Saturday, May 31, 2008

Overheard in Vancouver

Bystander to friends as Critical Mass rolls by: I don't wear a helmet, I get a ticket. That's not fair.

-- Downtown Eastside, 30.05.2008

overheard by: me

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It was 4am

Activated the house alarm. Exited through the back door. Remembered that the back stairs are temporarily absent. Returned inside. Headed down the stairs to the basement. Halfway down, remembered that the car is parked in front. Returned upstairs. Waited for the alarm to reach the end of its countdown. Deactivated the house alarm. Reactivated the house alarm. Exited through the front door. Went to work.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Larissa & Demetri & Griffey

I have a prediction: On Jeopardy!, Larissa Kelly will beat Ken Jennings's record of seventy-four wins. Or at least shatter the women's record. Anyone know what the women's record is?

I saw comedian Demetri Martin on television recently. He made me laugh with this: She was amazing. I never met a woman like this before. She showed me to the dressing room. She said: “If you need anything, I’m Jill.” I was like, “Oh, my God! I never met a woman before with a conditional identity. What if I don’t need anything? Who are you?” — “If you don’t need anything, I’m Eugene.”

I've heard that Ken Griffey Jr. may return to play for the Seattle Mariners in the near future. This would be fantastic. The Biscot and I are going to see the Ms play the Boston Red Sox on back-to-back days in July. Please make it so before then.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bill's Samples

12PM Time to Consult the Oracle?

Office West Virginian: I need more samples! Does anyone know when Bill is making more samples?!
Office wise guy: Uh, Bill, maybe?
Office West Virginian: No, I already asked him and he doesn't know.

W. Market Street
Greensboro, North Carolina
Overheard in the Office, May 22, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

Shipping Details

Here's the thing. When you're shipping something, do you check and double check that the address you're shipping to is complete and correct, including the postal code (or zip code)? I have recently started a new job and have discovered that a lot of people don't care to check addresses, or their checking and double checking is very substandard.

Here is a list of streets with some misspellings I have seen:
  • Arbutus Street - Abutus, Arutus, Anbutus, Arvutus, Arbustus
  • Balaclava Street - Balaca
  • Broadway Avenue - Braodway, Brodway
  • Burrard Street - Burrand, Burrad, Burnard, Bunnard, or Bunnand.
  • Cornwall Avenue - Cortwall, Kornwall
  • Cranberry Drive - Chanverry
  • Dumfries Street - Bumfries (Dumfries is pronounced Dum-freeze, but pronounce Bumfries however you wish!)
  • Duranleau Street - Duranaelu, Duranieav
  • Granville Street - Grandvile, Grandvil, Grantville, Grainville, Grancille, Greenville
  • Johnston Street - Johndton, Johnton
  • Marstrand Avenue - Marstarad
  • Shaughnessy Street - Shawnessy, nor Seanessy.
  • Vine Street/Pine Street - Oine (likely Pine, based on o and p being keyboard neighbors)
Some other things:

  • It's Burnaby, not Burnbury.
  • Make sure the postal code is correct - Main Street is not V6K and Lougheed Mall (in Burnaby!) is not V6J.
  • [address number deleted] WEST LLTH AVENUE - what the L?
  • John Doe, West 6th Ave is not sufficient - what is the address number?!
  • Secure the package - 'nuff said.
  • [name deleted]; Vancouver, BC; [address number deleted] West 110th Avenue; V6J 2B5 - which is exactly what I saw today - is incomprehensible. Were you trying for 10th or 11th Ave?
  • Check out this one: [address number deleted] W. 3rd Ave; Ontarria, BC, Canada; V6J 1K4. Ontarria?! WTF?
  • The Molson Brewery at 1550 Burrard Street is not in Vanderhoof and does not have a postal code beginning with V0J

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes

This coming Sunday I'm taking part in the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes. I started a new job in late March and this fundrasing event seems to be kind of a big deal - much like Ron Burgundy. After gaining the ability to walk way back in my toddler days I've done some walking every single day of my life. With all that walking experience, I figure it's about time I used it to do some good.

