Sunday, November 30, 2003

The Doctor

For those of my friends who are familiar with who "the doctor" is because I've mentioned him before, here is the verdict as of Friday, November 21, 2003:

New York Cardiologist acquitted on charges of sexually molesting patient

**I don't want to post his name because if I did, anyone who does a Google search on his name will bring up this page.** But it's all over the articles (many of them are pretty trashy, due to the nature of the case, especially the New York Post). Here are more:

New York Daily News: Doc cleared in lesbian grope case
New York Daily News: Teased grope doc? No way, she's gay
New York Post: 'Dirty Doc' Slam
New York Post: 'Breast-kissing' Doc Acquitted
New York Blade: Gay gal foils accused groper's claims

Upon seeing the photos, I am amazed. He's 48 years old and looks exactly the same, even after nearly 13 years. He's like a walking advertisement for what heli-skiing, squash, and the gym will do for you. [Eliza, I told you he looked like Matt Lauer...]

How do I feel about the case? Somewhat conflicted. Did I think he was guilty? I thought something might have happened, but I didn't think he would be so foolish as to:

1) not have a nurse present during the examination
2) do anything that would jeopardize his vocation

I've been following this case since the spring, when I stumbled upon the news of the arrest in February at the website of the District Attorney's Office - Manhattan. What a shocker!! I even phoned the DA's office to find out the verdict, but it kept getting postponed. First it was July, then on and on. I kept checking the DA's website. According to the news reports on the case months ago, he was found not guilty of forcible touching, a misdemeanor. He faced up to a year in jail if he had been convicted, but he was charged on three counts in total. What he did admit to was "inappropriate behaviour," saying that she initiated the activity and it was consensual, but he denied most of her allegations (lurid details in the articles). Apparently, a month after the incident on Jan 6, she was wire tapped by the police and went to meet him at the Harvard Club on Feb 6. There they had a conversation that was secretly recorded and they discussed what took place. The jury rejected the claim by the woman after three days of deliberation and the doctor was acquitted.

In one article, it says, "The jury apparently did not find the patient's testimony credible. Members of the panel did not know [he] was convicted of harassment after a similar incident with a nurse in 1997." It also mentions in the articles that the jury was given information by the defense attorney that the woman was litigious, having filed 6 lawsuits in 10 years, four of them auto-related. However, the jury was not informed about the doctor's court history. Why didn't the prosecuting attorney bring this to the table? Did he not think the defense attorney would bring up her court records? Makes you wonder.

In the New York Daily News: "The woman said she believed it was unfair that the jury had heard about her lawsuits, four of which involved auto accidents, but did not learn that [he] had pleaded guilty in 1997 to harassment after he grabbed a nurse in an elevator at Weill Cornell Medical Center and started kissing and fondling her."

I think this last piece of news might've made the jury think further about the credibility of the defendant as well as the claimant, but then again, maybe not, I don't know. The doctor was more than foolish for trying something with a patient, but to try something that might land him in court for a second time (and he pleaded guilty to the charge with the nurse!) and put everything at risk is unbelievable. He's just asking to get thrown in jail.

I've been tempted to phone him since the spring to ask him point-blank about the details of the case, but decided against it. I figured I would wait for a verdict. Just before I went to New York for New Year's, only days before this incident took place, I mentioned to a friend that I was considering calling up the doctor, but my friend strongly advised against it. He said, "Take it from me, because I'm a guy. If you have no intention of actually meeting with him, then don't call." I didn't, as I could see his point. I almost met up with him (the doctor) when I was in NYC exactly three years ago. I was walking through Central Park one night shortly after American Thanksgiving, and suddenly his name popped into my head. I'd been in touch with him on and off for probably four years, so the name was not difficult to remember, but I hadn't spoken to him since settling in Vancouver, and I hadn't seen him since 1991. There are 12 million people in Manhattan (and Jewish doctors are a dime a dozen, aren't they?), but I was feeling bold and phoned directory assistance... I was able to get the number of his private practice and left a message. I was somewhat surprised he'd remember me after all this time, but I must've made an impression as he phoned me back. After some catch-up conversation, we'd tentatively arranged to meet. I was short on time, so in the end I told him I couldn't. But we exchanged phone numbers, and he suggested I take a train and meet him during a ski-trip to Golden (near the BC/Alberta border) in February. I haven't spoken to him since.

Anyway, now that the verdict is in, I'm tempted again to phone him, but the inclination hasn't been strong enough to do it yet. We shall see. I wouldn't expect him to talk in detail about the case, but at the same time I am very interested to know what really happened.

Friday, November 28, 2003

The Tao of Fish Swimming

Steve F. sent me a piece of philosophy this morning. Steve's a very easygoing guy and played bass in the jazz trio I hired for the party last Saturday night. My brother's known him for yonks and I knew I could depend on him to deliver that night. I'm also very glad they were there as we discovered the hotel's mixer not working after the program started (it was working when we tested it at the beginning!), so I had to use their microphone.

