Monday, October 31, 2005

Canadian Hospitality

Recently our neighbor in the apartment next door invited and then uninvited us to her Halloween party. The invitation and disinvitation, written in purple pen and bubble handwriting script reminiscent of the style used by a 7th grader, was slipped under our door while we were out of the apartment.

The invite read:


Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I will be having a Halloween party at my apartment tonight. If you would like to come by you are welcome, although, the party will be very crowded. Thanks.

Tentant Next Door"

Such a welcoming country.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Love of a good meal

GF and I debated about where to go to lunch today. I was feeling partial to Mediterranean or Mexican. GF was feeling partial to Chinese or Indonesian. After much debate we found middle ground with Indian food. We spent the next 20 minutes on-line trying to find a good, cheap, restaurant within spitting distance of a bus stop. After some in-depth analysis and careful research we found a restaurant that seemed to meet all of our criteria. We then hopped on the bus and we were off.

When we arrived at our chosen locale we were suprised to find that the resteraunt we so throughouly research closed and another Indian restaurant stood in its place. Since we were without computer to research this new restaurant and we were without car to go to another restaurant we decicded to take a gamble and go inside. Upon entering the restaurant we saw one other patron sitting alone in the vast cavernous space of the restaurant. Upon further reflection this did not bode well but at the time we were hungry and were not thinking clearly.

We sat down at a table and we waited, and waited, and waited some more until the waiter finally took our order which included one samosa appetizer and two different specials. Then after we placed our order we waited, and waited, and waited some more for our appetizers to arrive. After close to 30 minutes the somosas finally arrived. We were about to dig in to the samosas when we discovered that we did not have any forks. We scoured the other tables for forks but there were none on those tables either. We decided to eat the samosa with our hands because we could wait no longer to put food in our stomachs.

Once we finished eating the samosas we waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited some more for our meals to arrive.

When my meal arrived I immediately asked for a fork. The waiter seemed stunned that I did not have one and he began to scour the tables as I had done earlier. He then went to the kitchen, the backroom/storage closet, and behind the bar to look for forks. He returned with one fork and asked if one of us would mind eating with just a spoon. GF and I, both perplexed, were unsure how to respond. The waiter took our quiet lack of response as tacit approval of his plan. He placed the fork on the table and left.

As I began to eat my meal, with the fork, GF waited, and waited, and waited some more for her meal to arrive. Once GF's meal arrived it was clear that she too would need a fork and that just a spoon would not do. Since I was already half way through my meal I proceeded to ear at record pace so that I might hand the fork off to GF. Once GF had the fork in her posession she too ate very swiftly because we had already been at the restaraunt for close to 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Once we completed our meals we waited, and waited, and waited some more for the check to arrive. When the check finally arrived we paid and left the restaurant as soon as possible. We then went immediately to the closest 7-11 and bought a super-size jug of tums. Delicious.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Duck, The New Pigeon

Today while I was driving GF to work I was waylaid by a gaggle of ducks.

The day began uneventfully. GF woke up at 6am ate breakfast, dressed, showered, and prepared for the workday. I arose from bed at 7:30am put on the closest pair of pants, a t-shirt, and a pair of flip-flops. I then offered to drive GF to work. She accepted the offer and we left the house.

The drive to GF's office was without incident until we were within two blocks of her office building. It was at that moment that we noticed five ducks crossing the road. I slammed on the car breaks to avoid hitting the ducks. GF and I then sat and waited for the ducks to finish crossing the street. However, we soon realized the ducks were in no hurry to move and were quite pleased to stand in front of the car. It was at that moment that we recognized we needed to take matters into our own hands if we were to get past the ducks.

I pressed on the horn for three short bursts of noise without success. I then tried three longer bursts on the horn but still no luck. I tried to inch the car forward thinking that ducks, like pigeons, would scare easily and fly away but I again was wrong. Then GF and I agreed that one of us would need to exit the car and interact with the ducks on a duck to person basis. Since neither of us wanted to get out of the car we agreed to play a quick game of rock paper scissors to determine which of us would have to wrangle the ducks. I lost, as usual. I left the car and took my stance as duck wrangler.

