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.