything equivalent to our car, a Chevy Tracker, so we got a Nissan Sentra. We drove it home, happy to have something. Looking at the contract, we noticed that the return date said: Saturday October 14 2006 9am. Interesting. We had made it quite clear we would need the car for a while, definitely longer than the twenty hours they had given us. We decide to call sometime during the middle of the night, hoping to get an answering machine in order to leave a message saying that we are renewing our courtesy car, and will return it when we have our car back. The next morning, Saturday we realize we had forgotten to call. So I call. A woman answers.

Her: "Extend your rental? Sure, no problem! And when would you like to return it?"
Me: "Well, I don't know. It's a courtesy car."
Her: "Oh. Let's see what I can do. (Pause) Okay, I've extended it to Wednesday the 18th."
Me: "You can't extend it any longer than that?"
Her: "I'm afraid not."
Me: "So we now have to call on Wednesday to extend it again?"
Her: "Yes"

Great. So Biscotti calls on Wednesday the 18th and gets an even shorter extension: three days, to Saturday the 21st. Budget policy they tell us. Frickin' waste of our time we tell them.

Meanwhile, we get a letter from the police. They have estimated the damage at a cool ten grand, and have finally released our car, but not to ICBC. Oh no, they released it to Buster's towing, who now have it sitting in their lot. We phone and tell ICBC this. Couple of hours later ICBC calls us and tells us that they can't get the car from Buster's because it's missing a vital piece of paper. Holy fucking shit. Why are we dealing with this?? Why are we the middle man between ICBC and the police, especially when they share a building at Cambie at 2nd? So we call the police station and inquire. The woman Biscotti talks to confirms that the car is at Buster's towing. Biscotti asks why it didn't go directly to ICBC? Woman says that she doesn't know why the car didn't go through the normal procedures and that there's nothing they can do about the missing piece of paper as the police have closed their file on our car; to them, the case is done. Sigh. We call ICBC, and leave a message for our rep, getting him caught up and asking him to please get on this as we don't think we should be the ones making all these phone calls and dealing with this shit.. And we would like our car back! With an estimate of $10,000, they're gonna go ahead and repair the car. Thankfully, they're going ahead with full charges on the driver: dangerous driving, leaving the scene of an accident (times two), driving while under the influence, and whatever else fits the bill. (Sidenote - in the letter and forms the police sent us, they included the full name and address of the truck owner, and the full name and address of the drunk driver. Weird, eh?)

Alright. Eventually, (in fact, two weeks after the police released it) ICBC calls to tell us that they now have our car. Their estimate is $5-$6 thousand. The car is sent to our repair shop where they are going to take it apart and see what hidden damage there is. All this time, of course, we've still been calling Budget every three or four days to extend our courtesy car.

It's Wednesday November 8th. We debate, should we return the Budget car and get a courtesy car from the repair shop, or just stick with what we have. We decide to stick with what we have. Less paperwork. Biscotti calls yet again for an extension. This time she's told that we'll have to return the car over the weekend as the 30-day limit is approaching. This is the first we've been told of the 30-day limit. Okay, we'll return the car the next day and get a car from our repair shop.

Biscotti was told that the car needs to go back to the Burrard location. No prob, we can return it and get to the repair shop to get a courtesy car before we have to be at work. We get ready to turn into the parking lot at Burrard and 2nd, and it's completely fenced off. Their tall sign says "moving to W. Georgia". WTF? First, you'd think they'd tell us this when we first got the car as they no doubt knew about it then, and second, why were we told the day before to return it at that location?? Fuck. We phone while parked and ask if there's any other location we can go to that's close to us and not downtown. Nope. it's gotta be W. Georgia. We go, and make a stink with the unlucky counter girl working there. We give them the key and leave, with no time at all to go to the repair shop before work. That's okay, programs are done at 4pm, and the repair shop closes at 5pm. It's a half-hour bus ride, 45 minutes tops; we'll go after work.

4pm comes, and there are two kids who haven't been picked up. Great. One parent comes within five minutes. And then there was one. 4:10 comes and goes. Child's mom is called, someone is on their way. 4:15 comes and goes. 4:20 comes and goes. Emergency contact is called. No answer. 4:25 comes and goes. 4:30 comes and goes. At 4:35 an aunt shows up. She got off work at 4pm and didn't know the child needed to be picked up by 4; she doesn't know why the mom had planned for her to do the pick-up. We are optimistic and hop a bus hoping to make it by 5pm. We don't make it far before realizing it's futile. We hop off the bus and on to another bus to head home.