Anyway, here's the article Steve sent: The Tao of Fish Swimming

One of things I'm still recovering from is being an MC! I'm usually the unofficial photographer at events... I run around with my camera and am happy to stay in the background. Last Saturday I lost all feeling to my limbs as I stood in front of over 100 people as the Program Director and was up front and centre for over three hours. Kevin gave me a hand with things as I was running around and announced a few of the speakers for the evening, so I wasn't the only one doing it. But I designed the program (printing it was a bit of a nightmare, but everyone liked what I'd done with it), and I was the one who had contacted all the speakers, so handing the emceeing job over to someone else would've meant I still would have to brief that person on everything. At the end of the evening I was totally surprised when Kevin took the microphone and introduced me, holding a big bouquet of flowers and a gift bag... was I ever stunned! Then I was totally speechless as the entire ballroom of people gave me a standing ovation... no wonder I've been feeling somewhat disoriented all week. Being in charge and being in the public eye for an entire evening made my head spin.

I was going to drive down to San Francisco after Christmas to visit Eric and family (Rob will be there, too!). Eric just relocated to the Bay Area to be the CFO of Banana Republic. But I decided not to go anywhere for this Christmas break so I could devote my time to looking after Michael and Maddy while Cheryl is on total bedrest and Allan is working. Eliza isn't going anywhere, either, while Jason will be East and Kristin is back in Switzerland for Christmas, so at least I can hang out with Eliza when I'm not with the M's... I can catch up on film!


... a day that continued from Wednesday with no rest for the wicked -- I pulled an all-nighter trying to finish that bleedin' CMS paper, but next thing I knew it was 6:45am and Eliza had rolled up in her little yellow Mercedes SLK and it was time to go to the office. What a day.

I am officially an SFU delinquent who must be made to stand nose against the wall for not handing in a paper on time and possibly losing full marks for it (30%). Normally I would be frantic but my brain just hasn't recovered from all the abuse recently and is refusing to co-operate right now, anyway, after not having had any sleep since Tuesday night.

'Night 'Night

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Party Feedback

... has been incredibly good. Some of the e-mail:

"Thanks for hosting a superb party for Ross and Lee on Saturday night. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and I think that the guests of honour were very pleased to be feted in this manner. You did a great job."

"A big THANK YOU to you, for a wonderful evening on Sat., and all your careful and thoughtful planning and preparations. You did a great job, and I'm sure everyone enjoyed it as we did. It was so appropriate to honor such an honorable pair."

"What a wonderful event last Saturday! Your tremendous efforts paid off beautifully. Lee and Ross were certainly overwhelmed with joy and love. Just fabulous."

There's a fair amount of follow-up, though, and I've been sorting out the hotel bills, the money received, and other expenses. Wow, I don't think I'll be tackling anything quite like this for some time. Only if I didn't have much else going on at the same time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Paper Troubles

How ironic is it that I can't finish a Communications paper because I'm too busy... communicating!

Monday, November 24, 2003

A Couple More Photos

watching the antics

Kevin and Gail

I didn't take any photos during the event, but Claire and Al did, and Claire sent over a few of the photos this morning. There was just so much going on that it's going to take me weeks to piece it all together. In any case, Ross and Lee were so overwhelmed about the whole affair, and so happy and emotional and amused all at the same time, that it was worth every moment of the planning to pull this whole thing off.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Retirement Party -- Finally!

cutting Jane's cake
It's hard to tell from this photo because it's a bit far away, but the cake is designed to look like cross-sections of a tree, and there are chocolate leaves on top. How clever! Their daughter, Jane, made it and she makes the most amazing cakes. The funny part is that she gave them a hatchet to cut it with, too!

Wow. What a party! It was ONE BIG BRAIN RUSH... totally surreal... *although that might be related to only having 2 hours of sleep*... and I cannot believe I missed the moment when Ross and Lee came out of the elevators and saw over a hundred of their friends standing in front of them! Kevin went up the elevator to get them, and I was doing something, so I told him I'd be up in a minute. Then when I was ready to go up I found that I needed a card... by the time I got a card and went upstairs, they had already gone downstairs! While I was in the elevator, I heard shrieking and carrying on, and I knew I'd missed it...

I'll just have to watch the video!

I'm really glad I got my dad and Sophia there to see it all unfold, because I think now they have a better idea of what I do and who I work with. When you spend all week with people (or in my case in the past few years, see them once a week but talk to them all week) you end up seeing them more often than your own parents. A few months ago my dad asked me what my company did and what I do, and I told them about the retirement party. My dad said he wanted to come! I said, 'hey you won't know anybody' and later thought it really WOULD be a good idea for him to meet my employers and see who I spend so much time with. I believe now he has a much better sense of me.

