Sunday, December 29, 2002

At Large in New York

Here I am upstate in Bloomingburg, at Manang Maureen's place. It's just the three of us gals, including Auntie Jane. I showed them the photos from my Flash cards using the TV, so they could see pictures of the kids and the rest of us. We tried to get Auntie Jane to look at pictures of Dad, but I'm not sure if she was really looking, although she acknowledged that she recognised his name.

I'm still debating about returning to the City tomorrow or on Tuesday. I feel I should stay until Tuesday morning, but we shall see... it seems so short a visit...

Auntie Jane

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Leave It to the Professionals

'Tis is the night before my company Christmas Party and I'm desperately trying to beat the colds and stave off the flu! I even broke down and phoned this cleaning lady who lives on the 19th floor to help me clean the apartment. Her per hour rate is pretty low, so I think it's worth the money. I also broke down and phoned the hairdresser's across the street to make an appointment to do my hair tomorrow. These are all things I have always done myself, but this year I think I'll leave it up to the professionals and try to save my energy for getting better. Besides, in the state I'm in, I could really muck things up.

Friday, December 06, 2002

Yesterday will go down in the annals as being one of the longest and most trying of days. Which continued a week of working far too much, things going awry, and generally just feeling like I've been thrown into a life-sized salad spinner.

If only Christmas just came a little bit sooner...

Monday, December 02, 2002

The Weekend

Photos and text forthcoming...

Friday, November 29, 2002

Richard Rushworth Remembered

Richard Rushworth passed away this evening around 6 o'clock. He'd been in the hospital for a week and I didn't know. I was on the phone this evening with Allan, half consoling him, half trying to convince him that he should not feel guilty for not being right there by his side at the end, to say goodbye to probably his closest friend.

We knew Richard would not be able to survive his bouts with illness for too much longer. But we're still sad to see him go, especially Allan, understandably. I just went through some of the e-mail conversations Richard and I had, and looked at photos I'd taken of him with the kids on some of our visits. I told Allan we should go to Raf's for fish and chips on Sunday at Crescent Beach, because that was Richard's favourite thing. He really looked forward to when I would drive out there with the bambinos and we would split a massive piece of halibut and chips. I'm glad Richard introduced me to that place and we were able to shoot the ocean breeze together over a mutal love of Raf's tartar sauce. Even if he had tubes up his nose and the kids had ketchup smeared all over their little faces. There is something still very poignant about that, and the image is imprinted indelibly in my mind.

I've been studying the philosophy of life and death since September, and I think the academic approach has made it easier to deal with those two subjects. I've thought about it a great deal while reading the texts and writing three papers. At the very least, I felt I had something constructive to say to Allan to help him feel better about missing out on an opportunity to say goodbye, even though I didn't get this idea directly from readings or discussions. I compared it to the phone call we were on -- I told him the goodbye isn't so important, it's the hello and the conversation you had beforehand...

Melissa and Michael harassing Richard.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

I haven't posted for over a week... I have a Philosophy paper due tomorrow and all I want to do right now is to go to sleep for a hundred years.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Science World

Melissa and I hit Science World today!

Melissa at Science World

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

How do you know when you need more sleep?

When you dump a massive cup of coffee in your lap in class while you're sitting in the front row and spend the next hour trying to dry yourself discreetly while trying not to distract the professor, reeking of denim latté, then sneaking out at the end of class strategically holding a rucksack to hide the embarrassingly large wet spot between your legs and forgetting your digital recorder on the speaker's stand...

That's how you know...

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Calgary Debriefing

Monday night. Kristin and I just ate enough fondue for 5 people, just between the two of us. We gorged ourselves. We had to, after an evening like this... for the second time, Kristin and I missed each other at the airport! I thought last time was bad, but this time I waited at the airport for nearly 2 hours! Kristin and I just couldn't find each other...

Calgary cousins

What a day! Met with the cousins for lunch, at 4th Street Rose. Ron, Ritchelle, and Gin all made it and I played raconteur for a couple of hours. It was great to see them again, and after I dropped Tyrone off at his office I went straight to the airport to return the rental car and make sure I had plenty of time to make the flight. I was so knackered...

It's been an interesting long weekend.

Tyrone and Chris in the cable car


Saturday, November 09, 2002

Calgary Saga

When I finally made it to the gate via a circuitous route I breathed a sigh of relief. But I wasn't the only late arrival -- in the end, by the time the plane took off at 9pm, it was delayed 45 minutes. Apparently it was waiting for another plane of connecting passengers, then the computer that generated tickets was giving out more boarding passes than seats on the plane. I hit a rather embarrassing snag when my bag wouldn't fit in the overhead bin. That's one major downside of showing up late -- people just watch you while you struggle trying to put baggage into a bin that a short person like me can't reach without putting the people below into danger! And of course where are the flight attendants when you need them?? Nowhere. After several unsuccessful attempts to close the bin, witnessed by the entire back of the plane, I headed down the aisle to search for some options. This kind woman finally stopped me and mentioned that the outside compartments were larger... crikey, I'm glad SOMEONE spoke up.

After all that, I finally arrived in Calgary at 11 o'clock local time. Talk about a people jam -- hordes of reunited families and friends crowded the airport. YVR seems so spacious by comparison.

I talked the Avis agent into upgrading me from a Cavalier to a Malibu and I set off to find Chris's place, through black ice and blowing snow... I thought, 'Great, from torrential rain to ice and snow...' It was so slippery I had to go at a snail's pace. I found Chris's house and we headed downtown, into more snow. Snow. Great to look at but crappy to drive in. The accident in January is still clear in my mind.

Chris and I found Tyrone at a tavern downtown, playing pool with his teammate, Rob. Apparently Tyrone is playing in an expensive pool league ($240/year + nightly fee!). Karaoke was the entertainment of the evening, and I don't believe I have ever seen so many pub patrons so gung-ho about karaoke!

Let the driving begin... Rob took a taxi home and we drove over a vast, flat plain of residential areas on a mission to find a liquor store for Tyrone, some food for me, and cigarettes for Chris. If you asked me to retrace that route, I would have no idea... with Tyrone backseat driving and Chris telling him to shut up, it was amazing I was able to get us to anywhere.

