Monday, June 28, 2004

Election Day

My voting station is directly across the street from my building. It couldn't be more than 20m from my front door.

Seattle-Vancouver Orkut Shindig

These are Mystery SMS. I have no idea who sent them, since there was no SenderID.

I've got the photos loaded to Ofoto, but it's a lot easier to view (most of them) in PhotoJam. You will need to download Shockwave Flash, if you don't already have it:

Seattle-Vancouver Shindig

Here's the videoclip of us downing the screech shots at last call at the Atlantic Trap & Gill, venue #3 (you'll need Quicktime to view the MOV file):

Screech Shooting

Attie Gail Book Club

Move over, Oprah! I've got a reading club, and they're also my biggest fans!

I returned home from the House of Chaos, where I played with the twins, fresh back from their very first plane trip, from Maine. I also read a selection of the book-of-the-day favourites, according to Melissa.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

My New Toy!!

There is a God, after all! And I work for him!

I went to the office today feeling like a wreck (same old, same old -- not enough sleep), and after some chit chat in Kevin's office, he said he had a little presentation for me. I was curious, but I'm presentationed-out with the volumes of stuff we've been sending out lately.

He reached over and took out a small box, and said it was sort of a halfway-through the year bonus...! Anyway, I won't bore you with the whys and wherefores, but suffice to say I was surprised! Totally blown away was more like it! It was like Christmas, my birthday, and Gadget Day (OK, I made that up) all rolled into one!

It's the iPod, a newer version of his that I borrowed on my Eurotripping, but with accessories. 20 GBs of storage for loads of tunage. One accessory that I'm eyeing already is the Belkin iPod media reader that will replace the need for me to buy more flash card memory for my camera on a trip -- I can shoot as many photos and videos as my heart desires!

Hallelujah! This calls for PIRACY!*

* Um, kidding, RIAA. I do actually buy CDs.

The Savage is Back in his Moroccan Saddle

After a short journal hiatus due to a wussy Aussie immune system, Stephen Savage is posting from Morocco again, this time some photos of impressive gorges and scenery that is out of this world (my part of the world, anyway). Steve, keep rocking the kasbah!

Oh, and he finished writing his BOOK, and it's off to the printers! Do yourself a favour and order a copy! Your Aussie humour translator is not included (some assembly required).

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Flying Over Greenland

Another ghastly-busy day, so I will post another photo from my trip.

May 8, flight from London to Vancouver: ice and snow still in Greenland.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Girls in Maine

L: Megan, R: Maribeth

Kitted out in matching green outfits, the twins are looking more and more alike as Maribeth catches up to Megan in weight. I think she's still a couple of pounds lighter, but surprisingly they're almost exactly the same length.

I was told on Sunday that their big sister Melissa was a poised flower girl at her Auntie Allison's wedding.

Earlier this year:

Melissa: " Hey Auntie Gail, I just came back from my vacation in Maine!"

I scoffed. "Melissa, you're FOUR years old... every DAY is a vacation."

My (Future) Diving Instructor

Jorgen, in his favourite activity.
Man, am I ever busy today. So I'll add more text to this later.

I'm not actually taking scuba diving lessons at the moment, but I've already got an instructor lined up. See, not only is Jorgen a seasoned diving instructor of 35 years, but we have the most interesting discussions about politics and culture. Too bad he's in Aarhus, Denmark. Most of the time he's not, though, so maybe by the time we get the first lesson sorted, it will be in tropical seas and I'll have learned to swim properly (haha!)...


Sepia is only a little less scary, but still too scary
for small children and animals.
It's Mud Mask Week, OK? Like I'd do this for the blog?!? Pffffftttt! I got a lot of comments about cucumbers, as you can imagine.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Hairy Monday

OK, so it's Monday morning, and I'm posting some news-lite. Someone who might need a haircut sometime, or at least some conditioner, as Kevin C. pointed out to me this morning.

Father's Day

Reception for the NICU (preemie ward) at BC Children's Hospital.
I had planned to do this for my birthday, but Eliza advised against it as she said traffic was horrendous, so I left it until today. It was most appropriate to do on Father's Day, so it was like a birthday thing for me and a Father's Day thing for Allan. I brought a pot of yellow begonias, a 'Thank You' balloon, and some cinnamon buns to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) of the BC Children's Hospital, where the twins were born on February 3.

