Monday, October 29, 2007

BoSox Did Win

In 2004 the BoSox came back from three games to none to beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS before sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, their first Series win in 86 years. In 2007 the BoSox came back from three games to one to beat the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS before sweeping the Colorado Rockies, a team that had come into the Series having won 21 of their last 22 games.

Dance, Jonathan Papelbon, Dance!

Idling Cars and Amber Alert

Dear guy who had his SUV stolen on Saturday evening while his two-year-old daughter was sleeping in the backseat,

I am happy that the car was found with the girl safe and sound, but you, sir, are an idiot. You were probably going into Mac's for a very short period of time and it was far easier to leave your daughter asleep in the car - I can understand that. But what I can't understand, and what should get more attention than it will, is why you would leave your daughter in the SUV and also leave the doors unlocked and the engine running. Horrible horrible horrible. Neglectful. It's bad enough to do that anywhere, and you just happened to do it in the city known as the Car Theft Capital of North America. Had you taken the keys with you and locked all the doors it's safe to assume that this incident would not have happened. This was likely a crime of opportunity. Someone saw your idling car with no one around and thought, hey, why not. They probably didn't notice your daughter in the backseat as they drove away, but as soon as they did notice her they stopped the car and got the hell away on foot. There are some people who, especially in colder weather, start their cars in the morning then let it idle and heat up while they go back inside their homes. More often than you'd think the car then gets stolen, and the owners don't give the whole truth because they'll look foolish. Go ahead and continue to leave your car unattended, unlocked, and idling, but don't ever ever do it with a child in the vehicle. I would think that would be obvious enough, but obviously it's not.


And now to the Amber Alert program, a very important program that seems so easy to implement in cases such as the above, but apparently it's not. From this MSN news site, here are some details:
  • E-Comm, the province's emergency centre, is responsible for alerting local radio station CKNW when an Amber Alert is issued. CKNW is then responsible for circulating the information to other media outlets.
  • At 9:50pm on Saturday, the girl's father entered a convenience store in Surrey, B.C., leaving his daughter asleep in his idling, unlocked SUV.
  • The SUV was then stolen with the child in the backseat. Her father ran back into the store and immediately called 911.
  • An Amber Alert was issued for the toddler at 10:30pm, but CKNW was not notified of the alert until 11:02pm.
  • The radio station broadcasted the alert at 11:31pm and CTV News was formally notified of the emergency at 11:32pm.
  • By this time, the child had already been found.
So the gist of it is that it took an hour and forty minutes after the incident for the Amber Alert to be broadcast - and if CKNW was notified at 11:02pm, why didn't they broadcast the alert at 11:03pm instead of half an hour later? It's all extremely disappointing.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Mid-summer I began running regularly, every other day. Traveling trails in Pacific Spirit Park I went for about half an hour the first few times, then extended it to 50 minutes, restricted to leashing-optional trails because of our fat donkeys. For the past month or so I've been running the same circuit, finishing with a grueling-for-me uphill. Gradually getting stronger I lowered my time to 44 minutes. But, while running the same distance faster is good, that doesn't help with my goal of running a half-marathon (and then a marathon). So today I did my regular circuit in reverse, and went I got to the start/finish I turned around and did the circuit normally. One hour and thirty-one minutes later I was back at the start/finish and very chuffed.

That is 50% longer than my second longest-in-time run. Until now, I have never run regularly, but many years ago I used to do the Sun Run every year. Eight or nine years ago I had run the 10K Sun Run in 59 minutes and two weeks later I ran a 10K at UBC in 45 minutes - the 14 minute differential all about the huge mass of people (approx. 40,000 people) at the Sun Run and nothing to do with any improvement on my part, because there was none. It was just a fortnight later and I did nothing to train in between. Anyway, that 59 minute Sun Run is no longer the longest-in-time run of my life. But I'm left wondering how far I ran today.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

BoSox Will Win

Here's why the Boston Red Sox will win the World Series this season - possibly tomorrow - and why I've known this since the early days of summer.

In 2004, Biscotti and I and my parents and brother were out east and saw a BoSox game at Fenway Park in Boston; it was the first time Biscotti and I had ever watched the BoSox play in person. They were playing the Toronto Blue Jays, August 16, 2004, and the BoSox won 8-4 to halt a losing skid and subsequently went on a tear to finish the season, ultimately winning the World Series for the first time in 86 years despite being down three games to none in the ALCS to the New York Yankees (and, in game four, the BoSox had been losing by a run in the bottom of the ninth before winning that game and the following three - still gives me chills).