Friday, November 21, 2003

2 Days to Go

This Communications Paper is gonna be late... can't make the post office deadline. I've been flat out this week so the coursework will be compromised. But I'm looking forward to the party -- I am dying for more fun and less work, even though the party will still be lots of work. I'm emceeing, and I'm a bit nervous about it since I've never done it before!! I've been working some jokes in my head and ways to announce people and trying to figure out if I forgot anything. I still have lots to do on it, like the program and more scanning and printing and making videoclips... yikes... gotta go to the office tomorrow...

Finish the paper first.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

3 Days to Go

I'm still haggling with the hotel. I'm a pretty good deal-finder, but I can't say I'm a great deal-maker. I give in too quickly. My dad's good at bargaining, it comes with being from a country where you have to haggle for EVERYTHING. My dad still continues the practice in Canada -- he'll even try to get the Canadian Tire guy to come down in price. Me, I look at tags and if I don't like what I see, I just don't buy it.

Confirmed another speaker today (what a character that guy is), and received the Pogo poster from the U.S. that I'd ordered. Now all I have to do is frame it. For a background on this poster, I copied the words below from the site

(Walt Kelly first used the quote "We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us" on this poster for Earth Day in 1970.)

From the foreword to The Pogo Papers, Copyright 1952-53

"The publishers of this book, phrenologists of note, have laid hands upon the author's head and report the following vibrations:

Herein can be found that rare native tree, the Presidential Timber, struck down in mid-sprout by the jawbone of a politician. Pogo returns to the swamp from a couple of political conventions to find his unfinished business being rapidly finished, once and for all, by rough and ready hands.

With that much information you are about as well equipped as anybody to plunge into the still waters of the Okefenokee Swamp, home of the Pogo people. The activities in this present book were spread shamelessly over the past drought-ridden year. Looking back across the fertilizer, small shafts of green can be seen here and there, while off in the distance wisps of smoke denote the harvesters at work.

Some nature lovers may inquire as to the identity of a few creatures here portrayed. On this point field workers are in some dispute.

Specializations and markings of individuals everywhere abound in such profusion that major idiosyncracies can be properly ascribed to the mass*. Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly. It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation and the desire to join battle.

There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.

The phone was ringing off the hook today. I was on the phone for so long that it died by 5pm, I had to use my mobile phone to make calls.


Haggling makes me tired, but it must be done. The retirement party is only a few days away and I am back and forthing with the hotel. Called Lynn for some advice, and she's helping me out tomorrow once I fax her the stuff.

Went to pick up the car this morning and missed the ferry because I couldn't find the car! It was dark, the map was not to scale and I was hunting in the wrong area. Dropped my hat somewhere. Only a semi-productive day at the office as the UPS backup went on the fritz due to power surges and took down the server twice. Couldn't do anything else but lug the beast home to take to the NMCC office tomorrow. Took 6:30 ferry, bumped into my optometrist on the ferry for the first time in over a year, stopped by London Drugs and bought the Canon CP-200 photo printer from Aria -- somebody else I haven't seen for simply ages -- and returned the car. Found my hat in the parking spot, amazingly enough, soaking wet and covered in dirt and leaves, but washable.

After reading Steve Savage's latest journal update, I discovered he had written a glowing reference for me on the Globalfreeloaders site:

Member references for Gail Edwin
Wed 15 Oct 2003 04:55:00 pm
Referred by: thesavagefiles

Gail's apartment is small, but her heart is huge. If you are lucky enough to be hosted by her, you will meet a warm, kind and thoughtful person. She has a way of making you feel comfortable immediately. Gail works too hard, so try to get her out for a drink or two while you're there. If she is to be a guest at your home, you should have no concerns- she would be an ideal house guest, and you will be glad you met her.

I work too hard, Steve says... !! I agree! Somebody buy me a drink or two...

Here's what I wrote about him:

Wed 19 Nov 2003 04:54:16 pm
Referred by: gailontheweb

Steve stayed here twice, and he can stay here again anytime -- the guy is a model, "no worries" houseguest. Steve has a genuine affinity for people, and I'm certain you will find his company engaging yet unintrusive. Don't let Steve's obvious love for beer and other grog fool you, he has an exemplary work ethic and puts his heart and soul into whatever he turns his hand to, whether it's travel or labour. Have a look at his website and you'll see what I mean:

If you have a chance to host Steve during his world travels, do so -- you will be glad you did.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

If Yesterday Felt Like Monday, This Must Be Tuesday

The day went pretty smoothly. Got the report out a bit earlier today than usual. With less harriedness, too. Got back my Sociology mid-term paper through the mail, and was more than a little bit shocked with the very high mark on the front, along with words of "Excellent job"... was this the very same person who marked my first assignment so harshly??? At first I had to read the mark and comments a couple of times to believe that it wasn't a joke. It was even late (what a crazy week), and she didn't dock points for that. What happened?? Was it because I painstakingly defended my first assignment against her red pen? She went to town with the remarks on referencing material, which I did not reference but wrote as my independent opinion, and spent a lot of time proving that. It may have influenced the way she marked my second assignment, but I am not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Instead, I will take the mark!! There's still the final exam on December 8!