Twins, almost 4 weeks
Twins, week 3
I Meet the EdTwins

Photo of the twins for the hospitals.
Megan and Maribeth were born about six weeks premature and Maribeth was less than 3lbs at birth. The babies spent about a month at BC Children's Hospital in incubators before they were moved to Royal Columbian, which is a lot closer to where Allan and Cheryl live, then were discharged around the middle of March or so... I thought it would be nice to take something to BC Children's Hospital for the nurses, so I included the babies' birth photos in their incubators with their delivery stats, and this photo of them at four months old, so the nurses could see how well they're doing. If you compare this with the photos of the twins in their first month, it's quite amazing how much they've grown. Maribeth was so tiny and fragile she didn't even look like a baby.

Michael attacking his plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, two of the older Edwin kidlets were driving their father crazy. It being Father's Day, I decided to take them all out for a meal, so as to leave the kitchen in a temporary state of preservation for the busy day ahead. We drove to New Westminster to try to find our own father, who was attending a BIBAK (Filipino cultural group) picnic, but we couldn't find him, so carried on to The Old Spaghetti Factory to feed the youngin's. While The Old Spaghetti Factory isn't really my flavour, restaurant-wise, it's great to bring kids there as an alternative to fast food chains. Michael took advantage of this, flinging spaghetti everywhere and making a real nuisance of himself. I always tip a little more at these restaurants as extra cleanup is guaranteed after we're through.

Madeleine showing her best table manners.
Miss Madeleine herself was pretty raucous, and, as you can see here, has no sense of decorum when it comes to eating. Out of the three older siblings, Madeleine fairly consistently makes the biggest mess of all, except for today, when Michael's rambunctiousness took over and spattered everything with spaghetti sauce, including me.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Some Birthday Greetings From Afar

Iris' Funcky photo!
One of the birthday pictorial greetings I got yesterday that was better than any Hallmark card. This one's from my friend Iris Funck in Hamburg (a.k.a. in previous posts "Funcky Chicken" or "German Chicken"), who stayed with me twice -- for three months in 2002 and three weeks last September. Good times, good times...

Some Find GMail Too Creepy

My attitude as a consumer is caveat emptor. I read this article about GMail that outlines 4 major problems:

Problem 1: Gmail is nearly immortal
Problem 2: Google's policies do not apply
Problem 3: A massive potential for abuse
Problem 4: Inappropriate ad matching

In the section about inappropriate ad matching, the article mentioned a lawyer experimenting with Gmail: He sent himself a message, and discovered that the law practice footer he uses at the bottom of all of his email triggered an ad for a competing law firm.

This goes without saying. What did he expect? That's what Google Adsense does. To me, any professional using a web-based e-mail account is going to look unprofessional. Even eBay and other online retailers discourage webmail accounts. I see webmail more for personal use, and even then if there is anything truly confidential I would rather phone the person. Of course, the most cynical would start spewing about phone tapping, but I doubt there's anything in my life that would warrant interest in phone tapping... er, except for that one time... :)

On that note, I still have a bunch of GMail invites left, if anyone is interested. I keep giving 'em away, and Google keeps giving me more!

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Tosca & Mike's Housewarming Party

The loud-shirt-wearing club, and those who love them.
After an extended birthday tapas and sangria with friends at La Bodega, I sobered up with some coffee and lots of water, and headed to the North Shore over the Lion's Gate to Tosca and Mike's new digs.

A nice, warm June evening meant the party was half inside, half outside, and I could hear the revellers from around the corner. Being a late arrival meant I wasn't able to catch everyone on film, but I did get most everyone, and the Ofotos can be found here:

Hopkins Housewarming Photos

I'm like the garden gnome that pops up here and there.
I brought my photo printer with me and took photos of everyone, then printed them off and got people to sign their pictures and stick them on the fridge. Tosca's got tons of fridge magnets, so the fridge was nicely covered by the time I was done.

Friday, June 18, 2004

TGIF Birthday

[ insert lamentation for misspent youth here ]

ha!ha! I'm 32 today.