I guess there was no curse, they just sucked for 86 years.

Which brings us to this season, in which Biscotti and I for the second time ever see the BoSox play in person. This time it was at Safeco Field in Seattle on June 26, 2007. The Seattle Mariners prevailed 8-7 in an extremely exciting game. So we see them in person in 2004 and they win the World Series for the first time in 86 years. Then for two years we don't see them and they don't win the World Series. Then in 2007 we see them in person again, it only follows that they'll win again to make me, Biscotti, and the BoSox two and oh. When the BoSox were down three games to one to the Cleveland Indians, I had no fear. Me, Biscotti, and the BoSox are an unbeatable trio.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Palmerston North

My mom is in the middle of a five week trip to Palmerston North - population 75,800 - to visit family, especially her mom whose health has been in flux lately. Get well soon Noone! It was a friend's birthday on Monday and Biscotti and I joined the friend and a few others on Saturday for dinner at Macaroni Grill. Our server was from New Zealand. I said me too, kind of, where in New Zealand? She answered Palmerston North.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Misuse List, Literally

Over the years I have seen and heard numerous misuses of the word literally. Unfortunately, I did not document those examples. That stops today. Now, every time I see or hear any misuse of the word literally I will update this post. Also, please send me - via any avenue available to you - stories or links to any misuses you come across. If no link, make sure you tell me where you read/heard the misuse so I have something to put in italics. Thanks!

Here are three literally-relevant items:
1) a web log that amuses as it educates
2) a May 6, 1998 column in The Globe and Mail
3) the following video, Dictionary of Jack: Literally

Here are some misuses I've read and heard...

Dreamworks animation boss Jeffrey Katzenberg was literally keeping Kilmer on a short leash, sitting next to him at interviews and generally not letting him out of his sight. --- A Vancouver 24 hours article. Link.

"If I had that game on in my living room, my friends and I would end up smacking each other. Like, literally killing each other." --- Interviewer on the television show, "Electric Playground".

"What you need to do in a case like this, is literally become the bigger person." --- On-the-street color commentator on The People's Court.

"The Kooks are literally on a tear." --- DJ on CFOX 99.3FM at approximately 3:20pm, talking about said band's tour schedule.

"The fans are literally right on top of you." --- A commentator - talking about the arena's seats in relation to the players on the ice - during playoff game between New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Feature we brag about: “The best thing is the location and the price. We always brag that we get to go on vacation every day. No matter what the day might bring, no matter what stresses are in our lives, we just go to the beach, sit on a log, and watch the sun set. Perfect paradise, literally in our backyard.” --- From the My Digs feature in Westender. Link.

"... Literally the story is unfolding before us." --- A policeman on Global Television news, 11pm, commenting on a shooting death that took place a few hours earlier.

“When you take a look at Britney Spears and her behavior, it’s very frightening. She’s a person who’s completely addicted to sugar. This is like heroin for a junkie. She’s literally on a roller coaster to hell.” --- Dr. Timothy Brantley, a PhD who educates patients on the power of food, from a column on the Access Hollywood website. Link.

Venice High School dodged a bullet last week -- literally and figuratively. --- from a Los Angeles Times column about a school shooting; "only injury was to a boy who fell and hurt his wrist as he tried to get out of the line of fire". Link.

"She could literally take a sharp turn right at any moment." --- on the TV show Survivor, Todd discussing Courtney's wavering alliances.

I literally grew up in that restaurant with many years as staff as a teen, and then many years of my 20s with my family... --- posted by Sarah in the comment section of a blog post by Chianti Cafe. Link.

"Anything can happen - literally." --- chef Bob Bedard on film catering, in a Georgia Straight article. Link.

[Luciano] Pavarotti, the literally and figuratively larger-than-life tenor whose recordings sold more than 100 million albums, and whose voice boomed everywhere from the Metropolitan Opera to Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, died about 5 a.m. Thursday at his home in Modena, Italy... --- from a Yahoo! Music article. Link.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Recent craigslist Best-Ofs

After unsuccessfully perusing craigslist for a chair that fit certain parameters, I browsed the best-of-craigslist section for a few minutes. In the rough I found some diamonds. Here are links to three diamonds, with one local entry:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Canuck Watching in New Places

The three games the Canucks have played this season have been watched by me at four places at which I had never before watched a Canucks game.

Friday's season opening loss was watched at K&K's new place, which they moved into over the summer. While there I shared a celebratory cigar with MM on the arrival of E.