Yesterday morning, now pouring rain, we go to the bus stop. We arrive half an hour later, wet and cold, at the repair shop. Sign this, sign that, here's your courtesy car, a Chevy Optra, bye-bye. No extension calls needed. And that's where we stand right now. Our car was hit on October 8th, today is November 11th, and we're told it'll be another 10-14 days minimum before our car is repaired.

One more thing. The main thing we use the size of our car for is to transport our two big dogs to large off-leash areas, namely the woods at UBC and Lynn Valley. We used the first courtesy car this way a few times, backseats covered in blankets but still getting very dirty. We did vacuum before returning it - afterwards a friend of Biscotti's said that we shouldn't have cleaned it; we have two dogs, that's our lifestyle, that's why we have a big vehicle. We used the courtesy car the exact same way we use our car. Upon getting home after getting the second courtesy car, we read in the contract that there was to be no smoking and no animals in the car -$100 fine. We didn't think to inquire about it beforehand. This coming Wednesday we have our final dog obedience class; we're hoping it's sunny so we can do the hour walk there, hour walk back, otherwise we'll be getting a ride from Biscotti's parents.

Will this become a trilogy?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Halloween 2006

After last year's post of pumpkin pictures, Biscotti was demanding the same this year. So here is this year's post of pumpkin pictures. Please note that, in keeping with tradition, once again I did not help at all with the carving. Everything you see is thought of and executed by Biscotti. Click a pic to enlarge that pic. Click the bottom pic to see a hip pumpkin video. We are pretty sure we were treated to a lot fewer trick-or-treaters compared to last year. No official stats, but that's the feeling we get. And get this, even with this many lit pumpkins, kids and their parents would walk on by if the front house light wasn't on. C'mon people, with this many lit pumpkins, come on up to the door! Lit pumpkin=candy. Lots of lit pumpkins=lots of candy! Besides, turning on the light reduces the pumpkin effect.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Literally Clueless

adj. - true to fact; not exaggerated; actual or factual.
- being actually such, without exaggeration or inaccuracy.

I'm a fan of words. From the early days of University Hill Elementary School, with the daily back-and-forth book for my mother to sign, I've enjoyed reading and writing. A current English prof of mine gave us a term project of a wordbook. We have a lot of readings to do and from these readings we are to choose seven words; they can either be unusual or common. For each word, we are to write about its sound, its meaning(s), its meaning(s) when looking at the text it is found in, its etymology, its synonyms. We are, according to the prof, to get to know the word, to caress the word... "to make love to the word". I have two words completed and so far I'm, ahem, loving it.

Because of my fondness for words and writing I get rather annoyed when I read, or hear people using, inappropriate words; and when I read typos by professional writers - say, journalists - or when on something that is for students - say, in a school, both elementary and secondary. I had to shake my head when writing the LPI (Language Proficiency Index) in grade twelve and, in the essay question, reading a grammatical error. Now Alanis, that is irony.

