Saturday, December 30, 2006

Best New Drink

I like hot coffee-related beverages but I hate caffeine. Sometimes I even hate decaffeinated coffee because they try to slip you caffeine like last summer when I camped out in Starbucks for the AC but the combo of a giant cup of accidentally caffeinated coffee and weeks of too much hot weather made me feel like I was on a bad acid trip. I like black tea but lots of places don't carry it. And herbal tea is nice you know, but a little limp-wristed in terms of hot beverage satisfaction. But check this out: the other day I ordered a mint tea at this place and the woman asked if I wanted a regular tea or a latte. I was sleepy and confused so it took me a couple seconds to think about it and say, "laaaaaatteeee".

When it came, it was green and foamy and you'd think weird but actually totally delicious. Green and minty and milky with foam. 5 seconds of internet research reveals it's exactly what the asians have been up to for years with their milk tea. I tried ordering it other places and created a system malfunction in the brain of the server. I'll just have to go to bubble tea places. The asians know where it's at. For the record, I've also been wearing a fanny pack over one arm.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Tears for Nerds, the Epilogue

Way back last October (yeah, I still haven't figured out how to link to individual postings of my own blog) I had an encounter with an Angry Nerd that threw my music appreciation cred into ill repute. The specific issue was that although I rocked a little bit of "Mad World" on a cassette of Tears for Fears in my car, it was on a compilation and not the original studio album. Well check it, Angry Nerd, wheresoever you may be: I just picked up a new gem at the Sally Ann!


So I'm waiting for my dad to email me the pictures of the damage to the garage so you can participate in the gory carnage. But while we wait, here's what's been going on.

The short answer is: Not Much.

I have a bruise like a hydrangea blossom on my knee from skating on hockey skates the other night. I always thought boys were just kind of hilariously awkward when learning to skate. Turns out hockey skates are really kind of hard to skate in unless you are accelerating. Tippy forward, tippy backward and no little picks with which to dig into the ice. I didn't, as Sarah or Janey predicted we might, get shoved around on the ice by hot-dogging 12 year-olds, but I did do a kind of pathetic slow trip-and-bail.

It was during skating that Sarah accidentally coined the term "Untresting". What a perfect thing for many situations! Your uncle telling you in detail about his plans for his deck? How untresting. It's perfect for work. You might just be able to slip it in and make it sound enough like "intresting" to satisfy yourself and not offend the listener. Conversation hacking. Like at my old job when I hated the impatient customers so much that I'd start answering their questions by tallllllking realllllly sloooooowly.

Yesterday I went biking with my parents. It was a beautiful clear day and the temperature hovered around freezing. When I was a teenager skiing or biking or whatever active family thing we'd be doing, I had extremely intense concerns over whether or not I looked cool in whatever active gear the activity required. Putting a ski school bib thingy over my fuschia and grey ski outfit was devasting. The high rounded crown of my old bike helmet was a source of shame. I've kind of swung the other way now. I wore long underwear under knee-length running tights with socks pulled up to mid-calf to go biking. With old white running shoes stained with red dirt. I looked like someone's embarassing dad, it was awesome.

When we were going through old Expo site on the south side of False Creek (currently under construction to become the Olympic Village) the strong smell of weed filled the air and I zipped past a man saying to his 10 and 13-year-old daughters, "So now you know what it smells like," and I felt a wave of nostalgia for similar conversations with my parents when I was that age.

An associate of my dad's gave him a giant basket full of all the different kinds of Pocky there are, and other assorted Glico products (like pizza-flavoured Pretz--sadly no Curry Rice), so it's been a good Christmas here. Looks like Men's Pocky is now an equal-opportunity edible as the "Men's" part has been edited off the package. Thank you Baby Jesus!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Friday, December 22, 2006

Second Coming

Christ(s) has returned to earth in time for Christmas, yo! Wow.