Saturday's win was watched in two places. I was in Whistler with Biscotti and L&G and we watched the first two periods at our suite, then walked over to Buffalo Bills (passing within ten metres of a very visible black bear) where we watched the third period and overtime.

Yesterday's horrendous loss was watched at Cedar Cottage Neighborhood Pub. Even though we have lived a mere three blocks away since November 2005, this was our first time at CCNP. It's a hidden gem and we will be back soon and often, maybe even for Friday's game. Join us?

Holiday Eating

Went to Whistler over the Thanksgiving long weekend with L&G. Had a couple of interesting outings at dining establishments.

The first occurred at the Squamish White Spot, a lunch stop during Saturday's drive up. After waiting about ten minutes to even talk to someone about sitting down, we were eventually led to a table. Fifteen minutes after sitting we had yet to meet our server. She finally came, apologized for the delay, took our orders, and disappeared. We then noticed some garbage on the floor 2-3 feet from our table: something that resembled crumpled toilet paper and an empty cream container. Over the course of our stay in the booth, we watched as many staff members acknowledged the garbage by glancing down and stepping around or over it, and yet the garbage remained during our meal and in fact was still there when we left. Nice pride White Spot. More than half an hour after ordering, we finally see our server again, who comes bearing food and another apology. Turns out she's the manager and the kitchen is understaffed today. Yeah, it is prime lunch time on a holiday weekend, why be prepared for that? And yet they have enough staff for someone to walk around vaccuuming during our meal, intentioanlly bypassing the aforementioned garbage.

Up in Whistler, we dined out at Earls on Sunday night. No drama until ordering time. We'll focus on Biscotti, who wasn't very hungry and simply ordered wings and a caeser salad for her and me to share. She asked for it to come before the rest of the meals. No problem. The server asked if she wanted the caeser salad side-order size or entree size. Entree side. Done. 15-20 minutes later our meals are brought by a female not-our-server. Hmmm, so much for the wings and salad beforehand. Wait, there are no wings and there is no caeser salad; instead there is a thai noodle salad that no one ordered. Biscotti tells not-our-server the error for her to relay and not-our-server tells L that the side salad that comes with her meal will be out soon. Ten minutes later a guy carries wings and a caeser salad over, puts it on the table, and drops to a knee. He says that he's a manager and apologizes on behalf of our server, it's her first day serving and she's very nervous. The wings and salad are comped. L then asks him if her side salad will be out soon, and he goes off to check. After he walks away Biscotti tells us she had to bite her tongue to not point out that he had brought her a side-order size caeser and not the entree size she had ordered. Two minutes later L has her salad brought by another female not-our-server.

Come on people, just because it's a holiday weekend doesn't mean you can vacation while on the job.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Betty Krawczyk

Last Friday Biscotti and I participated in our second consecutive Critical Mass. Also participating was Betty Krawczyk. In the Straight Talk section of last week's Georgia Straight (September 27 - October 4, 2007), Matthew Burrows wrote a bit about her:

The first thing Betty Krawczyk did upon release from the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women on September 25 was to eat a breakfast of eggs over easy and hash browns.

Once she placed her order in the Maple Ridge restaurant where she sat with friends, the "very excited" 79-year-old environmental crusader wasted little time relaying her plans to the Straight via cellphone.

"It is going to be a family day at home tonight," Krawczyk said. "My daughters are cooking shrimp and prawns. Tomorrow there is a rally at the courthouse at 5 p.m. [to commemorate her release]. Then I have to look around my apartment and see that it is all in one piece after I've been away for so long."

On March 5, Krawczyk was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court to 10 months in prison after facing a charge of criminal contempt of court. She was arrested on three occasions, and charged with contempt of court, for opposing the bulldozing of West Vancouver's Eagleridge Bluffs and defying a court injunction to stay away from the site.

Krawczyk said her resolve has only been strengthened by her time inside. "The people in power are simply bound to the corporate welfare system," she said. "We need people who are not career politicians or looking to make politics a career, but are looking earnestly to move forward the human consciousness in an evolutionary way, that recognizes there is no way we could be a good or civilized society unless we consider the very weakest of the portion of the population, and also consider the very weakest links on the environment."

Krawczyk said she is considering running for office in the 2008 Vancouver municipal election or the next federal election, which could be called at any time.

"I call people that advocate cutting down Eagleridge Bluffs 'death-oriented'," Krawczyk added. "We have to get people in office who are life-oriented and who want to have a society in which life is the primary purpose of celebration, not the accumulation of large amounts of wealth for a few people."