Which leads me to the meat of my post. For many years I've been the recipient of a generous Christmas gift: a Sports Illustrated subscription. I've created numerous collages from their superb photographs and saved numerous articles that I felt were worth saving. Most of these are the one-pagers by Rick Reilly and Steve Rushin. Doing the wordbook reminded me of one of the Steve Rushin articles, so I went looking for my SI binder. From the November 5, 2001 issue is the article titled "Literally Clueless"; subtitled "People in sports don't seem to know the meaning of literal from a hole in the ground". He then gives these humorous examples:
  • Coach Rey Reyes, on his volleyball player Angela Miller: "She has literally carried us on her back."
  • Coach David Lewis, on his football player Clement Marie after an open-field tackle: "He just literally lit the kid up."
  • Coach Dick Stockton, on tennis player K.J. Hippensteel: "Hippensteel was literally on fire."
  • Bergen County's The Record, on soccer player Matt Handy after a three goal performance: Handy "literally took the life out of the crusaders". (Rushin: Surely that calls for a red card.)
  • Pitcher Denny McLain, on throwing a baseball for the first time in years: "I literally died."
  • The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, on Arkansas State football players after a big win: "They were literally on cloud nine."
  • The Detroit News, on football player Greg Taplin after he fell for a fake by an opposing QB: Taplin "was literally screwed into the turf".
  • Football player Nick Greisen, on his first appearance for his university team: "My knees were literally chattering."
  • Coach Bob Bray, on his basketball team after a loss: "We didn't take care of the ball, and literally fell apart at the seams."
  • Basketball player Jerry Stackhouse, on his team, the Pistons: "We literally fell apart tonight."
  • The Associated Press, on a Mets-Pirates game: "Both pitchers literally fell apart in the seventh."
  • The Deseret News, on the Utah State volleyball team: "The Aggies literally fell apart in the third game."
  • Coach Hal Chiodo, on his football team: "We've got a ton of injuries. We're literally held together by tape."
  • The Journal Sentinel, on baseball player Paul O'Neill: "O'Neill is literally on his last legs." (Rushin: Then again... aren't we all?)
  • Coach Barbara Stevens, on her basketball team winning in an upset: "I just fell to the floor. I was literally beside myself."
  • A CNN host, on his guest's work: "You have literally scoured the Midwest." (Rushin: Alas, the guest was a newspaper columnist, not the world's hardest-working janitor.)
  • Marketer Jon Albert, on suggestions that he was trying to exploit the 9/11 tragedy: "I literally was shocked." (Rushin: I pictured angry Ford executives attaching electrodes to his genitals.)
  • The Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise, on a struggling 42-year-old pro golfer: "Steve Haskins has literally seen it all."
  • An energy-efficiency expert on TV's Canada AM, on weather stripping: "It pays for itself, literally." (Rushin: My favorite use of literally... I happily imagined a tube of caulk hopping off the shelf in a hardware store and sauntering toward checkout, a credit card at the ready. For reasons I can't explain, the caulk was whistling.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Spirit Bears in Vancouver

I've read and heard quite a bit about the Spirit Bears that were placed in various locales around Vancouver, most recently in this week's WestEnder, and the vast majority of what I've read and heard, including this week's WestEnder, has been of a negative towards the bears, with some also including the earlier Orcas in their negativity.
For me, the Bears have been a very positive addition to the cityscape. Some of the attack has been based on the fact that Spirit Bears are hardly something that Vancouver is known for. No, but Spirit Bears live in the rain forests of British Columbia, Canada. And Vancouver is a city in British Columbia, Canada, right?

And what exactly is it that Vancouver is known for that we can base public art on? A mountain on the corner of Granville and Georgia would look pretty silly. Hmmm, maybe twenty-foot replicas of glass buildings clustered along one stretch of the Stanley Park seawall would be lauded by Vancouverites.

The bears are gone, auctioned off for charity, and apparently there is already another theme chosen for the next invasion. After Orcas and Bears, any guesses what the next one will be? I'll start the guessing: Salmon.

Addendum: I bought the new Hip CD yesterday. Couldn't help it. I was in the neighborhood of a Best Buy and had a poker-won Best Buy giftcard weighing down my wallet. The $10 on the giftcard didn't cover much of the cost of any flatscreens for sale, but the Hip CD was pretty much paid for. Thanks Jeff! As Gord sings, "you kissed my fingers and made me love you", you know who I'm thinking of..

Sunday, October 22, 2006


"...Kurt Cobain, reincarnated, sighs and licks his face,
then they drift past strips of Serengeti..."

Click this link for a Serengeti webcam. At approx. 9:30pm Vancouver-time you can witness an exquisite sunrise. Tip: refresh the page every minute or two.

The quote is from a Tragically Hip song. I've been on a Hip kick lately, probably because they have a new CD out this week. At first, listening to the songs on their website, I wasn't blown away. I wasn't sure I'd buy it, which is weird as I own all of their CDs and both of Gord Downie's solo CDs, almost always buying them on release day. However, after listening to the songs over and over, having the words and images sink in, methinks I will in fact be buying it, or at least requesting it for Christmas.

If anyone feels like giving me a ticket or two to any one of the Hip's upcoming Commodore shows, I won't say no. And, I'll be your best friend. BFF.

What I am looking very forward to is the October 31st release of Pretty Little Head by Nellie McKay. It is long overdue.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Blog Show

This is the second part of a two-part series that began with Blog on Tape. Click pic to enlarge pic. This edition of the series has a perk for you: print the enlarged pic out and give it to me in person and you will receive an on-the-spot prize. As well, you will be entered into the grand prize draw. The grand prize draw will happen on May 5th 2007, giving you over six months from the date of this post to give me the ticket in person. One entry per person.
Good luck!

