Tuesday, 29 November 2005

Liberal Government Falls In No-Confidence Vote!!!

28 November - Unfortunattly it's the CANADIAN Liberal government over here, and they're nomenclature is slightly more appropriate than the ones in Australia. Not the conservative party but not the socialist party either. Although as one housemate said, they're veen accused of "Campaigning As The Left and Governing As The Right" (i like that sayingP.
Freezing cold this morning - our balcony was slick with ice and a lot of the cars were completely frosted up in the morning and despite wearing leggings that just would not stay up (whenever I was in a lift alone I would have to yank up my shorts and hike them up to my crotch) and a couple of layers it was really, really cold. There were also only three of us on today (Stu was absent and Crystal called in sick (her home city of Edmonton's football team won the CFL Grey Cup yesterday so that may have had something to do with it)) and I was the busiest i've been since I first started. It wasn't raining thankfully but the cold didn't ease off until early afternoon and I was completely run off my feet all day (have seemed to work out the fmeatood situation a bit better now by bringing pita breads that are pretty resilient to the battering they get and just stopping for a couple of minutes no matter how busy I am whenever I go further afield of the city's core) and was still picking up dropping off until five thirty, much later than normal. The dispatcher said I had a great day and I made loads of money and asked if I wanted to know how much, when he told me how much it actualy was I almost laughed at how little it was. It'll be good to get my first commission cheque so I can truly estimate how much it is i'll be getting and what my budget is going to be for the next year (or however long I stick with this profession) but I knew i'd never be doing this job for the money. Came home (when the sun goes down it gets really chilly) and did a bit of shopping, was very disappointed that they only had milk chocolate mcvities digestives and not the plain or dark chocolate I hungered for until I realised that they had type of biscuit called an 'arnotts original' which had the same style packaging and appearance of a tim tam packet. Unfrotunately it was not a dark chocolate original but it was a time tam nonetheless, another little bit of home found (quite a lot of australiana has a presence over here, mostly branded differendtly but sometimes the same bakers delight = cobs bread; tim tams = originals; flight centre, IGA (does that stand for independent grocers of australia or association??? I don't know and I don't really car either). Also watched the extremely disappointing final episode of a pretty average thriller called 'Prison Break' but not before smoking Gandalf's pipe,which almost made it worth watching ... Almost.

Monday, 28 November 2005

Fool Of A Toque!!!

27 November - Woke up convinced it was a Monday, realised it was a Sunday so slept in but not as late as Mark, who came for a run with me out to Trout Lake again. Got him to do two laps this time, still not very far, but it's better than nowt and he's committed to doing it regularly, which is very good.
Decided to head out to the Museum of Anthroplogy that, according to the Internet, was located at 6393 Marine Drive. I used Google Maps to get directions and it gave a 25k route (rather circuitous though) over to Horseshoe Bay, where one would get the ferry to Vancouver Island. So, rather than wasting time and money on public transport I got on my bike and made my way over. It was a little bit further than I anticipattd and despite riding around all day I still found myself rather puffed and sore at going non stop for well over an hour. It was very beautiful though, riding along the shoreline for most of the way and the sky was pretty clear. It didn't help that Marine Drive seemed to stop at 6300. I rolled down into Horseshoe Bay and asked one or two people who had no idea the museum was located. Then I heard someone call out my name, Jason, my apprentice from work, had just returned from the Island where he'd been visiting his parents. He asked me why I was there and I told him and he said, oh, there's a museum down at UBC (the local uni), that's on NORTH WEST Marine Drive though. I told him I was pretty certain my directions told me it was in Horseshoe Bay, but that was because i'd just looked up the street name. It turns out i'd gone about 30ks out of my way. In any event, I had a bit of a chat with him before his ride arrived and so I decided to head back towards home (it wouldn't have been worth it or maybe even possible to make it out to the museum and home before dark). I decided to go via the highway, which was a very sillything to do in retrospect. It was covered in glass and crap and I was just riding alonside another cyclist when my rear tyre went, victim of a metal staple in the road. The other cyclist kindly stopped to give me a had, which was very lucky because i'd left my spare and all my tools in my courier bag and I was completely stranded. We eventually got it fixed (couldn't find the f**king hole to patch) but no sooner had we parted ways but it went again and I was completely lost. I wandered down towards Marine Drive, debatingwhether I should hitch or not. Another cyclist past me and I hailed him for directions to the nearest bike shop. He happily obliged although his directions were rather confusing. It didn't really matter because he rode off and within five minutes had returned in his van to give me a lift all the way there! There are some very good people in this city. Not only helping out but going out of their way to help out. It's happened on a few occasions on this trip and i'm grateful for it. Fixed up my bike and headed back home - where I almost collapsed on the couch and watched jurassic Park iii (well, at least it wasn't a speilburgo) aand then me and thete a wild boar burger for dinner (very good, it made me feel like a gaul). The lesson learned today is make sure you know you where you're going before undertaking any long trips and ALWAYS CARRY YOU'RE BIKE TOOLS WHEN YOU GO OUT!!!

Joys Of Share House Living

26 November - Tried to sleep in but couldn't, headed out to do some shopping and get some pancakes but the local place didn't open until 10. How can a place that does breakfast not open until 10am??? However, considering that I had to wait half an hour to get served at the local deli meant that I had ample time to kill until I could get my pancakes. Santa Barberas, a small grocery store/deli seems to be incredibly popular, especially amongst the Italian community near the Drive and i'm hoping that the cold meats and cheeses were worth the wait. Went into town and got my bike serviced (it rides like a dream again now, although one always has to be careful after a tuneup because the brakes are so sensisitve that you can quite easilysend yourself flying over the handlebars when you try to come to a gentle stop) and also saw the local ticker tape parade in celebration of The Grey Cup, the Canadian Football League's grand final that's on this Sunday. Lots of cheerleaders in short skirts (and tracksuits for the boys) trying to ignore the cold and lots of desperate fans in body paint pretending that it's summer. Also saw Anne Rice, writer of several great Vampire books and a whole heap of awful ones, having a book signing in town. I didn't feel it necessary to buy her latest nor hang around to get her to sign it. Not a super-eventful night, was planning on going out with some friends but best laid plans often fall through and ended up watching Conan The Destroyer with a couple of housemates. Also had a run-in with one of the guys over the issue of washing up the dishes. Now, he thinks everyone should wash up their own stuff every night without fail and (for the most part) he does this. I am of the opinion that a plate or a cup or two can survive in the sink for more than 24 hours. It's not as if there's leftover food growing penicillin or any other examples of evolution in action. So, I occasionally let a few plates stay there overnight and when I go to wash it I wash EVERYTHING in the sink because it seems to me a pretty f**king stupid and inconsiderate thing to spend 5m just washing my stuff when it could take 7m to wash up everything that's in there. But, apparently this is something that has been bothering him and he's spoken to others in the house and he feels it's become a concern. I told him what I thought and he got a bit narcy (and then bitched to a couple of other flatmates afterwards who were evenly split in his and my favour). I'm all for keeping the peace in the household and when you've got six people living under the same roof (only five at the moment) you’re going to get a couple of neurotics and usually its best to just avoid minor conflicts before they can become major hassles. It's been eight years since i've properly done share house living and i'm a bit rusty on the protocols - one or even two flatmates is a far cry from four or five - I think i''ll have to brush up on my John bimingham for some advice. Then again, I could be lucky and I might wake up and he might have died overnight with a felafal in his hand.
Disclaimer: I have no wish to wake up to a dead flatmate with any kind of Middle Eastern food whatsoever in his hand. If this happens it will be a complete coincidence.

Sunday, 27 November 2005

Text Of The Rosetta Stone

In the reign of the young one who has succeeded his father in the kingship, lord of diadems, most glorious, who has established Egypt and is pious towards the gods, triumphant over his enemies, who has restored the civilized life of men, lord of the Thirty Years Festivals, even as Ptah the Great, a king like Ra, great king of the Upper and Lower countries, offspring of the Gods Philopatores, one whom Ptah has approved, to whom Ra has given victory, the living image of Amun, son of Ra, PTOLEMY, LIVING FOR EVER, BELOVED OF PTAH, in the ninth year, when Aetos son of Aetos was priest of Alexander, and the Gods Soteres, and the Gods Adelphoi, and the Gods Euergetai, and the Gods Philopatores and the God Epiphanes Eucharistos; Pyrrha daughter of Philinos being Athlophoros of Berenike Euergetis, Areia daughter of Diogenes being Kanephoros of Arsinoe Philadelphos; Irene daughter of Ptolemy being Priestess of Arsinoe Philopator; the fourth of the month of Xandikos, according to the Egyptians the 18th Mekhir.