I walked toward the ducks and when I was within three feet of the them I yelled "shoo little duck, shoo". This elicited no response or movement from the ducks. I then clapped my hands a few times thinking that the noise would startle them but it did not. I then began to wave my arms at them frantically but that did not work either. I finally decided to shake my foot at them. I, however, shook my foot a bit too vigorously and my right flip-flop flew off my foot. The flip-flop landed within 8 inches of one of the ducks. The duck closest to the flip-flop moved in its direction and sat down on top of my shoe.

In an attempt to retrieve my shoe I hopped on one foot toward the duck and the shoe. I, however, was unable to coordinate my upper and lower bodies to move at the same time and I toppled to the pavement. It was at this point that I gave up of my mission and re-entered the car. When I returned to the car GF turned to me and asked, "Aren't you going to get your flip-flop back?". I told her no.

GF exited the car, walked directly to the offending duck, knelt down, and grabbed the shoe. When she returned to the car she handed me the flip-flop. Even though I was grateful to have my show back I was also a bit reluctant to put it on my foot since the duck seemed pretty intimate with the flip-flop. I immediately took out my to do list and wrote, "burn flip-flop".

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Canadians on the World Stage

Canadians love nothing more than to celebrate the successes of other Canadians. TV promos abound with news of Canadian celebrities. It is not uncommon to hear the TV announcer begin a promo with one of these ubiquitous tag lines:

"Canadian born hearthrob [insert name] gets into hot water on [insert B-level TV Show]."
"Canada's own [insert name] appears tonight on [insert reality TV show]."
"Our very own [insert name of Canadian] interviews [insert name of B-level celebrity] on Entertainment Tonight Canada.

The newest Canadian cause celeb is a Toronto based lawyer. He emerged into the Canadian spotlight as the "World Rock Paper Scissors Champion". He beat out 500 other competitors and left the competition $7000 richer. I learned of his championship when I caught site of a headline located on the the last page of the obituary section. The headline read, "A lawyer, thrills hometown crowd with a winning throw of paper".

After reading the article I asked GF, "Why is this news?" Seconds later I asked her, "Do you think I too could become a rock paper scissors champion?" She responded with a shrug and seemed unmoved by my enthusiastic glee at the prospect of gaining C level celebrity status in Canada.

In an attempt to prepare for future tournaments I have begun a daily practice regimen. The regimen focuses on the two primary skills needed to become a champion - mental acuity and physical strength. My regiment consists of a hearty meal of cheerios, stress ball squeezes to strengthen my forearm, and regular games of rock paper scissors. To be honest, I have not noticed any increase in my mental acuity yet but I have begun to notice a growing muscle bulge in my forearm. GF finds the muscle buldge to be quite unattractive and has asked that I cease and desist all training. She has also told me to just give up on my single-minded mission and start my own "evens and odds" world tournament. She clearly does not understand the sacrifices I need to make to acheive fame on the Rock Paper Scissors world stage.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Oy, Canada

An interview with an advocate for nudist rights was just shown on one of the major national news outlets in Canada. The interview was fairly unremarkable except for the fact that the man was interviewed in the nude with only a newspaper covering his unmentionables. I leave you with this thought. Picture Tom Brokaw, Morley Safer, or Diane Sawyer maintaining their steely composure while conducting this type of interview on American TV. I think it is safe to say that if this aired in the U.S. some prominent network administrators would be out of jobs.

This is truly a progressive country...

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Day I Reached True Enlightenment

Since I am new in town meeting people has become my full-time job. In an effort to meet people I have volunteered for various and sundry festivals over the last 6 weeks. I am usually pretty good at sussing out potential friendships but not always.

Recently while volunteering I made the mistake of trying to make small talk with another volunteer. Upon noticing him reading what seemed to be a book of fiction, I asked, "What is that book about?". I expected his answer to be a pithy response detailing the trials and tribulations of the book's characters, the primary and secondary narrative arcs present in the book, and his wry opinion of the book.

Instead he regaled me with self-help prattle about how we can attain "freedom from emotional confusion". I nodded my head in an attempt to feign interest. Apparently my head nod succeeded in demonstrating to him that I wanted to learn more. As a result he proceeded to explain to me how we have four selves and each of the selves must be actualized fully to attain true enlightment.