Added later that same day:

I've been asked - no I haven't - if readers can mail in their entries. Yes, but I am not putting my address on my blog, so you must either 1) already have my mailing address, or 2) already have my email address, so you can email me asking for my address and I can email you back with my address. Also, mailed in entries are not eligible for an on-the-spot prize, which may or may not be better/cooler/shinier/groovier than the grand prize.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Praise for The Lady with the Dog

From "From Anton Chekhov: The Lady with the Little Dog" by Vladimir Nabokov:

All the traditional rules of story telling have been broken in this wonderful short story of twenty pages or so. There is no problem, no regular climax, no point at the end. And it is one of the greatest stories ever written.

High praise, and it recalls the idea that "rules are made to be broken". Similarly, there is Dave Matthews and his beautiful song Dodo, in which he asks, "why would you play by the rules?" I suppose there are two types of people in life: rule-followers and rule-breakers. It seems to me that it's almost a necessity to be a rule-breaker in order to make a lasting, positive impression in art.

I find that I am usually a rule-follower, but there are times when I become a rule-breaker, such as when a rule is unjust or outdated or simply makes no sense. I think I need to be more of a rebel more of the time.

What about you? Are you a rule-follower? Rule-breaker?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We Are The Next Us

I was surfing the net yesterday, stumbled across a website, and spent waaaaaay too much time browsing all of its content. Actually that's a misleading statement; I still have to browse the exhibit hall and some of the reference shop. The site is - A Museum After Dark: The Myth and Mystery of The Tragically Hip. It has oodles of information for almost every single Hip song, released and unreleased alike. I found a gem I had to share. It's called We Are The Next Us. According to the hipmuseum, Gord Downie read part of this poem during the band's April 3, 2005 induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Shortly afterwards, a full length version appeared on the band's website. The poem was set to the music of "Swamp Jam": an unreleased Day For Night number.

I suggest reading along as you listen to it, so right-click this link, choose Open in New Window, and keep reading for the lyrics...

We Are The Next Us
(The time occupied by the action is an afternoon and one night.)

I don’t know who comes up with this shit
but, I wish they’d stop saying;
‘it’s not the band I hate, it’s their fans’

You can’t hate “fans”.
You must narrow your hate
You can’t hate huge, hate sprawling, hate the wild,
unfocussed hate hates itself,
pick your victims. specialize
find the good n’ unaffiliated, the heir-not apparent, the everyday outcast,
the weirdo with the heart of gold, infiltrate the hoser elite.
Find the ribs-showingest rock n roll stray dog
That ever pushed melodious air
howling against vivisection in the uncompartmentalizeable
and, then hate

or go to a show - look down your row.
the lights are on - find people you know.
There’s AnthemSinger standing with his arm
around DarklyNurturedDream.
and Ol’Quintessential listening to HigherThanACBCGuest say;
“I haven’t read them, but I understand them.”
And there’s BrainOfAToaster (he knows when things are done)
next to that girl, CradlingHerKeyCard, whispering,
“this might be my last show, come.”
Check it out! There’s HoldStill and Gently - together again for the very first time.
and MyDoctrineHasFailedMeButMyMusicHasn’t
next to ColderValues, next to FeaturelessButFree.
Hey, even TheEmperorHasNoHook is here and IDon’tWannaTalkAboutItHowYouBrokeMyHeart, she’s here too.

Go to a show. Look down your row
While the lights are on
find people you know:
MindOfFame’s yelling
to GoesWithoutSaying and
OverTheRadar points out
WinWinWin to

Go to a show.
Music Lovers under a full moon in trust
It’s not the band you like it’s their sea of hate you don’t trust
you’re in the right place

Author a killing.
employ carelessness, greed
wait til the hate’s flowing
then hate like the wind
take hate’s hate and do it better
make hate retire - go soft
catch bats til you feel better
try and catch them aloft

don’t hate fans it makes ya sound like a fuckin fascist, or worse -undiscerning.
No one likes indiscriminate.
you won’t get laid with those politics

that said. Lets go backstage! See what’s hateable there.