Thanksgiving at Christmas

Today at Future Shop (American versions were renamed Best Buy) there were no ipods and a man who set off the alarm with a butterfly bandage where a nose should have been.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter Storms In With Little Cat Feet

Hi everyone! I'm in Vancouver and it rains a lot here but it's cool because the dampness combined with the cleanliness makes my hair look super fantastic.

It rains, yes, that we all expect. What we don't expect is insane winter storm with hurricane-force winds that smash into the land and topple water-logged trees so that they crush things. More on that later.

I got into Vancity in a turbulent night flight. Call me a sadist (and the petrified woman next to me would have) but the bumpiness of the flight was nice for sleeping. Like an infant who stops crying in a moving car or next to a running vacuum, the white noise, or I guess white movement, of bumpity bump bump lulled me into a surprisingly satisfying sleep. Which was good, because I landed around midnight and headed up to Whistler the next day with nary a sleep-in to be seen. Miss Doretta Lau, lately of Burnaby by way of New York accompanied as did Sarah, my brother's girlfriend. It was a good car ride. We ate McDonald's in Squamish. Nobody barfed (my childhood carsickness made the Whistler drive torture, although it paid dividends on one occasion when my brother found a lost wallet en route to a garbage can because we had to pull over on account of my barfing. He mailed the wallet back to the guy, who sent him a hundred bucks as a reward. I got twenty of it for barfing.)

We'd heard tell of the incredible base of snow that Whistler had been blessed with unnaturally early in the season. Last year, I skiied one day on what sage old mountain types described as the "worst day of skiing in seven years". It involved a skiing surface that been frozen and then scoured to a cement-like consistency sprinkled with rocks, and the occasional surprised small tree. It was fine as long as you didn't turn. It was a day when you could easily imagine your hip shattering. This year, the snow was deep and soft and plenty and falling steadily. We went to bed early in anticipation of the glory that awaited the next morning.

Doretta has just started eating meat, which I find really entertaining. Maybe it's because we were roommates for two years and she used to tell me that using one of her pots to cook meat was like using one of her pots to cook a baby. Maybe it's because Janey and I used to make up elaborate stories about the meat frenzy we'd have in the apartment when she was not home. Dorrie was never smug about her vegetarianism, but she was vigilant. Feeding her bacon is so much fun. I had a burger every day for three days running just to model proper carnivore behaviour.

Because we are hardcore, we live hardcore and that meant waking up at the crack of dawn, or technically before the crack of dawn to eat some bacon grease (with eggs and english muffin), put on way too many clothes and clump over to the lift. It had snowed hard all night. There was (you ready?) 48 centimetres of untouched powder on the mountain. For any of you from backward countries that do not yet embrace the metric system, that's just over a foot and a half. Of fluffy fluffy poof powder. There was so much snow it was confusing. I know Blackcomb mountain pretty well but there were moments when it didn't make sense. Why is the chairlift so low to the ground? For example.

Apart from being the friendliest person ever, Sarah is a beautiful skier. So beautiful she was paid cash money for four years to teach people to ski on Whistler Blackcomb. Doretta got a crash course in getting down the hill and then decided to brave the runs solo. I got to ski with Sarah the rest of the day. Wow, powder. It was skiing on pillows. It was also, we both agreed, the hardest skiing work we'd ever done. I fell a lot. The lactic acid burn was part of that. At one point I was on a double black with my tips pointing up the hill sliding backwards and contemplating death when I realised that the key to my salvation was to flop backwards into the puff of snow. I saved my own life, then I got up, skiied one turn, and fell over again. It was a day of fun and happy exhaustion and sitting on the chair listening to people laughing or muttering "oh shit" just before crashing was excellent roadside entertainment. By 2 pm, the mountain was deserted; everyone had gone home in exhaustion. We skiied out and went back to the cabin... and then the pain began. My boots fit a little too big for me and slinging around craploads of snow all day meant smashing my toes again and again into the front of my boots. I tried to rachet them tighter, so my ankles were bruised, and my legs were so tired and wrecked that the sore was going to last for days.