Normally in response to this unwanted commentary I would retort with some sarcastic barb. However, I could not use that tactic in this case because the person talking to me just finished pontificating on how his outlook on life has changed for the better now that he does not revert to sarcasm - ever. Oy, I knew at that moment that I was in a real pickle. It was at this point that I tuned out and spent all my mental energy trying to figure out how to escape.

First, I focused all my brain waves on making the second hand of the clock move faster. I stared so hard at the second hand that at one point I could have sworn time moved more quicky. However, I soon realized that time moved more quickly because I had dozed off for a few seconds. Since I clearly was having no luck with this approach I tried yet another tactic.

I now sought to harness my energy on making another volunteer take note of me and come over to save me from this never ending conversation. Soon after beginning this tactic one volunteer did come toward me and I thought my mind melding had worked. When she was within two feet of us I asked her if she needed me and waited expectantly for her response. To my despair she said no. She proceeded to join another volunteer in a conversation on the other side of the room. Oh how I envied her at that moment.

In a last ditch attempt to save myself I tried one more tactic. When my conversational partner looked to me to respond to one of his remarks I said, "I just remembered that I have to go wash my hair." At that moment I realized that I had reached true enlightment.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Loonie Tunes

I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that grown men and women all over Canada, including Montreal, the Europe of Canada, refer to their money as loonies and toonies. For example, serious newscasters report on the growth of the loonie, the one dollar coin, in comparison to the U.S. dollar without breaking into a smile or even a smirk. I am not as strong willed.

The first time I asked for change for a toonie, a two dollar coin, I broke out in uncontrollable giggles. The salesperson responded to my request with the very sincere remark, "What is so funny?" GF tried to stop my giggling by pinching my arm, hitting me hard on the back of the head, and telling me to think of all the starving children in Africa. However, none of these tactics worked. I continued to giggle with intermittent spurts of real laughter.

When I finally gained control of myself I responded to the salespersons question, "Can you believe I just referred to the two dollar coin as a toonie?". She shrugged and said, "What else would you call it?". This question has plagued me ever since. I have spent many a sleepless night trying to come up with alternative names for the loonie and toonie. These are a few of the names that I think Canadians should consider:

The monochromatic coin (loonie)
The two-tone coin (toonie)
The big coin (loonie)
The bigger coin (toonie)
The eleven-sided coin (loonie)
The round coin (toonie)
The one with the man on horse back on top of a statue (loonie)
The one with the polor bear on an iceberg (toonie)

I have tried, with limited success, to introduce these new coin names into the public discourse. Recently GF and I went to a Russian bakery to buy some hamentashen, three cornered cookies stuffed with jam. After I paid for the cookies I asked the salesperson for change for "the coin with the man on horse back on top of a statue". At the completion of my sentence I was greeted with stunned silence. When I quickly tried to remedy the situation and ask for change for "the monochromatic coin" a crowd began to gather. Since I now had a crowd to please I would not give up and tried to ask for change one final time. This time I asked for change for "the big coin". Instead of responding to my request the salesperson turned to the other person behind the counter and said something in what I assumed to be Russian.

It was at that moment that I learned that the crowd gathered around me was not interested in my discursive experiment but was waiting in line to purchase various and sundry baked goods. As a result of the delay I was causing they began to grumble and complain. They even asked GF if she was with me and in an effort to preserve herself from their barbs she said no. It was at that moment that I thought it might be best to leave.

I left the store and waited outside for GF. When GF exited the store she walked right past me and did not stop for two blocks. When she did finally stop I asked her if she knew what the clerks were saying to each other about me. She said that she was not totally sure she understood their remarks but she did hear the word loonie bandied about and she was fairly certain that they were not referring to the coin.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Pink Brooms and Granite Orbs

Canadians love ice. They play hockey on frozen ponds of ice, they commute to work on rivers of ice, they figure skate in ice rinks, and most amazingly they play curling in ice arenas created and maintained for the sole purpose of enabling people to curl.

Even though I would pitch a fit if my tax dollars were put toward building a curling stadium I have to be honest about my closet love of curling. I find the sport to be strangely fascinating and just spent the last three hours watching a curling match. I truly cannot find the words to explain the appeal of the sport but I could not tear my eyes away.