[Added this paragraph on May 22, 2008, with apologies to Jax who has read it already.] I've done a lot of walking in my life, so I should be okay. There was the disastrous right-foot-toes clipping left-foot-heel tumble-and-fall of 1993 that catapulted me down the high school stairs and into grade 9 infamy, but I've walked like a champ since then, other than a few minor walking-into-a-street-pole accidents.

So to pledge me, click here. According to a message from the official website, You can pledge quickly, efficiently and safely through our secure online pledge option. An electronic tax receipt will be emailed directly to you for donations over $20. You can tell the pledge page is secure because of the s in https in the web page's address.

Juvenile (type 1) Diabetes is the most severe form of diabetes as it is unpreventable and strikes infants, children, teens and young adults, leaving them insulin-dependant for life and facing a future of uncertainty due to the threat of developing devastating complications.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Friday May 16 2008

My days of late haven't been terribly exciting. I work, I eat, I sleep. Throw in some television watching, dog walking, and a weekly Settlers of Catan game and that's my life. Yesterday, though, I had a very full and varied day. Here's how it went down, in chronological order..

  1. Wake.
  2. Perform four hours of physical labor - I was all ups in your face and may have handled your package.
  3. Four hours of hiking Norvan Falls with Biscotti and the fat donkeys. A beautiful, beautiful day.
  4. Fifth Ave Cinemas with Biscotti to see Young @ Heart - a superb movie. An abundance of energy and sadness.
  5. River Rock Casino with Biscotti for dinner at the buffet, followed by a li'l bit of poker slots.
  6. Sleep.

A fantastically great day to start the long weekend, as long as this morning's two o'clock phone call is ignored - and for the purposes of this post it can be, since it happened after yesterday.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ninjas: They're Everywhere

Four motivational posters received from my cousin...

Traffic Light District

On Thursday, after many years of driving through the intersection of Sophia Street & E 12th Avenue, I had to stop at a red light at said intersection for the very first time. Hundreds of times I've driven through that intersection and not once have I had to come to a stop at it. Wow, what good luck you've got, you may be thinking. Well, no. Sometime within the past fortnight, brand new pedestrian-controlled traffic lights were activated at that location. There are already traffic lights one block west, at busy Main Street and E 12th Avenue, and one block east, at busy Kingsway & E 12th Avenue.

Six or seven years ago I remember reading that the city of Vancouver reviews several dozen potential locations for new traffic lights (likely all pedestrian-controlled), based on amount of use and safety, and that about a dozen new traffic lights are installed yearly. The area surrounding the aforementioned new traffic lights has seen, and is still seeing, much development which will see a higher population in the area, so maybe the lights are a good idea. Though I wonder why people can't just walk one block east or west to one of the intersections with already-existing traffic lights.

What I'd like to know is, Are any traffic lights being removed? Or is it just a matter of a few more years before every single intersection in the city includes traffic lights?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Family and Norfolk

New Zealand is too far away. Ditto, Norfolk Island. Many years ago, my parents left their respective families and traveled together from Aotearoa to Canada to start life anew. Soon after, I was born. Growing up on Canada's west coast, the only family I socialized with regularly were my immediate family members: my parents and my siblings. All aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents were an expensive eighteen hour plane ride away.

My mom's mom made the long flight here a couple of times, and vice versa. I was taken to New Zealand as a young'un, and again when I was thirteen as my family visited relatives. During the summer of 21 a friend and I journeyed down and spent two and a half weeks going down and back up the length of the country visiting various family members of mine. We then spent a month as Australian tourists.

Biscotti, meanwhile, has grown up surrounded by an immensely large extended family. It seems like every weekend there was a big family gathering to celebrate someone's milestone - birthday, high school graduation, baptism, wedding, etc. In addition, portuguese dinner & dances were frequent events.

Last weekend, an aunt of mine - whom I've never met - was in Vancouver with a friend. The few times I've been in New Zealand she has been living on Norfolk Island. She and a friend were spending the weekend here before heading down to Seattle to embark on an Alaskan cruise. Most of her time was spent with her brother (my dad), who showed her around town. Biscotti and I were able to meet up with them for lunch on Saturday afternoon. It was great talking to her. She had celbrated her seventieth birthday a couple of months back, for which approximately 30 family members had flown to Norfolk Island. There was photographic evidence, which we gobbled up. It's been a decade since I've seen my extended family; I think it's time for a jaunt to the north island. At this time, I don't think I have any family on the southern island.

