Friday, August 29, 2003

Road-tripping Chickens & a Hetero Aussie Male at Large in San Francisco: Recipes for Disaster??

We are official participants in the HR MacMillan Space Centre's Mars Watch...

Iris and Christa are off to the Sports Rehab Clinic to try and take the kinks out of Iris' body after her first go at a climbing wall yesterday. Hope Dr. Yee can do something for her, otherwise I am going to hear a lot of high-German cursing from the backseat this afternoon as we drive up to Kamloops for my friends' 40th wedding anniversary party. We're also heading from there to Iris' aunt's cabin on a lake a couple of hours north of Kamloops on Saturday. When we asked Iris if she remembered how to get to the cabin, we got an alarmingly vague response... but this isn't the first time either Christa or Iris have been lost in Canada. I'm starting to think they quite enjoy it.

Christa and I bought new speakers for the car last night so we wouldn't go mad on the drive up, but we could only get the driver's side speaker to work (that's all I need!)... Will we go stir-crazy and kill each other?? Stay tuned...

Meanwhile, down in San Francisco, our Aussie friend Steve has been having adventures of his own...

Steve will be in Las Vegas only two days before the chickens, unless he wins BIG and ends up in a suite at the Bellagio. Read his journal here.

Some Bizarreness for Your Friday

For all those Matrix fans out there, here is a new twist on the genre.

Thanks to Jérôme for re-appearing in my Inbox after a very long time to let me know he is still alive and kicking and feeling compelled to pass along pieces of cyber-oddity. It is clear he is losing his mind in northern Frogland and needs to get the hell out. Now.

Broken English

I find when I spend a lot of time with the other chickens (Christa and Iris), my English goes downhill...

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Fun at the Fair

On Tuesday night the Crazy Chickens and Friends hit the PNE, or Pacific National Exhibition held annually in Vancouver since 1910.

From the City of Vancouver website:

"For about two decades, the fair was the second largest in North America after the New York City Fair. Since that time, the site has played host to many famous events including the Miracle Mile at Empire Stadium in 1954. In this now-historic race, John Landy of Australia and Roger Bannister of England both broke the four-minute mile barrier."

For more history about the fair, click here.

When I was a highschooler, I remember receiving a free day pass to the PNE at the end of every school year. It was a big deal to make the big one-hour journey to Vancouver to attend, and all we wanted to do was go on rides.

This time I convinced the others to pay the reduced admission to see what all city slickers should see at least once in our sheltered asphalt-and-apartmented lives:

pig races!Pig Races! Yeehaaaw! Yessiree Bob's Your Uncle, dem piggies go FAST! Until I get some more webspace, I can't show you the video clips, so you will just have to take my word for it. The ducks will never win a land race with pigs, but the crowd went (*pun alert*) hog wild when they finally made it up that ramp and slid down the other side into the little wading pool at the bottom. Apparently, that was all the incentive they needed at the starting gate -- the idea of water at the end. The pigs, on the other hand, were much more responsive to -- you guessed it -- mini-donuts! Dem pigs ain't dumb!

You would have to be a very jaded person not to cheer on pigs with names like Albert Einswine, Magnum P.I.G., Tammy Swinette, and Bacon Bits. Or, my personal favourite, Hammy Faye Bacon.

May was oh-so-brave... she went on the Revelation by herself! Nerves of steel! I couldn't find a link to a photo of it, but imagine being whipped around in a circle on a vertical rather than horizontal plane, and the chair you're sitting in is also rotating... Christa felt sick just looking at the ride. Nobody else would go on it, and I wasn't about to pay $20 for what I considered an expensive thrill. (Oh, for more webspace for video.... maybe if I whine enough, somebody will just offer me some of theirs to shut me up...)

We entered the draw for the new home on Bowen Island and fancy cars, so maybe one of us will win and split the proceeds. We also checked out the Superdogs, a bit of the Zydeco Jam, and ate loads of amusement park food... but since this is Vancouver, the selection went beyond corn dogs and cheeseburgers to curries, sushi, and whipped cream-covered white chocolate mochas. Yum yum.

Eliza and Kristin called it a night after the pyrotechnics and rock-and-roll show called "Bring On the Night" finished off the regularly-scheduled evening, and the rest of us hit Playland. Iris and I managed to score the VERY LAST car on the Wild Mouse ride -- they even turned off the lights!! At first glance it looks like a ride for little kids, but in actuality it's a hang-on-for-dear-life ride because it whips you around so fast you swear the car's going to derail at every turn.