If you have never seen a curling match then you should know that not much happens in curling. One team members throws a round granite orb down a narrow sheath of ice with the goal of trying to land the orb as close to the bulls eye as possible. Two other team members try to direct the orb as close to the bulls eye as possible by using small handled brooms to sweep the ice directly in front of the orb. Of course the other team is also trying to knock your orb out of the bulls eye position with their own orb. Oh the excitement!

As I watched the match I found myself rooting for the blue team. I could not believe I became so invested in the competition. I actually experienced real pleasure when my team won the match. At the conclusion of the match I found myself wondering: How can I become a curler?

I did a little on-line research to answer this question and found the "Pink Broom Newsletter". The Pink Broom Newsletter is published by the Gay and Lesbian Curling League in Vancouver. According to the newsletter I already missed the curling workshop for novices interested in joining the league but this did not stop me. I called the league and requested that I be allowed to bypass the required clinic since I have an intuitive feel for the game. I was making headway with the person on the phone until in my over confident zeal I said, "Truly, how hard can it be to master such a sedentery sport?".

After my witty comment the person on the other end of the phone asked me how to spell my first and last name. I spelled my name out for him and then he hung up the phone on me. I fear that I am now on the Pink Broom black list. Alas, my dreams of curling fame have been quashed in an instant.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Cough Drops and Renters Insurance

Canadian sure do love their conveniences. Today I discovered a drugstore that rivals and may even surpass 7-11.

When I woke up this morning I discovered that I had a sore throat. To remedy the situation I decided to go to the drugstore down the street to buy cough drops. When I entered the store I was immediately greeted by an X-Box display and console system for customer use. Video games have never been my forte so I tried to play the football game but did not have much success. Once the 7 year old I was competing with had over 40 more points than me I decided to cut my losses and move on to the cough and cold aisle. She was a bit perturbed I was abandoning the game but I told her "This is one of those life lessons - life is not always fair." Her dad thanked me for my wisdom and I felt that I had performed my mitzvah for the day.

As I walked further into the store I stopped at the food demonstration table. At this table one of the employees was demonstrating three different brands of rice cookers. I stopped to watch the demonstration. Watching someone cook rice is kind of like watching grass grow but I waited in anticipation of the food samples. As I expected, once the demonstration was over we were able to taste the rice from each of the cookers. One of the rice samples was head and shoulders above the rest but I do not want to say which one for fear of the plugging any commercial products on my blog.

Once my stomach was full I left the cooking demonstration table and sought out the cough and cold aisle. However, on my way to the cough and cold aisle I discovered the insurance office. Since I was curious to get a quote on car insurance I decided to stop at the desk and talk to the sales representative. The salesperson could not give me a car insurance quote without my driving record in hand but he was able to quote me prices for renter's insurance and private health insurance. He also informed me that when/if I get married he can get me a cheap price for the marriage licence and related documentation. I declined all those offers but before I was out of ear shot he also offered to open a bank account for me. I thought about the bank account option for a minute but then thought better of it because the drug store does not have very many ATM machines in the city.

By this time I had been in the drug store for over an hour and knew that GF would begin to worry since she was waiting outside for me. So in an effort to lessen her worry I tried to hurry. When I finally got to the cough and cold aisle I discovered that they were out of cough drops. I panicked. I worried that if I exited the store without anything in hand that GF would give me one of those disapproving looks that implies "I waited for an hour and you have nothing to show for it".

In an effort to preempt that look I bought her a stuffed M&M doll since I knew she was disappointed we did not buy one the last time we had the chance. GF was not happy but I think she appreciated the gift. Although at home later that day I saw some M&M doll legs sticking out of the trash can which makes me think maybe she did not like the gift as much as I thought. I think next time I go to the drugstore I'll get her some private health insurance - she'll probably like that - I think.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Hollywood of the North

All of you who are avid Mini Proportions readers know that GF and I had our first run-in with the Vancouver based TV and film industry when GF had her walk-on part on the L-Word. That was a big event for us but we just recently had another film related event that comes close to that experience.

Last week we met Wagner. Wagner is a sharp looking, shaggy haired, mutt.

Wagner looked familiar to us immediately but we could not place where we knew him from. Then it came to us - we recognized him as one of the puppies in "The Call of the Wild" blockbuster event. We also learned that he was cast in "Scary Movie 3" and "The Final Cut" with Robin Williams. When I mentioned to his owner that I did not remember him in those movies she sheepishly informed us that his scenes were cut from both of those films.