The band is preparing - lost in thought,
relearning, “How To Get Lost” and
“Where To Appear, Where to Never Appear”
hoping to return to the birthplace of the word
where winning sentences hang from trees
where no one is too cool to move
or too slow to get out of their own way.

The crew is moving on water
Tributarily spring-run-off fed rapids they’re paddling
deliberately, quietly, fur-traders not missionaries
they run God’s Instrument through the Devil’s Amp for chrissakes
they bring the Peace If Peace
is any good at all
it’s because of them,
and if it isn’t, well, it was working before.

a shadowy figure stands alone with a notebook
writes then underlines;
‘Glowing Disses’
- I fucked Paul McCartney
- Put teen ennui back in ‘tsunami fatigue’
- Penned Relentlessly Apt…
- Forgot DarklyNurturedDream

deep in conversation,
It’s Picasso (Canadian) and Matisse (Canadian)
- ‘Giving is where the pleasure is in this business.’
- ‘That’s when can you see what this business can do’
- ‘When everyone in this business is together- whoa - I’d like to be you’
they organize relief in a heartbeat
they can stand in a canoe
lets move UN to the Halifax, let's move Superior to the moon.

Hey there’s Andrea, the dancer
and a poet named Ken.
Their nametags say, ‘Muse’
they are Somebody’s Someone Somewhere then
waving to the Canadian Arc
they’re gonna do something
together one day
A thing about a country that
found itself in its
art found its way

It’s getting time - it’s getting close (go to your seats)
a part in the night where’s the love of my life?
kiss me, ‘thank you for this’
kiss me ‘I won’t be myself without you’
kiss me, It’s time, to reach you the way you reach me
it’s time.

Out in the emptying lobby, a lonely Waterkeeper is late setting up his booth.
A kid, who is interested, says, ‘here, let me help you.’

Here’s an explosion
an explosion inside
the just before music sound (the sound of just before music)
kindnesses, sweetnesses shoot up
and shower back down
The listeners have spoken, and it’s,


We all have our moments
get the success we deserve
We must look at each other
(it’s failure that takes nerve)
make eye contact, shake hands
silently vow;
Like the greats before us
let us cry into the curtains
and then go on stage

The band’s plugging in (they intend to stay)
The singer strides to the microphone
Yells (rock voice) ‘Thank you!’ as if to say
‘For giving us our start!’
and ‘This one’s for Neil!’
and ‘Have a great Augusta, Craig!’
And then we start

It’s revealed

now you can hate

Saturday, October 14, 2006

$155,133 - Why?

Leading up to the Canucks' home-opener yesterday, there was talk about the 50/50 draw. Media were hyping the fact that because unclaimed prizes from last season would be added to the draw for this season's home opener, the jackpot would be around $100,000.

Now I am fairly familiar with the goings-on at the 50/50. For those that don't know, half the money raised selling tickets at each game goes to the person who bought the winning ticket. The other half goes to charity, namely Canuck Place Children's Hospice. It's not uncommon for prizes not to be claimed by the end of the game. Winners had a one-year time limit to claim their prizes. If unclaimed after a year, the money would go to Canuck Place.

So now, this extra money that was given away last night, boosting the draw to a huge $155,133 - why didn't it go to Canuck Place? Surely it would be far better, as used to be the case, for all the extra money to go to Canuck Place, a hospice for terminally ill children. I would think that the children and families associated with Canuck Place would benefit more than the people who can afford to go to the Canucks games.

Why the change, 50/50 brass?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Parked Car Crash

I've been meaning to do a cool interactive post, but recent events take precedence in the blogging realm.

They say that when you have a night of little sleep, or no sleep at all, that it's not the subsequent day that you feel it, it's the day after. For example, you didn't sleep much on Sunday night? Well, Monday you'll be alright, but Tuesday you'll feel as though someone has cleaned your clock. I can vouch for that several times since first hearing this rumor, and it's definitely the case for Biscotti and I today. After a very late Sunday night bedtime, we were high energy yesterday, even walking from one block west of Knight street to one block east of Dunbar street for Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' place. Today though, we've both been très sluggish.

Why the late bedtime on Sunday, you ask?

And the story begins...