Made some more progress today with the retirement party. Asked the woman who worked at the Fairmont Royal York Entrée Gold floor in Toronto, who is now working at the Chateau Whistler, to present the framed letter from the Fairmont on the night. She was happy to! Then sent an e-mail off to a couple of people who are coming to the party to ask them if they would sing a song that I found on the internet -- it's Julie Andrews' song "My Favourite Things" from "The Sound of Music" but with different words that poke fun at old age. I was going to ask one of the musicians I hired to sing it, but I wanted a woman to sing it Julie Andrews-style. Here are the lyrics:

Julie Andrews Concert for AARP
(Ms. Andrews sang Favorite Things - with these word changes to fit the AARP theme.)

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak, when the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets, and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heat pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pains, confused brains, and no fear of sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache, when the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Monday, November 17, 2003

A Sunday That Feels More Like a Monday

After a much-needed lie-in, I set about continuing the PowerPoint presentation that I started last night and worked on until the wee hours. I'm making a slideshow of all the photos I've collected of Ross and Lee from all different sources and basically digitizing a chronology of their lives. I'd rather be playing with the kids than doing what I consider to be the most boring part of the whole process -- scanning the photos -- but they are meeting their prospective minder this afternoon, and I have much to do... not to mention reading this Communications book that I'm supposed to be writing a book review for that is due on Thursday. Once this party is over on Saturday night, it will be a big load off my shoulders. I had a nightmare last night about it, that I wasn't prepared, and I was totally panic-stricken. It's a terrible feeling.

I still have to send out the Weekly report, and Ross sent along some edits on the Monthly report, which is going to the printers tomorrow. Will it ever end??? I still have to get through final exams. I am so looking forward to Christmas!!!

It was decided yesterday that Cheryl's mum will fly out from Maine next week to pick up Melissa and take her back to live with Cheryl's family for a couple of months. I asked Allan how Melissa felt about it, and he said she is excited, but I don't think a 4-yr old can really conceptualize that sort of time frame. The reason why she's going without her brother and sister is because she's the most independent of the three and can handle it, but none of us are particularly happy about splitting up the children. But it's the best situation under the circumstances. Michael and Maddy will be minded during the day by the wife of Allan's co-worker, who lives in Delta, and Cheryl will be on complete bedrest from this point forwards.

I'm seriously considering taking the next semester off, because Cheryl will need some help in the next few months, plus there's the office transition... Kevin is in the process of buying an unfinished house/office on a property in Gibsons, and before the big move we have to sort out what we'll need and leave behind in Sechelt. Yikes!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Science World Saturday

Picked up Cheryl from BC Women's Hospital (an unexpected overnight stay) and took her to Surrey, where my dad, Allan, and Alvin were with the kids. We fed them lunch and packed them up to take them to what has become my favourite place to take the kids: Science World. They have something for everyone, and we always seem to run out of time no matter how long or how often we go. They change the exhibits often, and the little shows they have on centre stage keep the kids enthralled.

Melissa is far too articulate to pass off as 3 for long, so an annual pass is looking more and more like a good idea.

View Photos

Today we checked out the balloon show, built a few building block towers, climbed a giant wooden frog, checked out a beaver-constructed "house," watched someone handle a baby boa constrictor, launched parachutes, made music with our feet, made black plastic change colours with our hands, built water fountains, sat in a spaceship... whew!!!

Melissa at Science World

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Friday Files

autumn leaves
Friday was a very long day, that began in the early hours after a very late night and fuelled by only a couple of hours of sleep. Actually, I took this photo on Wednesday, but I thought I would post it, anyway, to show you how beautiful the leaves look in the autumn outside my office/bedroom window. It's a comforting photo somehow.

It was a decent day at the office - busy and productive but some positive aspects helped to balance things out. I admit I was dreading it, for the volume of work and the stress that typically comes with these kinds of days. We had to finish the big monthly report, which had our price forecasts for 2004, and I finalized Ross' presentation for the conference in New York. The mobile phone was sending e-mail alert after e-mail alert on the drive to the ferry, on the ferry, and even when I got to the office. The one incoming e-mail that really got the day off to a good start is that my e-mail to the VP and GM of Fairmont Hotel Vancouver was returned with positive results, and they will give me what I asked for: a framed letter thanking my employers for their patronage! What a relief! I then phoned Irene to ask her if her friends would make a giant golden key for ceremonial purposes, and I would have it engraved.