Gravity works. Posted by Hello

Club Voda

Lights in motion on the dance floor.

A rather dark pic of DJ JojoFlores, but at least
I got one of him doing his thang.

Another one of the DJs (don't know his name).

More swirly bits, this time with people hovering.
I got home a little while ago from Club Voda, where Tosca, Mike, and I went to see DJ JojoFlores, a fellow Flip (Filipino) Tosca has known since her Montréal days. We got there before they opened their doors, hence the opportunity for me to take pics without a crush of people.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

For the Benefit of the Seattle Crew

The pool as of 6:20pm.
Hey Krisanne, we'll do the photoshoot by the pool!

I took a pic a few minutes ago (click to enlarge). Behind the trees is the beach and English Bay... come on up, Seattle FCFGG people!

Spreading the GMail Love

So I've been spreading the GMail love far and wide, so I feel it's only fair to ask of you, dear readers, one thing:

Sign my Guest Map! You can find it on the sidebar. Or, if you don't want to plot your co-ordinates, sign the guestbook!

Is It Thursday Already??

Man, where does the time go? Yesterday was busy, busy, busy. Went to the office, but due to *#@% traffic on the Lion's Gate Bridge, I was held up and missed the 09:25 ferry. Didn't feel like hanging around Horseshoe Bay, so instead I decided to explore West Vancouver. Lovely neighbourhood, on the other side of the narrows from me, but definitely not my demographic... retirees!

It's great having my car back for a couple of weeks. It's been so long since I've driven it, I forget I even own a car. It's got some tuning up to do, but for 376,000+kms and being over 20 years old, the old beast is doing pretty well. (Like its owner, ha!) Although, the driveway is so steep at the office, I'd need a winch to tow the heavy Volvo back up to the road, so I leave it at the top of the driveway.

Yesterday's new discovery: There are no corner stores in Kerrisdale.

Believe it or not. I went to drop off something for my aunt, Tosca's mum, and told her I'd pick up some milk for her on my way. I thought I'd just get something at the corner store in Kerrisdale, only to discover there aren't any. Nada. Not a single one. It was incredible -- I scoured the neighbourhood at 10:00pm, it was barely dark, but everything was shut except for a couple of cafes and a few restaurants. I had to get back in my car and drive further west... found an IGA and called my aunt to see if she needed anything other than milk. They locked the door as I was on the phone! So I had to cross the street to the Shell station and get the milk there, anyways. I told my aunt I am going to drive her to the grocery store, this is ridiculous!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Early Birthday Flowers


Awww, thanks!
I went to the office today, and look what I got! Lovely early birthday flowers that came out of Melanie's garden! They are so fragrant, but unfortunately even tucked into their little oasis pot, they were no match for the dryness of the office and the warmth of the day.

Melanie even baked me a chocolate birthday cake and decorated it with more flowers from her garden! I don't have a photo of the cake as I forgot my camera at home, and took the pic with Kevin's Konica. They serenaded me with the birthday song and gave me a card with not one but THREE nubile young men with bulging muscles on the front... yummy cake and yummy men! Pleasures in life -- what more could I ask for??


Bang! Bang! I shot you with my bubble gun!
In case you're wondering WTF I'm doing (besides getting clean), I'm participating in an avatar theme thingy going on in one of my Orkut communities, and it's currently "Fun in the Shower" Week II. Week I was so successful it spilled over into this week.

GMail Fairy Strikes Again

Google's upping their invites, so I've given more away, and currently have 6 invites left if anyone wants a GMail account. Ask nicely!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

London with Georgie


We're all... happy...
Another photo from the trip, this time my last night in London, meeting up with my friend George who I'd met in Vancouver, and hadn't seen since he'd moved to London a couple of years ago. He'd originally gone to Birmingham to attend acting school, then moved south for work.

I'd just flown in from France, and I was catching a flight the next day back to Vancouver. I'd arranged to meet George in central London, and the plan was we'd hang out in the city centre and stay at my old stomping ground, Hotel St. Simeon in South Kensington so he wouldn't have to trek back to his flat in East London.