DECREE. There being assembled the Chief Priests and Prophets and those who enter the inner shrine for the robing of the gods, and the Fan-bearers and the Sacred Scribes and all the other priests from the temples throughout the land who have come to meet the king at Memphis, for the feast of the assumption by PTOLEMY, THE EVER-LIVING, THE BELOVED OF PTAH, THE GOD EPIPHANES EUCHARISTOS, of the kingship in which he succeeded his father, they being assembled in the temple in Memphis on this day declared:

Whereas King PTOLEMY, THE EVER-LIVING, THE BELOVED OF PTAH, THE GOD EPIPHANES EUCHARISTOS, the son of King Ptolemy and Queen Arsinoe, the Gods Philopatores, has been a benefactor both to the temple and to those who dwell in them, as well as all those who are his subjects, being a god sprung from a god and goddess like Horus the son of Isis and Osiris, who avenged his father Osiris, being benevolently disposed towards the gods, has dedicated to the temples revenues of money and corn and has undertaken much outlay to bring Egypt into prosperity, and to establish the temples, and has been generous with all his own means; and of the revenues and taxes levied in Egypt some he has wholly remitted and others has lightened, in order that the people and all the others might be in prosperity during his reign; and

whereas he has remitted the debts to the crown being many in number which they in Egypt and the rest of the kingdom owed; and

whereas those who were in prison and those who were under accusation for a long time, he has freed of the charges against them; and

whereas he has directed that the gods shall continue to enjoy the revenues of the temples and the yearly allowances given to them, both of corn and money, likewise also the revenue assigned to the gods from the vine land and from gardens and the other properties which belonged to the gods in his father's time; and

whereas he directed also, with regard to the priests, that they should pay no more as the tax for admission to the priesthood than what was appointed them throughout his father's reign and until the first year of his own reign; and has relieved the members of the priestly orders from the yearly journey to Alexandria; and

whereas he has directed that impressment for the navy shall no longer be employed; and of the tax on fine linen cloth paid by the temples to the crown he has remitted two-thirds; and whatever things were neglected in former times he has restored to their proper condition, having a care how the traditional duties shall be fittingly paid to the gods; and likewise has apportioned justice to all, like Thoth the great and great; and has ordained that those who return of the warrior class, and of others who were unfavourably disposed in the days of the disturbances, should, on their return be allowed to occupy their old possessions; and

whereas he provided that cavalry and infantry forces and ships should be sent out against those who invaded Egypt by sea and by land, laying out great sums in money and corn in order that the temples and all those who are in the land might be in safety; and having gone to Lycopolis in the Busirite nome, which had been occupied and fortified against a siege with an abundant store of weapons and all other supplies seeing that disaffection was now of long standing among the impious men gathered into it, who had perpetrated much damage to the temples and to all the inhabitants of Egypt, and having encamped against it, he surrounded it with mounds and trenches and elaborate fortifications; when the Nile made a great rise in the eighth year of his reign, which usually floods the plains, he prevented it, by damming at many points the outlets of the channels spending upon this no small amount of money, and setting cavalry and infantry to guard them, in a short time he took the town by storm and destroyed all the impious men in it, even as Thoth and Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, formerly subdued the rebels in the same district; and as to those who had led the rebels in the time of his father and who had disturbed the land and done wrong to the temples, he came to Memphis to avenge his father and his own kingship, and punished them all as they deserved, at the time that he came there to perform the proper ceremonies for the assumption of the crown; and

whereas he remitted what was due to the crown in the temples up to his eighth year, being no small amount of corn and money; so also the fines for the fine linen cloth not delivered to the crown, and of those delivered, the several fees for their verification, for the same period; and he also freed the temples of the tax of the measure1 of grain for every measure2 of sacred land and likewise the jar of wine for each measure2 of vine land; and

whereas he bestowed many gifts upon Apis and Mnevis and upon the other sacred animals in Egypt, because he was much more considerate than the kings before him of all that belonged to them; and for their burials he gave what was suitable lavishly and splendidly, and what was regularly paid to their special shrines, with sacrifices and festivals and other customary observances, and he maintained the honours of the temples and of Egypt according to the laws; and he adorned the temple of Apis with rich work, spending upon it gold and silver and precious stones, no small amount; and

whereas he has funded temples and shrines and altars, and has repaired those requiring it, having the spirit of a benficent god in matters pertaining to religion; and

whereas after enquiry he has been renewing the most honourable of the temples during his reign, as is becoming; in requital of which things the gods have given him health, victory and power, and all other good things, and he and his children shall retain the kingship for all time.

WITH PROPITIOUS FORTUNE: It was resolved by the priests of all the temples in the land to increase greatly the existing honours of King PTOLEMY, THE EVER-LIVING, THE BELOVED OF PTAH, THE GOD EPIPHANES EUCHARISTOS, likewise those of his parents the Gods Philopatores, and of his ancestors, the Great Euergatai and the Gods Adelphoi and the Gods Soteres and to set up in the most prominent place of every temple an image of the EVER-LIVING KING PTOLEMY, THE BELOVED OF PTAH, THE GOD EPIPHANES EUCHARISTOS, which shall be called that of 'PTOLEMY, the defender of Egypt,' beside which shall stand the principal god of the temple, handing him the scimitar of victory, all of which shall be manufactured in the Egyptian fashion; and that the priests shall pay homage to the images three times a day, and put upon them the sacred garments, and perform the other usual honours such as are given to the other gods in the Egyptian festivals; and to establish for King PTOLEMY, THE GOD EPIPHANES EUCHARISTOS, sprung of King Ptolemy and Queen Arsinoe, the Gods Philopatores, a statue and golden shrine in each of the temples, and to set it up in the inner chamber with the other shrines; and in the great festivals in which the shrines are carried in procession the shrine of the GOD EPIPHANES EUCHARISTOS shall be carried in procession with them. And in order that it may be easily distinguishable now and for all time, there shall be set upon the shrine ten gold crowns of the king, to which shall be added a cobra exactly as on all the crowns adorned with cobras which are upon the other shrines, in the centre of them shall be the double crown which he put on when he went into the temple at Memphis to perform therein the ceremonies for assuming the kingship; and there shall be placed on the square surface round about the crowns, beside the aforementioned crown, golden symbols eight in number signifying that it is the shrine of the king who makes manifest the Upper and the Lower countries. And since it is the 30th of Mesore on which the birthday of the king is celebrated, and likewise the 17th of Paophi on which he succeeded his father in the kingship, they have held these days in honour as name-days in the temples, since they are sources of great blessings for all;

it was further decreed that a festival shall be kept in the temples throughout Egypt on these days in every month, on which there shall be sacrifices and libations and all the ceremonies customary at the other festivals and the offerings shall be given to the priests who serve in the temples. And a festival shall be kept for King PTOLEMY, THE EVER-LIVING, THE BELOVED OF PTAH, THE GOD EPIPHANES EUCHARISTOS, yearly in the temples throughout the land from the 1st of Thoth for five days, in which they shall wear garlands and perform sacrifices and libations and the other usual honours, and the priests in each temple shall be called priests of the GOD EPIPHANES EUCHARISTOS in addition to the names of the other gods whom they serve; and his priesthood shall be entered upon all formal documents and engraved upon the rings which they wear; and private individuals shall also be allowed to keep the festival and set up the aforementioned shrine and have it in their homes; performing the aforementioned celebrations yearly, in order that it may be known to all that the men of Egypt magnify and honour the GOD EPIPHANES EUCHARISTOS the king, according to the law.

This decree shall be inscribed on a stela of hard stone in sacred and native and Greek characters and set up in each of the first, second and third rank temples beside the image of the ever-living king.

Hang Up and Drive

This article was stolen from wired. Sub bicycle for motorbike and think of me.
Tony Long02:00 AM Nov. 24, 2005 PTI was riding my motorcycle to workone morning a few months ago whenthe car in front of me stopped. Cold.The woman behind the wheel had aphone to her ear, but she also hadthe green light. There wasn't anytraffic to speak of and there wasnobody in front of her. In otherwords, she stopped for absolutely noreason at all (except, probably, forwhatever it was someone had justwhispered into her shell-like ear).Although I was at the speed limit, herstopping was so completelyunexpected that I didn't have time toride around her, which would havebeen the usual evasion tactic. Mychoices: Dump the bike or visit herback seat. I hit the brakes and downI went, ass over teakettle. I nevertouched her. I landed on top of thebike, fortunately, emerging with abadly bruised elbow (not to mentiona rip in my leather jacket) and apretty nasty welt on my upper thigh.The motorcycle got beaten up prettygood but everything was put right forabout $400 -- more than the bikeitself is probably worth.As I looked up, with murder in myheart, off she went, oblivious to whathad just happened behind her. I hopethat phone call was her boyfriend,dumping her.Even before the accident, mymotorcycle was no gleaming machine-- no snarling, customized Harleywith the chrome pipes polished towithin an inch of its owner's life. It'san '86 Honda Shadow. At 500cc, it'snimble enough for city riding whilepacking enough power for the road,as long as the road isn't too long.The seat's kinda ripped up, there'ssome rust and it's got its share ofdings and dents. But it runs OK, costsabout $4 at the gas pump and, bestof all, you can park it pretty muchwhere you like.It's also a freakin' death trap.The most hard-core biker -- even thebiggest fat guy straddling the baddesthog -- knows that riding a motorcycleis inherently dangerous. There's nosuch thing as a "minor" motorcycleaccident, aside from maybe droppingthe bike on your foot. We know this,but we accept the risk of riding.Why? Well, some of us are probablyjust stupid. There's the thrill factor,of course, and it is fun. It's alsorelatively cheap, you can maneuverthrough heavy traffic and you alwayslook cooler than even the coolestdude in his Euro sports car. Becauseyou are cool, and he's just a loserwho dropped 60 grand on a penisextender. It's also about the ultimate freedomof the open road, but that's notwhere we're going today. Let's talkabout death on the open roadinstead, and how the evolvingtechnology makes the biker's life --all our lives, in fact -- more fraughtwith danger than ever before.One of the things that makes riding amotorcycle so dangerous is that thepeople out there in their cars don'tsee you. It's the first thing they tellyou in motorcycle school:"Remember, drivers don't see you."The instructors should consideradding another warning: "They don'thear you, either, because they're toobusy yapping on their cell phoneswhen they should be paying attentionto what's going on around them."Why is it that only a handful of states have made it illegal to talk on thephone while driving? Driving is notsomething you do as an afterthought,OK? You're hurtling down the roadbehind the wheel of a 3,000-poundvehicle (more like 7,000 pounds inthat idiotic destroyer of worlds, theHummer) and it doesn't take aphysicist to figure out that if you hit ahuman being -- astride a motorcycle,riding a bicycle or on foot -- you'regoing to do some damage.And it doesn't take a rocket scientistor an IT guy or a professional pokerplayer to understand that anythingyou do -- like talking on the phone --that distracts you from the businessof driving increases the chances ofcausing a serious accident.So do everybody a favor and turn offyour cell phone while you drive. (It'sOK. Your important life can waitwhile you zip over to the mall.) If youhave to make a call this very minute,pull over. This ain't exactly brainsurgery, but it might help preventsome of it, you know?Then there are the vehiclesthemselves. Hummers aside, haveyou seen the size of some these,these ... well, when Paw drove totown we used to call them pickuptrucks. Now? Pickup trucks onsteroids, maybe. (A truck that seatssix adults: What genius dreamed thatone up?)They're huge. They ride high. Toohigh. There's a hood the size ofRhode Island out in front of you,blotting out the sun. It makes it evenharder to see what's out there. If itwas easy to miss a biker when youwere driving your Volvo stationwagon, well, try checking your fieldof vision in one of thesemesomorphic babies. Of course,you're probably so busy cranking upthat Slayer CD that you'd missSonoma Sammy at full throttle on hisFatboy. RIP, Sammy.Car manufacturers are also tartingup their vehicles with all sorts ofthings that, when used like mosthumans tend to use them, distractyou from watching the road. GPS(What? You can't pull over and reada map?), high-end sound systemsrequiring your full attention tooperate and -- what in God's namewere they thinking? -- in-dash videomonitors: These have no place in amotor vehicle. Cars exist to conveyyou from one place to another. Theyare not concert halls or TVbabysitters for cranky children.(Teach the kid to read. Better yet,teach him to love to read, then givehim a book, fer crissake.)What about the motorcyclesthemselves? They're bigger, fasterand more dangerous than ever. Whywould anyone want to ride amotorcycle capable of doing 150mph? So they can scrape you off theroad with a spatula instead ofdumping you in a body bag?But the motorcyclist's No. 1 nemesisremains the inattentive driver. Solisten up: Your job as the driver is todrive. Period. Your attention isfocused on what's happening outside,not inside. Period.- - -Tony Long is Wired News' copy chief.He carries a titanium plate and sixscrews in his left shoulder from aprevious motorcycle "mishap."