In the afternoon Cheryl called, saying that BC Women's Hospital wouldn't allow her to drive herself home, and if I would pick her up, but I was in Sechelt, hours away. This had me alarmed, but I tried to make other arrangements, and in the end Allan left work to go pick her up while my dad looked after the kids. I didn't find out until I was on the ferry home that they decided to keep Cheryl overnight for observation because the examination left her in a state where she couldn't even walk. If I had known this, I would have left the office immediately and taken the next ferry home, but I didn't know anything at the time.

I ended up missing the 6:30 ferry by probably one minute. I was so pissed off... if it's the usual crew in Langdale, they know my car and they've opened the gate for me. But I didn't recognize the guy at the booth, and I was driving a co-op car. So I had to take the 8:20, the last ferry. I intended on reading my textbook at Tim Horton's, but I ended up phoning Kevin, who had driven to Castlegar to be with his dad, and having a long conversation. Then Melanie and her family showed up, so I talked with her. So much for studying. But my mind was really all over the place, so I think talking to people about unrelated things helped take my mind off some major decisions I will have to make soon.

Thank God for Eliza. Where would I be without her?? After I dropped off my stuff at home, I returned the car to its parking spot at Harwood and Jervis, where Eliza was waiting for me, and we drove to the Hotel Vancouver and I picked up the photos from Jane. From there Eliza took me to BC Women's Hospital, where my car was parked on a side street. By the time I got home I was so totally exhausted I practically passed out.

Friday, November 14, 2003

ALS Society of Canada

ALS Society of Canada

ALS Society of BC

Facts about ALS

"ALS is clearly the most common cause of neurological death on an annual basis."
- Dr. Michael Strong, research scientist at the Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario

? ALS, often called Lou Gehrig's Disease, means Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

? Sometimes it is called Motor Neuron Disease.

? ALS can strike anyone. It can hit at anytime, regardless of age, sex or ethnic origin.

? The usual age of onset is 55-65, but people under 20 have been diagnosed.

? ALS is not a rare disease. Of every 100,000 people, between 6 and 7 will be diagnosed with ALS.

? Between 1,500 and 2,000 Canadians currently live with ALS.

? Two or three Canadians die each day of this devastating disease.

? In at least 90% of cases, it strikes people with no family history of the disease.

? ALS always results in death. 90% of people with ALS die within 5 years of diagnosis.

? A person with ALS can require equipment valued at more than $40,000.

? Nursing care can cost several times that amount.

? The cause is unknown. There is no known cure or treatment that prolongs life significantly - yet.

I made on online donation to the ALS Society of Canada in memoriam of Kevin's mother, and put in all our names. Found some florists in Castlegar today and arranged for flowers to be sent to the house. Sometimes having a vivid memory is a curse. I keep hearing Kevin's mum's voice... I haven't heard it for a long time now because she wouldn't phone the office after her speech began to get effected. But for years Kevin's mum would phone the office, and I would joke around with her before I passed her on to Kevin. I never had to ask who it was, I always knew her voice. One year ago this month Kevin's parents were at the office to celebrate Ashley's birthday with all of us, and his mother was too self-conscious to speak. I made a mental note, and took lots of photos and video. Ashley, who turned 2, wore this adorable pink outfit that Kevin's mum bought for her. I made a CD for Kevin last month with the video and put a jazz version of the "Pink Panther" music as the soundtrack. I can't believe that was only one year ago.

Life is indeed very fragile. Time is precious. Don't let disease continue to take away loved ones. Fund research.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

One Delivery Down, One to Go

Stong's sent along a bunch of flowers with their first delivery! Lovely! Now let's see how Green Earth Organics goes...

I bought loads of Lindt chocolate last night to take to the office tomorrow. After finally handing in that Psychology paper I went and bought a card for Kevin's family and enough chocolate to sink a small ship. I'll give the mechanic in Sechelt first pick of whatever box he wants -- truffles, assortment, etc., then leave a box for the rest at the shop. They worked on my car for two weeks and charged me nothing... that's the kind of service you don't forget! The rest will go to the office to put everyone in a good mood. Well, this isn't a moody bunch, bar one... the chocolates are an investment in what will hopefully be a productive but incident-free day. Fingers crossed.

Finally got in touch with my friend Toni-lee in Canberra, Australia, this afternoon... I'd arranged to chat with her this weekend when I'm not in the middle of a report. Crazy how work always manages to get in the way of stuff you'd really rather do!

Sheesh, back to it...

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

In the Eye of the Storm

The next few days are going to be brutal. Things have happened recently (not to me) that throw a big wrench in what is already a mad schedule for the next week and a half.

I am so dreading going to the office on Friday.


