Feelin' Genki

Monday, November 28, 2005

Avalanched Again

After Milo went to bed, I turned on the hockey game, all ready for a great one.

It was already 4-0 for the other team.

Ugh. How depressing. The good news is that the Canucks are still in first place. The bad news is that they keep having these atrocious starts and sometimes you can't just wait until the third period to get it together.

C'mon guys, get one in there!

The game ended with Colorado 6, Vancouver 2. Once again, the Av's seem to have our number.

The Silver Lining? Well, unfortunately, I moved Joe Sakic down to my reserve list in my hockey pool so his two goals still didn't help me, although Morrison's did. Tim (You Bastard!) is still killing all of us overall, leading for this month, and managed to beat me for the best week too.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Week In Review

Wow, time is at a premium these days. So much to blog about, so little time.

First of all, Milo still rocks. He's actually cuter than ever (and so much cuter than those other babies out there...) and starting to smile and laugh more and more. I even got him laughing by tickling his toes last night. Ooh boy, he's gonna get it now.

We're settling into a new routine, now that I'm going to work five days a week. The good news is that my job is great and I love the people I work with. It's nice to feel like I fit in after only two weeks. The bad news is that my time with Milo is drastically reduced - I see him awake for five minutes in the morning before I head out the door, then for about two hours when I come home. We still get bathtime all to ourselves, so I can't really complain. And we do get that quality time at 2 a.m. every once in a while...

So hooray for the weekend! I can clean up the mess that has accumulated around my desk, get working on my sadly neglected blogs, and, if I'm lucky, get to smooch with my honey. Plus, it just happens to be Hockey Night in Canada - as soon as I have a shower, I'm putting on my Canucks jersey and crossing my fingers. Go Canucks Go!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sharing My Idiocy With The World

I felt like an idiot the other day. Here, let me share it with you all.

Presenting: Mass Transit Tales of Horror!

I left my wallet at home and noticed on the way to the bus stop that I had exact bus fare for both ways - 2 toonies and 2 quarters for a grand total of $4.25. In my half-asleep morning daze, I got on the bus and plunked the coins in the slot.

Bus Driver: "Oh, did you want a two zone transfer?"

Me: "No, just one zone... why? Oh..."

[At this point, I notice that the ticket dispenser has registered $4. The two quarters in my pocket confirm my screw-up.]

Bus Driver: "You just paid $4."

Me: "Oh crap."

Now if you've never been to Vancouver, then you might not be aware of our city's bizarre and inefficient transit plan. Buses change their fares constantly and do not give change. The SkyTrain works on the honour system. Bus Drivers are instructed to give everyone a ride, even if they don't pay. Naturally, this has lead to abuse and an air of entitlement among those who habitually cheat the system. For me, in fifteen years here in Vancouver, I have paid for every ride I've ever recieved, except for New Year's Eve when all transit is free.

I had a good day at work (new job and all) but couldn't bring myself to try and mooch two dollars from my new co-workers. Which led to my ride home.

I got on the bus and sheepishly told the driver that I accidentally paid four bucks on the morning commute. I dumped my four bits in the slot, telling him (honestly) that it was all I had and was it okay?

"No," he laughed. And started driving away anyhow.

So yes, I felt like an idiot. But you know what? Over the years I've given them tons of extra money. Like sticking a $5 bill in when I didn't have anything smaller. Like that year I paid double to go two zones without realizing that I only had to pay for one. And all those times when I paid $2 for bus fares of $1.25, $1.50, and $1.75 because I had no quarters.

I guess I felt entitled too. Then I found myself blaming the bus for my mistake. Hell, what kind of backwater hick system is this that doesn't even give change? I've been on thirty-year-old buses in Japan that charge different fares for almost every stop, have it all automated, and give change for everything up to a hundred dollar bill. (Okay, a 10,000 yen note, but it's the same thing.) Of course, their buses run on time too, so maybe it's not a fair comparison.

Yup, I felt like an idiot. Still do. But it sure feels better to blame someone else.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Nice Day For a Vote

November 19th is election day in our fair city. Time to elect our new Mayor, City Council, School Board, and Parks Board.