We checked out the gambling tables for a bit, so Christa and Iris could get warmed up for Las Vegas next weekend. Iris has never been to the U.S., but Christa has been all over, including Vegas, and Tuesday afternoon we found them a flight for total $204 with all the taxes -- an excellent deal! The Chickens get to do Vegas, but I can't go since it's Tosca's wedding next Saturday. So much for Free Range Chicken... (that's me, by the way)


Addendum Thursday, September 11

I uploaded the PNE videoclips (all are in Quicktime):

duck race
pig race
May on "The Revolution"

PNE photos

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Cosmic Bowling

Kristin glowing in the dark. Posted by Hello

I took the Eurochickens (the two Swiss girls Kristin and Christa, and Iris, on a 3-week visit from Germany) to Steveston Village on Friday night, then to Cosmic Bowling at The Zone at the Riverport Entertainment Complex in Richmond. What great fun! I'd only heard about it, but have never been, so that was a well-spent couple of hours of silliness. I still laugh when I think of Iris' extremely shaky bowling technique that sent her slipping down the lane, which was so greased that Iris couldn't stand up again!

Monday, August 25, 2003

Editors Welcome

Thanks to Sherri for her friendly reminder on how to spell Liechtenstein... you'd figure I'd get that right because I've been there, but I keep forgetting that Liechtenstein follows the saying "i before e except after c" at the beginning and not at the end!

Are there any other names like that????

Just wanted to make an announcement to anyone out there in webland who views this site that I am open to comments, either in the comment window underneath every post or privately through e-mail. Don't be shy! Just don't ask me for one of my kidneys or to deposit some money into a Nigerian bank to bail out some exiled king.

8 Cackling Women Rafting Down the Squ(e)amish River
(and one wearing this bikini)

I was one of those eight women today... but thankfully not the one who had to wear this! It was Tosca's stagette, and I'm so glad we went rafting instead of the usual drunken debauchery (we could do that anytime). We even had a dude of a rafting guide to keep us cackling like a hen party, riding the waves shrieking and scaring all the wildlife away.

The day started at the rather ungodly hour of 10:00am (it is Sunday morning, the day I try to find all the sleep I lost during the week...and isn't Sunday a day of rest??), when I had to be at Jana's house to meet the others. The plan was to pick up Tosca and carry on to the golf course to pretend that we were taking her golfing. Jana thought the jig was up, since Tosca had mentioned to her one time that she really wanted to go rafting, and Jana's face went beet red. She was convinced Tosca had figured it out, but it was hard to say for certain -- Tosca might've just been suspicious. So they'd arranged for Mike to gather some of Tosca's clothes, but not to get her bathing suit until the last moment.

When we arrived at Tosca's house, she was really wary. She checked out what everyone was wearing, and wondered why we were looking sporty when we were just going golfing?? By the time we arrived at the golf course, I sensed she was a little disappointed, until we opened the back of my car, and Jitka took out a towel. Here's a little video of Tosca's reaction:

Tosca, we're not golfing, we're going rafting!

(you will need Quicktime to view video)

She still had no idea she was going to wear THE BIKINI... that was for later...!

Meanwhile, Mike's stag was on Saturday, and he had to wear a pink tutu, a pink sash that said "Taming the Un-Rulli" (Rulli is Tosca's surname), a pink tiara, and a pair of burgundy granny-style underwear... while riding his bike! Yes, Andre and the others took him on the mountain bike trails and took loads of video. Unfortunately, I have none for your viewing pleasure, nor any photos, so you will just have to use your imagination. A funny scene in itself was big Andre in the fabric store, asking for material for a pink tutu!!

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to Elaho Adventures we go...

We drove to the meeting place to wait for the others before heading off the 99/Sea-to-Sky Highway to the Elaho site. On the way we actually spotted what was probably a bobcat, judging by its size. I had never seen one before, so I was pretty captivated... I think we were all totally distracted. Jitka, Tania, Tosca and I were also too busy talking to notice the two signs for Elaho go by...

We reached the end of the road, and encountered a firegate that was locked, but we couldn't find the car with the rest of our group, so we turned back, wondering where the hell a white Mercedes could possibly hide on a road that was practically deserted??? Tania knew the guy driving the van for the other rafting company, so we stopped them and asked where Elaho was. It turns out we passed it, so we booted back to the spot he indicated, and there was Jana, flagging us down! She told us to catch up to Tina, who was zooming back towards Squamish, looking for us! What a farce! An '83 Volvo station wagon trying to chase a late-model Mercedes! We were just hoping she was stop sometime soon and turn around, but we were practically at the 99 before we saw her turn around to head back. Then, of course, we had to race back to the Elaho site, since everyone was waiting for us.

We were given a lesson about the gear we had to wear before suiting up and climbing into the bus that took us upriver. Some in our group hadn't been rafting before, and were a bit nervous about the whole thing. They should've called it the Squeamish River. A good 15 minutes of safety instructions followed once we got to the bridge that marked the start of the rafting run, which made people even more nervous:

- what to do if you fall out
- what to do if somebody else falls out
- the defensive swimming position
- the offensive swimming position (*the only offensive part I can muster in my swimming technique is showing how bad it is*)
- what to do if the raft tips over
- what to do if the raft tips over and you are trapped underneath
- etc. etc. etc. (there are LOTS of et ceteras!)