Ah, Vancouver truly is the Hollywood of the north.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

"See, I didn't hurt myself"

GF and I recently picked up our bikes from one of the 15 bike shops around the corner and down the street. We initially thought we would take our bikes to a community bike co-op to learn how to tune them up ourselves but our bikes were in such bad shape that we could not walk, never mind, ride them to the bike shop. Needless to say we settled on the convenient solution.

When we picked up the bikes GF purchased bike lights for the front and back of her bike. She seemed worried because there were not real directions attached to the lights but I told her that even though the directions were scanty I could put the lights on with ease. GF was a little suspect of my claim because my butch track record is a wee bit spotty. She also told me that she was afraid I would hurt myself but I assured her that the time I threw my back out brushing my teeth, and the other time I tore a thumb nail getting money out of my pants pocket, and the other time I bit my lip so hard it bleed while we were driving to the grocery store were all anomalies.

So I woke up this morning, pounded my chest, ate some granola with strawberries, and tackled the bike lights. When I opened the box for the front light I realized that the directions were not just scanty but were about three steps below Ikea level directions. What I understood after reading and re-reading the directions 7 times was that I had to detach the light head from the light base - I think.

I pulled and pulled and pulled at the light with no perceptable movement. I continued to pull for a solid hour when finally the light detached from the base with such force that I hit myself in the face with my hand. After the initial shock, I proceeded to try and attach the light to the bike when I realized that I had not paid attention to how the base the light were attached in the first place. It is at that point that the first expletive came out of my mouth. I put the light down and figured it would be wise to take a break and start on the back light since that seemed much more straight forward.

I tore open the box for the back bike light only to discover that there were no directions. However, I was confident that even without directions I could conquer the back light because all I needed to do was screw the bike light's base stand on to the bike's seat post. I began by measuring the seat post and choosing the correct measurements for the base stand - success. I then took the screw out of the box and began to turn the screw in the appointed slot on the base stand. I turned and turned and turned without success. In my head I began to chant the matra "lefty loosey tighty righty, lefty loosey tighty righty".

After 10 minutes of turning the screw without success I pulled out the big guns - the drill. What I did not account for was that I would not be able to steady the bike enough to drill. So as I began to drill the drill bit continued to slip off the screw and came close to going through the floor and my hand a few times. I then decided that the best bet would be to take the seat and seat post off the bike so that I could get enough leverage with the drill. I put the seat and the seat post on the table and held them steady with my hand without much luck. It was at this point that I realized I was drilling the screw into the wrong side of the light stand. When I made this discovery I thought all my problems were solved. I then tried to remove the screw from the light stand but soon learned that the screw was wedged so tightly that it could not be removed.

GF came home to discover me holding her bike seat in my lap, balancing the drill between my knees and my chin, and trying to extract the screw from the light stand. She took one look at me and took the tools out of my hands. GF proceeded to remove the screw, attach the light stand to the seat post, put the seat back on the bike, and attach the front light to the handle bars. She accomplished all this in 5 minutes. I looked at her awestruck and all I could think to say was, "See, I didn't hurt myself".

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My Action Plan

I read numerous entertainment and music magazines each month. In each of these magazines there is at least one article in which a reporter interviews a celebrity in a resteraunt or bar. The article typically begins with the reporter stating, "I met with so and so at such and such resteraunt in such and such city." The reporter then goes on to describe the meal that the celebrity is eating. Upon reading these articles I wonder three things:

1. Every resteraunt is made to sound so cool and hip in that divey sort of way but is that really the case?

2. Do the celebrities being interviewed always eat so healthy or are they eating the "poached salmon without butter" for the benefit of the reporter?

3. If an interview were taking place in my presence would I be aware of it?

4. What would I say if it were a celebrity that I actually had a desire to meet? Could I speak or would it be like the time I ran into a guitar player I had a huge crush on who actually desmonstrated an interest in meeting me but I lost all use of my voice. Instead of speaking to her with my voluminous words I silently handed her a key chain that read "Bowler of the Week" and she said "Thanks" just before I walked off.