But we're hardcore (see above) so we skiied the next day too.

The only hitch there was that we were expecting my mom and dad and brother to come up and join us. After some garbled attempts to communicate via cel phone with my dad, we talked to my mom at home to learn 1) the lovely snow storm for us had been an up-to-hurricane-force gale in Vancouver 2) they had no power and 3) a tree had fallen in the park behind our house and crushed the garage. So they were deciding to stay there. My brother came up though, and schooled us all with his righteous (and, let's be honest, rested) leg strength the next day.

It was one of those days that is perfectly nice and fun but all day you're thinking, "Huh. Crushed the garage. What does that mean, exactly?" and wondering if trees falling count as an act of God. Trees had fallen all over the Lower Mainland crushing all kinds of things like cars and people's bedrooms. They didn't crush any people that we heard but some of the hobos that live in Stanely Park are unaccounted for.

We got home that night and it was dark out, but the garage looked pretty normal. Well, normal but squished. A little witchy. Yeah, a tree fell on the top and the subsequent pressure blast blew out the windows. The roof has to be rebuilt. Insurance does cover it. I'm sorry I missed the sound. Not sorry I missed the 2.5 days of no power that followed the storm (that's why you cook with gas, people). The tree was giant and only the top hit the roof (though the top of a 100 foot tree, so still massive). My dad and I looked at the roots and they were rotten. We will burn parts of it in our fireplace for payback. No bikes or cans of paint were harmed. We're still having turkey.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I have a chronic problem with staying up far too late before I fly. It makes for this horrible travelling day where instead of feeling sedate and sleepy but otherwise normal (what you get from just from getting up early), I get that jaw-ache tired feeling where you can't make your eyeballs stop moving around and you get paranoid about falling asleep because maybe you'll never wake up. Also known as Tuesday morning Avid skills class OR the last four weeks of every semester. I'm going to fall asleep with my mouth open on the plane.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I watched Dumbo last week. I think I remember seeing it as a little kid. What I mostly remember is having a picturebook of the story, and I somehow remember Dumbo chained to a little house like a dog kennel? Turns out that's not in the movie--maybe I was remembering when Dumbo's mom gets locked up in little caravan. That must have been it.

David Mamet talks about Dumbo in his book On Directing Film. Animation, quoth he, is the ultimate form of visual storytelling for a writer/director because the only limit on what you can show or what you can make happen is your own imagination. Well, yes. It's hard to see how the pink elephants sequence could work as live action. Actually, it's probably that sequence that inspired him to make that comment. It's such a quintessentially from-whatever-you-can-imagine film moment and it's so weird and fantastical that it feels like deep subconscious brain rumblings.

But it really is a pretty awesome piece of film. Set aside the racial stereotyping, if you will. And the whole part about the infant elephant accidentally getting really really drunk, although I liked that a lot. The characterization is excellent, the story--though it takes its meandering turns--works (the sequences work even better than the overall story) and the visuals are consistently beautiful and compelling. Lots of deep space. And it's funny. And the baby elephant is really cute.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

White, Nerdy

Ever notice how the classic Weird Al looks a lot like the classic Alex Trebec?

Denim Descent

The trajectory of jeans is as follows:

Level 1: Jeans You Like A Lot Although They Are A Little Crisp

Level 2: Jeans That Are Softening Up A Bit And Getting Some Genuine Fading Instead of That Fake, Store-Bought Fading

Level 3: Jeans You Put On Every Day Without Questioning The Outfit Choice

Level 4: Jeans To Wear On Set And Maybe The Walkie Will Wear Out The Pocket Or You'll Get Some Green Paint On Them, But It's Okay

Level 5: Jeans That Rip A Hole When You Pull Them On

My only pair of even possible #3 jeans wandered into #4 territory two weeks ago and tonight made their final swan dive into #5. Good thing Boxing Day is on the horizon.