(Tosca was just given her bikini to put over top of her wetsuit, which made her totally embarrassed, but the laundry list of safety remarks erased it from her mind momentarily). Then, once we got INTO our raft, we received another set of instructions on how to follow instructions from our illustrious leader, Mike. We had paddling instructions, instructions on leaning, moving from one side of the raft to the other, and by this time we'd forgotten everything except "paddle forward." Which was pretty obvious within a few minutes, once we hit a patch of churning water...

When Mike called out "over right!" we all just looked at each other! So much for paddling! Another instruction we just couldn't get straight was the one for the right side to paddle backwards and the left side to paddle forwards... and vice versa. Poor Mike.

Lucky Tosca and Jana were put in the front of the raft, which was the wettest place to sit, so they bore the brunt of all the big waves... and some of them were PRETTY BIG! There were some places the raft went so high, the paddles couldn't get anywhere near the water!

We stopped for snacks at one point, and when the waters were calm, we just enjoyed nature and let the views sink in. Between the glacier, mountains, and forest, and the river carrying us along, we were in our own little paradise. Except for all our cackling, it was pristine. Mike told us stories and cracked a lot of bad jokes, which backfired on him when he told us this punchline: "Is it moosecock?" (don't ask) After that, we christined him MC for "moosecock" and it was MC for the rest of the day.

At the BBQ after the rafting trip, Mike seemed to forgive us, since he graced the end of our dining table. What a dude.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Billy Connolly Publicity Stunt or Just a Painfully Embarrassing Moment? You Decide

I confess: Ananova's Entertainment section holds great appeal for me. So does Billy Connolly. One of the funniest shows I've ever seen was a series he did about his home country of Scotland. In retrospect, it may have been funnier because at the time I'd been living in Scotland for nearly two years, I was watching the telly with Scots, and I was familiar with some of the places he talked about, but I still think I'd find it funny today. Everyone in the flat watched it religiously every night during the week it was on, howling until the point of tears and falling off the settee in the kitchen. I kept telling myself to buy the video, but never got around to it. (Note to self: must hunt for DVD)

I stumbled upon this little gem and wonder what else Billy Connolly's been up to lately:

Ananova - Billy Connolly gets penis stuck in zip on plane

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Went to a Bridal Shower Last Night...

... my cousin Tosca is marrying my former BCIT classmate Mike, five years after they met at my apartment at a party I threw for the annual Fireworks in English Bay. Their wedding is on September 6, and I'm giving a speech!

I've never been to a traditional bridal shower before, I've only heard stories about what people do. So I did some surfing around to read about how these traditions came about, and came across these:

Bridal Shower Basics
Bridal Shower Legends Stories

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

The Office Meeting From Hell, The Pervy Flatmate... and Other Difficult Situations

... the Office Meeting From Hell was today (Tuesday morning, now that it's technically Wednesday).

I would say that was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do: tell a superior about her shortcomings... Ever had to come up with diplomatic ways of saying "Sometimes you're a b*tch to work with, to put it mildly." No? Lucky lucky you. It's not fun. I don't like doing it. I hope I never have to do it again.

Then I thought of an example in the past of something else I had to do that was difficult: When I was 22 and living in a shared flat in Edinburgh, Scotland, one of the flatmates was this French guy from Bordeaux who wouldn't look a woman in the eye when he was talking to her, only her chest. Unfortunately, I was appointed as the flat spokesperson (oh joy of joys) to tell him to get the hell out cos he was a perv. It was a democratic vote, so I can't say I was coerced.

How do I get into these situations?? Should I be working for the UN??
Needless to say, telling a pervert that he is a pervert is about as easy as explaining to a nudist why running around with no clothes could be a problem.

Boobs Bordeaux: "Pervert? What's a pervert?"
Gail: (frantically scanning her brain for the French word for pervert) "Um... I mean, my female friends come over here and you stare at their chests while we sit at the table. It makes them uncomfortable."
Boobs Bordeaux: "Why? What's the matter?"
Gail: (thinking to herself, 'you mean, what's the matter with the breasts, or, shouldn't you girls be glad for all this attention?') "Look, obviously you don't think there's anything wrong with that, but we're not putting up with it, and everyone thinks you should move out."
Boobs Bordeaux: "Why?? What did I do?? Why should I move out?"
Gail: "Because you're a pervert!"
Boobs Bordeaux: "I don't know what you are talking about!"
Gail: "Look at my eyes when you're talking to me! That's exactly what I'm talking about!"
Boobs Bordeaux: "Are you crazy? I am just talking to you!"

... and so went the gist of the so-called explanation. I could see his eyeballs twitching from the probable strain of trying to keep his eyes from wandering south.

