Friday, 30 June 2006

Everything Is Late Day

29 June - It was a Thursday, I never quite could get a figure on Thursday - you've been working all week so you presume its just got to be the end of the week but it's also not so long since the weekend that you feel that it should almost be over. I'd hoped to have a nice relaxing day enjoying the sun but not five minutes after I clocked on that it started and didn’t let off until the day was done - Duncan is still off and Rad has officially terminated his career with Novex and now that we're approaching end of month and end of quarter so everyone is scrabbling around trying to get their little bills and cheques and contracts to each other the work is just piling up. It feels like its as busy as it was in winter, and I tell you, much more enjoyable to be hussling in sun than the icy rain. KPMG was pumping outs superhots all day - every time I went to pick a couple up (all of them late) there was a new pile of them for all over Vancouver, a veritable juice factory! a couple of times I had lock my bike up and just carry boxes a few blocks up (that is not something I like to do ever, there's a reason why i'm a BIKE messenger) but most of the time I as just riding around the core and the west end as fast as I could go. Not once was I clear, the one time I thought I was and I bought myself a coffee I synchronised to find half a dozen new trips on me. At least I was being routed pretty well for the most part - I'm not sure how the other guys fared although they were all pretty pleased with their days after it was all over (except Casey, but he rarely seems happy). The hits keep on coming with Legs having a spill on Granville St, going over sand near a construction site. I saw my life flash before my eyes when I ran an orange light at Hornby and Pender and a triggerhappy car ran his red and screeched just as I swerved out of the way. All in all, tripwise nowhere near my best number but might have cracked my record for my daily total and that can't be a bad thing. After work went over to Larnie and marcus's for tacos and to listen to them argue as to whether Marcus was allowed to buy a racing helmet or not and also got a glimpse, through Larnie, of the bizarre world that lies inside call centres. The frontline troops of the corporate world are surely call centre workers - pumped full of corporate propaganda, hired and fired by the stat reports and willing to climb all over eachother for the most petty promotional title - it just makes me shudder that I helped build these things once.

Is it Pancake Day, Pancake Day, Pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa Pancake Day Again?

28 June - As Bike Month comes to a close the people of BEST (Better Environmentally Sound Transportation) gave a free pancake breakfast at 200 Granville to all those who commuted by bicycle to work (and a bunch of other sponges who just worked in the building). Not the best pancakes i've ever eaten but not bad and a rather nice cinnamon scroll to give a good sugar rush. Didn't really agree with me a few hour later when I was rushing SHTs over the side and carrying a ten pound brick from the east end to the west (two envelopes, two pounds - yeah right, you f**king cheapskate lying receptionist! - misrepresentating trips is the same as stealing from a courier if you ask me). Fairly hectic day despite a reasonably full complement of bikers (obviously not Duncan and Kevin went home early because of his sore shoulder) - only a tiny 10m coffee break at 2 and the rest was just hussling uptown, downtown and over the side. The whole mortality thing has been brought up again with a huge swathe of destruction having pummelled the ranks of the Vancouver messenger set - apart from Duncan being hit by a car yesterday in the past week there's been Vanessa from VIP crashing her bike, been off since, Darryl from Corporate and Paul from VIP both wiped out after riding home drunk out of their skulls - Paul's still off with a bad ankle and Darryl had a concussion and has just been walkingfor a few days, even darling little Kristl had a slideout and sprained her wrist, bumped into her walking into 111 Dunsmuir, was about to tell her off for not wearing a helmet but realised she wasn't even wearing her bike. After work Gary was showing off, doingtricks with someone else's bike and jumped over a wall and then had to force a crash to avoid hitting a baby in a pram - I don't know about this world, it's actually really f**king dangerous. In any event, made it home in one piece although very tired - went out for a pretty average (but very cheap) curry with Charles, my housebound Thai housemate then returned home to vegetate in front of Ong-Bak, one of the most amazingmartial arts extravaganza's ever filmed, despite having the most clit-cheed ridiculous story since Enter the Fist.

Wednesday, 28 June 2006

The Immortal Class?

27 June - Very warm day - not overwhelming except for the fact that I was routed all over town like an idiot - it seemed like half of my trips were late because I was constantly being shifted further and further away from the core. I can only hope that it was because we were understaffed and not because I was being punished for a little note I sent to Cheryl in the morning informing her of my plans to make a move. At least I had a lot of time in elevators to scream obscenities at the top of my voice - i's always very therapeutic to have an elevator tantrum I think and its even better when the doors open suddenly and you iind an office drone looking quizzically at you and you know they heard your screams but nothing is ever said. Also made a return to Port Vancouver, I think its the first time i've been there since January 5th, when I slipped on the railroad tracks and suffered my little injury. I'm not a superstitious guy but I still got off my bike and walked over the railway tracks, just in case. Another incident that reminded me of my mortality happened when I was calling around the other bikers to collect their manifests and ECOs for delivery to the depot and when I spoke to Duncan, one of the finer young chaps in the team, and found he was lying down in emergency at St Pauls, the result of a collision with an automobile. He was riding down one of the bike lines when a car decided to turn into a parkade and straight into his path - didn’t get the full story but Duncan was thrown into the windshield head first and his bike was damaged, probably beyond repair. The one good thing about the incident was that Duncan sometimes wears a helmet and today was one of those days (and I wouldn’t be surprised if most of his future working days involve him wearing one as well). When I told the dispatcher, scott (it seems he replaces Rick in the afternoon's these days), his reaction was to put the SHT that Duncan was carrying on my screen and I had to go to emergency, negotiatt my way through the nurses, to pick up the trip so it could be delivered. Needless to say, I didn't rush too hard on that one. Duncan had mentioned to me yesterday that he wanted to take Wednesday off but I don't think he needed to go to these measures ... The time onoured australian tradition of takinga sickie would have sufficed just as well. The important thing is that apart from a few scratches he seems okay - you can always get a new bike but you can't always get a new head.
After getting rid of Duncan's trip had a beer in the park to commisserate with a couple of other couriers and I let them know what happened and the fact that Duncan was wearing a helmet and they should all think about that for a while - they nodded sagely but I can bet that none of them will be wearing one tomorrow (except for the minority who actually do wear one of course) then went home and OD'd on ice cream and drank a lot of water whilst watching Dune on DVD - f**k that's a weird movie. Good though.

Tuesday, 27 June 2006

Brain might still be working ...

25 June - Finally, finally, finally got a chance to sleep in - had wanted to wake up to see the England fitba match in the morning but a little visit out to the beach last night with Kristl and co meant no early night for me and the past week of struggling on five or six hours of sleep meant that was just not going to happen. DIdn’t bother setting my alarm and roused myself around 11am. Visited the apparently famous Elbow Room in downtown for breakfast - the place is famous for its pancakes (which I didn’t eat for a change) and its rude waiters and then went out to see a vintage bike swap that really wasn’t very interesting at all. The heat was pretty powerful all day, especially upstain the house, and it completely sapped me - did go for a bit of a ride down to the beach for some fishnchips and a slurpee but can’t say that I did anything productive. Reading a rather awful scifi book given to me by young Mat. the last book I read, Martin Amis' the Information, was such a struggle - for some reason I could barely get through a few pages a night, I was paranoid that my brain had atrophied from whatever it is that I do to it, it seems it mustnt be that bad because this one i'm just racing through - then again, despite Hyperion's Nova award status it is a bit like teen fiction so I shouldn’t be too elated by my progress.