I raise these questions because I recently read one of these resteraunt interviews in a international music magazine published in the U.S. The reporter interviewed a well-known Vancouver bands in a local resteraunt. Once I stumbled upon this article I vowed to myself that I would go to the resteraunt identified in the article and find my answers. My action plan:

Step 1: Find the address of the resteraunt.
Status: Done. I found the address and am a little suspect because the address listed is in a tourist shopping dristrict. It does not sound hip and cool to me but I will not know for sure until I go down there to see for myself.

Step 2: Check the tour calendar of the band to make sure they are in town.
Status: Foiled. The band is in Europe until the end of November. I, however, will not be deterred by this small detail.

Step 3: Write a script for when/if the time comes to actually speak to the celebrity.
Status: Haven't started the script yet but given my past experience I know this is a key piece of the plan.

Step 4: Practice reciting the script in the mirror each day.
Status: See above.

Step 5: Go to resteraunt to check out the scene and identify a location from which to scope out the scene.
Status: Not quite done yet but will be soon.

Step 6: Go to the resteraunt and wait.
Status: Waiting for the tour bus to return.

If anyone wants to join me in my quest please let me know - you are more than welcome as long as you don't bring down my hip cred...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Standing and Waiting

GF and I stood outside a movie theater for 15 minutes last night waiting for our friends to emerge from a South African movie musical based on the opera Carmen. As we stood and waited we were approached by a litany of Vancouverites selling their wares.

The first person to approach us was selling a blue stuffed M&M doll for $3.00. I have no idea where one gets such a thing nor am I sure that it is even sellable in a retail setting never mind on the street. Needless to say we passed on the stuffed M&M although I must admit I did have a twinge of regret later that evening.

The second person to approach us was selling "glass" beaded earrings. The woman selling the earings told us that they were authentic native art and worth a great deal of money but she would sell them to us for the low, low price of $7.00. We took a cursory look at the earings and could see the gold pealing off the hoops. We could also see that the "glass beads" were actually plastic. We passed on the earrings even though $7.00 was a tempting price.

The third person to approach us was selling colored contacts. As he walked down the street he yelled, "Colored contacts for sale. Blue and green contacts and there going fast. Colored contacts for sale. Blue and green contacts and there going fast." He noticed that GF and I both wear glasses and he thought for sure he found his mark. He told us that we would each look great in some colored contacts - me in green and GF in blue. When we informed us we were not in the market he assured us that the contacts had been sterilized. I let him know that I thought that was such a great relief but I was still not in the market. He finally left when our friends emerged from the theater.

It is too bad that before we left no one came by selling dog bobble heads because I really had a hankering to purchase one. Alas, I guess there are some things you can only get in Baltimore.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

A dog, a sweater vest, and a tatoo parlor

GF and I witnessed a strange happenning today while walking in the city.

We observed a chihuahua, no more than 6 inches tall and 8 inches longs, resembling a cute version of a rat and wearing an orange knit sweater vest with a yellow sunflower on his back running down the street. We then observed a woman rounding a corner and running after the chihuahua. The chihuahua, however, had quite a lead and was not slowing down.

As we continued to watch the scene unfold we observed the chihuahua stop, turn left, and enter a tatoo parlor. The dog's owner, and presumably the knitter of the sweater vest, stopped, turned left, and also entered the tatoo parlor. We waited outside the door of the tatoo parlor for 20 minutes waiting to see the dog's tatoo but gave up when the wind and rain became too strong.

Upon further analysis of the situation we conjectured that the dog was seeking some street cred because the sweater vest was a bit dandified.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Where are you Miss Manners?

The rainy season has arrived in Vancouver and it seems that bus protocol has gone out the window.

While waitng for the bus today I sought to keep dry by cramming under a store awning with fifteen other people. While I was crammed in to that tight space I observed three people (including myself) dripped on by those taller people holding open umbrellas, one person poked in the eye and the other poked in the ear, and five people that could not fit under the awning because the three open umbrellas were taking up the same amount of space that could be occupied by six people. If you are one of those umbrella holders, please explain to me why you would need to cram under an awning to stay drive if you have an umbrella that was created with the sole purpose of providing shelter from the rain. Better yet, if you feel the need to press your body against the other patrons waiting for the bus then please close your umbrella so that we can cram that much closer.