I thought I had it all sorted out, who I was going to vote for, until yesterday. The CBC ran an interview with both major Mayoral candidates, Jim Green and Sam Sullivan, that left me shaking my head.

Man, both of these guys are jerks. Petty, pathetic, spiteful, hateful, morons.

I'm sure they have their good sides, but they sure didn't show it - they were rude, they didn't listen to each other, and neither one could bring himself to say one nice thing about the other person.

At least last time we elected an idealist who worked his butt off for the city and tried to make a difference. What happened to him? He got sick of the bureaucratic and partisan bickering and left the politics of the gutter behind. No surprise what we have left.

Honestly, I don't want to vote for either of them. If only the Nude Garden Party had run someone...

Oh well, at least the weather is gorgeous and it's a nice walk to the polling station.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Schedule Change

Hoo boy, it's been a busy week. And it's only half over.

There's the good news, and there's the bad news. The good news is that I have a new job. Hooray! I have income! I have interesting work to do! I have great people to work with! The bad news is that I'm no longer the stay-at-home dad I've been enjoying being. That unemployed guy who got to spend all day with his pretty wife and adorable baby boy had it good, even if he was flat broke.

But that's all changed now! I'm learning fast, excited about this company, and looking forward to the Christmas party already. (Bourbon pecan pie with espresso syrup... pinch me, I'm dreaming!)

As soon as I get a little more settled into a routine, I can get started on this list of blog topics that's been accumulating. For now, back to work!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Trekker Rock

A couple of days ago I was reading other people's blogs and I saw that Daddy L, writer of The Jasper Chronicles, wrote a blog about his Baby Trekker.

Well, I love mine too. Milo likes facing out and staring at everything when we hold him so he took to "The Octopus," as we call it, from day one. Actually, the nickname comes from the previous owner. Thanks Kim and Chris! (Milo looks incredible in Franklyn's old shirt, too!)

Back to the Baby Trekker. I can do dishes in it, do laundry, clean up, and still have Milo's fuzzy little head in kissing range. He loves being in the Trekker and dancing in front of the many mirrors in the house. I can tuck his hands inside it when it's cold outside or hold his little hands as we wander.

Most importantly - I hope other guitar-playing daddies realize this - I can play the guitar with Milo still in the Trekker. Not well, but the little wiggler really digs it. It's a little weird having your guitar about a foot further away from your chest than you're used to, but I just imagine that I suddenly got really fat.

Of course, I've been really busy for the last, oh, four and a half months so I haven't been playing guitar as much as I used to. And now, with a new audience, I have to work on my set list. So far I've worked out the chords for Rainbow Connection (Erin likes to sing it to him), The Tide is High (Milo likes Blondie!), and I just figured out Octopus' Garden yesterday. It's kind of a water themed collection of tunes - appropriate for hanging out in The Octopus and for our rainy Vancouver weather.

** The title of this post refers to playing guitar with Milo in the Baby Trekker and not a reference to that Star Trek episode where Spock breaks out the harp and rocks the Parthenon.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Shout Out Out Out Out!

What a great concert! Last week Erin and I got to get out and see a live music show downtown for the first time since Milo was born.

Yup, the Grandparents drove out here from The Wack to babysit and Erin and I went rockin'. Four bands were playing at Richard's on Richards as part of the Levi's & Exclaim "Four For Fall" tour. Sorry about the plug, but when someone sponsors indie & local live music, they deserve it. Unfortunately, the tour's over now. Hope you got to see it.(Hey, nice idea there, Ted!)

Whitey Houston (no, there's no "n" in there) started us off - pretty rockin' band for just a bass player and a drummer. They had some CD's and some nice coloured vinyl for sale there too.

The Fembots were next - a great-sounding band from Toronto. Kind of alt-country style music with great songwriting. And they had a vibrophone up there which made a really cool replacement for the lap steel guitar. I haven't heard their newest album yet, but their last one, Small Town Murder Scene, was absolutely wonderful.