'Twas a bit easier said than done, since I hadn't written down his mobile number, and it was still in an e-mail I couldn't retrieve because the terminals were down at the internet cafe. Meanwhile, he and a friend headed over to the hotel to find me, but I'd checked in already and was at an internet cafe a few tube stops away, trying to find a way to contact him! By the time the terminals were back up again, I'd gone looking round for another internet cafe, couldn't find one, then gave up. I should've just used the BT phonebox that had a browser, but I had run out of coins, I'd already paid for time at the cafe, and was not about to pay the ridiculous amounts BT charges to use the browser! So, I e-mailed until I could reach him, and we arranged to rendezvous at Oxford Circus.

I hadn't seen him for a while, so was happy to find him looking dapper and well. He was stationed with a friend and some of her friends at CVO, a fireplace showroom that had a restaurant. Yeah, a concept place. Rather chic with price tag to match -- a central London price tag, that is. By the time I got there, several people were already on their way to getting off their gourd, if not there already. One girl I never even saw, since she'd wandered off to the loo before I arrived, and had to be sent home in a taxi. The final bill came to a whopping several hundred pounds sterling -- yikes! Luckily, mine was only about 40 or so of that, but I'd only had a couple of glasses of wine, a couple bottles of water, and shared a plate of crudites and antipasto with George. But, to give you an idea, a bottle of Norwegian VOSS water was £2.50.

George and I stayed up super late, chatting and printing off photos, and morning came far too early. He had to get a tie for work and promised to return to accompany me on the tube to Zone 3 to Heathrow before he had to go. I waited as long as I could, but he was running late, so I headed off to Gloucester station, hoping to bump into him on the way. I caught up with George after going through the turnstiles, and we were able to get in more chat-time before he jumped out at the end of Zone 3, tie in hand...

It's so good to catch up with friends in this day and age when the only thing separating you from them is a flight. Now, if only those of us in North America had more holiday time, we could do it more often.

Monday, June 14, 2004

More GMail

Hilarious -- I got 3 more "Invite a Friend to GMail!" invitations today just after giving out my last one. I'm like the GMail fairy.


My dad with the bigger twinnie, Megan.
"Gumpa" is our nickname for my father, taken from when Melissa (or was it Michael?) started to speak and couldn't quite say "Grandpa" and it came out "Gumpa". Even though Melissa and Michael now both enunciate the word, we still stick with Gumpa. It just sounds cheerier. And, he's a cheerier fellow. He sees his grandchildren often, babysitting the older three munchkins every Friday and visiting them on other days as well. He's a very dedicated grandparent.

Earlier this evening I rounded us up at Allan and Cheryl's house for some pizza on disposable plates so nobody would have to do dishes before the busy-ness of tomorrow: Cheryl, Melissa, and the twins fly to Maine (from Seattle) for Allison's wedding. The other two bambinos are staying here, and Allan is going to work from home (ha!), while looking after the kids with some drop-in assistance from Gumpa. Of course, I'll take them off his hands sometime on the weekends.

Amidst the regular chaos of dinner at their house, we recited stories of our childhood and relived our naughtiness. Gumpa had a good ol' belly laugh and I wanted to capture it, but I was too busy coralling Maddy to take his photo, so this is what I managed to get after the older kids went to bed and the twins woke up for their regular evening feed.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Sahara Steve

My favourite pic of Steve thus far.
Reminds me a bit of Callum Keith Rennie.
Steve's now in the Saraha and it behooves you to check out his gorgeous, gorgeous desert photos. My favourites on this page are down on the bottom right, especially the one at the very bottom right.

I'm not a fan of the desert in the sense that I would entertain the thought of living in such a climate, but you cannot deny its romanticism, the way the sun dances across the dunes. Why do you think the "English Patient" did so well? (A tanned Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas lounging about in gauzy outfits, notwithstanding.)

The Savage Files (homepage)
Steve in the Sahara Desert

Thanks, Steve, for enlarging my favourite pic (on the bottom)! It's beautiful!

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Friday, June 11, 2004

More Paris

Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, Paris
In the interests of tearing myself away from my computer in order to have a more productive (but hideously mundane) evening of overdue tasks such as laundry and cleaning and assigned reading, I offer up a photo I took of possibly the most famous landmark of Montmartre.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Me, Myself, and Eye

At around 3am something came over me to take black and white photos of myself. Here is one of the less-goofy ones.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Free Stuff???