And it ends ...

26 July - Really warm all day today - not so much that I was melting but really kind of pleasant unless I was hauling ass, which really wasn’t too much of the time. Started the day with only a few trips as I wanted to watch the World Cup game and, well, perhaps I really shouldn't have. Actually, that's complete trash - once again, a really exciting game for me .. I might not know anything about sport but Australia was completely dominating the game (at least in the second half) and it was just really bad luck for them to lose it in the final seconds like that. That said, the fact that despite having possession for most of the second half they were unable to score against the Azzuri means that maybe given another 30m they wouldn't have been able to score anyway. So ends Australia's little odyssey at the World Cup - I'm going for England (Eng-er-land!) now.
Spent a fair amount of time sitting around in the afternoon - just not that much on and despite Rad continuing his strike and Jason setting off on his transCanada journey we had a pretty full complement of bikers, little Jeremy the racer, Ben the strange torontonian, Alex the Artist, Reno The Personal Trainer, Casey the Bold, Kevin the Alcoholic (making his debut after five or six weeks of time off from injury) and Duncan the ... Duncan. This meant way too much coffee and way too many ... and far too much contemplating of the football game (i don't even like sport, I reallyshouldn't be doing this). The fact that there were dozens of cars drivingaround town tooting their horns and waving italian flags didn't help - yelling 'Bastardo' at them and cutting them off did though. Returned home to find a most excellent care package of two toothpaste tubes of vegemite - should probably even see me through my time in Canada and I can stop getting my fix from substandard cheesymite scrolls from Cobs (they just don't put enough cheese or vegemite on them - give me a North Sydney Trainstation creation anyday). Also made a bit of an expensive transaction but one that just had to be done.
After I got home went for dinner over at Lao's, the brazillian fire twirler, with Kristl, Julie and a few other surfing types - very nice Brazilian food, didn't taste like ash in my mouth at all.

Monday, 26 June 2006


I've heard many variations on this one but its topical ...

A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway in Germany. A man knocks on the window.
The driver rolls down his window and asks, "What's going on?"
The man tells him, "Terrorists have kidnapped three England fans for a 10 million euro ransom or they're going to douse them with petrol and set them on fire. We're going from car to car, taking up a collection."
The driver asks, "How much is everyone giving, on average?"
The man replies, "About two gallons..."

A Sad Farewell

24 June - Despite desperately wanting to sleep in this morning after far too many late nights I was up at 730 because my old housematt, Mark, had given me a pair of tickets for a preview screening of 'Superman Returns'. Had arranged to go to see it with another ex housematt, Ashu, who couldn’t be woken from his slumber in time so I ended up seeing it by meself out in Metrotown. Won’t give it away other than to say that it was pretty good as comic book movies go although Brandon Routh's Clark Kent wasn’t nearly as endearing as Christopher Reeve's although his Superman was suitably handsome and as good as could be expected (Superman is hardly the most interesting of superheroes, he's just too perfect to be evoke any real depth), Kate Bosworth's Lois was a pale wash of Margot Kidder's husky chain smoker, Frank Langella's Perry White seemed to be trying to reprise JK Simmons J Jonah Jameson from Spiderman and Lex Luthor was just not in it nearly enough and in his far too brief presences of screentime f**king Bryan Singer ripped off some of his lines from the first Superman - unforgiveable. Still, there were far worse ways to spend the morning. Came back home, had some pancakes and met up with Thomas for a coffee and went bag shopping (i love bag shopping, even when they're not for me) and went for a little bit of a ride around the side. Did a little bit of maintenance on Celeste - there's not a hell of a lot of things that can go wrong wih a fixed gear but when you've got an older frame there's a little bit of fine tuning to make sure everything is running together smoothly - second hand spacers and bolts don't really lend themselves to perfect alignment. I'm learning ... slowly. Practised my trackstand for a while and didn’t get very far - i've got to get this and skidding down pat before I come home - apparently, when it comes it comes and then it's like riding a bike (i think i've got that mostly down by now).
And, sadly, I also had to say my last goodbyes to Jason today. Met him and Colleen for a rather tasty, reasonably cheap, Chinese meal at the Shao Lin Noodle Hut - on Monday morning he's off across Canadia at the rather frightening clip of 180k/day - by the time he returns to the fair city of Vancouver I should probably be settled back in Sydney and I really don’t know when i'll see him again. Despite loving this city I can’t see myself returning to live or even visit for quite a few years and Jason did the 'Oz Experience' a few years back so not sure when he'll be making the journey down that way. Keeping in international contact is always a very difficult thing even with the wonders of email - correspondence always tends to trail off into nothing after a few months or years - however, unfortunately, that's just one of the drawbacks of travel - you meet great people and then have to leave them behind.

Sunday, 25 June 2006

Insert Heading Here

23 June - Pretty easy day at work considerng Casey and Rad were off (not that I think Rad really contributes much to the flow of packages in downtown) but Little Wannabee Juicer Jeremy was on, doing his best to steal all my trips. Glorious sunshine meant the two jersey layers I was wearing was somewhat excessive so I ended up stripping in an elevator to change - unfortunately halfway through the journey between Level 9 and the lobby I was joined by Sketch who was wondering why I was undressing in the elevator. Maybe he concluded I was superman or maybe he thought it was just an Australian thing, I guess he'll never know for sure. Today marked the end of Flowers' last day as a courier for he goes in search of a better paycheque and more benefits in the illustrious career path of becoming a postie. I just hope he doesn't go postal because as nice and easygoing a guy as he is he, to my thinkingat least, could be slightly suscepitible to it. Despite not feeling like I did very much duringthe day ia fair total was had at the end and after meeting Kim the driver I rode down to a new place, Crab Park (at least that's what I was told it was), a nice little green spot down by the waterfront with a view of the biggest cranes in the world at Port Vancouver and the unmissable mountains (viewable from just about everywhere in this city, it must be said). Apparntly, it's where the couriers go after they leave the art gallery duringthe summer. Preferable because rather than car fumes there are boat fumes and a slightly smaller police presence. Came home and ate, ate, ate then went over to see Kristl and we rode down to the beach at Spanish Banks where we spent an hour and missed the sunset trying to find Julie and Lao (a brazillian hippie who seemed like a reasonably upstandingfellow - kind of hard to understand a word he was saying though). Had a few pivos then began the rather excruciating journey back home - far too much riding during the day to enjoy the steep downhills and rather punishing climbs to get back home. Also, Celeste's chain is a little bit loose at the moment (this is not due to her loose morals but simply something that happens after riding her around all day), a rushed adjustment ended up twistingthe wheel a bit too far to the right so the chain kept on clicking - because I built her (with a fair amount of help from others) it means no warranty so fixing her either involves payingsomeone or doing it myself (which is a better proposition because i'm a cheap bastard and i've got to learn how to do it sometime).

Friday, 23 June 2006

Round Two ... Fight!