After parting ways after lunch, I looked up Norfolk Island. It is much, much smaller than I had thought. Located directly north of New Zealand (almost a straight line from Queenstown) and directly east of Australia (almost a straight line from Brisbane), it's one part of one of Australia's external territories. Reading the immigration and citizenship section on wikipedia was mind-boggling. In July 2003 the population was estimated to be 1,853. My favorite sentence of the ones I read on about the island is this: There are 80 km (50 mi) of roads on the island, "little more than country lanes", but local law gives cows the right of way. Read more about Norfolk Island here.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A bpNichol Poem

Originally uploaded by Duchamp
I was introduced to bpNichol's work about seventeen months ago and was immediately smitten. This poem of his is carved into the pavement of bpNichol Lane in Toronto and - while I haven't seen this in person - the photographer appears to have captured the image magnificently. Here's your homework: look up some of bpNichol's work and let me know what you think. Some of his collected works are now on my to-get list. I'd like to read more poetry by more writers. Therefore, who are some of your favorite writers of poetry and fiction?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I've Done a Half

On Sunday I ran the Vancouver half marathon (see the course map here). Very grueling, that morning was. My official time was two hours, seven minutes and thirty-nine seconds - a personal best! My place: 2659. At first I was a tad disappointed with my time, but in the fifty hours that have passed since crossing the finish line a growing sense of accomplishment has been setting in. I'm already looking forward to completing my second half (date and location tbd), for which I will be more adequately prepared.

By all accounts, mine included, I did a poor job in supplying my body with appropriate amounts of fuel, especially during the race. (Note to self: a bedtime snack and a heartier breakfast are musts.) During the race, my intake consisted of a little bit of water at most water stations and a tiny bit of gatorade at one of the later stations. My brother-in-law, who crossed the finish line thirty-two minutes ahead of me, had consumed three power gels during the race, in addition to whatever fluids he ingested. My sister crossed the line twenty minutes before me, but I don't know how what she had during the race. Anyway, congrats to you both! A couple more days rest and I'll be back at 'er, pounding the pavement in the name of fitness - and new personal bests.

[See three marathon-related Detected Errors by clicking here and here and here.]

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Paula Abdul's Gaffe

I'm not an American Idol viewer, but it's difficult to live one's life without hearing about certain happenings on that ubiquitous show. Mostly I tune out (for the second time, I suppose), but yesterday I came across a story that is so great that I'm now here blogging about it. So you know it's gotta be great.

American Idol’s loopiest judge made the biggest and most cringeworthy gaffe in the show’s history.

Since the Top 5 had two songs to sing, the judges were going to critique them after their second performance. OK, makes sense. But at the midway point, after each contender performed their first song, Ryan brought the five on stage and asked the judges what they thought so far.

After Randy gave his thoughts, Paula began. “Jason, the first song, I loved hearing your lower register, which we never really hear. The second song, I felt like your usual charm wasn’t… it was missing for me, it kind of left me a little empty. And the two songs made me feel like you’re not fighting hard enough to get into the Top 4.”

Um, whaaaaaaaaaaat!?!

Randy immediately jumped in and laughingly reminded Paula that the contestants had only performed one song, which she then gasped, red-faced and blathered, “Oh my God, I thought you sang twice!” Even Simon, who would have normally been making fun of her, attempted to rescue her.

It’s easy to chalk up the blunder to confusion on Paula's part but as far as I’m concerned, it can only be perceived in two ways: either Paula took notes during the contestants’ dress rehearsals and used them; or, Paula was reading notes given to her by the show’s producers.

Either way you cut it, it’s pretty damaging. And while the conspiracy theorist that I am may be reading too much into this, doesn’t it make you scratch your head a little? The judges should have no access to the contestants during rehearsals, and should only be giving feedback based on what the viewing public sees. But if her comments – which she stutters through, night after night – are written by someone other than her, then the show’s got a whole other mess to clean up.

For the full article, click here.