Will we get to Banff tomorrow? Or will the boys sleep in and Gail slip away to Banff by herself? It's nearly 4am, so we'll see if anyone gets up at all before noon.

Getting to Calgary

It's early early Saturday morning and we finally made it to Tyrone's house. I feel like I've driven from Vancouver to Hope -- Calgary is so spread-out. Although I should be happy I made it to Calgary at all -- I got to the airport 15 minutes before my plane was due to leave! Kristin was doubtful I could make the flight, with traffic so blocked up it took 10 minutes to make 3 stoplights. I was pretty optimistic until we reached the end of Granville Street -- and I thought "home free!" -- and realized that the cars were bottlenecked at Marine Drive. And it was already five minutes to 7 o'clock.

My very first flight on Air Canada, and I nearly missed it! The last and only other domestic flight I've taken was when I was 18 years old and living in Banff, and it was the same city pair, Calgary to Vancouver. This was long before the YVR domestic terminal was renovated, and I remember even now that it was in dire need of a wrecking ball. Unrecognizable now that it's all shiny and new.

A bit of anxiety set in when the Air Canada express check-in kiosk immediately rejected my request and I found a queue of people waiting for counter service. The clock was ticking past 7 o'clock and I hadn't even checked in! I managed to take my reject notice to an agent and there was yet another hiccup when he had difficulty getting me a seat. After the speediest AIF credit card transaction ever came the biggest hurdle: the lineup at security check. It seemed to crawl slower than molasses. I started getting discouraged when I noticed a bunch of people getting their shoes inspected... Then my rollerbag almost didn't fit through the x-ray machine, which, if unsuccessful, would've sent me right back to the service counter.

Monday, November 04, 2002

From 'To Kill a Mockingbird' to Maplewood Farm

The last couple of days have wiped me out!

Yesterday morning was Spanish class, which I feel a bit more caught up on now because I missed last week. Last night I went to see "To Kill a Mockingbird" at the Stanley Theatre with Karen Ameyaw and her friend Lauren. Karen's brother Kwesi played Tom Robinson, and was he ever good! He had probably the best performance of the night. We went out to Earl's after for a bite to eat, along with two of Kwesi's actor friends, both named Dion, one was white and the other black. What are the odds....? Anyway, I ended up sitting next to the extremely jaded and condescending white Dion, who started off with the one question that drives me absolutely bonkers: "So, what do you do?" I'm sure I have told every living soul about why I detest this question, so I won't get into it here. Suffice to say, after debating with him over numerous sociopolitical issues for the duration of the meal, I was not sad to part company. People like him get my hackles up like nothing else.

Today I took out the older M's -- Michael and Melissa -- because it was gorgeous outside. We first went to Maplewood Farm, and I bumped into Jasna and Zoran and their son Simon! I was so happy to see them! We couldn't talk long because the M's were shy but very restless to get to the fun...

Melissa feeding bunny.

When we were at Maplewood Farm, the M's spent much of their time in the rabbit cage, feeding carrots to the bunnies. Michael even tried to feed Bugs Bunny. One new thing we did today was try to get the parrot to talk.


A Day Out With the Kids

While the sun was still burning brightly in the sky, we made a trip out to Ambleside Park, which is right by the beach in West Vancouver. As the crow flies, my apartment is so close by, separated only by Georgia Strait between Stanley Park and Ambleside. There were all sorts of playground equipment there and the M's seemed impervious to the cold air (I was freezing! -- but my gloves and hat were in my car, which was with Allan & Cheryl).

Ambleside Park

We met Allan and Cheryl and Madeleine at my apartment, and I took them to Capers on Robson so Allan and Cheryl could see the variety of food available, especially since Maddy is allergic to everything under the sun. They've got a great deli department, and a section for made-to-order sandwiches, desserts, and beverages. It always takes me so long to figure out what to eat.

La Casa Gelato, on Venables in East Vancouver, is one of the best places to take people who have a widely differing set of preferences for dessert. Or in our case, differing dietary restrictions. Maddy was fast asleep the entire time we were there, so in the end we didn't get her any ice cream, but we got Michael and Melissa two kid cones each (they were free!). It was Allan's first time, and Cheryl's second, so making a decision was a long process.

La Casa Gelato

Friday, November 01, 2002

Dame Edna

Dame Edna was HILARIOUS... if it weren't for Dame Edna as a major part of this evening (my mother's 55th birthday), I would've slit my wrists... why am I always the one to take her out for her birthday?? Because no one is brave enough. That's why.

OK, on to the woman of the evening; strangely enough it was really Dame Edna, and not my mother. I was having a look at her touring schedule, and the Vancouver engagement (11 days!) is in between New Haven, Connecticut, and Minneapolis, Minnesota!! Have a look at a map. Vancouver is a very long ways from both cities. In fact, Vancouver is the only Canadian stop on her North American tour, and it's the only city that isn't on or near the Eastern U.S. Makes you wonder, really.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Seattle (continued)

Here's a continuation of the story of the weekend in Seattle, which I have to post separately since the Blogger server says it's too long:

smallest American hotel room I've ever seen

close quarters

- have a look at the hallway... it's only just wide enough to accommodate the doors! At the left of the photo are the doors to the shower and the toilet. The shower was OK, but if you were a big guy sitting on the toilet, there's no way you could close the door... and just try to wash your hands!

look at the size of this washroom

- the room even had a double bed! There was just enough space to squeeze in a bed between the shower (which was probably a closet before) and the wall with the air conditioning unit.

no stamina Erich -- one late night, he's flattened!

- one thing, though -- we had a great view of the Space Needle and the little bitty garden area from the condos in the next building over.


Sunday in Seattle

Sunday afternoon was spent at the Seattle Art Museum, where I took in the Mexican Modernism exhibition, which brought me back to the Latin American studies course I took at SFU in the summer. So I don't feel so bad missing Spanish class Saturday morning. There was also a couple of other exhibits which were really impressive, particularly one by Doh-Ho Suh, a floor:

Excerpt from the Seattle Art Museum website describing his work:

Suh is perhaps best known for his sculptures that comprise numerous identical objects, including a “camouflage” floor supported by thousands of miniature plastic figures, a suit of armor made of shimmering army dog tags, and wallpaper using some 37,000 tiny portraits from his high school’s yearbooks.