Biscotti and I arrived home after Thanksgiving dinner at her parents' place, feeling tired as we watched Amazing Race on tape. After seeing Biscotti's team get eliminated - d'oh! - I went downstairs to feed my bad habit of yahoo hockey pooling, and some time passed. Twas now past midnight. From above me there arose such a clatter, I thought about seeing what was the matter. A second or two later and Biscotti was yelling for me. As I ascended the stairs I heard the door chime, telling me the front door was opening. I wondered, is someone trying to break in? I looked out the front window to see Biscotti, in pj's and socks, standing on the road behind a car that was bunny hopping away. I opened the door and Biscotti yelled a license plate number. Then she yelled it again. And again and again, until we found pen and paper to write it down on. As I got the phone and started dialling 911, Biscotti got me up to speed.

Biscotti had just turned off the TV and stood up when she heard the crash coming from outside. Looking outside immediately, she saw a car a few feet in front of our parked car, but perpendicular to it, and up on the sidewalk. Thinking they hit a neighbor's pillar, and worried someone was hurt, she had called for me and gone out to help. Before she could get there the car had reversed back onto the road and began driving away haphazardly. That was when Biscotti saw the damage to the back of our car and got the license number. I told the 911 operator all we knew, which is everything I have said to this point, plus our location and direction the car was heading as it left the scene. She asked for car color, but all we saw in the darkness was that it was a dark color. She asked how many people in the car, we didn't know. Visible front damage? Yes. Info has been sent to all police cars, they are now on it.

After hanging up, we went out to inspect our car. In addition to much damage on the back left (broken light, split tire, several scrapes), the front right had been slammed into the curb, causing the tire to buckle under itself. Inspecting the skid marks to where the other car had jumped the curb, we found a big piece of the offending car. Turns out the car was dark blue.

I was on the phone with ICBC twenty minutes later when the police knocked on our front door, telling us they got the car and driver. We have since learned that our neighbor was getting out of his car in the alley when he heard Biscotti yelling. Not knowing what had happened, but realizing it was big, he ran to the front, saw the car driving away, and gave chase, simultaneously calling 911. A block later the car lost a tire, and another block later the car gave out. At this point the police showed up. The driver got out, looking confused and very drunk. We were told that ours wasn't the first parked car they hit. There was at least one more before us on our block, and who knows how many before that.

The police towed our car that night so they could take pictures of it. It will then be towed to Buster's until it's time for it to be taken to ICBC in time for our appointment on Friday.

With statements and all, everything took a while to settle down, at which point we were now wide awake. The dogs were also awake, and excited from all the commotion. Knowing we coudn't sleep, we watched our wedding DVDs for the first time (very entertaining!), before heading to bed and dreamsville at a few minutes past 5am.

I could easily go to sleep right now, but I gotta watch
Rescue Me. Stay tuned for that cool interactive post.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

...But Someone's Got To Do It

Yesterday I picked up half a dozen piles of dog crap, cleaned up a couple of piles of cat puke, and changed one dirrrrty diaper. Twelve days of Christmas this ain't. Now if you'll excuse me, my nose and watering eyes tell me that the kitty litter is overdue for a changing. And then the dogs need feeding (ours plus a guest), followed by more crap duty. Later another dirrrrty diaper change.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


We have a video of Maui that we would like to send to America's Funniest Home Videos. After reading the Official Contest Rules, I am unsure how to submit it. Read the following, taken from the above link, and know that the clip is on one of our digital camera's memory sticks:


4. All home video formats are acceptable (VHS, 8MM, Hi-8, digital video). Home videos shot for commercial purposes are not eligible for any prizes. Home videos transferred to DVD or CD-ROM will be accepted provided they meet eligibility and broadcast requirement. 8MM film transferred to videotape is also accepted. Digital chips will not be accepted.

7. Videos must be exclusive to Cara Communications Corporation, d/b/a Vin Di Bona Productions and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Now, how do we get our video to them? It sounds like we transfer the video from the memory stick to our computer, then burn it onto a DVD, then mail it in. Is that right? We'd really like to win the moola! I included rule 7 as well, to tell you that I have not put the video up on Google Video yet, as it seems that that would make it ineligible.

Andy Kaufman Mighty Mouse Theme

Saturday, September 30, 2006

This Is Not A Videoblog

As I just wrote, this is not a videoblog. Then why am I posting so many videos? Well, as you can see on the right sidebar, my list of videos has evolved into two lists (in cool modern scroll boxes!). The not by us list includes videos from youtube and google video. I like the google video page when viewing videos, but not the youtube page. By posting the youtube videos on my blog, the links can send you to the relevant post here on my blog, and we can bypass the youtube page altogether.