... I just phoned to give them my credit card information for online delivery, and it turns out their delivery drivers have a POS machine, so I can just do that when they get to the door. Purrr-fect! Because that's the one problem with preauthorized credit card transactions -- if you want to change your CC, you have to contact them. Now that I have enough Airmiles to book the European flight, I'm putting more transactions on the Aerogold to collect the Aeroplan miles, but I like to spread the accounting over the month.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Still Highly Infectious and Quarantined

... but working from home. Finished the creature called The Global Outlook Presentation that will be given in New York next week and finally e-mailed it off to Brussels this afternoon. The conference co-ordinator based there thinks I don't ever sleep. I think she's not the only one.

Made great strides into Psychology paper, which I'm going to fail if I don't hand in asap. Not fail, exactly, but will live to regret my slow recovery from this flu once it gets marked and returned. As much as I want high marks, life can get in the way... it's pretty tough to feel motivated when your head just wants to hibernate and you have 12 days to host a party for well over 100 people. If they could bottle self-motivation, I could use a shot or two for this paper.

It is obvious my immune system isn't like it used to be, so my attempt at a more healthy eating regimen started last week by ordering a box of seasonal organic fruit and vegetables to be delivered weekly by the outfit called Green Earth Organics. The selection changes every week, and you can have up to four substitutions per box. I'd heard of it through a classmate, so I thought I would try it. It is especially attractive that they support one of the charities I work for, plus several other local social welfare agencies, and Greenpeace. I'm not a card-carrying member of Greenpeace, but I'm trying to go green... giving my car to my brother and joining the car co-op was a start. The other thing I did was sign up for online grocery ordering from Stong's in Kerrisdale -- they deliver for $10, which I thought was pretty good if I put in a decent-sized order.

Sunday, November 09, 2003


This is one beautiful blog site: digilinslog. It probably helps that I can't read Dutch, otherwise I'd likely spend all day reading this blog.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Spam University

If you like this: Welcome to Spam University

You'll like this: 3rd Annual Nigerian EMail Conference

Addendum to October 25: Michael Moore at the Paramount, Seattle

Original post: Saturday, October 25

I should mention what happened later that night to a couple of girls from Vancouver we met in Seattle at an intersection after the Michael Moore show. Nobody knew where to go, so I led everyone to The Alibi Room** in Post Alley, where we met a tableful of other people, then they all proceeded to go clubbing afterwards. I told May this was a good time to leave, so we drove home around 2 o'clock in the morning. I'm glad we did.

I gave my card to one of the Vancouverites, and received an e-mail days later telling me that they ended up going to another club, but not with the table of revellers from The Alibi Room. When they came out of the club they witnessed a man get murdered three feet in front of them. She said it was the worst thing she had ever seen in her life. His throat was slit open and he died right there.

How horrific is that??? My younger brother saw someone get shot in front of the restaurant he was working at in Burnaby (I think he was proud to get on one of those reality cop shows, though), but I've never seen anything like that before. Which is a bit surprising because I've found myself straying far too many times into sites of urban decay, from which I was usually a little too slow in exiting. I slept on a park bench one time in urban Melbourne after getting locked out of the house. I had just gone clubbing and was wearing a dress that used to be long but I'd shortened probably far too much. I thought of what homeless people do and figured I'd stay warmer by covering myself with newspapers (the south of Australia can get pretty chilly)... it worked, but it's not something I want to try again. Another incident in Melbourne was towards the end of a three month stint there, and having to find a hotel one time after a mix-up with meeting a friend whose house I was supposed to stay at. I couldn't find him (until the next day), so I searched for the cheapest hotel, trying to find a room that didn't have either what looked like to be bloodstains on the floor or lightbulbs that were broken. Or both. I knew it was dodgy when the proprietor conducted the entire transaction through a little hole in the door. But I was 19 at the time and wasn't travelling with a credit card or my parents' money or approval. I shake my head sometimes when I think of how lucky I was in those days.

**When my friend Sergio used to live in Seattle, I would visit him there and steal toilet paper from The Alibi Room. This sounds a bit weird until you see that in the ladies' they have toilet paper lined up along shelves in a brick-layer fashion. It's like an invitation to help yourself. This time when I was there, there was a long queue for the ladies' so I used the mens' room. When I was in the stall, this guy came in and I thought hmmm... I should wait until he leaves so I don't startle him... (the washrooms are pretty cramped) so I just looked at his shoes because the stall wall was disconcertingly low (and I'm short). Then he took off without washing his hands! Yuk! I wanted to go upstairs afterwards and try to find those shoes again to tell him off!

Blog of Note: Awful Plastic Surgery
-- the good, bad, and ugly of celebrity plastic surgery

Doesn't Joan Rivers look awful? Her eyes look dead in her face. It mentions on the site that when she talks, only her mouth moves, that's how much surgery has taken place. I saw her on a talk show once, and she looked so strange I couldn't tell exactly why, and that is what it was -- it was like she was wearing a mask. When people smile and laugh, you see laugh lines and wrinkles around the eyes, but with Joan Rivers, there's hardly a change in expression!