22 June - Well, it might have only been a draw but what a drawer. Wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get the time off in what is often the busiest part of the day but I gave adequate warning so it didn’t seem to be too big a deal. Finding a pub that was actually going to play the game was a slightly more difficult proposition - all the places i'd been to were going to play the game but because it was on at the same time as the Brazil-Japan game it was unlikely that the oz game would be a single screen in a corner - we're only going to have the sound for the 'main game' I was told. Main game? Brazil is definitely in the next round - Australia and Croatia are battling for survival. Decided to try the Cambie even though i'd been told that they'd probably be playingthe brazil game - I finally got all my trips off and made it half an hour after the start, just in time to see Australia equalise. Excellent game to watch - bit of a nailbiter, as my brother often likes to remind me, I don't know anything about sport but I knows whats I likes and I likes that game. Was joined by Marcus and Taen, one of the really seriously alcoholic couriers who happens to be very knowledgeable about football and quite a few other things despite his perpetual inebriation - most enjoyable afternoon. Next stop, italy, aye. As soon as it was over clocked back in and was pretty hectic for the rest of the afternoon - had the awful experience of losinga trip just after getting back from the game - it wasn’t the booze (i only had one beer ... and one shooter of the awful sickly sweet Yukon Jack to celebrate the end) but it certainly contributed because after backtracking to the four places i'd been since pickingit up when I went to confess the loss of the trip some guy from toffice found it in the toilet (not in the bowl, per se, but in the men's 'washroom'). Reminder - always put package in bag before going to the toilet. Not the best return financially, but considering I had a 1.5hr break in the middle of the day it was pretty damn good. Came home, finally finished my book 'The information' that has en a realy struggle for the past month - somethingabout it just makes me want to fall asleep after a couple of pages, which is rather coincidental because there is a novel within the book itself that is apparently so unreadable that every publisher who tries ends up havinga migraine before Pg11 and so it remains unread. Life imitatingart I guess.
These longdays ar reallystartingto screw with me - it doesn’t get dark until half nine or 10 and it means at a time when i'm reallyneeding to get a full night's sleep i'm not crashinguntil after midnight. At least solstice has passed and the days will be getting shorter,but not appreciable for my remaining time in this country.

Thursday, 22 June 2006

Solstice On The Shore

21 June - Summer solstice, the official start of summer in Canadia. Went braceless for pretty much the first time since the accident in January - decided that the wrist guard was causing more problems than it was solving and feel all the better for it now. Nice weather and a pretty easy day, all things considered. Herb the muffin man came down with a bag of pastries for us (i think his muffin baking girl must be on holiday) and jason came down after work to say hello. Rad, my occasional co-worker, had heard that there was a summar solstice party down at Wreck Beach, Vancouver's local naturalist beach, and I thought that would be a fine place to see out the beginning of the summer. Don't think Rad is going to be with us for much longer - he didn’t feel like working yesterday so didn’t come in, got drunk last night so missed today, has better things to do tomorrow and on Friday he works for someone else ... And he hasn’t even bothered calling Novex to let them know. I really like the guy but i'm starting to understand how he's worked for five companies in four months. He's had the idea of organising the Novex workers on a strike for better workingconditions which I’m not really interested in. I certainly believe that the conditions ar awful but the problem is not with Novex but with the industry. A harder to realise but ultimately more worthwhile goal would be to organise all the couriers citywide and force the companies to increase their rates across the board - the reason for the crap money in this industry is all the companies racing each other to the bottom in order to just get the business, screwing the bikers (and themselves) in the process. In any event, if he wants to organise the couriers in this city (or hell, even this company) he's going to have an uphill battle. After work we rode out to Wreck Beach to find a lot of naked people (not everyone but about 50-50) but no real party. Bought some steamed buns off a naked Chinese man (well, hhe was wearing a hat and his money puch was very strategically located) and we weren’t sure whether the 'five finger discount' he was touting was a metaphor for stealing or him makinga pass at the guys in our group but they were very nice buns. A couple of crazy people dancing to their own music and a very nice sunset so a nice way to bring in the season. Had a spectacular ride back, about 25k with not a single stop. That's not to say that there weren't any reds or stop signs but from the beach to the Drive did not slow down below 19k for the entire journey. Sometimes it works out that way. Probably shouldn’t ve gone for such a longride - for the first time in ages I finish a day and actually feel physically great, not tired at all and then I have to go and wreck it at wreck Beach.

Wednesday, 21 June 2006

I need a cappucino!

20 June - Exhausting day - got in, had a coffee at 8 and then basically rode for the rest of the day (not even a midafternoon coffee break and I barly had time to eat my crushed pitas, even while using elevator time). Nothing exciting - just working. We were down a few bikers today, Novex just doesn't seem to know how to keep them - Rad just didn’t bother showing up and when I bumped into him downtown he indicattd that he probably wouldn’t be turning up tomorrow (Do you think they'll fire me??? Uh, yeah, probably!!!), I suppose I shouldn’t complain because we were overstaffed but I’d kind of enjoyed the idea of relaxing for a while and this is like it was in winter but in the heat (I guess there's no pleasingsome people). A few irritating moments included a ransom of 6 driver HOTs out at 555 Great Northern that weren't ready when I got there and were also far too big to be carried by a biker - always irritating to go to a pickup to find its untakeable but it was a f**king long way to go and I was completely overloaded at the time. Also, picked up from an architect and they asked me to take a letter downtowthat they claimed was supposed to be picked up by Novex, dispatcher mistook it for somethingelse and told me to take it - went twenty blocks east before I was told that it wasn’t for us and that I had to take it back - took it back and the receptionist laughed at the misunderstanding and I gave her a what for. I wasn't rude (i'm never rude) but I was very curt - its all well and good that mistakes happen but that doest mean I can’t be mightily pissed off when they do. Apparently, a bike thief was caught in Simon's bike shop today and had his thumbs broken by the owner of the bike while everyone stood back in horror - i'd obviously never sympathise with a bike thief but violence like that never solves anything. My ex-housemate, mark, was having his birthday party tonight and i'd said I was going to come but passing out at 10pm sounded like a far more viable option.

Robespierre's Day

19 June - Got downtown and drank my morning café latte (made by the surly Emily instead of the usually cheerful Maria) all alone. No one puffing away on an ultralight cigarette and sipping espresso by my side. Well, it had to happen. In one way I’m kind of glad that I won’t be working with Jason for a while - its not just that he's one of the main guys who steals my juice but now that he's gone i'll be able to relax a bit because half the time the only reason I’d work hard during the day was so I’d have the satisfaction of besting him at the end of the day. However, one of the new guys, Jeremy, who worked at Novex last summer and is a bit of a road racer, could be a bit of trouble. He once boasted to me of beingthe top earner in his last stint at Novex and he had a fair few trips recorded in his manifests when I collected them in the afternoon. ... Well, if he wants bust his ass for Novex I can be lazy for a while and try to enjoy the sunshine. Despite some onerous weight that was a bit prolonged throughout the day (one surly suit in an elevator glared at me when I was hiking my overloaded bag higher up told me 'Your bag's too fucking heavy!' - I smiled to thank him for stating the obvious, then he said 'You won't be able to balance on your bike!' I shrugged it off and then went and balanced on my bike) the day was pretty slow and a bit of a cruise. Spent too much on coffee and bread products on the numerous minibreaks but if you have to sit around for a while its nice to do it in the sun. After work went out to the beach with Kristl and a beer and watched the sun for a while - it would have been nice to actually watch the sun set but that would have meant waitingout there until 930 and I was f**kingtired.