What was unbeknownst to Boobs Bordeaux was that for days the rest of us in the flat had been desperately trying to figure out how to get rid of him.

One afternoon while he was out, Gordon, Gillian and I ransacked his room, looking for incriminating paraphernalia by which to claim grounds for banishment. We looked for porn (although that was too weak an excuse, that's how desperate we were), and we became giddily excited over some syringes, which we discovered were for something benignly medical, like an ear infection or something of the sort. I think we were peering underneath his bed when we heard the sound of a key in the front door.

Ever seen the Keystone Cops?

If you have, you don't need your imagination. Otherwise, imagine three people banging their heads together trying to get out from underneath a bed as fast as they can, bolt for the bedroom door, only to smack into each other in the mad scramble to get out...

Aaron, our other flatmate, was standing in the hallway, incredulous at the sights and sounds of Gordon, Gillian, and Gail in a flailing heap outside of Boobs Bordeaux's bedroom: "What the hell are you guys doing???"

We could NOT STOP LAUGHING... we were laughing so hysterically Aaron thought we'd lost our minds. I guess we had, there, for a moment. The moral of the story (and I have to tell you the moral right now, because I have to be up in 3.5 hours) is that the best way to deal with a difficult situation is just to get the damned thing over with and not carry on like silly, cowardly people. Which I can say because YOURS TRULY had to "do the dirty" at 22 and 31, and I am still no good at it!!

Monday, August 18, 2003

Help! Need More Webspace!

I'm calling out to anyone in the net-erlands (nutterland?) to ask about how to find cheap or -- better yet free -- webspace. I've nearly maxed out my limit on Telus, and the best rate I've found so far is with an outfit charging USD60 per year. It's not extortion, but maybe I can do better than that? I've got great video clips that I can't share with people unless I burn them onto CD.


I admit it. I blushed big-time when I read this comment earlier today. Later, a posting showed up on lesterblog and it made me contemplate the idea of reciprocity in blogging, or what I now call bloglooping. It also made me think that **Cookie Monster** (who shall remain nameless, but whose mugshot is available in the Yahoo album) might become more paranoid now that a bit more of the web world can read about their shenanigans on **Sesame Street**. **Elmo**, if you are reading this, I hope **somewhere beyond the rainbow** is soundproofed... otherwise, you will have to muzzle **Big Bird** when he comes over.

One day I will tell my nieces and nephew just how much fun Sesame Street can be!

Filipinos: The Only East Asians Who Don't Know How to Use Chopsticks

I took my cousins to Guu, a Japanese tapas place on Robson Street, and they were too embarrassed to ask for forks. I said I could ask for forks, but suggested that they just try to use the chopsticks. Maybe we "Flips" (as many Filipinos in North America call ourselves) are just too self-conscious for our own good. After a few dishes, though, Marion and Marlo were able to handle enough food between those two slim pieces of wood to fill themselves right up. No problem!

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Jason the Bartender

Jason in his favourite position? Posted by Hello

Jason played bartender last night for Christa, Kristin, and me. He was pretty generous with the ratios, which I didn't notice but Christa sure did! She was thankful later that home was just down the hill.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Education Shouldn't Be Just About Getting a Job. But You Still Need to Pay for All That Education Somehow.

I couldn't help myself. I jumped into the Soundoff comments section of the aforementioned Vancouver Sun article. This time I'll be smarter and cut and paste in my comments, instead of putting in the link, which eventually gets broken when the topic dies down.

Name: Gail
Occupation: f/t working student
Location: Vancouver

Here's something Gordon Campbell would never have said during the Olympic bid: "Whistler/Vancouver is proud to host the 2010 Olympic Games. We have no shortage of highly-educated labourers with huge student loans to fill the thousands of mostly temporary jobs, and who will live in the low-rent housing that remains after the athletes go home..." That's a pessimistic view, but the current BC government is all too ready to point their finger at the NDP's shortcomings when they should be doing more to create jobs and stimulate the economy than depend on the Olympics. Otherwise, the "brain drain" often cited by the Fraser Institute will become an even greater reality for those in BC, especially when the Games are over and the bills pour in. The BC Liberals won't be able to blame an exodus of the skilled and educated on anyone but themselves.

I added this post later, after reading people's comments complaining about immigrants:

I have to add: blaming foreigners or immigrants is not the answer, but it seems to happen whenever people need a scapegoat. International students pay 3x the tuition of BC residents. I did not compete with any international students for my space at SFU, my application was judged by reference letter, CV, and academic merit only. Anyone who is familiar with Canadian immigration policy knows how difficult it is to get into this country independently without education. I have met a lot of office cleaners, taxi drivers, and security guards with graduate degrees from their home country -- they are not collecting welfare or taking advantage of social services, they work and pay into the system. Many immigrants are from countries where competition is survival, and they're just happy to have a job, so they'll take ones BC residents won't touch. It is in everyone's best interests to strive for a better economy -- no matter where you're from.

