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!