We were totally knackered coming home to Vancouver, but I phoned Allan and Cheryl and found out Alvin was visiting from Victoria, so I gathered up some energy to drive to Surrey. Melissa and Michael were naughty and sent to bath and bed early, while Maddy stayed up late with us and had her uncle and auntie all to herself, for once.

The Tea Party

I'm back from watching The Tea Party at The Orpheum in a rock concert/performing arts event like I've never seen before. It was like going to the opera, the symphony, a rock concert, the circus, and a sitar jam session all at the same time... it was GREAT! They even gave away commemorative CDs on the way out! They are only playing in five cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Québec, and Montreal. Vancouver is the first date. Adrian is going to see if he can see it again in Toronto.

It was a big production -- the symphony had 42 instrumentalists, plus all the other musicians. The soprano, Christine Williams, was a major stage presence with her wild blonde hair and fuschia outfits.

Phoned my mother this morning and offered to take her to see Dame Edna on Thursday, which should be a riot.

Monday, October 28, 2002

The Lowdown on the Weekend in Seattle

Back from a weekend mostly in Seattle. I booked tickets to see Janeane Garofalo on Saturday and dragged Erich down there to see her. What a good sport he is. I tried to get Erich to go on a road trip to San Francisco a few years ago, but he couldn't go... we're finally doing our first road trip in 2002! It wasn't far, but it was a good little getaway.

Fondue night last Friday was a hit... so much so that I slept right the way through half of Spanish class, so I decided to skip the rest of it and listen to the tapes in the car on the way south. Thankfully the border wasn't busy and the guard was fine with us, because I made a reservation at the Wild Ginger for 5 o'clock... that place is so busy, there was only a 5 o'clock and 9 o'clock sitting left! It was well worth the speeding down, though (only in hindsight since we didn't get a ticket), because their Asian menu was quite extensive.

We had just enough time to find the Paramount Theatre, which was only a few blocks away from our hotel, The Vance. Maybe it's because I booked through Expedia's special rate, but we got the SMALLEST hotel room I have ever seen in an American hotel!

After Janeane Garofalo -- who was pretty good but I think that she was better in Vancouver, since she didn't use notes and seemed to have a stronger connection with the audience -- I took Erich to the Baltic Room, where Serg and I had been together once before. We stayed there right past the Daylight Savings Time conversion before going on a search for something to eat. I tried to find the 24-hour restaurant on Broadway that Serg and I ate at before in the wee hours, but someone in front of Taco Bell told me it had moved a year earlier. The taxi driver said Minnie's had better food than The Hurricane, so we took his advice and ate breakfast there. By the time we got back to The Vance, it was 6:30am (5:30 after the time change)!

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Just Another Embarrassing Moment

I can breathe now... the storm is over and I got through it... I handed in my Philosophy paper tonight, and last night I wrote my Linguistics mid-term. I was writing the last sentence of my paper 10 minutes before class was due to start! I honestly didn't think I would be able to hand in anything -- I had pretty much nothing written by this morning and even at lunchtime the situation was looking quite bleak. I don't know if it was adrenalin that helped me find some cohesion and a thread of sense through that paper, but I managed to get a semblance of order in the afternoon and wrapped it up before racing to class in the fog. I am so much like Ross, I swear his writing methods have rubbed off on me!

Last night about halfway through the exam, I was struck by this incredible urge to pee... it was overwhelming and almost painful and I couldn't concentrate! I was so far into the exam I couldn't get up and beg to go to the washroom -- just standing up was a dreaded thought, in case I had to make a run for it (but to have to stop and ask a question!!) -- so I wrote as fast as I could and tried desperately to go through the exam as thoroughly as I could manage. I can't say I was super-confident about my effort, but I was just so relieved to have it finished and ran down the hall!

It reminded me so much of the bus incident from Hamburg to Amsterdam it wasn't funny!

Monday, October 21, 2002

Maddy Turns One!

We celebrated it today, but her actual birthday is on Tuesday!

Madeleine Jane's first birthday cake

ice cream girl

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Erich's 40th Birthday

Returned from an evening at Joe Fortes for Erich's 40th birthday -- we had a great spot with a fire in the middle of the table! It was just like camping, but with a waiter! And no bears!

Friday, October 18, 2002

People From the (Near and Far-flung) Past

Bumped into Carolyn at Starbucks across from the library... I met her on the Hostelling International Chinatown tour from August. And how's this for a blast from the past -- I returned a phone call from Mrs. Berden (her son Daryl was a year behind me in school), who left a voicemail yesterday inviting me to some kind of motivational seminar at the Abbey Arts Centre tomorrow night. Talk about out of the blue, too! After giving her a quick run-down on my life of late, I think she realized that it wasn't worth it for me to drive all the way out to Abbotsford for a seminar called "Take Charge of Your Life"... I told her motivation wasn't really an issue for me!

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Biked to West Coast Air this morning to pick up the report to take to Copytime, and toured through the building sites at Coal Harbour... wow, what a hotbed of activity! The place is going to be unrecognizable in a year or so.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Official Panic Week

We went over Assignment #1 in Linguistics class, and I think everyone was shocked at their scores (I would venture to say marks were in no one's favour). There is a mid-term next week!

Also, I have a Philosophy paper due next Wednesday! Egads! I have not been able to beat this B+ score in either Philosophy course I've taken, and it's driving me bananas... all of my papers in other classes, even the ones where I did terribly on the exams, were A's. There is a certain technique in writing Philosophy papers that I just haven't been able to figure out. Archaeology, English, Latin American Studies, Geography -- all were manageable, but why not Philosophy? Are my arguments really that weak? Are my terms way out of line? Martin Hahn didn't even give any specific comments on my first paper, but I'm too shy to ask him what was really wrong with it. And it's been too long now to ask Patrick Findler about paper-writing from Moral Philosophy.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Thanksgiving Dinner

Joy, Auntie Cris, Auntie Fely

Thanksgiving Dinner was at Dad's this year, since he and Sofie are the only ones with the space to accommodate people. They bought a larger condo upstairs from the apartment they were renting, and it came with an electronic stove they can't figure out! I was glad everyone who was invited could make it, since trying to get people together in one place gets harder and harder these days. Allan, Cheryl, and the kids were sick over the weekend, but they rolled up shortly after I did. Thankfully nobody was vomited on!