BC university tuition increases

Got a nasty shock the other day when I checked my SFU tuition fee statement...

That's right. Starting next month, I will be paying 30% more tuition that I did this term. This is on top of the 30% increase after spring of last year. While this means I probably won't be going east on holiday this fall, it means much more to the student who isn't working.

It's bad timing on my part not to pursue a university education during the N.D.P. government's six-year rate freeze, but as one of the Soundoff commentators posted, during this time there was an exodus of B.C. instructors to the U.S., where salaries were higher. It seemed the BC institutions, with lower funding, couldn't afford to keep them.

I believe education is an investment, however, the powers that be (B.C. provincial and municipal governments) MUST DO MORE to create jobs IN B.C. and maintain some controls on the cost of living here so that graduates are not driven away.

Kids Today Have It So Easy

Thanks to Shellie for this little reminder of how old we are getting :)

When I was a kid adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning uphill both ways through year snow; carrying their younger siblings on their backs to their one-room schoolhouse where they maintained a straight-A average despite their full-time after-school job at the local textile mill where they worked for 35 cents an hour just to help keep their family from starving to death!

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!


Now that I've reached the ripe old age of thirty +, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today.

You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a Utopia!

And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet--we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves!

And there was no email! We had to actually write somebody a letter--with a pen!--and then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!

And there were no MP3s or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to go to the record store and shoplift it yourself! Or we had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over some part of it and f*ck it all up!

You want to hear about hardship?

We didn't have fancy sh*t like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal! And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was it could be your boss, your mom, a collections agent, your drug dealer, you didn't know!!! You just had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

And we didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation videogames with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like "Space Invaders" and "Asteroids" and the graphics sucked a$$! Your guy was a little square! You had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever! And you could never win, the game just kept getting harder and faster until you died!

Just like LIFE!

When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium seating! All the seats were the same height! A tall guy sat in front of you, you were screwed!

And sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 20 channels and there was no onscreen menu! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! And there was no Cartoon Network! You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning... We had to wait ALL WEEK, you spoiled little bastards!

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy.

You're spoiled, I swear to God! You guys wouldn't last five minutes back in 1984!

Chickens of the World RE-Unite

Iris rang this morning... she booked a flight to Vancouver!

MRQE: Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

Saw the film Dirty Pretty Things (2002) at Fifth Avenue this evening, the first movie I've seen since "Spellbound" so long ago. It wasn't a great movie, but it was engaging. I just couldn't buy Audrey Tautou as a Turkish Muslim woman, though... her accent was pretty muddled.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Remarkable Quotes From Some Remarkable Jews

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. ---Woody Allen

My father never lived to see his dream come true of an all-Yiddish-speaking Canada. ---David Steinberg

Too bad that all the people who know how to run this country are busy driving taxis and cutting hair. ---George Burns

I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up. They have no holidays. ---Henny Youngman

Don't be humble; you are not that great. ----Golda Meir

It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it. ------Sam Levenson

I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in fourteen days I had lost exactly two weeks. -----Joe E. Lewis

I have enough money to last me the rest of my life unless I buy something. -----Jackie Mason

Most Texans think Hanukkah is some sort of duck call. -------Richard Lewis

The time is at hand when the wearing of a prayer shawl and skullcap will not bar a man from the White House, unless, of course, the man is Jewish. -------Jules Farber

Even if you are Catholic, if you live in New York you're Jewish. If you live in Butte, Montana, you are going to be goyish even if you are Jewish.. -----Lenny Bruce

The remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served us nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. ----Calvin Trillin

Let me tell you the one thing I have against Moses. He took us forty years into the desert in order to bring us to the one place in the Middle East that has no oil! -----Golda Meir

Even a secret agent can't lie to a Jewish mother. ------Peter Malkin

Humility is no substitute for a good personality. ------Fran Lebowitz

My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me. ----Benjamin Disraeli

God will pardon me. It's His business. ----Heinrich Heine

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which you put your money in your pants pocket and give your coat to your creditors. ----Sam Goldwyn

A spoken contract isn't worth the paper it's written on. ----Sam Goldwyn

Marriage is a wonderful institution. But who wants to live in an institution? -----Groucho Marx

A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it. ----Oscar Levant

My Big Project of the Next Few Months

... until the Fall Term starts in a few weeks, anyway...

The H-R P-R Party website is nearly finished. Claire got hacked into yesterday, so it was a bit of a setback, but not a big one.

I'm expecting at least 200 people. I've booked the ballroom at the Renaissance Hotel, blocked out rooms, worked out a provisional banquet menu, and I've been working on the website with Claire. Things are shaping up. Much to do!

Stupid Mistakes. You Know the Ones.