Saturday, 26 November 2005

Corporate Art

25 November - Got into town really early this morning but there was no-one at the other end for about 29m - at least had a chance to drink my coffee and enjoy the swinging pendulum feature inside 885. One thing I’ve noticed in Vancouver is that there is a lot of abstract corporate and government funded public art - and for the most part, it is really good. I'm not the biggest fan of corporate sponsored art in public for the most part. Usually, to me, it's pretty soulless in appearance to begin with and the fact that it was conceptualised as a tax write off doesn't add to the allure. Sometimes it can be really pleasant but I usually find it a wank. Maybe its because i'm just in a foreign country and I want to see the best in everything but I really like the public art in Vancouver. There is a fantastic upside down house near the waterfront which is a bit stylised but is makes an incredible viewing in its place down near the waterfront. My favourite would have to be the swinging peulum in 885 though it's enormous, about 39m long and a metre thick and it's suspended from the roof and swings just a few metres from the ground over a base the same shape as it. It looks like a supporting beam for the roof but it's not connected to anything. It's really very unnerving.
When the dispatcher's finally came on I found it was a little bit slow early on although got busier when it started to rain. I think all the corporatts were suddenky reminded of homuch they dislike couriers when it started to get drizzly and so decided to punish us by making us busy in the worst conditions. Did have the pleasure of seeing my apprentices out in the streets on a couple of occasions riding away with complete confidence in their new jobs, all thanks to my expert guidance, of course. Afterwards went to Wendys with Stu, my co-worker who will talk for hours without letting anyone get a word in edgeways if he's allowed, for some quickly digested comestibles and then I ent down to the Brickyard for a few beers with some other coworkers. I only stayed for three beers but it was going to be a very long one for some of them that night. Some live the most terriblly unhealthy lives. They chain smoke, even while riding, they drink from the afternoon (lightly) through to the late evening and beyond (heavily) and some are almost permanently chemically enhanced (or more likely chemically crippled). A lot of them ar almost constantly partying and some of them have been doing this for 25 years!

Friday, 25 November 2005

Another Apprentice

24 November - Ended up heading out to Burnaby (east of where I live) to the party at mark's friend;s house. I rode out there because it wasn't far although the fog was very heavy so I went as slowly as possible (also didn't want to be all sweat at the other end). Had a very enjoyable time - couldn't stay too long because it was a school night. One of the girls had brought Absinthe along and I wowed everyone with my intimate knowledge of the green fairy and all of the ways to imbibe the noxious fluid. Generally, a pretty young crowd which was probably the reason why they were all forcing down as much alcohol as they could in as short a time as possible but on the whole very nice (i realised my age when the topic of favourite movies came up and one girl adamantly said that the best movie ever made was 'A Knights Tale'). Maybe its a Canadian thing.
Got home in the thick fog again - it was very easy to get back, just down one very long street but the fog was so thick that I had to keep on stopping to get a better look at the street signs - completely invisible whilst in motion.
Waking up wasn't too hard, mainly because I woke up from dehydration and with a headache but managed to make my into town where I met my new apprentice. Actually, it was a girl, Crystal, who'd asked me if Novex was looking for couriers on Tuesday. Thy'd got her started pretty quickly because she had quite a lot of experience as a courier in Edmonton (small city somewhere east of here ... Still not good with the geography) but she didn't know Vancouver very well and needed to learn how to use the equipment. She basically trailed me all day - for the most part I just got her to use my Blackberry and do most of the radio calls. We got split up a couple of times when it got pretty busy so she could go and do some extra jobs and at the end of the day she minded the bikes while I ran into the building, saving us valuable seconds with not having to lock up the bike. She'll be out on her own tomorrow - it feels quite strange to be teaching people how to do something that i've only been doing for a few weeks. But, as i've said on many an occasion, it's not rocket science.
PS - Yesterday something exciting did happen - I won a Mars bar. Hurrah.

Thursday, 24 November 2005

Ho Hum Diddly Dum

23 November - Sometimes there are days when not much really happens. They're more common than one would think but I usually manage to get some inanities out of them. Today was one of those days. It was pretty quiet at work - there were several stages throughout the day where there was literally nothing on. Of course, when I tried to secure some food in one of these intervals something would invariably come up (although I did get a few things inside of me today). Nothing terribly exciting from a work point of view but that is probably a good thing because something exciting would involve being sideswiped by a van and i'm quite glad to avoid that. Did have a long chat with the dispatcher about his growing up in the greater BC area and how he has nothing but contempt for most of his family but it was over the radio so most of it was unintelligble. Planning on heading out to a party later on tonight hosted by a friend of one of the housemates but as i've got my usual early start I won't be hanging around for too long, i'll wager.

The Apprecentice Becomes The Master

22 November - We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I met you I was but the learner. Now, *I* am the master.
When i arrived in town this morning i went to get my coffee and sat down to become at one with myself before starting off. I was soon approached by a guy in Novex uniform who introduced himself to me as a brand new starter and told me that i'd been selected to train him that day. He was going to ride along with me that day to see how it was done and he would learn from my vast amount of experience in this industry. It was quite fun taking him along - he was in similar circumstances to me actually. Although a native Canadian who'd lived in Vancouver for quite some time he'd spent the past few years working in IT doing boring Quality Assurance (which ive done in the past myself) but got sick of working in an office. He'd been into riding for a while and thought he'd try his hand at couriering. As i've said before it's not rocket science and even the riding isn't terribly difficult - and it wasn't hard to impart what wisdom i had to him. Had a few little stuffups during the early part of the day, including leaving some diamonds behind at one of the sites and he was havinga bit of trouble locking and unlocking his bike at the speed required to keep in constant motion but it was still a pretty busy day on the whole. Asked another courier for directions at one point and he just laughed and said, 'You're a courier and you dont know where Griffiths Way is???' ... 'I've been in the country for three weeks and i've not been there yet.' What kind of idiot says that??? After a long apprenticeship of about four hours i felt that i had taught all i could to my padawan and so i let him go to seek his own fortune. The rest of the day was pretty busy but nothing like i experienced last week or prior. A combination of it being less busy, more bikers and also me getting used to it i suppose. Was also approached by a girl today who had couriered in Edmonton for three years and was interested in doing it over here so it looks like our litttle team is going may get even bigger, as i know they're still looking. Hope there aren't too manyout there or it might start to eat into my meager earnings (not that i know what they are just yet).
Came home and had some sushi for dinner before watching They Live, a conspiracy theory cult movie that i've been wantingto see for years. I was watching it when the hockey was on (had to return it tomorrow) and wen Chad walked he gave a completelycrestfallen 'Oh', his smile disappearingfrom his face when he realised that he could not watch his precious ball sport (does a puck count as a ball???) p it wasnt as if it was a final or anything ... Sheesh. In any event, the movie was pretty short (very entertaining though) so the hockey was back on by the second period and order was restored.

Wednesday, 23 November 2005

Sure I don't wear a helmet ... but I don't wipe out either!!!