Dad and Maddy

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Recovery Day

Oooh, recovery is in order for me today. Went out with Erich last night and got home after 3am. I met up with them at Elixir, a Parisian-style bistro in the new Opus Hotel on Davie Street in Yaletown, then it was briefly to the Roxy on Granville, then to another new place called Lucy Mae Brown, on Richards.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Vancouver International Film Festival

Back from seeing my final opportunity to see another VIFF '02 film. The Festival finishes tomorrow, but Erich and I can't see any evening shows, because there's only one, and it's sold out! I was relieved to get in tonight -- Granville Street was buzzing and there were long queues. My favourite short films (see below) were: The Stone of Folly and Fata Morgana. I also thought Big Shoes to Fill was very creative.


The power of the imagination takes centre stage in this mix of award-studded shorts that explore both the sinister and silly aspects of the brain's foibles. Program includes:

The Stone of Folly
Canada, 2002, 9 min
Director Jesse Rosensweet
Inspired by a Bosch painting, this brilliant animated short is an absurd black comedy about a medieval hospital where the surgeons open up brains to search for the cause of madness. Winner, Prix du Jury, Cannes 2002.

Death's Dream
Canada, 2002, 15 min
Director David Massar
Massar's Leo Award winner follows a man through a landscape of memories after he awakens seemingly unharmed from a serious accident. An angelic woman appears to hold the key to the mystery of this lyrical short.

Fata Morgana
Canada, 2001, 8 min
Director Alexandre Franchi
In this epic musical adventure, the figures in a young boy's game come to life and turn on him, forcing his favourite sword-wielding figurine to come to the rescue.

Big Shoes to Fill
Canada, 2002, 15 min
Director Michelle Porter
The eerie world of the circus is creeping into Jim's dreams. Try as he might to stop it, this penchant for frivolity may be hereditary.

Once Upon a Time on the Beach
Canada, 2002, 11 min
Director Byron Lamarque
In this charming spaghetti western, a boy's thirst for revenge leads him to confront a school bully.

Canada, 2002, 13 min
Director Sjaak Meilink
A fisherman's drawings give rise to a strange, surreal and ultimately fragile two-dimensional world.

The Space Between
Canada, 2002, 19 min
Director Chad Lowe
Vincent Gale and Hilary Swank star in this compelling caper about a frustrated young man and a "stolen" parking spot.

The Brainwashers
Canada, 2002, 12 min
Director Patrick Bouchard
Using puppet animation, Bouchard crafts a creepy and darkly humorous world in which two sinister men, dressed as 19th century chimney sweeps, are injected into a man's head.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002


It's nearly 2am, and I think I've finally got rid of the BugBear virus off the office computers!

Monday, October 07, 2002

Laity Farm

You found me!

Today I took Mister Michael to Maple Ridge to check out Laity Farm, a place I read about in Queue (an insert in The Vancouver Sun newspaper). It's a couple of turns after driving 7 kilometres east of the Pitt River Bridge -- when's the last time I went out that way??? -- but it was worth every penny of the 200 I spent for our visit! It's only open to the public for the month of October, but it's a working farm, and even more interactive than Maplewood Farm in North Vancouver.

Michael at Laity Farm

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Under Another Sky

I'm still a bit stunned. Just returned from seeing a film at Pacific Cinematheque called 'Under Another Sky', part of the Vancouver International Film Festival. Here's the synopsis, pinched from the VIFF site:

Under Another Sky [Les Chemins de l'Oued]

Samy (Nicolas Cazalé), a young beur (French of Algerian descent), is just the driver; he doesn't even know what the "merchandise" is. But then he runs a police roadblock and hits a cop... Paralyzed with guilt, he turns to his mother, who ships him off to Algeria, her homeland. There, Samy is welcomed into his Algerian family--a family burdened with secrets as heavy as his own--by Issam, his first cousin, a stoner who's gotten mixed up with a dangerous crowd. Issam’s sister, Nadia, is pregnant and her husband--who Issam calls a monster--has disappeared. Samy also becomes close to his grandfather (Mohammed Majd), a dying man who refuses to leave his ancestral land even though he knows that the wadis--the ancient wells--have run dry.

Superbly played by a primarily Algerian cast (especially Cazalé, who brings a young Brando intensity to his role), Under Another Sky is an eye-opening film, an atmospheric psychological drama about guilt and fear in a culture torn by war. Young filmmaker Gaël Morel depicts a deeply wounded world, where people can no longer afford the basic virtues of trust and honor, where machine guns determine who is right and who is wrong, where every stranger is a potential murderer. Right up to its shocking conclusion, Morel holds us in his grip, never letting us escape Samy's torment, as he tries to find out the truth about himself, his family and the country in which he hopes to bury his secret forever.

I was glad to make it to at least one VIFF film, since earlier today I stood in a queue for over 20 minutes in a drizzle (ironically called "rush tickets", there is absolutely no rush, just a shuffle of seat-beggars), waiting to get into a Canadian film called "19 Months". Although I have this feeling that if it is any good, it will get picked up for distribution and I'll get to see it eventually. In it I recognize Benjamin Ratner, from The Last Wedding (2001), a fine Vancouver film, and Angela Vint -- Ziggy from the now-defunct Bay Street TV drama Traders.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Seal Spotting!

Back from a bike trip around Stanley Park... I saw an amazing sight in between Siwash Rock and Second Beach -- a seal perched on a rock! In fact, I thought it was a rock on top of a rock, but it turned out to be a seal, lying very still, with his tail up in the air. When he turned to look at me, I was so surprised! I had never seen a seal near Stanley Park before, only in the park, at the Aquarium. I believe it was a harbour seal, but I'm not 100% sure.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Crashed and burned last night... I was non-functional by the end of the working day. But I did manage to get my Linguistics readings done, amazingly enough. Photos from the weekend will soon be uploaded!