Buck 65 "463"

Buck 65 "Blood of a Young Wolf"

Nellie McKay "Ding Dong"

Andy Kaufman "Rose Marie"

Friday, September 29, 2006

Andy Kaufman Variety Show

The beginning is a bit odd, but stick with it. You'll be enriched.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Best of Best of Vancouver

Seven days ago, the Georgia Straight released their eleventh annual Best of Vancouver edition. I have gone through it and made some painstaking edits so that I can now present to you jblue's first annual Best of Best of Vancouver. Enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Best overlooked resource

Sometimes our distinguishing features are the hardest to notice. Take our tap water. The reason it tastes better than others’ is because it is. As far as collection points go, it doesn’t get more idyllic than the Capilano, Seymour, and Coquitlam reservoirs, where rainfall and snowmelt are captured. Our water is then treated with kid gloves to avoid contamination, with the holding watersheds being off limits to people and clear of any agricultural or industry runoff. Technically, it rates as soft, which means no calcium carbonate and, more to the point, no scummy film settling on the surface of a glass. It gets bonus points for aftertaste—there is none, despite receiving the standard chlorine treatment. People seem to accept that it’s safe to drink, and restaurant and bar staff don’t make a point of pushing bottled alternatives, so it’s amusing to see every other person in town carrying around a bottle of the bought stuff.

Best example of a municipal politician failing to keep a promise

Sam Sullivan on bus fares
Last month, Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan fessed up to the Straight that he couldn’t keep his pre-election promise to reduce one-zone transit fares to the "pre-COPE" level of $2. Just 10 months ago, in his inaugural address as mayor, Sullivan claimed that the city’s three TransLink representatives would "champion options" to increase bus service and reduce fares. We shouldn’t be too surprised by this broken promise. His predecessor, Larry Campbell, also pledged to reduce transit fares before he was elected in 2002. After joining the TransLink board, however, Campbell voted for fare hikes. Bring out a polygraph the next time any Vancouver mayoral candidate makes a pre-election promise to cut bus fares.

Best example of a federal politician failing to keep a promise

David Emerson on being a Liberal
David Emerson ran as a Liberal in Vancouver Kingsway and never warned his constituents that he would cross the floor to join the Conservatives. As lawyer and political analyst Peter Dimitrov told the Straight last year: "In my mind, there was a legitimate expectation within the minds of the citizens of Vancouver Kingsway that if elected, Mr. Emerson would sit as a Liberal." On February 6, the day that Emerson was sworn into office after the election, he joined the Conservative caucus and cabinet. When it comes to broken promises, this one belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Prettiest fantasy for our city

On weekends and in the summer months, the roads to and through Granville Island are choked with cars on the hunt for parking. (We could tell you our secret spot, but then we’d have to kill you.) The resulting traffic jams and fumes detract from the enjoyment of one of the city’s most popular destinations. There’s clearly no simple solution. Better transit? A footbridge to connect the island with the downtown core? A pedestrian/cyclist path slung beneath the Burrard bridge? Somehow, the island needs to become vehicle-free, except for bikes, buses, taxis, and delivery vehicles. Much of the sprawl now occupied by parking spaces could then become café terraces, squares, and green enclaves filled with elves and fairies. European cities such as London and Paris have shown that keeping cars out of key tourist areas greatly improves the quality of social and cultural life while stimulating economic activity.

While we’re at it, we’d also like the rain to come down only at night.

Favourite local time to sort through cellphone messages

Relaxing with a Venti coffee while waiting to make a left at a major intersection.

Best reason to expand the pride parade route

The annual queer celebratory parade had the streets lined several deep on either side from the beginning (and before) to the end. Organizers stated that about 300,000 people attended, which is almost double the attendance of the previous year (185,000). The huge numbers send an important message of acceptance and tolerance, particularly in a city where a gay man, Aaron Webster, was brutally murdered. In this case, yes, size does matter.