The third act was Luke Doucet, the reason Erin and I went out in the first place. If I've mentioned him on my blog before, it's because I'm a huge fan of his work and he's an old friend. His shows are not only musical events for us, but places where we might run into a dozen friends we haven't seen in months.

Luke was up there with his band (including his wonderful fiancee, Melissa McClelland, who's a great solo performer in her own right) wowing us with his always-amazing guitar playing and singing. He almost got upstaged, though - his nine-year-old daughter came up onstage to sing Tom Waits' "Gun Street Girl" with him. It was priceless. You could see the crowd go from "aw, isn't that little girl cute!" to "Holy Crap, is that really her singing?" That child has some pipes. She was back up playing the tambourine and rocking out for the encore too.

The last band was Shout Out Out Out Out! You have never seen a band like this, I assure you. Imagine, if you will, a band with two drummers and four bass players who all play keyboards and synthesizers too. They play dance music. And they look and dress like a cross between The Ramones and Grizzly Adams. High energy, fun dance music by guys who ought to know better - the guys from Whitey Houston are in this band and it's fronted by Nik Kozub, from Veal and The Cleats. They have one single out and I bet after this tour they'll have a deal to record a CD. If you like smiling, sweating, and headbanging with your disco, check 'em out. Disco rocks.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Thank You Card

I have never been good with cards. One year I sent my Christmas cards out in March just because I was tired of seeing them sit around unsent for three months.

I'm no better at thank you cards. I'd much rather thank people in person, and be thanked in person too. I guess I just don't like cards (but I love letters) and presume that others feel similar.

Nonetheless, it's not always possible to thank people in person. When this happens to me, the guilt just builds and builds. (Before I forget, if there's anyone reading this that I forgot to thank for something, Thank You!) To that end, I have addressed this post.

Thanks Dan and Nadia for this great outfit!

I know the outfit is a 24 month size and Milo is only 4 months old, but I got this idea to see how he looked in it and couldn't stop laughing until I actually tried it on him. (Then I laughed some more.)

Yes, Daddy sometimes plays dress-up with the boy too. So I was thinking, 24 months? When Milo's two years old? Is that, perhaps, a clue telling us when you're finally going to come back to Vancouver? Sheesh, that's a long time.

On the other hand, with the rate this boy is growing (I think he was in the 91st percentile for height?), he may just fit the stuff by next summer. That would be a great time for a visit.

Oh - and the toque? It fits me now. Keeps my ears warm. Heh heh.

Starbucks Challenge - Test #1

Well, I finally did it. I took the Starbucks Challenge here in Vancouver.

In case you missed it, Green LA Girl and Cityhippy have been running a fascinating experiment. See, Starbucks has a policy of providing a cup of Fair Trade coffee to anyone who asks. It's a new policy, and, as I said before, one that might actually improve my opinion of Starbucks.

Starbucks has started bringing in Cafe Estima blend coffee - It's Fair Trade certified. The official policy is that if you ask for Fair Trade coffee, they will make you a cup even if it's not the coffee of the month.

I was on my way to see four great bands play (blog to follow soon...) and walked by the Starbucks at the corner of Granville and Smithe. Aha! A chance to take the challenge! I walked in and asked for a tall, black, Fair Trade coffee.

The barista told me it wasn't brewing. They had some other blend already made. I told her that I thought Starbucks now sold Fair Trade coffee too. She conferred with another barista then started looking through the rack of bagged beans.

When she returned with a bag of Cafe Estima, she asked me if I wanted to buy the Fair Trade beans.

"No," I told her, "I just want a cup of Fair Trade coffee. Couldn't you French press me a cup?" After another quick conference she came back and rang up something that cost over four dollars. When I asked her if that was for my one cup of coffee, she then told me that I had to pay for a full pot of French press coffee.

I told her no, thanks, and hurried off to the show with less caffeine in my system than I might have liked.

Result: Fail. I felt bad for breaking the rules of the challenge by suggesting she French press me a cup, but I guess I wanted a coffee. If one shop in hippy-paradise, coffee-loving, greener-than-green Vancouver can't follow policy, I have serious doubts about the rest of the continent. Now I have to try it again.

Good luck to all of you taking the challenge yourselves!