Monday, 19 June 2006

The Beauty V The Beast

17 June - Set my alarm for half six to ensure I’d get up for the Australia v Brazil game - for some reason I thought it was on Saturday and one of the mailroom clerks at 2oo Burrard confirmed this - aparently its on Sunday so my early morning wakeup was pretty pointless. There was no way that I was going back to bed so wandered down the drive for a coffee then killed a few hour waiting for Dream Cycle to open so I could get some electrical tape to fix up the new bartape on Celeste's new handlebars. The steel bar in the wrist brace that I wear has gouged through the cloth and basically shredded the tape almost completely unravelling it. Managed to fix it up and reinforce it some and while at the shop bumped into Sasha, one of the new Flash couriers who was buying a very expensive new wheel for his fixie. Had a coffee with him and then went down to Strathcona where I practiced my skidding and dismounting skills (its not enough just to ride a fixed gear, you've got to do it with style, man!) and after that tried to get ahold of ozzie Marcus who I’d planned to do some tourist stuff with. He completely flaked out so nothing happened and it started to rain so I worked on a biker training document that I’d promised to write during our work meeting t'other day. First document preparation i've done in almost a year and I forgot how much I love Word (although OpenOffice has to suffice) and how much I hated writing f**king training documents. Caught the train downtown to pick up baby Blue from Simon's - one of my coworkers, Ben, has been riding him for the past week and a bit after his frame cracked. Riding back home was incrediblly difficult - it was raining, whih is never pleasant but he weighs so much compard to Celeste, a complete beast of a bike, and it felt bizarre when the bike wouldn’t slow down when I eased off the pedalling. I kept on catching myself and forgettingthat I HAD to use brakes when I wanted to stop - it's strange that it took such a short time to totally acclimatise to the fixie. I don’t know how I rode around for so long carryingso much excess weight. Had a burger with Shadow and some of his crew at Stormin Norman's (he's been bugging me for ages to try a kangaroo burger) and then visited the very sedate nighttime markets in chinatown (well, at least sedate for your average nightime chinatown markets) with Julie where we ate a random sampling of the local 218 flavour ice cream shop (Wasabi was particularly unusual) and a couple of steamed pork buns, energy replacement source of choice for the modern ninja warrior (nine out of ten videogame characters prefer it as their health boostup of choice, the rest are just on mushrooms).

F**k Cars

18 June - Had the alarm set and was up and atom at Continental Coffee for the start of the aus v brazil match which didn’t have the best result - the fact that half of Commercial Drive were wearing Brasil colours made for me keepingslightly inconspicuous (one exposed Australian sock was all that revealed my patriotism - noone would EVER pickup on the accent). Marcus the flake who stood me up yesterday (probably got wasted in the afternoon) decided to grace me with his and Larni his girlfriend's, company by comingdown to the Commercial Drive Car Free Street Festival (apparently it's not anti-car but you wouldn’t know that from some of the freaknecks who'd set up shop - if anything, it was anti-highway). The whole street, from 1st Ave to Venables, was shut down and it was filled with pretty heavy crowds of people drinking in the street, cyclists proving their worth by trying to weave in amongst the crowds, live music (far too many hippy drums for my liking), average street food, political protesters, beggars (both the professional chuggers and your run of the mill homeless) and other live shows (the Brazilian jujitsu demonstration wouldn’t have been so lively had their been a different football result i'd wager). Bumped into about a dozen other couriers throughout the day and had a few cleansing ales and polluting maryjane with a few - a really hot and bright day for most of it, perfect outdoor festival weather.
Young Mat has moved into the basement apartment downstairs which leaves just me Kevin and Charles - both of them are nice enough but they’re definitely the strangest of the housemates and also, unfortunattly, the least hygienic. Not sure what my schedule is still but while i'm very apprehensive of my evaporating time left in this country i'm not too concerned about leaving this wonderful abode.

Sunday, 18 June 2006

End Of The Partnership

16 June - Today was a very sad day for me for it marked the end of my working partnership with Jason. Of all the couriers to come through Novex he's the longest lasting after me (and has probably worked more than me because of my injury fueled breaks) - and a nicer fellow you would never meet. Consumate professional, slightly passive aggressive and very, very fast. He's off to ride from one end of Canadia to the other - there were some muted talks about me hitching a ride but my schedule in this country doesn't really fit and the ride is primarily a bonding experience with his stepdad and brother. In any event, its inspired a bit of soul searching and I think a cross country, intercity, whatever ride will definitely be on the cards some time in the near future. On my last day I was really pumped but Jason seemed to be very content to take it easy - probably not such a bad idea, there's no way he’s going to get any fitter for his journey and the only thing that working hard and fast could do is give him an injury. I, on the other hand, was manic again - not as bad as the prior day but non stop. I was picking up all over town, handing off to drivers (some of them are such bastards), giving trips to receptionists who I cornered in lobbies and handing off to other couriers and hoping that they would drop to the right place. You've got to be creative sometimes. Now that Jason has left (he'll be coming back to work once he returns but i'll almost certainly be long gone by then) I have been promoted to 'late guy' - its lot of responsbility, collecting all the manifests and ECOs at the end of the day and then waiting around 1090 for Kim (one of the drivers) to hand them off to - i'm not sure if I can handle all that pressure (don't fall in the sarchasm). The only reason I want to do it is because it means better acceess to the end of day SHTs ,i've been finishing earlier for the past few weeks which is kind of irritating but I can’t reallycomplain because my totals ar always higher than most of the others (with the exception of Jason). Still cannot work out for the life of me how the work is divided up between us - the other guys are all really fast riders and they seem to work really hard when they have to but when the day ends they're manifests contain about half of what mine do. Maybe they're lazy, maybe novex is just trying to keep the talent happy, I don't know. After work convinced Jason to come to the Cambie so we could pay our respects. The teetotaling bastard doesn't drink (since starting this job he's become a bit of a fumer though so he's not completely untrustworthy) but I bought him a diet coke and that shut him up for a while. Rad explained the history behind the concerns about his moral fibre - apparently offered 'rum' from a steel hipflask (actuallytwater) o another courier and made a joke about taking speed and then the rumours started. He's far more clean living than any of the other couriers I know, he doesn’t even drink caffeine. Not really sure what I did after that but I can’t have been interesting because nothing's coming to mind. Io Ate some pizza from uncle fatty's (fatihs), the best pizza by the slice in all of Vancouver. Actuallythe only edible pizza by the slice in all of vancouver when you come to mention

June 12 - Coincidence, I think not ...

On this day in 1792 , while mapping out the Pacific coast, explorer George Vancouver discovers Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada. "Wow," he says to himself at the time, "what are the f**kin' odds?!"

FW: In Good Favour

15 June - Non stop moving from start to finish today - I was kept in the core in the morning and didn’t have time to catch my breath, from the moment I active-on'd on the Blackberry at 8 until 1 in the afternoon I was never clear. Mostly regs and rushes and the occasional SHT to give it a bit of spice. Had to get a little creative at times (got a few strange looks carrying Celeste on my shoulder through the Sinclair Centre) but that's what a couriers gots to do. I don’t like takinga lunch break when its quiet but I was very glad for the respite when offered a short one at 1 - for lunch I went Jason style, a cup of coffee and a nanaimo bar (thick chocolate on top, sweet cream centre and chocolate cakey thing on bottom) and also some choc chip banana bread for fibre (???) - my body was certainly burning sugar like crazy and it seemed to function reasonably well despite the lack of anything more complex like my usual pita luncheons (which ar very boring without vegemite). After "lunch" was sent over to the side with a measly two trips but found a couple of ransoms and a misaddressed side SHT for which we get to charge twice - after trolling over there for a while I came back to run off the pickups downtown and was inundated with ECOs (overnights) strewn across the downtown core. The strap on my bag got all twisted and I was reallystarting to overload but I knew it was quietening down and I suspected that the dispatcher felt that i'd been given enough favour for that day so the day finished with a bit of a whimper - but, what a day, might have broken my record in earnings (although not for trips, which is what counts when it comes down to it but I did crack the 3rd manifest page for the first time since my return) and after seeing the numbers on some of the biker manifests at the end of the day I think I might be in the dispatcher's favour again. Rick, the current dispatcher, is apparently just doingthe biker channel for a short while in a cross training exercise so they have some redundancy for biker dispatchers - its a lot more difficult to do it with bikers than cars because of the volume and shorter response times) - I’m not looking forward to scott returning to his post, he's a mostly good dispatcher, even if he does think too highly of his skills but he shars work out far too fairly and that's not good for a juicer like me.
Not so wrecked as I might have been when finishingbut still far too tired to actually do anything beyond eating and watching a movie (and typing this missive apparently).