Best new example of "padding" a bank account

The Canucks’ new backstop, Roberto Luongo, has a contract that promises him $6.75 million for his services this year. If he plays, say, 70 games (and he is a workhorse) and in each of those faces about 25 attempts on his net, he’ll rack up an average of just over $3,850 earned per shot. That’s U.S. currency, too, by the way. Yes, Luongo is one of the best in the world at what he does. But here’s what he does: he deflects, knocks down, or grabs at fast-moving rubber chips with plastic armour and custom-built pillows strapped to his body. Every time he performs one of these actions—even when it’s a routine stop-and-clear with the stick on a trickling shoot-in—he makes more than you do in a month. Thank God we took that whole freaking year off to regain our perspective on the game.

Best reason to fear the rocks

The neatly stacked columns of rocks that appear along English Bay’s shores are Vancouver’s equivalent of crop circles. Stock up the basement—the invasion is imminent.

Best place to ogle Stepford Wives

Not Google, ogle. Waltz into almost any trendy Lower Mainland restaurant chain and check out the female wait staff, who are all blonde, white (in spite of living in one of the most multicultural Canadian cities), and Jessica Simpson. And your wife thought you were salivating because of the food? When dollar bills roll out of their mouths, resist the temptation to ask when that upgrade hit the market.

Best colour for coffee

Next time you buy a cup of coffee or iced drink, imagine your paper or plastic cup (not to mention paper napkin, plastic lid, and wooden or plastic stir stick) as a raindrop, one that is joining thousands of other raindrops throughout the city to form a river. Eventually, this river runs into an ocean’s worth of coffee cups discarded by people around the world, piling up in landfills everywhere, which you, your family, or your offspring will have to deal with in the years to come. Then enjoy your drink. Bottoms up.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Andy Kaufman "It's a Small World"


For years, my fruit intake has consisted mainly of apples and oranges. Sure, every now and then I would partake in other varieties of fruit. Blueberries and grapes sometimes. Bananas and strawberries occasionally. Watermelon and kiwi rarely.

Lately though, on a whim, we bought some pears. It had been a while since I had had a pear. Man, they are delicious, and easily transportable too. Now, when leaving the house, do I grab an apple, or a pear? Often it's both.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Curved Shower Rods

A few months back I was getting a tour of a friend's new place and when we got to the bathroom I noticed that their bathtub, like ours, was, and probably still is, quite narrow. I commented on it and said that I find our tub annoying. When showering, there is very limited left-right space for my wingspan. My right arm rubs against the shower curtain and my left arm bangs against the wall. Even worse, they didn't even place the rod parallel to the side of the tub; they placed it inside of the side, making a narrow space even narrower. I'm able to push the shower curtain out a bit before it even touches the tub. Another friend, who was also getting the tour, said that what we needed was a curved shower rod. He explained what a curved shower rod is, and I thought, yeah, he's right, we do need a curved shower rod. I thought that thought many times, usually while showering and experiencing unwanted arm/curtain rubbing.

Then came the honeymoon. In our hotel at Disneyland, guess what they had? If you guessed a delicious continental breakfast just like they advertised, you're way off. But they had curved shower rods! There was so much room to maneuvre in. Oh, it was heaven. I was swinging my arms to and fro, at first casually, but then I got more into it, and eventually I was waving them in the air like I just didn't care. Shortly after arriving back home, the very next day in fact, we went out and bought a curved shower rod. The very next day after that, we installed it. The very next day after that, showering was that much more enjoyable. We put it as far out as possible, while still using the original holes in the wall. It could go farther than what it's at, meaning there's still ample tub-side above the curtain's bottom, but it's as far as it can go without affecting the opening of the bathroom door. I strongly recommend this device, especially if you have a narrow tub, as rude as that sounds.

And now you know a lil' something about our shower. Next up: our toilet.

(Note - that is neither myself nor Biscotti in the shower. It is our international exchange student, Makiki. Kidding!! I got that pic off of google images. In case you're wondering, we don't have any exchange students.)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

one red paperclip

Have you heard the one about the guy who started with one red paperclip and set out to make a series of trades, with the goal of one day trading for a house? He did it. It's a true story. The guy's name is Kyle MacDonald. The first trade netted him a fish-shaped pen, followed by a hand-sculpted doorknob. Future trades got him, among other things, a snowmobile, a recording contract, and, finally, on July 5, 2006, a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan (hi Rob and Andrea!). I used the word finally, but the first trade occured on July 14, 2005, so he went from one red paperclip to a house in less than a year. Mighty impressive. It's a cool story, with the trades happening all over North America.

Click here for more.