21 November - Fog was still pretty instense on Monday morning, and visibility was pretty poor as well as temperature being pretty poor too - had really settled into the weekend, hadn't done too much other than enjoy the fact that it was the week's end so I wasn’t too happy about it itself ending. Quaint. Went to the courier coffeeshop and argued with coffee maker over how she was going to make my coffee (canadians have some funny ideas) and went out to drink it. Ot into a conversation with a bitter old lifer - he started talking and I made a casual remark about how cool was and he started to lecture me about what I should be doing for the cold, how what I was doing was completely wrong, how awful the pay is in the industry - especially when one works for Novex, how dangerous the business is - he gave me a bunch of commandments and things I should do and was really quite annoying when all was said and done. Some of the things he said made sense but some of it was just a bitter old man (probably on his 40s but that is really old in this profession if the crowd i've seen is anything to go by) complaining about everything and reall, a guy who doesn't wear a helmet and lectures about safety is a bit of a hypocrit if you ask me.
The day was pretty quiet as far as jobs went - even had time to stop and eat somethng during the day around lunchtime(ish). Unfortunately i'd not brought a sammich and when I did have time I was quite far out of downtown and the first place I found was a McDonalds. The second time i've eaten there since my arrival and each time has been a thoroughly unpleassant experience. The Wendys seems quite good over here but most of the junk franchises (and there are a lot of them although i've not tried them all and hope not to either, unfortunattly I can't promise anything) that i've tried have been very offputting - chips from all of the chains generally seem pretty bad and the mains are just okay to pretty awful. While I was eating a huge ruckus erupted from the mens washroom - the sound of one man beatingthe hell out of another and screaming profanities at the top of his voice. Everyone was pretty shocked until we realised that there was just one guy in the washroom and he was just making as much noise as he could, screaming 'Asshole! Asshole!!! I'm going to f**k you up, Asshole!' over and over whilst kicking the wall for about five minutes. Then, all of a sudden, the door opened and he strode out of the place. And everythingwent back to normal.
Agonised over the markets after work trying to buy some foodstuffs spent far too long in the video store searching for something I hadn't seen, wanted to see (despite having my list of films to see the ones I found whilst being films I wanted to see where not films I wanted to see RIGHT NOW) - eventuallydecided on The Machinist. Very good although cliched psychodrama about a very thin man. I'm not even going to start trying to explain my objections to the overused theme of imaginary bad guys revealing aspects of someone's past but it was as good as any of its thematic cousins and better than most. And Christian Bale's performance as a crazy thin guy was incredible - I would go so far as to say that it was Oscar deserving - that is not to say that his acting was just of a consumate skill and showed the actor's complete immersion in the role, although I would argue that this is also the case - but the reason why it was Oscar deservingis because there were ample numbers of scenes where one just listen to one of his OTT rants, and I would imagine him turningto the camera and start saying 'I'd like to thank the Academy'.
Anyway - good film - tired, but i'm sure i'll be good to go in the morning.

Monday, 21 November 2005

Potted Out

20 November - Woke up early and had a light breakfast before waking up my housemate, Mark, and setting off for a run down and around the local lake. It was a very cold morning and the fog was still very thick but it was really good to get out for a run again. T was pretty short but Mark is keen to make it a regular thing so i'm hoping we can get up to some good distances. Unfortunately didn't do the local half marathon that I think may have been today but there are a couple of others coming up. I find myself really in need of physical rest after fifty or so hours of riding every week but it should all be sending me in the right direction anyway. Slouched around and watched a documentary and did a bit of internet stuff before heading into Metrotown with Rene to watch the latest Harry Potter movie. He was adamant that we go to the brand new big screen big seat big sound cinemas (i was quite happy to see it at the local cheapo down the street) but it turned out to be sold out and it would have been a two hour wait before we could see it so we went to another smaller cinema that wsa pretty cheap and, perhaps due to the spartanness of its facilities, not sold out. Still had to kill some time so we went to A&W, a completely awful chain hamburger store that must have cooked their chips in diesel oil but also spent about half an hour playing Time Crisis before we headed in to the film. Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire was my favourite HP book, it was really the one that made the franchse the smash hit that it became. The first three had a lot of devoted readers but when the fourth arrive it became a phenom not seen since John Grisham made it big and not equalled until Dan Brown's literary excrement broke all the records. One of mfavourite memories about Harry Potter was seeing a ten year old schoolkid and a fifty year old businessman sitting next to each other on the bus both reading the Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire and both being completely nonplussed about anyone judging them on their reading age. The movie managed to cram in just about every salient aspect of the book but it was so rushed that it felt more like the longest trailer ever seen for what could have potentially been the longest movie ever made. As it was a the two and a half hour montage was pretty entertaining and I came out of it thinking i'd got my money's worth although the highlight of the screening was the Marlon brando narrated teaser trailer for the new Superman. I can't f**king wait.

Oh, what a shocking bad hat you've got on ...

19 November - ... You'd better come by my store for a new one.
Woke up early although felt a great desire to keep on sleeping - made some pancakes and watched a few crappy music videos before heading into Downtown - paid for my contact lens and did some other errands including a futile search for my missing spectacles. Got told off by a hotel stooge for having my bike in the hotel despite the doorman telling me to take it in and I wasn't terribly polite with my response. It was a completely clear day when I left the house, still pretty chilly (certainly colder than the warming factor of the t-shirt and shorts that i'd worn to ride in in) but while I was in town the fog rolled into town. At first just the tops of the buildings became obscured and before I knew it it was everywhere. It got dark pretty early and it was like being in a Dickensian nightm ... well, a very foggy night nonetheless. Had an ostrich burger for dinner (kind of like emu) before returning to the house and avoiding the hockey and watching the tail end of 'Frequency'. I do like a good time travel movie. This was not a good time travel movie. Apart from being a schmalzy Disney-esque (may have even been Disney-ee) plot the time travel element was woefully disappointing. Along the lines of the Back to the future, if I do something now, I can save my family in the future genre - it completely ignored the concept of paradox and was not ... I can't say whether time travel could possibly exist (although there have been some scientific experiments which have shown some strange phenonema such as light exiting a crystal before it entered the other side) but if it did, it wouldn't happen like that. I'm looking forward to seeing a really good time travel movie in the near future, or maybe even in the past.

Sunday, 20 November 2005

NYC Marathon Winner 'Just Went Out There And Had Fun'

NEW YORK—Paul Tergat, who on Sunday became the winner of the biggest and closest New York City Marathon in history, downplayed the role of training, focus, and strategy in his victory, claiming that his race-winning plan was to "just go and have some fun out there."

"The emphasis in long-distance running is, naturally, most often on results," said Tergat, a native of Kenya who grew up running hundreds of hot, dusty miles a week in his home country for nothing more than the sheer pleasure of it. "Yes, this is a great way to wrap up the year, and yes, it was a dramatic, painful experience—every marathon is. But I would be lying if I didn't say I had an absolute blast every single step of that 26.2 miles."

Tergat broke the tape only a fraction of a second before 2004 winner Hendrick Ramaala after a race-ending sprint to the finish line, a rare sight in the muscle-burning, psychologically grueling world of the marathoner, and which Tergat said was "one of the most fun parts of the day, and maybe my entire career."

"I know a lot of people saw Hendrick stumble at the end of the race, and I know what they're thinking," Tergat said when asked to recap the marathon's final moments. "I've heard the talk. They're saying that after two hours of running one five-minute mile after another, my opponent had been physically and psychologically worn down to the point where he wasn't having as much fun as I was. I don't want to hear anyone say that. Hendrick Ramaala has more fun in his little toe than most people do in their whole body. After all, he had enough fun to dominate last year's race. I was just lucky today to have really, really enjoyed myself this morning."

Although Tergat, 36, did not completely downplay the training regimen he has followed during his long career, he insists that sheer enjoyment, more than the esoteric satisfactions of ambition or self-discipline, is the reason he can maintain his schedule of running 200 miles a week as well as his almost dangerously low body-fat percentage.

"Spectators watching at home think they see how much fun we're having in these major events, which are usually run on paved streets during the year's hottest days," said Tergat, who noted that variety and unpredictability made the indifferently maintained streets of Queens the most enjoyable to run on. "But it's nothing compared to actually being there, feeling the energy draining out of your body, the burn of the lactic acid building up in your muscle fibers, the cramps from hydrating too early or with water of the wrong temperature, the searing ache in your lungs as you fade into a total anaerobic state around mile 18. 'Runner's high' doesn't even come close."

Despite his phenomenal talent for—and pure enjoyment of—distance running, the 2005 New York City Marathon is only Tergat's second victory at that distance. His first was in Berlin, Germany, where he set the marathon world record of 2:04:55, suffered hallucinations causing him to take a wrong turn towards the end of the race, abraded the bottoms of his feet so badly that he left bloody footprints over much of the last few miles, and claims to have had "the most unadulterated outright childlike fun I've had in an entire lifetime on nonstop endurance running."

Saturday, 19 November 2005

Welcome To The Subculture

18 November - Difficult but incredibly good day today. Got up early and headed into town - sans right contact lens of course. Had a coffee at 885 Georgia (it turns out I DO get a discount because of my new career choice there). Had some incredibly difficult jobs during the day, a couple of items so big that I was baffled that I managed to do them - a box about a metre wide and fifty centimetres on its other dimensions that I had to balance on my handlebars (i was very careful and it wasn’t too heavy); some architectural plans in a one metre square folio and a couple of times I had so many packages that my bag was so overloaded that I was balancing it on one leg and pedalling with only one foot up some pretty steep hills. Also, later in the day, I got sent out over the bridge into greater Vancouver to do some long runs (the dispatcher said that I was the only one with the stamina to do the long runs - and they pay a lot more so I seem to be making a good impression). It's really hard work at times; I know i'm not saving the world by doing it but i'm certainly getting good job satisfaction. At the end of a day of physical labours I feel like i've worked and I sleep the sleep of the just. However, bike couriering is a good way of venting (and creating) excess frustration. I was steaming up a street and was being followed by a truck who was honking at me. I unleashed a stream of virtriol at him (F**k off! You got a problem with bikes???); he shouted at me that he wasn't honking at me so I shouted out a merry apology. Also, crossed paths with a jaywalking woman who was in my path, i swerved out of her way and shouted, 'Don't worry!' and she screamed at me, 'Asshole!' - it appear that couriers are as little like over here as they are by Today Tonight and a current affair. No chance of eating today - one Mars bar between breakfast and dinner. Me and Stu (my co-worker also known as Jonathan) went to a restaurant on granville run by a lovely old Ukrainian woman (i've actually been there twice before) that sells great, cheap Eastern European food (apparently she also feeds the local homeless as well, a bit of a local hero it appears). I find eating there very reminescent of my home away from home in slovakia - certainly going to be going there again.
The contact lens saga continued, I got a call from the optometrist saying that the lens would arrive by Tuesday so I shouldn't worry. I told her I needed it now (i would have settled for Saturday) but after some negotiations Monday was the earliest that they were going to get it. The lens maker said he could get it made today but the courier system they use doesn’t run on weekends and Monday was the absolute limit. Well, good thing I work for a courier company. I spoke to my dispatcher who got the order on and my brand new contact was sent by seaplane from Nanaimo (on an island in Victoria) to Vancouver - it arrived at fourish and I just managed to get to the depot in time to pick it up (this did mean that I missed dropping off my excess packages and manifests but I really wasn’t too concerned about that). So, I can see again. And Vancouver never looked so beautiful.
Have met lots of couriers over the past few weeks - some very nice, some pretty curt. One of the them, Murray, invited me to the Brickyard, the post work meeting place in Gastown (near where my old hostel was). Me and Stu headed down there after dinner - certainly a bikers bar - all the couriers bring their bikes into the bar rather than locking them outside and the place is full of them. Very cheap beer ($2.50 a pint) and live music (i didn't stay for that) and apparently one of the only places in Vancouver where people can smoke inside (the smoking room was a bit overwhelming). Met lots of the bikers properly, who i've only really said hello to on the street and found them all to be capital fellows (and the female equivalent of fellows). Even the curt ones. They're all a bit weird but I felt very welcomed and I think i'll probably make a few new friends.