Yesterday Telus Mobility sent me a Jabra EarBoom handsfree headset with microphone, garment clip, and EarGels, because I've been a "loyal customer" since 1999. You bet your sweet patootie I have, Telus! Gimme more stuff!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Greedy Gail

Greedy, greedy me. I now have two GMail accounts. I also have two invitations left. Hmmmm, be nice to me if you want one!

Shot in Paris

Claire shot me in front of the Eiffel Tower. In full daylight.
I got a letter yesterday from my friend Claire with some photos of our day in Paris last month. I scanned 'em, here are two.

Claire got a rare shot of me, taking a shot of something else as we boated down the Seine.


Man, I wish I had time to post about the Storyeum. But I gotta get some work done, so I'll just have to leave you all with some pre- and post- photos, since I wasn't allowed to take any photos during the tour. Storyeum (STOR-ee-um, in case anyone wants to know), is sort of a history musical play. It's an interactive, human museum with the assistance of multi-media. More on it later.

Storyeum's huge can't-miss-it entrance
on Water Street in Gastown.

Storyeum lobby.

Some of the photo archives along the wall. They really need to mount the text properly, though -- Blu-Tack is, well, tacky!

Some of Hostelling International volunteers... although the second person from left isn't a volunteer, he's Atul, the program director.

Near the entrance to Gastown,
in front of the Waterfront Station.

Sunset from West Cordova.

Monday, June 07, 2004

New Stuff

As you can see, I've been busy hacking away at my blog template, changing colours, adding, removing, revising, updating... I've been a busy little Canadian beaver here on Beach Avenue (with this, anyway).

Some new things:

- a guestbook! (sidebar, under my French train pic)
- a guestbook map! (courtesy of DigiLin)
- a page index of posts (sidebar, top left)
- new pics
- new links
- photos hosted on Hello, clickable for larger version...

So click, click, click away, and don't be shy -- sign the guestbook and/or plot your location on the world map. Cheerios.

Springtime in Stanley Park

Maddy baiting a baby goat at the
Children's Farmyard in Stanley Park.
I had to get Allan out to Vancouver with the Volvo yesterday so I could get my West End parking permit renewed, so we took the opportunity to get the kids outside in Stanley Park. First we took them on the miniature train, which I don't think they've ever been on during the day -- only in the evening when it becomes the Christmas train. Then it was on to the Children's Farmyard, where Maddy proceeded to harangue the baby goats and roll around in their poop (ugh). They closed the inside pens where the chickens were, due to an avian flu quarantine.

Mr. Michael looking all serious-like,
with his papa's hat on.

Melissa eyeing an engine while we go
on the miniature railway.

Look! a moose!

Maddy, wreaking havoc on the playground.

Melissa the monkey.

1000 Journals

Hey, now this looks interesting... I would also like to draw your attention to this page.

Sunday, June 06, 2004


Finished the book that's been taking me forever. I'd read Frank McCourt's first book Angela's Ashes years ago (I haven't seen the film yet), and this is what I suppose you could call the continuation of his memoirs. It's a fine, fine read for many reasons, and I savoured it and didn't race through the book like I normally do when I'm enjoying it. I love the brogue, and the Irish have a way with words. I readily admit, I have a fondness for them, after working with them, working for them, living with them, dating them, drinking with them, and a couple of trips to Ireland, the most recent being one year ago. That's not to say I haven't met any Irish rapscallions, liars, or scoundrels. Oh yes, I have...

When my guilty feeling for indulging in my Work Avoidance BehaviourTM of writing in this blog finally subsides, I will tell you the story of one of the strangest jobs I've ever had, working for an Irishman in the far north of Australia, and my first experience with being robbed right under my nose while I slept, also by an Irishman. My fondness for Irish people is not a blind, sweeping one fuelled by glossy tourism brochures, Enya, or the awful film "Far and Away" in which Tom Cruise sports the worst Irish accent in the history of fake Irish accents while Nicole Kidman plays second fiddle with a much better grasp of the dialect. No, this fondness is not a fairweather one.