Just when you thought you had 'em licked, they show up on exams and bite you on the butt. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's because exams and I just don't get on. Let me give you an example. The first linguistics exam of the term (they are all multiple choice questions), I found a particular 9-question problem too easy (this professor likes trickery, I didn't think he would let it be this easy), and horror of horrors changed all my answers to that problem. Needless to say, that is clearly Stupid Mistake #1 in the "Top 10 Stupid Exam Mistakes." You'd think I'd have learned this lesson in bloody high school.

Even more stupidly (if that is indeed an adverb), I noticed some of the questions from exams 1 & 2 showed up on the final exam, and a couple of the ones I had right on the other exams I marked incorrectly on the final! What's the matter with me?? Am I out to prove even more how much I am my own worst enemy???

Monday, August 11, 2003

Two Down, One to Go

The Linguistics final exam is Monday night (I guess that's technically tonight), and I haven't started studying yet...

Christa and I arrived home from Monsoon Restaurant (Asian fusion) on Main Street at 10 o'clock. We've had a full couple of days. On Saturday we cleaned the apartment because I didn't want people to come over for fireworks in the state that the place was in!!! It was a biohazardous disaster area! We managed to both clean and eventually eat, but not without some friendly bickering over chores. Steve Savage had arrived in the afternoon from his stint in Surrey with his first host family while we were at the tail end of our domestic whirlwind. He came by to drop off his backpack before heading off to meet another contact from Olympia, Washington, who was in Vancouver for the weekend. So Steve headed up Burrard Street, and Christa and I headed over for some low-brow chow at Carlos 'n' Buds on Pacific. I'd pulled out the vacuum cleaner, but Christa would have none of it -- she gave me a loud ultimatum, and I wasn't about to argue with her any longer! She was hungry! As for me, earlier I'd taken some bites out of the fantastic birthday cake that she brought home on Friday night from a party in Burnaby, so I wasn't as ravenous.

When we came back, we finished up the apartment, and I was wondering where Tara was... she'd called while we were at Carlos 'n' Buds, and said she was coming over with her sister, but maybe she forgot where the apartment was??? Or got stuck in the crowds coming down to English Bay and gave up?? Anyway, Steve showed up about 10 minutes after the finale started, and Erich and Caroline showed up about 10 minutes after that.

I read the announcement online in the Vancouver Sun that China won, by the way... Canada was a distant third behind the Czech Republic, the Sun reported that Canada had major computer glitches.

Steve crashes hard.
We hung out on the balcony for a while, talking but Erich and Caroline had to go back to Canada Place to get Erich's car, so they didn't stay late. Meanwhile, Wayne, my neighbour from two doors down the hall was picking up stuff from his car, so we invited him for some sangria. We all sat out on the balcony, chatting and drinking, then Wayne called it a night. By this time Steve was almost incomprehensible -- he'd been up since 5:30am, and could barely keep his eyes open. Christa was feeling crappy from the weather change (too windy), so she was ready to hit the sack. So I was the last one standing at 2am!

Christa set up her rolling bed by the closet, and I dragged Steve off to my bed and slept on the couch, since I'm the shortest (which Christa often points out, but in reality it's by probably less than an inch).

Morning came all too quickly, but we all finally got ourselves moving and showered and dressed to head off to Horseshoe Bay, which was flat out busy. Steve was taking the ferry to Nanaimo, and we barely had time to order food for him before he had to make a run for the ramp. We quickly said our goodbyes, and Christa and I remained to finish our brunch.

Auntie Fely
Then it was off to Stanley Park, where there was a BIBAK picnic, and Christa experienced her largest gathering of Filipinos ever.

I met my cousin Marlow for the first time in nearly 20 years, and I think she was quite shocked at the beginning, trying to reconcile her memories of a 12-year old kid with a now-31 year old. Some aunts were there, and Melissa was happy to see her Attie Gail. Dad wanted to take them sightseeing (cousin Mishael's wife was also there, visiting from Penticton, but I can't for the life of me remember her name), so I suggested we park the Jeep at my place and go to Granville Island.

Granville Island
That we did -- a nice wander around the so-called Island, some ice cream, and the requisite photo-taking. They headed home after 7 o'clock, and that was when Christa and I headed off to fill our tummies.

So, here we are again, one last all-nighter before a few weeks of no assignments, papers, or exams!

Saturday, August 09, 2003

When Your Brain Hurts, You Know It's Working

... that's what I keep telling myself, anyway. Yesterday (well, Thursday) I submitted my American History paper by e-mail, and near the end of my working day, which I struggled through since I hadn't slept since Tuesday, I got a phone call from Mr. Savage himself. He'd hitched back from Alaska, and he caught a lift all the way down from Prince Rupert to Vancouver with a furniture moving guy. If you haven't checked out Steve's journal, he's got some amazing photos from Alaska posted. He's a pretty funny writer, too.

Anyway, I told Steve he was welcome to come by, but I was lucky to be able to string a sentence together...