Blurry but beautiful

17 November - Day started off pretty much as per normal, woke up, washed out my eyes and put in my contacts. Normally it takes a while before my vision completely clears so I headed downstairs and sampled some new granola i'd purchased the previous night. I was reading the news on my PDA when I realised I couldn't see it very well. It appears that my right contact (the one that I need the most because my left eye is so crap that even with a contact it's still pretty useless) had vacated my eye somewhere in the house. Didn't want to panic but my vision was shite and I had to get to work. The only other person in the house, Jason, wasn't much help (he was on a tight schedule) and despite searching everywhere i'd been I had no joy. So, I really had no choice but to head in wearing my glasses (which are not much good at the best of times). Had a flat on the way in and with my eyes in their current state I really wasn't feeling up to changing the tyre so I called into dispatch, telling them I had to sort out some stuff, took it to Simon's (it was going to take an hour so I had to borrow one of their bizarro rental bikes) and tried to find an optometrist. They were all closed until 930 so I did a few jobs before finally getting my bike back and then got in touch with a local lens grinder. Couldn't get in touch with my own optometrist because it was too early but sent off an email to home to see if they could get my prescription sent to Canada - had my first chat with robespiere for quite some time and unfortunattly had to keep it really brief because I was in the middle of a couple of SHTs but he managed to come up with the goods. My Sydney optometrist wanted to get them made there and send them over but that would have taken weeks - i'm blind without them, and he wants to enforce a delay -Robbie had to bear the brunt of my testiness - I probably wouldn't have been so direct if iu'd actually been speaking to the eye doctor himself but I was adamant, "I need the script and I need it right now, there is no argument, just send it to the fax number I gave you, NOW!!!!". Another setback during the day was when I decided that the glasses were doing more harm than good so I put them in my pocket. Are they in my pocket now? No. So, basically, i've lost all ability to see properly at the moment. Pity I could hardly see it because it was actually another spectacular day. When the weather is good, it's such a beauitful city. The mountains are perfectly visible and the air (a bit smoggy at times) is crisp unt light brown (i mean blue). Still managed to do a full day despite the cloudy vision, I was a lot more caeful than normal (not that i'm not usually careful) and the brightness helped. Alo, it really wasn't very busy so there wasn't too much trouble keeping up. Am desperately hoping tomorrow will also be a good day because being blind and wet is not a good combination.
The script was received by the optometrist and they put in the order - hoping to get them by Saturday or Monday, have searched high and low in the house and have had no luck thus far but i'm certain it will be in the premises somewhere - they have to be, I remember putting it into my eye. However, in all likelihood it will probably be found by a shoe rather than a hand or eye. Funny that the same thing happened in Thailand on my last day there but I managed to recover it against all the odds, at least it's happened in the first world where it can be dealt with reasonably painlessly.
Ended up going to Café Deux Soleil for a couple of beers and some open-mic locals with Mark, which was very nice. Stayed out too late and hoping I can get up with not too much trouble in the morning, we'll see.

Friday, 18 November 2005

Report: North Korea Just Enjoys NuclearTalks

WASHINGTON, DC—The Bulletin Of The AtomicScientists published a report Tuesday revealingwhat the international community has longsuspected: The government of North Korea simplyenjoys nuclear talks. "After years of protractedtalks about strategic versus domestic nuclearprograms and launch and delivery tactics, it'sbecome increasingly evident that North Korea'sstalling tactics stem from a deep desire to chatabout nukes," said Ambassador Linton Brooks,chief of the National Nuclear SecurityAdministration. "We are beginning to think thatbehind all this nuclear brinksmanship are 12high-level scientists and politicians who enjoygetting together, kicking back, and making aweekend out of it." Although North Korea PrimeMinister Pak Pong Ju had no comment on thereport, members of his cabinet said they "wouldbe delighted" to get together and discuss thematter further.

Care Package

17 November - Had a pretty brutal day at work got in early enough and had myself a coffee. It appeas (i'm not certain) that couriers may get a discount at one of the places inside 885 Georgia (the place where they all seem to hang out whe they're between jobs) - this is good as it means i've got no excuse to go to that tar boiler, Tim Hortons, any more (i tried it, didn't like it but kept on returning). It was supposedly going to rain (and even snow, according to one baffling report) but it just stayed cloudy all day. It didn't seem like a very difficult day, I did make one mistake (went to pick something up, signed for it, checked it out and left it on the counter) but it all went pretty smoothly. Got pretty difficult in the afternoon and I was completely wrecked at the end of the day. It turns out that the guy who started on Monday quit today - couldn't handle the pace, I guess. The other guy is still with us though - he's a bit full on but he's friendly, which is important. Also got a call from the office (on my mobile, while I was working, which was strange when she could have used the radio) inviting me to the Novex Christmas party, which should be quite fun. Good to meet some of the others besides the other biker, the dispatcher and random drivers who I bump into whilst in the city.
Yesterday, i'd received a notice from Canada Post telling me that I had a parcel that had arrived - today it took me ages to find the place to pick it up, Riding around the neighbourhood, mostly up hills, after my exhausting day was not what I wanted at all. However, a care package containing not one, not two, not ten ... but six tubes of Vegemite was there to be waiting for me. I'm hoping it will last me out for the winter.
Also, didn't get to see it but it appears that Australia have finally made it to the World Cup - what are the odds - well, maybe I can watch one sporting event while i'm here ...

Thursday, 17 November 2005

Bootie Call!!!

15 November - Slept in this morning for a whole 20m!!! That meant breakfast was more rushed than normal and I didn't get a chance to make my sammiches that i'd forgotten to prepare the night before. Damn that David Lynch for confusing me so!
Miserable day and it rained a little but not too much - I did break out the booties at a couple of points but they really weren't necessary. One unexpected benefit is that they make my feet really warm - I expect the air can't escape (although it still breathes pretty wellp - and therefore, me, really warm. I was sweating a bit when I was indoors. Very easy day - as the days have gone, but I still had quite a good run. Another new biker joined us today - him and the other guy are both a bit older and have had quite a lot of experience doing it although not recently - i'm not sure whether i'm good at it or not - i'm getting around with no trouble and I don't seem to be making too many mistakes and the dispatcher seems pretty happy (he also thinks i've got experience, which I obviously don't) - I guess i'll find out over the next month or so - if the weather doesn't prove to be too much of an adversary.
I'm taking careful note of the various contradictory weather reports i'm getting from the TV, the AvantGo weather report and also the ones that are on the TVs which are in just about every lift (with lots of little news briefs concerning mainly with the stockmarket, the budget and election crisis in Canadian federal politics and the fact that the Dutch version of CSIRO is going after some people who killed a sparrow that was knocking over their dominos - however, did see a very fascinating and rather frightening statistic [not that statistics can prove anything], apparently 31% of American births are done by C-section, that has got to be mean that something is wrong, either with the statistic or with America)
Night time came and had some rather good value and very tasty Japanese and watched a documentary of Isaac Newton with boring bits of trivia about the interesting man. There were also some truly awful renactments which should have sent me out of the room long before it ended.

Tuesday, 15 November 2005

It's a beautiful day ...

14 November - Back to work after the long weekend - stayed up a bit late watching 'Unleashed', a martial arts version of Oliver Twist if ever I saw one. It was an absolutely beautiful day today - completely clear, you could see the mountains perfectly from town. Unfortunately (or fortunately if one is sane) I didn't get a chance to try out my new booties but did benefit from some fingerless gloves I purchased - coming in in the morning was absolutely deadly cold on my fingers. Not having to deal with the wet made work a lot easier and things went pretty smoothly. Got a little stressed in the afternoon when I was a bit overloaded with excess packages I couldn't drop off ana backlog of HOT and SHT (super hot or SHIT-HOT as I call it) jobs that just kept on bleeping on my Blackberry - also, some of the people can be complete pains in the arse - they don't want to sign anything because it will make them responsible, some won't even give me their first name because they're paranoid it might go onto our list that we'll sell to the government of potential subsersives who are accepting packages from Novex, which may or may not be a front for a sleeper KGB cell (asleep for so long they don't realise the KGB doesn't exist anymore). A new biker joined us today - nice enough, he's a bit older than us and used to courier about 15 year ago and is just coming back to it. Nice guy though - kind of weird, but then again, most people in this industry are.
Also watched Blue Velvet when I got home (David Lynch, you are a f**king weirdo!!!) and got an email from young Robespierre who informed that he's also following his dream of calculating how the potential wind resistance and type of wood used in the field goals is going to affect NSW's chances in the next State of Origin. If it has to be done it may as well be done by him.