Monday, September 30, 2002

Back from a weekend with the small Edwins... Melissa, Michael, and Madeleine.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

Back from an evening on Granville Island with Dean, fellow Hostelling International volunteer.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Flashbacks to Banff

Back from an evening with Lynn Santiago, an old friend from my days in Banff... we live in the same city, you would think we'd see each other more often! We met up at 7 o'clock at The Reef, and I've only just gotten home. We reminisced, her girlfriend Terri (Terry?) came by, and we had a great big ol' chat... we covered years in hours, and talked about places to travel, people I've run into, and of course the "Whatever happened to so-and-so??"

Thursday, September 26, 2002


Oh my goodness, I got the shock of my life this evening. We were all handed back a Philosophy paper that we submitted last week, and on mine was, "This is an odd topic. Why did you write about it?" What??????

Luckily, I implemented the CYA application I learned long ago... yes kids, you gotta Cover Your Ass at all times. I whipped out the e-mail I thankfully printed out and put into my binder, a communiqué between myself and the professor last week. This is how it went:

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, September 16, 2002 11:04 AM
Subject: Re: PHIL 231

The task is very simple: explain the passage, both internally and
externally. I.e.: what is the author trying to establish in the passage,
and how. And how does the passage fit into the author's larger project.


At 11:03 AM 9/16/02 -0700, you wrote:
>Dr. Hahn,
>I'm in your PHIL 231 class and had to leave at 9:00 last
>Wednesday, missing whatever you had to say about the paper which
>is due this Wednesday (18th, although it says 17th in the
>I understand the paper is a maximum of 750 words, based on the
>readings for weeks 1-3: Chapters 1-4, plus the handout "The
>Allegory of the Cave", but in Week 2 in the syllabus you mention
>'Readings: selection in Life and Death'. Are there additional
>readings that you gave which I missed??
>I'm also uncertain what you are looking for in the paper, if we
>are to take a topic and give our opinion, or how a topic pertains
>to daily life... ? I'm sorry to make you repeat this information,
>you probably went over it in great detail after 9pm. This is only
>my second Philosophy class (I also took Moral Philosophy one year
>ago), so I am still feeling very green.
>Thank you,
>Gail Edwin

... So, wasn't it obvious that he didn't read my e-mail at all??? Of course, I approached him afterwards, and showed him the e-mail, and he said, "Didn't you get the handout?" I said, "What handout??" So he apologized and said he would mark my paper.

Jeez Louise. All I can say is, COVER YOUR ASS.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

I used a word today that I haven't used in YEARS: aggro. Such an Australian word, but so apropos.

St. Thomas Aquinas

So I'm trying to slog through St. Thomas Aquinas today. I started to last night, but the words were swimming in front of my eyes and doing backflips. I laughed out loud when I read the intro to the reading: "St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), the author of the Summa Theologica, was the greatest of the medieval philosophers and theologians. He has been since 1879 the official philosopher of the Roman Catholic Church."

Official philosopher? I can just imagine this man dressed in 'medieval theologian' garb, on a marquee for the Roman Catholic Church, the way you see the McDonald's arches on everything for the Olympic Games. Or at Times Square, NYC, at New Year's: "Kodak, official sponsor of the year 2002." So here we go: "Christianity -- brought to you in part by God, Jesus, and St. Thomas Aquinas." Too funny...

Valley Speak

Tonight's LING class was full of people trying to stay awake. Poor Cliff. It wasn't his fault, it was just one of those nights. It's pretty dry material, and it takes a herculean effort to make it more interesting. I passed an article over to him about a so-called dialect expert who says he can tell people from Vancouver because of the "valley-girl" tendencies. I can see that... people here say "like" ALL THE TIME.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Here's a random thought: yesterday, as I was driving to lunch at my dad's, I was thinking "You know what the best thing that came out of the 80's was? Breakdancing."

Family Weekend

So, I'm at my brother and sister-in-law's house, and I've just put the kids to bed. Surprisingly, it didn't quite resemble the mother-of-all-tantrums I was expecting it to be, what with Melissa and Michael deciding early on being put to bed = medieval torture. Post-bath -- and it was not easy getting them out of the bath in the first place -- Melissa was throwing a wobbly about her Pull-ups being on backwards. And she was blubbering on about fish....?? I said, "How could they be backwards?? Minnie Mouse is waving goodbye on the back! That's the way it's supposed to go!" That, of course, was a mistake, since ANYTHING I said was up for argument. (Plus, I didn't really want to argue with her since I've got this major bias against the Disney Corporation. Minnie Mouse shouldn't be on Pull-ups, or anything, for that matter.) For example, if I had said it was night-time, Melissa would immediately say, "No, it's not night-time!!" See, it's all about language at age 3. They've suddenly turned into prosecuting attorneys, and everything is turned into a question. I should be SO PROUD that Melissa knows how to argue with linguistic acumen at such a tender age, but when you're tired and you're putting a screaming child to bed, their budding linguistic skills are the last thing on your mind.

This is what a tantrum looks like. Posted by Hello

I had a bit of a nap this afternoon, but it was broken up into 5 minute increments between times when someone passed by and told the kids to stop jumping on me. Overall, I was fairly oblivious, but REM state was elusive. Nonetheless, I did play a whole lot of hide-and-go-seek, but the kids always hid in the same places, so I used it as an excuse to reinforce counting. And count they did.... I counted, I made them count, we counted together... both kids can count to 10 no problem! I took photos of the relatives and showed them on Dad's TV, showed them my photos of San Francisco, ate copious amounts of food all day long... it was a typical Filipino gathering.