Am I Allergic to Sleep???

It's nearly 4 o'clock in the morning and I'm still awake! I should be clinically dead by now!

I wrote an Anthropology exam today -- well, technically yesterday now -- and I got back my research paper on volunteerism... wooohooo! I got an A!

Thursday, August 07, 2003

The Kind of Personal Record You Don't Like to Set

I've pulled at least 7 consecutive all-nighters. It's official. I've seen both dawn and dusk every single day. I'm really delirious...

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Note: Edited Blog

The little story I wrote on Sunday has been changed...

I have the best employers...

... they came by a little while ago to take a food order from me. They went to Pier 17 in Davis Bay and brought me back two coffees, a freshly-made avocado and roast beef sandwich, and Espresso Flake ice cream!

They also told me that they don't expect me to work tomorrow. They said if I end up pulling another all-nighter tonight, that I should just go to the cottage and sleep and make sure I leave for the ferry by 2 o'clock. They are the best!

Monday, August 04, 2003

BC Day

Oh goody, here it is, BC Day and aside from being under self-imposed exile on the Sunshine Coast, it's looking OK. At least I started it out right -- a nice brunch with my employers on their sunny deck. I am so happy to be eating real food that isn't from either a convenience store or a drive-thru window... The Sunflower Cafe, the place I normally get food from, decided to shut down early the past couple of days, leaving me to wander weakly through the dangerous streets of Sechelt on a food mission.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Queen of Procrastination

I am now going to prove that I can procrastinate just as well on the Sunshine Coast as I can on Beach Avenue. I just started a comment posting capability on my blog, so all you beautiful readers can now give feedback! Is that a good thing???

I am Man: Hear Me Roar

**new edition posted noonish Tuesday, August 5. To all my friends, 99% of whom had no idea who these people were in the first place: names and details have been changed [see asterisks **] to assure anonymity to those who fear of being hunted down by a pack of stark raving mad gay male stalkers with a fetish for black lace thongs**

Well, how appropriate... I saved that last post to talk about the male ego.

And on Friday night I sparred with four of them: a Norwegian, an Aussie, a Newfie, and an Edmontonian! (That sounds like the beginning of a bad joke!) When I arrived home at 4:30am from two back-to-back parties, still alive after a week of sleep deprivation, I contemplated the absurdity of the past five hours or so. Friday itself was a very full day, to say the least. I did more in this one day than I could possibly recall, so I spent almost two hours reviewing it by downloading the photos and video off the camera.

I'm sitting in Kevin's office in Sechelt. Yes, Sechelt. I can't believe I'm here on a holiday long weekend when I could be at home, continuing my social streak. But alas, I must try to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the academic hat and write a paper in American History that's worthy of 30% of my final mark.

By far the most amusing part of Friday, aside from maybe a few choice moments during the Kiddie Roadshow (PhotoJam available as of an hour or so ago), was the little gathering **somewhere beyond the rainbow**. After the Swiss Day BBQ at Bernie and Martine's in New Westminster, Kristin and I drove back downtown. When I dropped her off, she invited me to have a look upstairs at **Cookie Monster's** new place. She told me before that the view was amazing, and it really was... it's **just like the palace of the Wizard of Oz**, and it's about twice the size of my apartment. Kristin and **Cookie Monster** were supposed to go to a going-away party at **Never Never Land**, but there was a slight misunderstanding and neither of them were fit to drive there. I offered to drive them, but they didn't look so enthusiastic about going, so we just ended up hanging out with the others -- namely, **Elmo**, the official homeowner, and **Elmo's** friends **Big Bird** and **Snuffleupagus**. I was mystified with **Big Bird's** accent, and I spent some time just listening to it and trying to figure it out. It's a good thing I kept my guesses to myself, because none of them were anywhere remotely near Newfoundland. I should've known, though -- what a talker **Big Bird**was! There was no mistaking the Irish ancestry! In fact, he broke out into full song, which was really impressive, considering how drunk he was. I was MOST AMAZED by his full rendition of "Waltzing Mathilda" -- we sat silently while he sang all the verses, barely able to see straight but not hesitating over a single word. WOW. Did I mention I was impressed?! I only knew the chorus, and had no idea there were so many verses -- **Big Bird** must've been singing for 10 full minutes! **Snuffleupagus**, the Aussie, was just as impressed!

In keeping with my abundant usage of the word "impressed," I should also mention that I was impressed with **Big Bird's** apparent verbal versatility, that is, he's learning Portuguese, too! He and his Brazilian girlfriend set aside Thursday as the day they speak only Portuguese. Sheesh. It's a good thing I didn't mention I'm majoring in Linguistics. I feel so inadequate.