Monday, 14 November 2005

To Watch Or Not To Watch

13 November -Slept in a bit, although not nearly as much as the housemates who had carried on the previous night. Mark had to work and was functioning but Rene was alternating between the couch and the bathroom (where I think he had to orally relieve himself on more than one occasion).
It wasn't a beautiful day, very gray, but at least it wasn’t raining so I felt that I should definitely make the effort to leave the house. Met some friends for coffee in town - got a bit spattered from puddles but did get to try out my new waterproof nylon booties, which seem to do a pretty good job - they'll definitely get a proper workout during the week. Got a couple of DVDs and did some grocery shopping and some general maintenance - we were watching the overnight when Jason came in to make sure that we were aware that their was a Canucks game that night at 7 and would our film be over before then??? It was, I considered watching a bit of the game but decided against - I can mostly follow it with a little help from my local friends (they're more than happy to explain the minutae of the game) but it is, for me, for the most part, pretty dull. I suppose if I watched it regularly I might learn to appreciate it but the way I see it I don't really want to learn to appreciate it. It's sports ... Apart from a sports rom com or the occasional inspirational "true" story and the very rare television event I don't really like sports and I don't think it's a part of my personality that needs developing. So, hockey time, is now Sax time, and i'm going to try to keep it that way.

Sunday, 13 November 2005

Unsatisfactory Pancakes and Oversatisfactory MEAT

13-14 October - In the morning Christina left with Mark to go to the airport and on to Ontario. She was very nice, in a quaint, 'I love my small province and fear all that lies beyond its borders' kind of way. I messed around a bit and got some pancakes (not as good as yesterday) before heading into town to get my bike serviced and do some snowboard-and-related-equipment shopping. The rain and the streets were so bad that I could drink it because so much of it was being thrown into my face. A little bit annoying, my shoes were completely soaked through in minutes and my feet became sodden and cold. They were feeling a bit numb the other day (the day after they'd gotten soaked) so i'd decided to purchase some waterproof socks, on the recommendation of a courier who I was discussing weather coping tips with. Another suggestion i'd read on the internet was to simply go with no socks at all. You're wet when you get wet but generally bike shoes dry out for the most part because of the wind and the sun (ha!!!!) and its the sock that freezes one's foot. They were super expensive (about a hundred dollar at one shop and sixty at another (but not in my size)) so I decided to keep on looking or perhaps try the internet option. When I got my bike serviced the bike shop had some special nylon booties that strap over the shoes wihich he recommended in functionality and price. The bike shop guys aren't as nice when you're not buying a bicycle but they gave it a fantastic service for free so I didn't really need them to be my best friend. All snowboarding stuff that was new was way overpriced; I did look at some consignment gear but am thinking I could probably just rent it for the first time or do some browsing on ebay or the other classifieds before I do any commitment. I found my housematt, mark, working at one of the outdoor gear shops I looked at - he was a bit morose from being single again (it had only been a few hour since Christina and him parted) but beer was suggested as an antidote that evening.
Came home, got dry and started to watch a movie with Rene, Hamburger Hill, one of the Vietnam "classics" that seemed to have escaped my eyes, however was interrupted by Jason, claiming the native right to watch 'Hockey Night In Canada', a sacred institution to all these freaking Canucks.
Mark came home and a few of us headed to Memphis Belles for a southern style barbecue meal - very nice (pretty expensive) - kind of like any barbecue place at home but perhaps a bit more what I would expect an 'authentic' place to be like and complete overkill on the scale. Like a temple devoted to the worship of meat - they had a wide selection of animals and too large portions of each. The place got one of Rene's friends, Scott, very excitable and he started to recall the Simpsons episode where Lisa becomes a vegetarian and features a AAA movie about Bovine university - and he recalled every joke and every scene and his every reaction and fondness for that episode. And it went on for a long, long time.
Was planning to head out afterwards but didn't feel too well after my hot beef injection and decided to stay at home and repair a puncture in my bike inner tube - such is the life of a courier.

Rewriting History

TOBYHANNA, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - President George W. Bush charged on Friday that Democratic critics of the Iraq war were trying to rewrite history by accusing the White House of manipulating intelligence to gain support for the war.

George Bush is critcising others, accusing them of being revisionists, saying that it is 'Deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began'. The GWB presidency has not been for that long a time, although it might feel that way sometimes, i wonder if he actually remembers the leadup to war the same way we do. Is he deluding himself that they went to war on a lie they pushed or is he just lying now?

I don't know what's worse, an American presidency that deludes itself that it's gross mismanagement is really the best for the world or one that is intentionally trying to screw it over.

Study shows UK TV minorities gap

This BBC article reminds me of something I once read in the dirt. Sure minorities are underrepresented on TV in relation to their proportional representation of the entire population but in USA, Australia and UK the majority of the population is clinically obese but you wouldn't realise that by watching Friends, Neighbours or The Royle Family (well, scratch that last one) ...

Ethnic minorities areunder-represented in some of the maingenres of UK television, a survey hasshown. Minorities account for 7.8% of thepopulation but get only 6.6% of soapparts and 7.5% of factual roles, theCultural Diversity Network poll found. Overall, minorities get 8.8% of screenroles, with light entertainment andsport having the highest levels. The group of major broadcasters saysthe study of prime time TV showed"more work" was needed to achieveequality. The study monitored prime timeprogramming for seven days across sixchannels: BBC1, BBC2, Channel 4, Five,ITV1 and Sky One. It found that 18.8% of people on sportsprogrammes were from ethnicminorities, with 12.7% in lightentertainment roles. Industry awarenessThe level of representation on newsprogrammes was equal to thepopulation level (7.8%). But only 6% of major roles in dramasand fiction shows went to ethnicminorities, compared with 9.6% infactual programmes. Cultural Diversity Network chairmanSimon Shaps, director of television atITV, said: "This important researchshows that the industry is making realprogress but there is still a lot morework to do. "We need to continue to work togetheras an industry to raise levels ofrepresentation in key genres." The survey was launched to coincidewith the group's annual conference,which aims to raise awareness ofdiversity issues.BBC News Online is on the web atbbc.co.uk/news

If intelligent design is true then God's a crap designer

Everyone must have read quite a bit about the the pushing of "Intelligent Design" as a valid alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution. The basic precept is that some elements of organisms are so perfectly functional that they had to be designed by an intelligence of some kind. Also, it holds that there are gaps in Darwin's theory such as a lack of a fossil record to show every step of the way from evolution from single celled life forms to the present day. Another common misperception that the intelligent design and creationist proponents push is that human beings are a more 'advanced' life form and therefore a more evolved one from the other animals we share the planet with.

An example that is often cited is that of the eye. They say that while the eye is of obvious evolutionary advantage there is no advantage in having half an eye or a sub-evolved eye. An eye is a part of an organism that reacts to the light around the creature and the brain interprets that reaction and builds an image inside the brain that is an intepretation of its surroundings. If evolution is to be believed then how could a creature evolve from having no eyes to a complete eye - there are no creatures in existence (they say) that half only half evolved vision - therefore at some point in history some intelligence must have designed a fully functional eye and given it to us. But there is an advantage in having half an eye and there are creatures that have half evolved eyes - anything that is going to respond to the light is going to give a creature a definite advantage in understanding its surroundings and therefore of survival. There are several species of fish who's skin reacts to the light, the brain can interpret this reaction and use it to understand its surroundings. Is this not an advantage? A sub eye is definitely better than no eye at all.

The fact that the fossil record does not show every creature in between us and the amoeba doesn't disprove anything about the theory of evolution. The only way an animal is going to be recorded as a fossil if, when it dies, it has a skeleton that is preserved by its surroundings. If it has no skeleton then there is no record. And, even if it does have a skeleton it is more than likely that the skeleton will be destroyed by its environment long before it has a chance to be petrified and preserved for all eternity to allow us to find it. Even if it has been preserved it is more than likely that when it is uncovered it will be destroyed before it is recognised for what it is. And, all things considering, the fossil record has proved to be far more conclusive in proving the theory of evolution than we could have hoped when one considers all of the mishaps that could have happened to the remains of our thousands upon millions of ancestors.

Many creatures today have leftover traits that are no longer used. If an intelligent designer had built everything on Earth then why would he have made whales and dolphins air breathers? Why would some species still possess remnants of hip bones and even leg bones? Why would a designer give us an appendix that's only apparent purpose is to get infected and potentially kill us? How come so many of us are born with genetic defects? If we're designed how come we're so fragile? In short, if someone did design us why did he do such a crap job???

Intelligent design holds with some aspects of evolution. It believes that there are some minor changes that occur to species through specialisation but it holds that because we are so complex and so complicated that something MUST have designed us. To me, as a non-scientist, this is just bad science. A proponent of intelligent design says I believe one part of evolution because it is obvious and I can see it but I don't hold with another part because it is too complicated for me to understand. Basically, the "scientists" are saying it is too hard for them so they give up and use the creationist claim that God must have done it.

Remembrance Day

11 November - Slept in for the first time in a while before heading out to have the first truly great pancakes since my arrival in this city. Blueberry filled with proper maple syrup - i'm sure I could do better given the inclination but for a lazy brunch I couldn't ask for more.
Last night watched a dodgy movie called Devil's Rejects - an OTT naturalbornkillers styled movie about a bunch of mass murderers and the games they played. More disgusting than scary but it certainly passed the time.
Weather cleared up later but me and Rene headed into town to see a movie. Went to The Cactus Club, a well overpriced drinking hole staffed by incredibly beautiful young girls all wearing very nice but different black outfits. Unfortunately it took an age to be served, forever for the drinks to turn up, an eternity for her to replace my drink which our waitress got wrong and then an eon for the bill to arrive so we could pay it. Rene insisted on a pretty huge tip, which I thought was completely unwarranted considering what we got but when in Rome ... you’ve got to tip a lot regardless. The movie, A History of Violence, was superb. Were stuck in the front row so the screen took up our entire field of vision, annoying at first but really works after a while, the screen takes up your entire field of vision - great for effects i'd wager. Great story, OTT violence and death shots, great actors and graphic sexual encounters made it very enjoyable. For some reason I thought it was going to be a David Lynch film, but on realising i'd got my David's mixed up I was more reassured to find out it was Mr Cronenbourg, a far less pretentious autuer - I like David Lynch's movies sometimes but I also like to ride around all day in the freezing wet so I wouldn't take my taste for much.
Did read an interesting article in The Age (Melbourne paper) all about Remembrance Day celebrations - there were events all over town including people selling poppie flowers. Am I dreaming because as I recall we've never celebrated it at home - I don't think. As I recall we have Anzac day - not Remembrance Day - do we have both? Why can't I remember Remembrance Day in Australia and how come the first i've ever heard of it was when I arrived in Canadia? It's a pretty huge thing over here - everybody from couriers to politicians to TV hosts can be seen sporting a poppy flower on their lapel - do they do that at home? Dit a bike of a wiki on it and realised my error. Of course we celebrate rememberance day at home - every Nov 12 is observed and i've done lots of observing myself. The reason why I couldn't renconcile what I was seeing over here with what I remember from home is the scale of the celebration over here. It's a really BIG thing. It's a public holiday, which in australia it is not, which obviously explains a lot to its popularity throughout the general citizenry. Anything that gives the opportunity of not having to work for a WHOLE DAY is obviously going to be a bigger run through the public imagination than something which is generally only observed, by most people, for the two minutes that makes up the minute's silence. .