This site says: "Sarah Jessica Parker, like Sophia Loren, is the queen of good plastic surgery." Checking out the side-by-side photos, I would have to agree: Sarah Jessica Parker. She's definitely had work done on her teeth, too.

And I totally agree with this site on Victoria Beckham's canteloupes, except Tori Spelling looks worse. When I first saw hers (she did a TV special here years ago), they looked like cannonballs. Here's a funny little animated cartoon called "The Mystery of Britney Spears' Breasts" that shows how much they've changed over time (up and down!).

Parts of this site has entertainment value, but it's more horrifying to see what people will do to themselves for textbook "beauty." Look at Jennifer Grey -- after her nose job, she doesn't even look like the same person in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" or "Dirty Dancing." If you don't look like you anymore, what's the point? This site doesn't cover all the awful plastic surgeries done -- they should mention Liz Hurley's obsession with collagen, for example (like Melanie Griffith and Kylie Minogue)-- but it does show at least that it's not just women who seek perfection under the knife. There are plenty of men who pay the cosmetic surgeon to cheat nature. They're not even cheating nature anymore, they're looking utterly inhuman (check out Bruce Jenner and Burt Reynolds). Let's not forget the King of Plastic Surgery: Michael Jackson.

Late Nite TV

I figure since I'm sick, I might as well engage in something that taxes the brain the least, like watching television. Don't get me wrong -- I'm interested in pop culture. And I know that not watching TV on a fairly regular basis means I am not up-to-speed. So now and again it's worthwhile to tune in. When you're sick TV is like a mental holiday. Except in this case... because I see a piece of a show with a lead character who I spot is hiding an Aussie accent with an American one. 13 months in Australia gave me a bit of an ear for it -- but hey, even Nicole Kidman's let a vowel slide now and again. I'm sure I've seen this guy in another show, probably in Australia. Since I only saw the end of the show -- about a lawyer in the U.S. somewhere -- I don't have a title, or even his character's last name, all I know is his character's first name, Nicholas.

So I go to What to plug in? There are hundreds of characters whose first name is Nicholas. Then I plug in "Home and Away," which was one of the big soaps in Oz (don't know if it is now) along with "Neighbours." Even Heath Ledger was in "Home and Away." I scroll through the list of actors, but nothing rings a bell. Then I plug in Australia as a country of birth. Well, as you can imagine the list is REALLY LONG. But the first name I clicked on -- Simon Baker -- it's him! I couldn't believe it! And what do you know? He was in "Home and Away" in 1994 (by that time I was watching it in Scotland), but I hadn't noticed his name the first time around because I hadn't clicked on the full list of actors, only the most recent ones. The list is extensive. I think I know him more from a short-lived Australian series called "E Street."

In Canada I don't think we're into the homegrown soaps. They just don't fly here -- if people watch soaps, they're usually American and so far-removed from everyday life we might as well be watching a Mars web cam. Australian, British, and American soaps are VERY DIFFERENT from each other. In Britain most of them are pretty gritty -- the lighting isn't always particularly flattering, and it's more fly-on-the-wall. Depends on the soaps, but the longer-running ones like Coronation Street and Eastenders (which I used to watch quite religiously) had plots with dialogue that the average person could relate to, with people in average jobs, like cafeteria workers or street vendors. Most of the people are fairly ordinary-looking and not glamourized for the camera. I believe the longevity of the British soaps depend on how closely the audience, who are regionally very distinct, can connect with the characters on a localized level. In American soaps it is the exact opposite -- everyone is a glamorous high-flyer who emerges from a full night's sleep wearing makeup with every hair in place. The more outrageous the plotline, the better. Australian soaps, on the other hand, are a hybrid of the American and British soaps, with elements of the everyday workaday life but with characters who are conventionally attractive. For example, I don't associate Natalie Imbruglia with pop songs -- I remember her as "Beth" on the Aussie soap "Neighbours." I even remember her hair, dress sense, and her squeaky-clean character. (IMO, Natalie is an beautiful creature, but her main facial features -- her eyes and lips -- seem so exaggerated she's like a caricature. I didn't get this impression when she was "Beth," but the magazines featuring her as a pop star really overdo it.)

I think in Canada we're more into our homegrown political satire, like "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" or "Airfarce." If there's a government to skewer, whether it's municipal, provincial, or federal, we'll make it into a TV show. And if we ever run out of Canadian material, we barely need to cross the border for more. I used to listen to Airfarce on the radio with my brothers on CBC every Sunday; even now that there's a TV show, I am still reminded of the radioshow.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Medicated... At Last

I managed to drag myself to the clinic today to get antibiotics. I must've looked like a sad, sorry case, because the doc gave me antibiotics for free! He also wrote me a note for SFU because I have a Psychology paper due yesterday that I haven't been able to finish because my brain has been like pea soup. I don't know if the tutor marker will accept the doctor's note as I didn't notify them before the paper was due, but I'm just going to have to see what happens.