Edwin boys Posted by Hello

Sunday, September 22, 2002

I am so screwed up! I feel like I shouldn't even be living in this time zone. It's after 2am, and I have been sleeping on and off all day. What's the matter with me?!? I managed to get going around 6pm, and decided to skip Guru at the Commodore, to give stopping by Milk (Lotus) -- to see Lynn -- a miss, to opt for a very cheap evening of Thai Away Home and "Insomnia" at Denman. I even read part of my LING textbook at Bread Garden afterwards. Not everything I needed to read but at least I made an attempt to not be a professional procrastinator.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Went to the office yesterday, so when I got home last night, I wanted to do absolutely nothing... which I did!

And tonight, my plans changed a zillion times, but I ended up downloading a ton of songs off the Internet. I'm glad to be changing the mp3 list on my hard drive -- I haven't downloaded songs for ages, so I've been listening to the same stuff over and over. I'm using both computers to download, so I'll have bags of new music.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

So I made it through my first paper-panic of this Fall term. I don't think I've ever left it quite this late -- I was just so stumped. And so tired. But I think the paper I wrote this afternoon was alright and not the stinkbomb I was expecting it to be, considering I only finished the Philosophy readings this morning. As you can see from the posting below, my topic needed strength.

But I sat through tonight's class wondering how I am going to tackle the next paper, worth 30%. The number of theories we're covering in this class are dizzying, and there are people in the class throwing around names of philosophers -- Kant, Neitzsche, Hume, etc. -- like they're talking about pop musicians. Ai ya ya!

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

I vainly attempted to kip for an hour last night before getting into the Philosophy readings for this paper that's due today. Yeah right!! I was so dead last night even two alarms couldn't wake me up. I did manage, however, to wake up just after 6am to do the readings, at least. Now I have to formulate a 750 word paper... I decided to tackle St. Augustine's analogy of words comprising a sentence, i.e. parts of a whole, as compared to the existence of human beings (having a beginning and an end). Egads.

Linguistics, by Cliff Burgess

Thank God I gutted most of the apartment last night -- no more trace of Shaun, and I was totally ready when Ross dropped by to pick up the acetates for the Tembec presentation this afternoon. Ross & Lee have a cleaning lady, so they don't have to worry about an impromptu "inspection", but me on the other hand...! (I'd love to be a fly on the wall when Ross mentions my apartment to Lee.) (Sorry Crazy Chickens, I have no photo of Shaun... and you know I take pictures of everybody... just imagine a really young guy with glasses and a beard and long, matted hair. Your imaginations are fertile enough.)

I'm back from an evening with Cliff Burgess, Linguistics Professor Extraordinaire. I have never heard a class laugh so much before. You can tell people really love the class when almost one hundred people show up ON TIME -- although I must confess I'm one of the consistently tardy stragglers -- and nobody is chit-chatting during three hours of lecture. This is no mean feat!!!

Alas, the evening is not over, for I must read several chapters of "Life and Death" and write a small paper for my *dreaded* Philosophy class. It's not so much that I dread the class, it's just I am so confused. Plus, because of the heavy-duty cleaning and having to oust Sean in the middle of it, I pulled nearly an all-nighter last night and my eyes are begging for some sleep. Even though the lecture was scintillating, I was seriously fading around 8pm (I think I was actually leaning at that point), but luckily I was able to call out an answer to a question posed to the students -- which put me instantly on the "interested student" map -- and gave me a boost of energy. (Should I start a Scrabble tournament??) At least the answer was right instead of wrong!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Shaun is G-O-N-E... one week of him staying here, and I got fed up...

Monday, September 16, 2002

Updates a-Coming

I'm going to update some of my previous posts, but right now I'll focus on the trip up to Kamloops the weekend of August 17-18. That was a whole month ago! I can't believe it! I figure if I leave it any longer, my memory is going to fail me and I'm going to draw big blank later on.


ooof, I'm beat... I'm sending out the Weekly report at the moment, also fixing some minor things on the Monthly report. Just got home from seeing the kiddies in Surrey -- I met up with Cheryl in New Westminster, and we couldn't think of anywhere to take the kids for dinner, so I suggested Earl's. It could've been a major disaster, but it wasn't too bad. Maddy threw some temper tantrums -- she's really good at those -- but other than that, no catastrophies.

Mischievous Madeleine. Posted by Hello

I knew it was going to be an evening requiring energy, so I took a two-hour nap to prepare! I was up until 4:30am talking to the Crazy Chickens, who I roused with a wake-up call on their Sunday morning.

Crazy Chickens. Posted by Hello

Christa drove all the way to Hamburg to meet up with Iris for the weekend, so we took the opportunity to catch up. The call took well over 3 hours! But then I had to wake up 4 hours later to do my 9-12 morning shift at the Downtown hostel. It was my first shift there since last year, since I pledged to do all my shifts at Jericho Beach. Darlene held the fort in the first bit while I grabbed a jolt of caffeine and nourishment at The Dish on Davie St. The shift passed really quickly, even without a lot of questions, and afterwards I headed down to London Drugs to pick up the mug that I left there on Friday night, drilled the staff on cell phones, and on the way home walked right by a little yard sale at an apartment building ... and who did I bump into? Meaghan, who worked a bit for Butler Research when I was there, and also happened to be in Krista's Anthropology MA programme as well. She's moving to Ottawa on Friday! We didn't have long to chat, but the guy who was selling stuff -- Meaghan's neighbour -- had this great Banana Republic messenger bag thing that was just the right size and didn't have any logos emblazoned on it, so I took it off his hands for a tenner.

Krista's farewell dinner at Tanpopo, on Denman St. (Meaghan's at the far left.) Posted by Hello

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Todd's Lunch

I'm already into Sunday morning... anyway, I almost forgot about (earlier) tonight -- saw "Todd's Lunch" at Lind Hall, Granville Island, part of the Vancouver Fringe Festival. The show was terrible! I did not have one single bellylaugh all through that show! The show from last week, "Mother's Milk", was much better.


Haven't written for a few days, so here's what's been up:

Friday, Sep 13:

It was a MUCH better day at work. Miles better. Kevin joined me going back into the city, which is great because we got to have a chat, which is rare since whenever I'm in the office it's rush rush rush. Erich called me from Horseshoe Bay to meet him for drinks there while he was waiting for the ferry to Nanaimo, but my ferry was over half an hour late, so we missed each other.