Thursday, 15 June 2006

I became a bike messenger to avoid staff meetings ...

14 June - Still grey but didn’t rain although muggy and humid for most of the day which isn’t terribly comfortable. I wore my big shorts because they come down beyond the knee when i'm standing and I could cover up most of my torn flesh from all the lovely receptionists however have decided that the shorts have got to go - they're several sizes too big but they were on sale and bike shorts are expensive so I thought they might work if I tightened in the adjustable side straps but they bunch up far too much and they're always falling down and when I hitch them up the velcro fastener bursts open - its just not working. Ill have to find a fat courier to give them to (believe you me, there are a few of them). An okay day although it wasn’t very busy - did find myself a little treasure trove when I went to pick up an overnight job from Spruce St and found a kings ransom of overnight deliveries, 9 in all, that the dispatcher had no idea about (although seeing my total at the end of the day led me to believe that without them I would have had an awful day). Note to people using elevators - if you are waitingfor an elevator with a messenger and you want to crowd the elevator and be the first one in as soon as the door opens you better have the f**king nerve to throw your arm in to prevent the doors from closing you wishy washy reprobates. Leg hurt a little bit throughout the day, especially when it got sweaty and rubbed up against my shorts but no real damage appears to be done. I was closed off at 4:20 today (which is always annoying because I've always worked the full day) and I had to kill forty minutes before we had our first staff meeting in four or five months -went to the park to have a beer but found ourselves surrounded by cops because there was a police chief's convention in the hotel across the road (really) I really didn’t think the police were too concerned wih couriers drinking in public when they had more pressingsecurity matters at hand so I didn’t pay them much mind - however, one however was warned against drinking by a couple of the moist ardent alcoholics and was eve nsnapped at by some random who said 'Put your beer away! I don’t want to you to bring the heat down on me!' - with some of these couriers and their random backgrounds their paranoia can be justified. Eventually got away and headed down to 555 Hastings for our meeting - most of the couriers turned up but Cheryl Willis, fleet coordinator and financial controller respectively, were half an hour late and the meetingstretched on for a bit (and I had to return some videotapes to Mr 'Tomorrow By Six') - we went over the same things we went over at the last meeting and i've no confidence that anything can be changed - although did find out a few tidbits of pricing policy that might be useful when there ar more inevitable customer f**kups in the future. There had been a discrepency with my commission rate and I found out that I wasn’t being underpaid which I suppose is a good thing although if I had been I might have had a healthy cheque comingmy way so I guess i'm disappointed. Rode home, no crashes, yay - lent an allen key to one of the mechanics from 'Bikes on the drive', a shop that i've actually boycotted because they wouldn't sell me cleats 10m before they were open on a saturday morning although I did relax the boycott slightly yesterday when I needed an emergency set of handlebars (they didn’t have what I wanted luckily) ... I have a point here, yes, on early Monday evening another random guy stopped me at the exact spot and asked to borrow an allen key as well. Tres weird. Ate some very good takeway italian for dinner, watched a new episode of South park and smoked a little fatty - good times, aye.

A Grimm Day

13 June - it was a pretty grimm morning when I left the house and I realised that I’d left my rear fender behind not 200m from the house - couldn’t really be bothered going back for it especially as I was buzzed by the dispatcher for an early morning SHT from the Bernd Tanton, home of the lovely Zaba. It was the start of a reasonably consistent day, even had a few hot runs where I really had to work to get them on time. On top of this, the grey skies never even opened up so it had all the markings of a really good day. Replaced my front tyre in the morning but a slow leak on the front tube meant it needed to be changed in the afternoon and there was a very frustrating 15m when I couldn’t get the front wheel back on the mountings - the washers and bolts we'd bought second hand from the community bike shop just didn’t want to lock back in - eventually got it sorted but not without much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Had an interesting chat with Mary, Mary who was concerned about the moral fortitude of Rad, who works for her every once in a while - he always seems like a relatively straight up guy but apparently some of the other couriers don’t share my experience. Trip and moneywise, probably the best day since I’ve been back (dont know how jason went but wasn’t going to ask) and after a slurpee at the gallery I rode home with a bit of a spring in my legs and a song in my heart - however, while heading back over the viaduct towards home had a little bit of an accident - normally I hug the wall of the bridge until I get to the exit when I have to merge into the middle lane to get off the Prior St exit - shoulderchecked and found cars far too close to my left so shifted a bit further right but got jammed up against the wall. Unfortuantely, with the fixed gear my legs have to keep on pedalling and I scraped along the side of the wall for a few metres before losing balance and was thrown off my bike and over the wall onto the footpath. The fall itself was pretty soft although did get a few scratches on my hands but the scraping against the wall took a few layers of skin off my right leg (however, the lack of hair meant the damage was limited - nobody will ever be able to make fun of me for waxing my legs again) and Celeste's handlebars were completely twisted out of shape. Managed to get back on the bike and ride up to dream Cycle where Darren replaced the handlebars (with new Celeste green bartape - applied with much more skill than my original job) and did a few more little adjustments - total damange, $80. This little expense pretty much destroyed my earnings for the day, but what are you goingto do?
Went home, bought some hydrogen peroxide and cleaned up as best I could and made as little noise as possible when the antiseptic bubbled up on my raw flesh - watched the brothers grimm which would have to be Terry Gilliam's worst film ever (have not had much luck with movies of late - hope superman doesn’t disappoint).

Tuesday, 13 June 2006


12 June - Shook myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 5am in order to get down to Continental Coffee to watch the much ballyhooed Australia v Japan fitba match. Turned out it started half an hour after advertised so I rode up and down the street looking for a place that would sell me a coffee ('I NEED a cappucino!') and eventually settled for the guy from the bar making me one of the worst café lattes i've ever experienced (he seemed very hesitant to make it in the first place and I realised why after my first sip). Was joined by ex-housemate, Chad, the bartender, one Canadian guy and a Japanese lad who silently slunk out shortly after the second half began (obviously terrified of my wrath at the expected but not eventually realised result). Would have to say it was one of the most exciting games i've ever watched - always good to see home country win at a game I actuallykind of understand and occasionally enjoy watching - but to have the game go from almost certain defeat to total obliterating victory in about eight minutes was very thrilling. Ozzie Marcus and me were most happy as were most of the couriers about the result (although most of them seemed more pleased about the US defeat than anything else). The euphoria of the morning soon wore off after the steady, energy sapping heat and even though it felt like I rode constantly all day I really didn’t feel like I was movingaround very much at all. Had a near miss when chasing a light at Georgia-Burrard (often hit the orange here because its linked to the Georgia-Hornby intersection and that's where our second home of 885 is locattd) and a jaywalker ran out on his red which caused jeff, one of the dynamex guys, to stop and turn around right in front of me. Managed to slow down enough to weave through them but not before stuttering shouted warnings and swear words to both of them. After work met a potential tatoo artist from the funhouse on 14th and cambie but really didn’t like the cut of his jib so will have to find another one (time is runningout and I don't think Sean from tattoo next is ever going to get back to me - probably a sign that it's not going to happen there). Got a flat on the way home from work, watched a documentary about Deep throat (the porn film not Mark felt - although I think mr felt's story would have been more arousing) and stayed up way beyond my bedtime.