Friday, 11 November 2005

Still Riding

10 November - Another pretty tough day at work today - it was raining all morning and my Blackberry completely fizzled so I was reliant on radio to get around, not very easy. I went all over town today and at times my legs felt like they were about to burst. Got better later on in the day when I got a new blackberry and the weather cleard up. Still no time to eat besides a couple of chocolate and muesli bars I had at various points throughout. The day certainly wasn't as good as yesterday but still quite fun at times. Have been meeting a few more of the couriers as I go along we cross each others paths all the time and some are more friendly than others. Often swap tips abut how to deal with the cold and wet -will have it sussd pretty soon I think. Went for a beer with Jonathan (or Stu, i'm not entirely certain of his name as he told me one thing and his radio name is something different) - he's an interesting guy, used to be homeless (by choice apparently), but kind of strange, apparently there are a few more starting on monday. As for tomorrow, it appears that we've got it off because its going to be Rememberance Day, a Canadian public holiday for the veterans so I think me and Rene will be going to see a fillum of some kind. Missed the bakery on the way home so there'll be no toast for breakfast tomorrow morning and had some truly awful chinese takeaway for dinner - I know now to stay away from one place on Commercial Drive.
A youngGerman guy came around to have a look at one of the rooms. He was supposed to be meeting the landlord, who didn't show up. I showed him around and then he called Graham and had a bit of chat with him. He then proceded to talk to me ... For quite some time. A very long time in fact. Later on Mark arrived back and him and Steven (the german guy) were talking about how an Australian guy had already signed the lease. I don't know why he wanted to hang around for so long but he was nice enough and he soon left anyway. All a little bit surreal.

Thursday, 10 November 2005


9 November - Had my first really good day at work today - the weather was pretty good, a little cold but not wet thankfully, all of my equipment worked (had a few issues with my mechanical pencil but it wasn't life threatening). It wasn't too busy in the morning although it really started to heat up afterwards but apart from a few times when I was really weighed down with packages I found that everything went well. Chris, my dispatcher, wasn't online in the morning, so the driver manager did tat job (and I found him a lot easier to deal with than the norml guy) - I have to presume that BJ (manager) worked his way up from dispatcher considering how well he did it. I also later bumped into Chris down at 885 West Georgia, the hangout for couriers who are between jobs (we don't get much of a chance to go there) - he was trying to recruit couriers from other companies to come and join us. Apparently Novex are one of the busiest, I even spoke to a courier today who told me he rejected an offer from Novex simply because he didn't want to do so many jobs. Still didn't have tme for a proper break despite the early morning and I was reliant on a few granola and chocolate bars I carried with me but I really felt like I enjoyed it. Yesterday I was just miserable but today it was fun and I felt that I was pretty good at it. Starting to learn the lingo - 10-4 means iconfirm, whether you do or not, 'Getting it on' means picking up an item, 'clearing out' means getting rid of items ... Good times, good times. Also had to wait for about 10m for one big thing to be ready and the lovely secretary made me a cup of coffee,some of them ar much nicer than others.
Rode home afterwards - last leg always seems to puff me a bit - I am wondering how many k's i'm doingevery day - there's no way that I could use a computer to track it, anything left on a bike would be quickly stolen, I keep my lights and pump in my bag with me - and removing and replacing the computer at every stop would waste valuable seconds, which I really don'y seem to have; when i'm trying to utilise 'elevator time' (the 10-60s period of relaxation when I can't be bothered on the radio or can't be pushing to the next locale) to do the minimal paperwork required to keep track of everything, I don't have time to waste on such frivolous things such as counting my distance, reading the paper or ... Heaven forbid, eating.
Upon arrival at home me and Rene watched the timeless classic, Withnail and I, very bad sound on the teev, but absolutely brilliant movie. Also had a nice surprise when I arrived home to find the fridge and stove fixed and the whole place cleaned (apparntly Wednesday is cleaner day) sterling job of it too. The landlord turned up as well with two brand new smoke alarms (to get Jason of his back, I expect) and a very small (but presumably functional) mirror for my bathroom.
After the movie me and Rene went to the pub for a couple of Leffes and some seafood, nice local place, very intense barman who was really pushing the hard sell. Very nice area to live around, lots of restaurants, bars, fruit stores, cafes and bakeries ... Very good if you want to eat anyway, and that seems to be what i'm doing at the moment.

Pictures, pictures, pictures

Patrick james has kindly donated his time and effort to bulk upload a sampling of the pictures i've been able to scrabble together from different sources. There would have beena lot more had I not been scandalously robbed in Thailand, but there's no point crying over a stolen camera.

The pictures are from the 3-day trek I did near Chang Mai, the diving and even some unpleasant reminders of the marathon effort.



One thing I’ve noticed in Vancouver since i've moved here - snce my first day in fact, is the number of quadriplegics that are in the town, there are also paraplegics who are also in wheelchairs, but the quadriplegics are the most noticeable.

On the bus in from the airport I was quite surpsied when the bus driver stopped everything to get a quadriplegic woman on the bus using the special lift on the bus and the belts that held her chair in place while we were in motion. He also spent quite some time helping her to get off.

But everywhere I go in town there are people in wheelchairs. There are lots in Sydny and London and all cities in the world but in Vancouver they ar everywhere. And, everywhere you go there are ramps and lifts and mosof the buses and SkyTrains are accessible by people in chairs.

I couldn't understand why they were so conspicuous until I saw TV report all about how Vancouver is possibly the world's number one city in accessibility to people in wheelchairs and this is due a real zeal in the public service to enforce equal opportunity to everybody. It seems that Vancouver is not only a haven for the homelss due to the weather but also to the disabled for the accessbility. The reason why it seems that there are so many quadriplegics in vancouver is because it really does have a lot of them.

Interesting place.

Wednesday, 9 November 2005

Murph'y's Law

8 november - Woke up pretty early, feeling a bit stiff since the day before. It was raining pretty steadily but quite lightly as well. I headed into town (very cold while I was getting started) and upon arriving in town I realised that my Blackberry was completely dead, I think it has a faulty battery. After struggling with it for about 10m I called in asking if a replacement was possible. It wasn't, so I had to do everything by radio. Some of the companies do it that way but our place is almost completely reliant on the tracking system they have so wthout it was a nightmare. I'm sure with more practice I could better track where I was supposed to go and what I was carrying but i'd already grown dependent on the system in a few days so when it broke down I felt a little stressed. Had a small spill at one point when I rode over an old metal tram track but no real issues apart from that. The rain getting into my bag and soaking my paperwork was the most annoying part. There was also a couple of screwups, some my fault (forgettinga drop, mixing up a few things) others not my fault (messages from the dispatcher not getting throug, wrong or non-existent addresses, missing packages, etc). Still, did some really good riding and am feeling fitter already. Also had a nice surprise when one othe offices I dropped into was in the opposite suite to Paul, one of my new local friends. Also came to the office of a guy i'd just been chatting to on the train a couple of days before - some really nice 10s friendships ar forming on he routes, as well as some enduring fueds, i'm sure.
Got home and headed out to do some shopping, hired a video - Primer, overzealous cerebral time travelling movie - the kind of movie that seems quite intelligent until you think about it and realise it's actually not explained at all and is really just a bit of a wank (although iif anyone liked Pi or Cube, they would probably like this - I didn't).
Jason, one of the flatmates, had an encounter with our sparking, defective stove (an annoyance and probably a rather dangerous one at that) and then realised that we don’t have any fire alarms and went completely ballistic and called our landlord, telling us that he was prepard to go to the cops over it. Apparently it will be delivered tomorrow (i'm hoping although probably in vain that my bathroom mirror will be arriving along with someone to repair the seal on the fridge). Anyways, good times, aye.

Tuesday, 8 November 2005

A Break In The Weather

7 November - Had a welcome break in the rain today - which was just as well because it was a super-busy day again today. I got into town at about quarter to eight and had to wait about five minutes before Chris came online. First rode to one pretty close building before criss-crossing the city from end to the other; visting some of the same and some new buildings - did not stop once all day, managed to cram a couple of chocolate bars twice but not one chance to stop. Skinned my knee when I came to a slow stop at one point and couldn't get out of my left clip. Would have done about twice the distance I did on Friday - first time I felt quite puffed with the riding - on Friday it was stressful but not too strenuous and today was stressful and strenuous. This wasn't helped by the fact that I was slowly accummulating overnight packages throughout the day which I couldn't get rid of until the enof the day. However, that it didn't rain was great - it was pretty chilly but once I was moving I barely felt that - main advnaage was not having water slushing through everything and making it impossible to write. Haven't quite decided whether I like it yet - it's very early days and some parts of it are bound to get easier. Had a nice chat with Simon (???), the only other biker left it seems is left at Novex -before coming home and eating as much as I could fit into my stomach before it burst. My diet's been pretty good since I moved in although I feel i'm OD'ing on bread but it can't be helped. Planning an early one tonight - can't be late for what tomrrow brings.