Went to pick up my travel mug from the Downtown hostel on Burnaby Street, only to leave it on the counter at London Drugs later!! Shaun and I did a grocery run at Safeway and ate some stuff on the beach at English Bay. On the way home along the seawall, I bumped into Raymond, who is also an infodesk volunteer. We stood there with our bags of groceries after midnight, chatting with him for ages.

Jericho Hostel infodesk. At left is Kelly, the Volunteer Coordinator. Posted by Hello

Thursday, Sep 12:

Organized a viewing of "Himalayan Visions and Tibetan Voices" at The Ridge, which turned out to be a big letdown for those who were expecting something IMAX-like in production value. I wasn't one of those, so I wasn't pissed off so much as concerned that SEVA's promotional vehicle would be stalled by major flaws in the presentation. Brian Harris is a great photographer, but he is a TERRIBLE speaker. I felt absolutely no connection with him as an audience member should have with a speaker who declares such a passion for his work, which has been to capture the Tibetan culture on film, something he's been doing for 15 years. I felt the best part of the show was the end, which was a series of photos set to music. I thoroughly enjoyed that part, and could have done without his droning narration. It's a shame, because The Ridge was PACKED to the gills -- I convinced Erich to park early because we didn't have enough time, so we got there before 6:30. It was already sold out, and there was a line for people who were on standby. I couldn't believe the turnout! So that's why it was such a shame that the presentation wasn't up-to-scratch, because obviously there are LOADS of people are interested in Tibetan culture.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Am I in Way Over My Head?

The film "Underground Zero" was great... it was a compilation of 13 films, and they were hard-hitting in varying degrees; many of them stuck indelibly in my brain.

I had to escape out of class in a very inopportune moment to see "Underground Zero" -- we were discussing life and death. I don't know how well I'm going to do in this class, I feel like I'm in way over my head. It's very different from the first Philosophy class I took a year ago, partly by demographic and also the impression that many of the people in that class have taken a number of other PHIL courses. It delves into metaphysics, epistemology, dialectic reasoning, and this is where my head starts to swim... I know this course is good for me, and I'm going to learn a great deal, but realistically, I'm going to have to work very, very hard to get a good mark.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Underground Zero

Went over to Erich's last night to check out the photos from his trip to Hungary.

Tonight we go see "Underground Zero" at Pacific Cinematheque. I have to leave class about 9:00 to make it! Tomorrow night is "Himalayan Visions and Tibetan Voices" at The Ridge.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Today's a *new day*. Yesterday was utter shite. I won't even get into it, but let's just say I'm glad it's over. The weather is great today, and my apartment is halfway to being clean, so that's a good start.

Monday, September 09, 2002

The weather is ABYSMAL, to say the least... downpour pretty much all day, and I'm wondering what happened to our usual Indian summer???

Today was not in our favour... by the time I went to pick up Cheryl and the kids, it was after 4 o'clock, and I spent an HOUR trying to find Crash Crawley's, for the kids. I should have looked at my maps in the car, but I totally forgot I had them!! Where is my brain today?? Even at the infodesk this morning I was having a tough time trying to remember things. That's what I get for compromising on my sleep, although the Scrabble battle was well worth it, and I won the wager, which was a ticket to any show (under $70). Adrian's got to go, too!

Sunday, September 08, 2002

I just took two Edinburgh lads to the airport... I saw them walking down the street from the hostel with their bags in the rain, and decided to turn around and see if they wanted a lift. It seems I've been bitten by this "good host" bug that makes me do things like give lifts to people everywhere (I picked up yet another hitchiker on the Sunshine Coast on the way to the ferry, even though I was running late).

Saturday, September 07, 2002

Met even more people today: Tammy (Tami?), this girl at Will Rafuse's gallery (Joe Average's stuff is displayed there, too), who wanted to volunteer for A Loving Spoonful. I think I talked her into joining up. Then, this guy at the shop called Travel Trunk Imports trunk, whose sister is the owner. There was an album out front, with photos of travel, and he and I talked about travel for a while.

I have been talking to an extraordinary number of people lately, I don't know what it is ... I think it's the volunteering I've been doing for HI, it seems I am always in talking mode.
Saw "Mother's Milk" at this venue called the Bernard Lederer Gallery, an interesting new building that features a waterfall. A one-man show -- Wayne Harris -- gives insight into life as an African-American in the 60's, from the Midwest to California, in stages between childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Here's a cut-and-paste from the Fringe Festival website:

“Sold Out” award winner at the 2001 San Francisco Fringe Festival, “Mother’s Milk” is a bitter-sweet story, populated by Baptist Preachers, Black Panthers and a wino named Saushy Lips. This is a coming of age story set against the background of the Civil Rights movement, breast cancer and a mother’s unconditional love for a prodigal son."
Oof -- another late night, then semi-early morning. I had a shift with Sarah, which SPED by, we were so engrossed in conversation. We helped a lot of people, too, so it's not like it was just a gab session, but we did cover a lot of topics. I'm thinking of having the quickest snooze ever before meeting up with Tom at 1:15 to see "Mother's Milk", a Fringe Festival show.
Returned from watching "Notorious C.H.O." at the Van East and then bubble tea... Margaret Cho is right up there with the likes of Janeane Garofalo. Their styles are totally different, but some of their themes are similar: self-esteem, the unrealistic standards of society, colonics (!).

Friday, September 06, 2002

Thank God it's Friday. These short weeks don't feel shorter, for some reason!

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Tonight was opening night for "The Meaning of Life" with Martin Hahn. I'm happy to discover that I finally get into a classroom upstairs, for a change of scenery. I've had enough of HC1700 and 1530 (?). It's a semicircular seating arrangement, with articulated chairs.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

We watched "Baraka" at Eliza's place last night. It was then I realized that a small TV and no accompanying stereo greatly lessens the impact of this film.
It's the middle of Tuesday night, and I haven't really made any headway into getting this blog site caught up.

LING 110 with Cliff Burgess is miles better than it was with Nina Rasmussen. Night and day different.