Monday, 12 June 2006

... more cycling ...

11 June - Last night's unexpected late (and slightly intoxicated) return meant a little chunk of the day was lost but got out of the house eventually - did some grocery shopping, vegemite is still eluding me, apparently Kraft has given up on trying to sell it in this country, even Cobs (the Bakers Delight brand over here) apparently is having trouble getting it into the country and being a normal corporate citizen they're being very selfish in not letting any of the other real Australian citizens having any (unless they're prepared to pay $2 for a smear of it surrounded by cheese and bread pastry). Rode downtown to meet Jason for a coffee then over to the south side to meet Kristl for a movie. Bumped into her trying to offload one of her overnight trips to the MEC store only to realise that it had to go to the main office down the road (which wasn’t opened). Saw my first 'Omnimax' movie, 'Wired To Win' - kind of like an Imax movie but usinga fish bowl projector that completely fills the field of vision. The movie was all about how the human brain works to enable pro athletes to go beyond the apparent limits of their bodies and it used the tour de france as the model - a couple of interesting factoids and some pretty irritating CGI modelling of brain functions but the footage of the tour was incredible. I really only watch snippets of the tour de france because I feel i'm obliged to - in a manner of speaking i'm also a professional cyclist of sorts, albeit a much more badly paid one - it's interesting to see the almost superhuman endurance of the cyclists and one can even pick up a few tidbits on better cycling technique but watching it on the enormous full field of vision screen was pretty incredible. We were so inspired that we went for a ride afterwards (not hard considering we rode to the cinema in the first place - it was kind of embarressing wearing cycling gear in the theatre - it looked like we were dressing up to go the movie) and then I went home and saw X-Men III at the east van cinema. not really much to say about that one other than its not one of the standouts of the latest slew of comic book movies. There's only one that i'm reallyexcited about at the moment and he returns at the end of june.

Beer and Pancakes

10 June - Slept like Croesus after my exhausting previous day (i presume rich people don't have too much trouble sleeping at night but that's probably a bit of a false generalisation) before waking up and going for a ride out to Burnaby for another search for an IHOP. DIdn’t like the directions that google maps gave me (really designed for someone in an automobile) so took my own way - got a little bit lost but veered towards what I thought was the general direction (south east - a bit hard to work out when you don't have the mountains for a reference point and all the streets are curved). Rode along the highway, which is not exactly comfortable riding on a track bike, befoe plopping out at Kingsway not three blocks from my planned destination. The IHOP in Canada is not nearly as good as its American counterpart but certainly satisfied my appetite (they don’t have the heated maple syrup and the pancakes are basically inferior). Rode back and did various errands around the Drive, watched a bit of the fitba' and later met up with Kristl for some beer at Tobys - its a fair establishment but we soon concluded that there would be far better places to drink beer on such a nice evening so we grabbed a sixpack of budweiser (an underrated beer by most of the international community I believe) and rode down to Kitsilano Beach. THe shoreline is not exactly well lit but very tranquil setting, especially when there's nobody throwing up down the road. Time got away and ended up havinga very late night ride home which is lots of fun - roads are well lit but mostly empty so you can literally go as fast as you can peddle. Good times.

Sunday, 11 June 2006

Courier Warming

9 June - After yesterday's visit from the rain gods I was determined not to get caught out again so dug out my winter tights to combat the wet (they're not waterproof but they make the misery slightly more bearable). Not to be outstmarted by the likes of me nature just turned her taps off and even though it wasn’t hot it was pretty humid and with me bundled up in layers and riding from one end of the city to the other (went out to Commercial Drive, near my house, twice - countingthe commute into work that meant three round trips which is far too much riding on a Friday). However, despite the conditions it reallywas a pretty good day - we've got a new dispatcher (temporary? Perhaps, they never tell us anything at this place) who did some pretty slick routing and at least seemed to keep me busier throughout the day than Scott did. I don’t know they decide how they divvy up the work - but it seems that I got juiced which makes me feel a little better. Also, apparently Ryan, one of the new guys who rides a little BMX around, was fired - he wasn't too happy about it, especially when he pressed for a reason - 'it's just not working out' was given and no elaboration would be given. I don’t think it will really make a hell of a lot difference to us because he wasn’t doing too much but there does have to be a little bit of rationalisation after there hiring binge . After work a whole bunch of the Novex guys went down to Tinseltown where we saw 'An Inconvenient Truth' - very entertaining, nothing terribly new about the whole global warming issue but a very good insight into the inspiration of 'Love Story' - five sweaty couriers just off work also have a tendency to create some global warming of their own and I don’t envy the people in the cinema who had to sit next to us. Did get irirritattd by the 'simple things you can do to help with global warming' at the end - bu yan electric car, buy more energy efficient appliances - if anything, there needs to be draconian measures to combat the problem - walk or ride a bike, do without the appliances altogether, buy an extra blanket or warmer clothes - if people don’t voluntarily drtically bpull back on the amount of energy AND resources they use then it will just have to be rationed - I think its better to acclimatise to using less now when energy is still relatively cheap and plentiful so its won’t be such a shock to the system when the inevitable CO2 pollution and energy scarcity force the rationing to happen.
Was pretty tired when I eventuallygot home but went out to meet Julie and a couple of crazy Australian guys in a west end club - maybe it was the joint I smoked when I got home or maybe it was the fact hat i'd ridden about 100k that day but I was out of it - and maybe i'm just getting too old for cheesy top 40 nightclubs anyway - should have passed out many hour before I did.

Friday, 9 June 2006

30% chance of traces of rain, max of 18d, yeah right ...