Day Of Rest - Part II

6 November - Didn't do too much Sunday day - headed out to the shops for a bit and tried to organise some Voltaren for my foot - it turns out its on script over here and there was no way I could sort it out short of paying $50 to see a doctor who would write me on. It's hardly an illicit substance but I must have had the look of an abuser because I had no luck. Eventually found a very nice pharmacist who gave me a substitute and other advice - they sure do like doing things by the book in this city. Also watched a horribly cut version of Robocop on TV in the afternoon and got into the argument over the best looking cyborg - a patient explanation of why the Terminators don't count as cyborgs (they're just androids with some non-essential organic tissue covering them and he just looks like Arnie anyway) yielded the room to Robocop until Darth Vader was suggested. I conceded the point that he looked good but I still preferred Robocop which resulted in the defence that Darth Vader would kick Robocop's arse in a fight and a heated defence it was. I had no argument on that point but I had to explain that we weren't arguing about who was more powerful, it was merely a dicusion on the aesthetics of the cyborg. Darth Vader is one of the classic personifications of evil but he has a mullet helmet which dattd severely. Robocop is a semi-plausible display of timeless futuristic style. I never like getting into the comic-geek "who is better" argument but if one is going to start one you have to at least stick to the correct argument and not go off on a tangent.
Later on that afternoon I headed into Gastown to meet up with Steve, Aussie from the Airport, and his NZ friends, for a few beers and we discussed snowboarding opportunities that will eventually come up. He's heading out of town for a few weeks for work related issues but the fields are open already and I think we should start to get our shit together for some snowboarding. Later on headed over to Brenda's house for the best cooked meal i've eaten since i 've hit this city - totally OTT on saturated fats and empty calories but I was quite happy to enjoy - was also stuck with the leftovers ... Poor me ...

Monday, 7 November 2005

Day Of Rest

5 November - After my day of toll I stayed up a bit later and, despite struggling to keep my eyes open, managed to finally watch George Romero's latest offering in the zombie genre, Land of the Dead. Very gory, lots of OTT death by zombie scenes and very fragile bodies. Unfortunattly twas a bit late by the time I got round to watching it (i had to wait for the hockey to end) and I probably wasn't in the best state to be properly absorbing the film.
Slept in and then headed out to the shops for some essentials. Later that afternoon Mark's girlfriend Kristina arrived, in what looks to end a rather protracted drought for him. She came in carrying a Starbucks coffee and was widely criticised for her choice - her excuse, there was no Tim Hortons. The excuse went down worse than her later choice. Very nice girl though - seemed a bit baffled by my blasé attitude to leaving home but I reassured her that I would eventuallybe returning to the roost.
Also headed out to find the Vietnamese community in the pouring rain in an attempt to find some proper Vietnamese coffee and had a resounding success. Got the same brand that i 'd bought in Da Nang and also got some replacement mini-drip-filters of a far superior stainless steel construction to the battered aluminium ones i'd bought whilst in Nam.
Later on made some soup stock and then headed out to downtown (got crushed on t he Sky Train by hundreds of BC Lions supporters) for some drinks with Brenda and Abby, the two girls i'd met in the previous week, and a another couple, Bryan and Paul, who i'd also met prior. Brenda seems to be extremely generous - picking up the entire tab for the table (she'd tried to do it last time as well) - I put up a brief protest but, hey, if she wants to buy me a couple of drinks, i'll let her.
Staggered home a couple of hours later and watched Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, it seemed to be a little less excruciating than I remembered ... But not much.

Saturday, 5 November 2005

Living The Dream

4 November - Last night went out to an open-mic nite with Mark, very cool place and I met a couple of his Australian friends, also met a potential flatmate to fill the room that Takuji will be vacating at the end of the month (always at the end of the month). When I got home I also had a bit of a nice surprise - my BC ID had arrived, which means that I am eligible for sorting out my bike courier licence. The next morning I called in that I was going to be a little bit late and then headed over to City Hall to be issued with Licence Plate 149 - finally, after months of talking about it I am officially a bike courier. I haven't been issued with a nickname yet but 'Pedals' may have to do until I make my mark amongst the subculture.
It was raining pretty steadily until about 2 o'clock and I was completely saturated - I think it was even worse than yesterday. Because I was on a bike today I went out a bit further and had to rely on my map a bit, also had a few issues with my Blackberry which couldn't really cope with the wet and I had to rely on my despatcher to tell me each address I was to go to and I had to try to scrabble it down with my crappy pens (my bag is a little bit waterproof but not enough), I went through four of them today. I found the actual riding to be surprisingly easy and the past two days of being on foot helped me get the layout of the city but because I was on two wheels I had to negotiate the multitude of one way streets and even just getting to the other side of the road could be quite tricky. Certainly the hardest part of the job is planning the routes (which will come with time) and utilising the "elevator time" to do the paperwork Also had a flat tyre at one point and found out that the tyre pump that i'd purchased with my bike was missing the valve (had also left my spare at home, fool that I am) - luckily the bike shop where I bought it wasn't too far so I managed to get a replacement tyre and pump. The ten minute period where they replaced the flat was the longest break I had all day! Have got to work out some way of eating whilst i'm working - a collosal breakfast helps but it gets burned away pretty quickly. It was a pretty exhausting day all things considered it was quite excellent. I'm a bit worried once Old Man Winter starts to settle into the city but i'll just have to do what the others do and hope for the best. I know it's not a dream career but it has been a dream of mine to be a bicycle courier since I first read William Gibson's 'Virtual Light' a semi-seminal science fiction tale about a pair of stolen sunglasses and the courier who finds them ... and now I am.

Friday, 4 November 2005


Was introduced to Canadian marijuana the other day by one of the flatmates - maybe it's because it's been a while since i've had any or maybe it really is as strong as Jerky LaBouef has always alluded to but after we had a few tokes he showed me the bud and it was glowing with blue lights (at least that's what my eyes were seeing anyway) and before I knew it I was wrecked. I think it's something i'm going to have to be a little bit careful about if i'm going to remain high functioning in this country.

Two things ...

3 November - Another early wakeup today and another miserable Vancouver day. It was raining pretty much non stop all day and I found myself going all over town - a little bit of a break around 11 but other than that I was moving non stop from 8 to half five. My foot felt a lot better today even though I was running for a lot of the time - I've found that I keep on going to the same buildings - about half the ones I went to yesterday I went to today and i'm returning to the same place quite regularly - so I don’t think i'll be havng too much trouble working things out. Despite being a lot busier today I found it quite a bit easier than yesterday. The despatcher seemed pretty pleased with me if that's anything to go by. In any event, i'm looking forward to two things: first, I can't wait to be on the bike (it'll be so much easier) and after being completely saturated for most of the day and not even having time to eat lunch I think i'm also looking forward to working in an office again (but not quite some time).
Also, on Rene's recommendation I sought out and found "Winners", home of bargains and bought myself a comforter set (pretty much like a bed set) and I can do away with the sleeping bag, which is okay, but i'll be sleeping well tonight!!! Also bought myself a towel (no hitchhiker should ever be without one) and I can put aside my well used sports towel for a while. It was great but it's like drying one's self with a dishcloth.
Might be heading out Café Deux Soleil with one of the flatmates for some cheap beer later on tonight but it'll have to be an early one ...

Thursday, 3 November 2005

First Day On The Job

2 November - Set my alarm for six this morning and was given a wakeup knock by Rene, one of my kindly flatmates - because, now, for the first time since the beginning of July i'm a working man again. Although the work has changed.
A bit of a miserable morning, but that's Vancouver, I took the Skytrain into town and got there about seven thirty - i'd said I would sign on at eightish so I had time for an overpriced cup of coffee before I switched my Blackberry on and was soon greeted by my despatch guy, Chris. Took a few minutes to work out how to use my radio - they don't work very well at the best of times and my lack of experience didn't help. Before I knew it I was being sent all over town (actually most of it was within about ten by ten blocks - because I was on foot) - it's not complicated stuff, basically going from one building to another picking up envelopes and packages and then dropping them off at another building. Filling out the manifests and keeping track of the orders on the Blackberry is probably the most complicated part of it and I had that pretty much down after a few hours. However, there are a few little things that make it a bit more complicated - trying to do buildings in the right order is a bit tough at first, the street numbers are not sequential in Canada, 999 can be flanked by 977 and 1021 but they're always in order, and each block is always between #01 and #99 and the street numbers run the same for each block east and west - they're not always labelled but it's not hard to get a hold of. Especially when I found myself coming back to the same building over and over. The despatcher would suggest routes at times but at time he'd ramble on and on (it's a half duplex system so I can't interrupt) and the reception could be terrible so i'd have no way of understanding what he was saying some of the time. I must have done a lot of k's today - my foot wasn’t feeling great but it wasn’t too bad either - did have a bit of a tress when one of my walking boots (which has done a lot of walking on this trip) had the entire sole come off the back - I ended up borrowing some elastic bands from one of the receptionists I encountered to hold it together for the day. Very long day as well - about eight to half five and with only a ten minute lunch break - I did manage to stuff down a couple of bananas and cookies while I was walking but it's pretty intense, if maybe a little simplistic. At the end of the day I had a brief encounter with a couple of the other novex cyclists, they seemed okay and I also found myself crossing paths with couriers from other companies several times during the day. Some of them are very curt, some quite nice - but all were helpful when I needed to find a building. Really looking forward to doing it on the bike - i'll go further distances and have heaps less foot time then - but, I have to say that I was pretty happy with the day.
Am very happy with the house as well, the housemates are all very sound people - very friendly and I think we'll get along fine - all very different people but that has got to be a good thing. In the time that I first looked at the house to when I moved my bathroom mirror was broken so i'm awaiting that to be fixed and my bedroom is a bit cold, the house has central heating but it doesn't extend upstairs - if we up the thermostat to warm the upper bedrooms below is like a sauna - but electricity is covered so i'll be getting a space heater. Also need to get some bed linen, as my sleeping bag, whilst adequate and warm, is not really a bedroom device.
There's also a house phone here for anyone who's missing the sound of my voice (unfortunately I don’t podcast), it's 604-255-3492 (remember the time difference).