Monday, September 02, 2002

Back From San Francisco

Tall Ships Festival
Originally uploaded by gailontheweb.
I'm back from San Francisco... what a weekend! I've got a gazillion photos (which I'm still downloading), and many of them will require explanation.

San Francisco photos on Flickr

Vanessa and Ritchie had a baby girl on August 31st! Her name is Leila. How exciting!

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

David from Prague

Last night I had my first weekday shift at the Jericho Beach Hostel, in part because I wanted to do a shift with David from Prague, who'd been volunteering around 35 hours per week at the infodesk. He's leaving tomorrow to return to Prague, and I wanted to have a chat before he took off. He's been in Canada for 8 months, and two months here at the hostel. I was surprised to hear he'd also spent 3 months here in Vancouver last year! Prague is definitely a place I want to visit, and it would be great now that I know a local!

David from Prague Posted by Hello

Silvia from Munich

On Monday night, I hosted my first 'Global Freeloader' -- Silvia from Munich, Germany. If I had been more with-it at that early hour yesterday morning, I would've taken a photo of her IN the apartment instead of just a tele-photo from my balcony as she was leaving for the airport! Anyway, we had a good time for the short time while she was here. We went up Davie Street for some nosh at the falafel place, then headed back to the apartment. Then I had this sudden craving for bubble tea, so I left Silvia to her own devices and picked up some bubble tea and brought it back. She liked it, but the "pearls" were a bit too filling, and we'd had a lot to eat at the falafel place.

Hopefully I'll meet up with Silvia maybe in Munich, if she's still there, or wherever she decides to live. She was saying that Munich's a pretty snooty place, and she doesn't really feel like she belongs. She's originally from a town near Cologne (ah, home of Kolsch), but she wanted to break free from village life, and ended up in Munich to work in high-tech. That was her career after a turn at being a nanny in England... she must've been there for a while, because her English is superb!

Silvia (taken from my balcony) Posted by Hello
Here it is the day before I leave, and I finally get a hold of Scott Daniels, this guy who lives in San Francisco who offered me a place to stay. I managed to cancel the reservation at the HI-SF Downtown on Ellis Street, and kept it under the 24-hr notice.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Even more catch-up in store!!

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Ross & Lee's Birthday

OK, I'm a little behind... time for a bit of catching up. Why am I awake at 5:20am?? Because I was babysitting last night, and I was so tired by the time Allan & Cheryl came home, I decided to kip on the couch. That kip stretched out longer than I'd planned. I believe this is the first time I've had all three kids by myself -- it's usually been another combination, usually Michael and Melissa, or just Melissa. Except for Maddy rolling off the spare bed in the office and bonking her head on the footrest on the way down, tonight went pretty smoothly.

Last Friday we celebrated Ross & Lee's birthday, right in the middle of the monthly report panic. It was a nice respite, since that day is usually frenetic mayhem. Ross turned 66 on Thursday, Aug 15, and Lee turns 66 on Sep 3, but they will be in Copenhagen at that time. So I figured Friday was a good time. Dave Smyth, freshly retired from the investment business, also dropped by.

birthday desserts! Posted by Hello

Monday, August 19, 2002

Molly & Mugg's Birthday

I'm back in one piece from my weekend in Kamloops. What a riot!

Saturday, August 17:

I crashed and burned on the couch Friday night after a long day at the office in Sechelt. I didn't even have the energy to make it to my bed. I wanted to get up early to get to Kamloops on time, but the only thing that woke me up was a phone call from Adrian on Saturday saying there was an earthquake in Kamloops! I thought he was JOKING, pulling one of his usual tricks!?! But, I turned on the news and what do you know, he wasn't ...

Shellie showed up a little late with her stuff, and I was moving at the speed of molasses, so I left Vancouver really late, around 11:00, to get to Kamloops for 3pm. Then I got *stuck in traffic*. I was starting to get a bit worried when it took nearly an hour to get out of Vancouver proper, because I knew it was 4 hours to get to Lac-le-Jeune, and Kamloops was a good half an hour past there. I didn't want to be late for the party, but I didn't want to get a ticket, either. I stopped for gas after Chilliwack, and ended up picking up these two young hitchiking lads. I thought there was only one, but his friend was asleep in the grass and I couldn't see him.

These two were 21 years old and hitchiking novices. They didn't even have a map! The one who was awake was Soren, and his friend just lay down in the back and went to sleep. They were trying to get from Victoria to Nelson for a weekend party, but took the last ferry to Tsawwassen and wandered around the Port Coquitlam/New Westminster area trying to find the freeway! That took them all night and they spent all morning just trying to get out of the Lower Mainland. I dropped them off at the turnoff for the Crowsnest Highway where it diverges from the TransCanada Highway, and wished them better luck.

I made up some time once I got onto the Coquihalla Highway -- I figured I had better get to Kamloops on time, otherwise I wouldn't be able to find the property where we were supposed to meet and then I'd be wandering aimlessly in the Interior. Can't have that...

So I booted it as fast as I could along the Coquihalla, passing cars on the highway that had broken down and crossing my fingers that wouldn't happen to me.

I called Sherri from the Lac-le-Jeune exit, but my signal was toast... I ended up having to turn down Don & Molly's road and hoped against hope they wouldn't cross my path on their way to somewhere. I made it to Sherri's on time, and we drove to Don Blair's property... don't ask me how we got there, because it was REALLY FAR.

Don's place Posted by Hello

When Sherri told me Muggs and Molly were being flown in by HELICOPTER, I was really impressed ... what a production this surprise birthday party was turning out to be! Just orchestrating any kind of gathering on a large scale took some serious planning, but to keep it a secret within a family as tightly-knit as this one took great care.

The helicopter was late, but when it finally came in, we were all waiting in anticipation. I took it upon myself to take as many photos as I could.

a helicopter filled with suprised ladies Posted by Hello

The ladies were VERY SURPRISED. There were stories flying around about how close they were to finding out, or at least getting suspicious. There were people there from out of town, myself included, who could NOT be spotted anywhere near Kamloops without raising suspicion!

some of the crowd Posted by Hello

late-night tubbing, too Posted by Hello

Kelly & Sherri, the next morning. Posted by Hello