Speaking of impressed, I think I impressed **Elmo** the Norwegian with my non-linear style of conversational acrobatics. I jumped from talking about the arbitrariness of pedagogy in history to a little country in the former USSR called Tuva to a joke about how only men who are gay can talk authoritatively about the colours on paint cans (as opposed to straight men). What a character **Elmo** is. I couldn't really tell if he was drunk or not, since he wasn't slurring his words and he followed my erratic trains of thought very carefully -- probably more carefully than I did.

Meanwhile, **Cookie Monster** kept making more drinks, there were countless more trips to the bathroom (was the black lace thong on the hand towel some kind of joke??), I kept taking more photos and video, the bantering got louder, the music got louder, **Big Bird** tried to win arguments by simply drowning out anyone who disagreed with him, and during this chaotic display of male ego I completely lost all track of time.

Next thing I know, **Cookie Monster** announces that it's dinnertime. I didn't object, since they were only one step away from alcohol poisoning. We all paraded out of the apartment to **Sesame Street**, my digicam recording all the antics... including a mock scuffle in the elevator between **Elmo** and **Big Bird**, who fell into the elevator wall and broke the glass! Obviously, they never expected the glass to crack like that, and the look of horror on their faces -- captured on video -- was like a couple of Catholic school boys caught red-handed with a porn mag. About as remoseful, too.

Luckily Denny's was **literally down the yellow brick road**, that's how wobbly these lads were, particularly **Big Bird**. After walking out of **somewhere beyond the rainbow**, **Cookie Monster** pointed out the relatively worse condition of a guy who was slumped over the steering wheel of his Jeep. The others continued down the street, and I walked over to see if I could prevent the guy from starting his vehicle and killing himself. He was so pissed, he didn't even notice me poking and prodding him and trying to wake him up. So I reached over through his open window and fumbled around the ignition area for keys. I figured, if the keys were not in the ignition, he was probably too uncoordinated to find them, start the engine or take it out of gear and roll down **Sesame Street**. At least before waking up. I couldn't find the keys, so I thought it was OK to leave him.

Weaving down **Sesame Street**, **Cookie Monster** picked out a flower from a planter and put it behind his ear, while **Big Bird** unceremoniously whipped himself out to take a leak. Yeah, it was that kind of evening. I couldn't even tell if he was consciously standing north to face away from me, or if that was just my luck. After all, I'll happily sit in the second row to watch willies flop about in a choreographed musical, but I am not keen to watch streams of thinly-filtered beer flow forth from one.

Denny's was abuzz with other inebriated folk in a decibel competition. I noticed people staring at my bright blue "Superland" Swiss t-shirt as I grabbed a chair so I would not be held captive in the booth occupied by the others. There was a very real potential for vomiting that I was happy to avoid. A quick trip to the ladies' was met with more breaking of glass as a woman in the first stall dropped a pint glass on the floor. I told the Denny's people tout suite, since I was feeling especially shard-conscious after cutting myself slightly earlier in the day, trying to clean up a glass that Maddy broke at Tinseltown.

I kept filming the absurd conversations that we were having at Denny's, and noticed mid-recording that **Big Bird** had been gone for what suddenly seemed like an awfully long time. **Cookie Monster** went after him, and I was in a time warp, so I really had no idea how long either of them were gone for. After **Cookie Monster** returned, sans **Big Bird**, he reported that he couldn't make **Big Bird** budge, and was rewarded for his efforts by shoe-covering vomit. Lovely. Not to be outdone in volume or inflammatory remarks, **Cookie Monster** declared loudly that at least Canadians took care of each other, unlike the shithead Norwegians and Aussies... which was followed, of course, by the obligatory counter-attack. At some point the heated debate over the stupidity of taking care of drunk people was interrupted by the arrival of the bill, and **Cookie Monster** borrowed **Elmo's** keys to go find **Big Bird**. He even argued with me -- the only sober one in the bunch -- that **only Count Dracula knew his buzzer code**! I was not about to waste my time arguing with a guy who would not remember this conversation in an hour.

**Snuffleupagus** took off north towards home, and **Elmo** and I headed south up **Sesame Street**. I only found out a number of hours later that **Big Bird** was huddled in front of the **Hotel California** across the street, and with help from **Cookie Monster** ended up back **at somewhere beyond the rainbow** as he could not remember where he lived. Well, **Cookie Monster** says **Big Bird** may have remembered his address, but he couldn't communicate it.

Yeah, it was that kind of evening.

Either **Elmo** holds his alcohol very well, or he was just too busy verbally jousting with me to drink at the same pace as the others. Because in an indirect yet articulate way, he apologized for the uncouthness of the evening and hoped that I would not view them as just a drunken bunch of louts. In a show of cheekiness keeping in the spirit of things, I told him not to worry, the evening had not changed my view of men...

(It hadn't. If anything, it reinforced it -- men are competitive in ways that women are not. I'm glad that we don't try to compete with them in these ways, either -- that would be about as attractive as a woman with a willy.... **No, make that Oscar the Grouch with a willy!**)