Christa finally left today to go to Whistler, and she cleared out her stuff just like I'd asked. What a relief. I didn't realize how tense I've felt with her around. It's like a whole new freedom. I don't have to listen to any more whining, nagging, or snarky remarks. No more interruptions while I'm working, I can study at my own table, and I can come home at night without tripping over Christa's stuff.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

My Bout With the Flu & a Spoiled Flatmate

The flu is still waging battle with my immune system. Yesterday it nearly incapacitated me. Drove all the way to the office and was so ill I returned home halfway through the day. Took aspirin for the first time in memory, although my mother might've have dispensed it to me as a kid after disguising it in soup. Drove my first CAN (Co-operative Auto Network) car yesterday, and after eating my first meal in 24 hours while waiting for the ferry home, I threw it back up on myself and a bit on the car while on the ferry. I'm sure that was more information than you'd ever wished to read in a blog, but vomiting is extremely rare for me, so I thought I'd share that with you. Let this be a cautionary tale: stay healthy and keep away from flu-ridden, virus-carrying people such as the likes of me!

To make things even more ugly, I told Christa this morning that she should move her stuff out of my line of sight and that includes December when she gets back from a month in Mexico. She finished her English program on Friday, so it's time to go. She's been getting on my nerves and I've had enough. Enough! She said I should've told her things as they happened, but I have -- she hasn't been listening. I also think there are such things as common courtesies, like common sense, that I shouldn't have to explain. For example, leave everything as you found it. How hard is that?

I've taken out the rest of the post... but I'm still angry. Don't piss off a person with the flu!

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Could This Be Flu Season?

I feel, in a word, rotten. I've been downing the fluids and trying to keep at bay what I think is a flu... perfect. I have a paper due on Thursday, and I read over the material last night, but can I analyze it? My brain is so fuzzy at the moment. Plus, I have to go to the office tomorrow. That means waking up before 6am, because I have to go pick up my first CAN (Cooperative Auto Network) car over at Harwood and Jervis. It will only take me a few minutes to walk over there, but I have to make sure I can find the car no problem! I think it's a 2000 Mazda 626 LX.

American Poll on Bush's Iraq Policy

U.S.: New Poll Indicates Majority Of Americans Disapprove Of Bush's Iraq Policy

According to this article, the poll was conducted by "The Washington Post" and ABC.

Network Pulling Reagan Movie

Hmmm.... Babs had nothing to do with this movie?? My, does James Brolin ever look like Reagan in this pic... - Entertainment - Network Pulling Reagan Movie

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Fetch Halloween 2003

Too funny! But I don't know whether to laugh or cringe: Fetch Halloween 2003

I especially like Roscoe as Harry Potter...

Thanks to lesterblog, to whom I owe this link...

David versus Goliath

This summer I took an American History course, and my professor wore a HaidaBucks t-shirt one day. As a Canadian (with a dual citizenship) who mainly teaches History at Washington State University in Pullman, I'm sure this drew some attention down in WA, since Starbucks is based in Seattle.

The short version of the story is that corporate giant Starbucks, with billions of dollars in revenue, sued tiny HaidaBucks Cafe in a village (pop. 700) in the Queen Charlotte Islands on the northern coast of B.C. for copyright infringement.

Read more about the story at the HaidaBucks Cafe website.

Unlike many cases of this nature, the legal battle was won by the little guy, as Starbucks dropped the lawsuit.

Sweet November

Here I am, making a reference to a film I never saw (beautiful people/vacuous script is my impression). There's not a cloud in the sky today, so I can say that November is sweet for today, at least. It's the second day into November and 2003 is almost over! Wacky!

I realize I've gone a bit AWOL the past week from the blog, in my bid to reclaim my lost social life -- temporarily replaced while I work on my degree. I've been out every night for a week doing lots of catch-up with friends, lots of eating, moderate amounts of drinking, and generally regaining the equilibrium of my previous life. I've got two more papers left over the next five weeks before final exams, and the halfway point will officially be reached!

photo credit: Ocean Rose B&B

Took the kids yesterday to White Rock with Cheryl, but Michael was getting over a cold, and he was CRANKY. Maddy was running around like a blue-assed fly (is that how the saying goes?), and Melissa was pretty co-operative. I tried to get them to go down the boardwalk and along the pier, but Michael freaked himself out by staring down through the spaces between the wooden boards at the ocean and suddenly decided he was too scared to go any further. Then Melissa decided she was scared, too, so we only got about halfway down the pier. I put Maddy on my shoulders so Michael could ride in the stroller and we headed back via the sidewalk. With the time change the sun is setting much earlier, so we can't go out for as long, and it's getting pretty chilly...