When the bus finally arrived I walked on and found a dry seat. Soon after sitting down I felt water dripping on my head. I looked up and observed a man shaking out his umbrella in my direction. Who shakes out an umbrealla in a bus?! He soon noticed my glare and began to shake his umbrella in the opposite direction. When he vacated his space on the bus he was replaced with a woman who held her umbrella very close to my leg. Actually, the umbrella was so close to my leg that it was actually on top of my leg. If you were to take a cursory glance in my direction you would think it was my umbrella given the proximity of the umbrella to my lap. She too noticed my glare and spent the rest of the time trying to avoid eye contact.

As I held my pant leg up to dry off I was greeted with a spray of rain in my face. When the man sitting directly in front of me sat down in his seat he vigorously removed his hood so that he would not get the seat too wet. He was wearing one of those super water proof gortex rain coats that beads the water on top of the coat and as a result when he took off the hood the beaded water sprayed all over my face and in my mouth, ears, and eyes.

Since I plan to ride the bus all winter I guess I should get an umbrella because those people seem to be oblivious to the rain.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A bookstore with a complex

I was in the mood for a new book so I stumbled into Chapter's, a Barnes and Noble style bookstore. Immediately upon entering the store it became clear to me that Chapter's, although a large nationwide bookseller, has a serious inferiority complex. The first sign that greets you as you enter the doorway reads, "Chapters. A great Canadian Company." I guess they are trying to seperate themselves from those great Swiss, Austrian, and Japanese companies dotting the country...although to be honest none of those companies has proclaimed themselves great is such a manner.

As I began to browse the books I came across an entire section of books labelled, "The World Needs More Canada". The books in this section were all written by or about Canadian's. I began to wonder - "Do I need more Canada?" To answer this question I looked at the books in the next section. These books were titled, "Tokyo Mangapop" and were being sold to those patrons over 16 years of age. I seriously weighed my options - "Mangapop" or "Canada", "Mangapop" or "Canada", "Mangapop" or "Canada". I chose Canada but it was a tight race since that anime "Mangapop" sure looked tempting.

After I picked up my Canadian book I took the escalator up to the 2nd floor. As I stood on the escalator I began to realize that the walls were lined with names of famous Canadians. The names on the wall staked claim to everyone from authors to actors to singers to entire comedy troupes. The first name I saw on the wall was Margaret Atwood. I thought the placement of her name on the wall seemed to make sense since she is an author and this is a bookstore. The next name I saw was Michael J. Fox. His name made a little less sense since he is an actor and not a writer but I gave him the benefit of the doubt since he has done so much activism and maybe even writing on the topic of Parkinson. Then I saw the names of Celine Dion and Alan Thicke. Upon seeing these name I stood agape while the gum fell out of my mouth on to the escalator stairs. I had this reaction because I still do not understand why any country would want to lay claim to Celine Dion. Nor do I understand why Alan Thicke is still considered "famous". I think the last time I saw Alan Thicke was on Growing Pains in the early 80's.

One notable name missing from the wall was Pater Jennings. I guess when you leave Canada and become an American citizen you are no longer considered to be a famous Canadian. I fear that this means that we might end up with Celine Dion in very the near future. It seems that Chapter's may have an inferiority complex but they sure know how to stick it to us.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sitting in the Dark

I have spent the last four days watching movies non-stop. I have seen 12 movies in the last four days. I can afford to do this because I have a volunteer pass for the Vancouver International Film Festival that allows me access to pretty much any movie playing as long as it is not sold out...this is a real problem. I have not seen GF for more than one waking hour each of the past four days. My schedule these past few days has been fairly regimented and consists of:

Wake up
Brush my teeth
Take the bus to the movie theater
Request tickets to three different matinees
Wacth matinee one
Watch matinee two/take a nap
Watch matinee three
Eat something fried for dinner
Request tickets to two different evening movies
Watch movie one/take a nap
Watch movie two
Take the bus home
Brush teeth

I am a creature of habit and cannot stop myself from following this routine. It has gotten so bad these past few days that when I walk into a movie I have no knowledge of plot, language or country. I saw an entire movie in Dutch and thought it was French until I watched the credits.

GF put her foot down today and came to the theater to perform an intervention. I left with her but unless she hides my volunteer pass she cannot stop me for very long...I will be back tomorrow.

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