8 June - The sky looked ominously grey when I took Celeste out the front door but I didn’t pay it too much mind. The man had told me of a slight chance it would drizzle down a bit - there'd been a tiny bit of spittle last week so I wasn’t really expecting too much. Sometime around 12 after I’d headed back from a somewhat fruitful trip to the side it started to rain half heartedly - when I loaded up to go back over to the side it was pissing down and it didn’t stop for the rest of the day or night. The side is probably not the best place to be when its raining heavily - there's much more time between trips when you're getting wetter and wetter (until you can’t get any more wet) and colder and colder (and you can always get colder) - I used to prefer it because it meant less time getting in and out of the bag which just gets everything messed up (blackberry shorts out, radio falls apart and trips and manifests disintegrate) but I don’t think I quite hold that philosophy anymore - I was cold. Completely unprepared for it, of course, just shorts, singlet and novex jersey which meant when I was reallypumping up a hill I was okay but most of the time I was just miserable. Also had to be reallycarful about riding Celeste in the wet - i'm still not perfectly attuned to riding a fixie and the razor thin pizza cutter wheels mean a higher chance of havingher spin out from under me but no spillages thus far (except for yesterday's little fall but that was a pedal problem, not a riding problem). The rain scard some of the guys off today and we were down a few (only 9 bikers! however can we cope???) - Ryan had a flat and gave up and Ben cracked his frame in the morning, effectively cutting him off for the day. I told him he could borrow Baby blue for a short while before he got his own one back - i'm sure he'll be respectful of hm but I hope its ot too longbecause I don’t like the idea of not havinga backup when i'm still in learning mode on Celeste. Also, whilst the blackberry survived the day okay in the evening it appeard to have been f**kked up by the rain. I'd had my last physio appointment today and whilst there's a fair bit of discomfort I seem to have most of the movement in my wrist back - I think that’s as far as the Canadian government (... agency anyway) is going to go to aid me in my recovery - well, they did a fair amount, as good as any government and better than most. Sometime in the morning Scott disappeared off the airways and was replaced by a new guy, Rick, who seemed to be fairly good at what he does. I'm not sure ithis is a permanent change but of coure they'd never do anythingas drastic as actually telling us what was going on - if it is, i'm hardly going to cry about it - Scott's okay but I certainly haven’t developed a strong relationsip with him and I wouldn’t be devestattd by his absence.
Absolutely wrecked at the end of the day and could think of nothing but showering (until the hot water gave me third degree burns), eating (takeaway Stormin Norman burger - i've still got a tentative boycott but Frenchy wasn’t there today so I thought it was safe to get a hamburger without him putting his poppy hands all over it) and slumping on the couch watchinga crappy DVD (aeon flux which was not nearly as bad as I’d heard it was). Ben came over to take baby blue, Mat came home and got a lesson in Australian geography and Kevin came in and did whatever Kevin does ..

Learning Experience

7 June - A much better day than yesterday - lots of riding around, often for only one trip bt at least I was moving for most of the day. A couple of extended periods of not doing anything but nothing like yesterday. Celeste is still getting very favourable comments from the locals which is to be expected as she's a bit of a beauty. Did have my first little crash - rolling up towards some lights through a very narrow opening between a car and kerb - normally would coast and really hug the kerb but keep the kerbside foot up so it's over the edge, with the fixed gear the pedal keeps on moving so I went a little too close and lost my balance, couldn’t unclip in time so I crashed underneath her - going less than walking pace and slowed the fall by grabbing onto a fire hydrant but two scratches on my knees (good thing I wax because it may have taken a bit more skin with it). Well, if you don't fall you don't learn. Bought my first Canadian slurpee with Kristl and took it to the gallery (didn't kill myself with ice headaches like the one from Austin) before heading back to the drive for a little lesson on chain maintenance by Darren from Dream Cycles (i just came in to borrow a tool and buy some oil but when a mechanic talks its best to listen - its the quickest way to get them to go away and occasionally you might learn something).
One of the numerous little supermarkets on the drive had grits for sale yesterday and as I fondly recalled them from my venture into the south I presumed anyone could cook them so I went ahead and bought some. Despite following a recipe for cooking them off the internet they didn’t cook at all. Very dappointing and I got it into my mind that I reallywanted to eat some grits - normal grits don’t seem to work and no self respectingsoutherner would ... Blah blah blah. What's a man to do?

Thursday, 8 June 2006

The Day Of The Beast

6/6/6 - Maybe it was due to it being Satan's day on Earth but I woke up with a crick in the neck and a bad attitude. More physio - despite not having a booking I turned up and was given the usual battery of exercises and stretches - wrist still hurts some but the range of motion is getting a lot better and that's the real important thing (not that I want to endure a lifetime of pain but that's preferable to the pain of having less function). There's still heaps of sitting around while we wait for Scott to deign us worthy of being issued trips although when there is movement the distances can be ridiculous. The bikers at Novex go further out than any of the other companies - this is great, car trips pay well - but traipsing halfway to the airport for one trip is not worth the trouble - the amount earned isn’t enough to cover the calories burned ... Also, for some reason my routingwas all over the place today - I went to a bunch of streets i'd never even heard of, was given the wrong instruction by Scott on a few occasions, tried to predict his intentions and failed, and on more than one occasion just made stupid mistakes that involved a lot of backtracking. Losing time doesn't really matter at tmoment because it's so quiet that nobody is ever stressed out about delivery times - I really miss the days when it was a real challenge - mentally and physically to get everything done. No more complaining. The sun is still shining which is great - it never gets terribly hot although some of my companions complain a little - I just laugh and pretend that i'm at home.
By the way - 'What The F**k Do We Know' is more than just a docudrama about quantum physics - it's a bring docudrama about quantum physics.

Tuesday, 6 June 2006


5 June - First day working on a fixed gear today. Have to admit I was a little apprehensive about it - even though she had a front brake put on, basically, the only way to really slow down is by just pedalling slower, which is not very easy when you're barrelling down a steep decline. Celeste certainly got a fair bit of attention once I took her downtown - there was a bit of sighing and shrugging of shoulders because i'd abandoned the mountain bike class and had joined the growing army of fixed riders but nobody could deny that I had a pretty stunning bike. Another really slow day, which is getting kind of annoying - probably a good way to start because I don't want to be hustling too much when i'm just learning how to ride but this job is only enjoyable when one is rushingfrom place to place, when its busy enough to force you to think about routing and timing - now, if I wanted to sit down and drink coffee all day i'd be doing it an office whilst surfing the internet (isn't that what people do in offices these days?). Rad gave me a little bit of a lesson in how to do a skid stop - it's much easier to practice on wet grass so we did out the front of the art gallery but we were getting some puzzled looks from the security guards so didn't do it for too long. I was stranded over on the side when I was given a lunch break (i don't DO breaks) so I found myself at Subway - where a very sweet little kid looked up at me and asked 'Are you a bike courier?', I responded in the affirmative. 'My dad used to be a bike courier too, do you know him? His name is jonathan.' - It's not often you get such good little children - respectful of the courier (me) and more importantly, respectful of the profession. Still, the crappiness of the amount of work put me in a bad mood that could onlybe alleviated by riding my new bike - climbing hills are easy and long flats are just amazingly fast. A couple of times on the decline I found myself going so fast that my legs just couldn’t keep up with the pedals - lotsafun. Also, I nthe end I hardly ended up usingthe brake at all - still a good idea to have one though. Did have a flat, wwhich comes with the territory - probably due to the second hand tyres, but fixed it without too much trouble (needed to radio in for a spanner (nobody knows what a spanner is in this country) - other than that, perfect.
Had a pterodactyl sandwich for dinner at Fets with Casey and his ex and put some bar tape on Celeste when I got home. One of the housemates, Mat, has decided to mke his own switch - from a normal skateboard to a custom built longboard for downhill street racing and we admired each other's creations (mine's much prettier than his). Summer's here and it's a good time for a change.

Monday, 5 June 2006

No Bird Flies Too High If He Flies On His Own Wings

2 June - Last night's movies resulted in not enough sleep so it took me a while to wake up properly - it was pretty busy early on but I ended up doing a ridiculous amount of ridingfor one or two trips at a time. Everythingwas humming along quite nicely until Scott asked me if i wanted a break - it was around quarter to two and I thought it would be a fine thingto have a break. Little did I know that the break would pretty much last the rest of the day. I did a total of four trips for the rest of the day. ANd, everyone else around me still seemed to be working. I started to wonder what was going on? I had my suspicions but it wasn't until the day was over and a few of us headed down to the Cambie (Jason included - I bought the teetotalling bastad a coke) where we were later joined by Scott. He clipped my wings! When he realised that my total was so far ahead of the other bikers he just cut me off. Now, i'm all for sharing out the work but that doesn't mean just stopping the work because i've had a good morning. If he was so determined to stop giving me work for the rest of the day he should have just said, right sax, you've made this much - everyone else is behind, finish early today Evening it out by having me sitting around doesn't help anybody. In any event, despite me being a social libertarian, this is a capitalist country and we don't need any of that red commie shit in this business ... I'm thinking of calling the Committee for Unamerican Activities to let them know what's going on (if only they still existed and we were in America).

Riding, Eating, Riding, Eating ...

4 June - Had hoped to go down to see Shadow push a pram for 5k but despite my alarm going off after 4 hours sleep there was no way I was getting out of bed. Pulled myself out much later and took Celeste down to Dream Cycles where I got Darren, one of the nicer mechanics in Vancouver (and apparently the best maker of hand built wheels in the city, at least according to him) to put a brake on her. A bike without brakes does look very nice but it's probably not terribly practical, especially when I plan on working fixed gear for the first time on Monday. Had a late breakfast with Kristl and Becky (who had broken two knuckles on Friday after getting into a fight with a phone box) and rode around the south side for a little while, trying to get the feel of Celeste's mannerisms and basically building up enough confidence to go downhill (which I expect i'll be doingquite a bit of on Monday). There's a bit of a blank in the afternoon - i'm sre I did something but I can’t remember what - after that, I headed down to the west end for a dinner party at Brenda's - I haven't seen her for quite some time - occasionallybump into each other downtown when i'm in a rush but it was nice to catch up with particular troupe. None of thm ar very good at returningphone calls and tentative plans usually remain very tentative but its always the best eating I ever have when i'm in the city and she buys really expensive wine so I can't complain about that.

A new girl in my life?

3 June - Day started with a coffee at JJ Beans, I found two lesbians sitting next to me, one of them explaining to the other how much she likes her and the other one trying to let the other one down gently with the standard 'i'm a bit f**ked up in my life right now' - poetry in motion, was just glad that it wasn’t me on the other side of that conversation for a change.
Around 12 got a call from Casey who had given me a little bit of a proposition - he has a classic Bianchi road bike frame that he eventually wanted to build into a new bike - knowing that I wanted to try to get a bit of practice on a fixie before I left town he suggested that I build it, use it for the rest of the time while i'm in Vancouver and then sell it back to him once I leave. A capital idea for all parties concerned. We drove up to Our Community Bikes, a cooperative bike shop that rents out work space, supplies all tools and has a pretty comprehensive selection of new and recycled parts. It took a little while to get started - we ended up having to go to a shop up the road for wheels, had to drive across town to get the bottom bracket tapped at a specialty italian bike store where the mechanic ended up installing the drive train and rear wheel (extremely nice high end bike shop - caters for serious triathletes and rich people - bikes were averaging about $4-5k) and there were a few other small issues as well but by the time OCB was shut we had a very functional fixed gear. Couldn't get a brake functioning by the time the store closed but I took that as a sign that maybe I wasn't supposed to have one. So, I now have a new bike - Celeste is her name and she is very beautiful (she's just too petite and sexy to be a boy, i hope Baby Blue doesn't get jealous). Rode around for a little while - riding her is so incredibly smooth and quiet - there's no noise at all when it's moving, no clicking or squeeling, just the slight hum of the tyres on the pavement - it's really quite eerie. We took the bikes down to the west end via the seawall where we met Jason and Colleen for the first chish and fips i've had since leaving home (tandoori style - very different and not bad, not bad at all) and then took the bikes back home - a few hills, downhill is so much harder than going uphill because you have to really work hard to slow the pedals that are locked into the motion of the bike, especially when there's no brake to slow down. Went out for a beer or two with Ashu, me and Casey explained the minutae of bike messengeringto him, I expect it's kind of interesting to a civilian to hear about what we do ... for the first five minutes - but it's never just five minutes - I kind of feel sorry for ashu having to put up with it but if he didn't want to listen to bike courier stories he shouldn’t be drinking with bike couriers.

Sunday, 4 June 2006

Time Travel

1 June - Had another one of my sesh's at St Pauls with Kelly. Everything seemed to feel a lot better than it did on Tuesday (apparntly the traction in my wrist was playing up a bit but all's well now apparntly). Had to do tricep pushdowns and bicep curls - first time since Broadway Gym in Sydney - and I was crap at them. Despite honing the guns on the bike it's just not the same and I could barly do a fraction of the weight that I used to do - not that I really care, unless I have to lift a piano that's crushing someone's pet cat with a bicep curl I can't see that paricular skill being useful in the future. Upon leaving physio it turned out that the blackberry network was down - something that hasn't happened for a while and we time travelled back to a world with no pagers or blackberries where everythinghad to be done over the radio - 80s style! Yeah! I put my hair into a flock of seagulls style and cranked up Huey Lewis and was off. Eventually the system came back online which was far more preferable and it even got pretty busy for a while. So busy in fact that I almost had a late .... almost. It rained a bit so I got to test out the awesome water protection qualities of my new bag and the Space Pen (well, wasn't really tested but I could pretend) and in the latter part of the afternoon there was incredible gridlock on the east side of the core - completely bumper to bumper which meant it was hard for even me to get through the traffic. Still, I get a thrill when I see cars backed up for miles and I canjust coast through (see you in hell, candy boys!!!)
Got a couple of deevy dees after work - Freedomland - a bit too much 'i'd like to thank the academy' shouting, interesting premise, but really, when it comes down to it, the one thing that stuck out in it were Samuel L Jackson's awesome clip in the middle glasses - when one of the props is the best thing in a movie it's generally not a good sign. Also saw 'Slap Shot', because i'm in Canada and i'm still trying to get the whole hockey thing - kind of amusing but i'm not reallysure what the message was - next week the Stanley Cup starts and Canadia (Edmonton) is pitting itself against America (Carolina) in a grudge match that has both nations baying for blood ... Apparently. Well, I might watch one of the games in a pub but that doesn't mean i'll like it.

Friday, 2 June 2006

Police State

31 May - This afternoon while I was observing a little traffic jam caused by a truck whose rear wheel had fallen off, I remarked to Jason that I enjoyed it when interestingthings like this happened downtown. I then realised that this is not, in fact, an interesting thing - but, to me, at the time, it seemed like one. Lots of riding around but hardly any trips - far too many people out there on the road and all of them very keen to steal them from me. Had a few vague accusations from some of the other guys complaining that they'd had jobs taken off them and given to me - it can get a little bit cutthroat at times. A couple of mercury runs and a few new buildings today - note, at 222 Main one has to go through a metal detector. After work, I planned to wander over to the art gallery to have a beer with a few of the couriers - there's always some there no matter what night of the week it is - I bought a can of Pilsener Urquell from the CB&W (that's Cold Beer And Wine to the non-Canadian) at 11 block alberni and then rode against traffic through the Fairmont Hotel's drive through. When I got to the gallery there were three cops flankingthem, everyone was lookingvery sorry for themselves and Derrick was angrily emptying out all of the beer that they had onto the ground (each can was collected by a little old asian homeless woman - there's always a homeless person on the fringes when we're drinking in the gallery - when a fair collection of empties is amassed they swoop in and crab them) - apparently there's no drinking in public in Vancouver - which is very disappointing, it also explains why some of them get very paranoid when there is any police activity in the gallery vicinity ... But n again, maybe it's just the weed.