Monday, 31 July 2006

Where are all the bananas?

Now this was not something I expected - had no warning about it at all. I first noticed something was amiss when I was in the Burra grocery store, we were picking up some bread for Auntie Di when I caught the price of bananas out of the corner of my eye. Bananas were $15 a kilo. I thought they may have been some exotic Jamaican plantains at first and mentioned it to my mother who gave me the sordid history of the evil typhoons who destroyed the Queensland banana crops (trees, plantations, whatever) with the result of no bananas for 2006. In Sydney I saw tiny green organic bananas that were 3 for $7 and at Bondi I saw them for $12 a kilo (at least its cheaper than SA). Now, in my last year in Sydney I was eating at least three bananas a day and in Vancouver on average about two (my morning breakfast of granola with yoghurt, a banana and a couple of strawberries is going to cost me a prince's ransom now). Have been unreliably informed that they'll be available in October or November but that is three or four months away - what's a boy to do???


29 July - Funerals are never that fun and after meeting a few more family members who have managed to avoid my scope over the past lifetime I found out a few more details of the fueds that have plagued the Proctor/Radford/Robbie clans - seeing Mr Rob Radford for the first time since I was in diapers was interesting - charming bloke, he was uncertain whether he had met me before and I had to catch myself from saying 'Well, i've heard a lot about you' because I didn't want to hear the response of 'All good I hope' because the answer to that would have been 'No, just about everything I've heard about you is terrible' - as it was it was good just to be able to put a face to the name and the history. Always lovely to see that side of the family though and I was completely torn when I was asked if I could stay on to help with the lamb marking (a particularly brutal, but completely necessary, part of a sheep's life when they have their tails cut off to prevent infection later in their lives. Desperately wanted to stay on but there was just too much to do back in Sydney now that i've returned to my home shores.
Saturday was another day of reunions with seeing me old flame Angel and Mr Templeman who has conveniently located his workspace to my utterly transformed local, the Ancient Briton. Me and Angel negotiated the horrific traffic in a taxicab over to Coogee where I was reunited with kate and PJ, Ruthnade (had already seen the latter half of that duo when he picked me up from the airport on my arrival) and Rowan and Emilie (also PJ and Kate's friends, Robin and .. Ooh, i'm so bad with names - where there). Everyone seems to have carried on with their lives in my absence which I suppose is a good thing (can't believe they all went on a wine tour without me though, what were they thinking???). First marijuana consumed since my return to Australia - is it to BC weed standard? Probably not, but the quantities imbibed surely made up for its lack of potency. Had to get used to the old Australian/British etiquette of holding onto the joint for an age before passing it on (Canadian standard is puff-puff-pass). It's a bit amusing to be surrounded by a bunch of professionals rather than my rag tag army but i've missed them so and its time to get back into the swing.

Tuesday, 25 July 2006

Day Skipper

25 July - Slightly irritating neighbours on the flight but the flight was as average as could be expected ... First leg had the worst turbulence i've ever been through but i've never been through very bad shakes and this was hardly grip the seatrests and pray for dear life - more grip your wineglass so it doesn't spill. Felt pretty ill through most of the flight so couldn't really focus on the crappy teen cross dressing football movie who had the temerity to say that it was inspired by Shakespeare's 12th Night (oh, the bard would be rolling in his grave). I think I need a slight break from rambling about my life for a little bit. In any event, left on 23rd July and arrived on 25 July all in about 15 hours ... Where the fuck did that day go??? I don't remember gaining it on the way over - maybe I can use the boarding pass as a receipt when I die and get an extra day on earth (am also holding on to my Pirates of the Carribbean and Mission Impossible sequel ticket stubs in the hope that I’ll get a couple of hours in lieu) - well anyway, now that I i've hit the home shore should probably admit that there's a little bit of censorship has been exercised over these blatherings of the past year, including but not limited to:
- Details of sexual congress
- Cigarette smoking
- Bike crashes
- Cause of the fire at 1949 East 1st Avenue
I probably won't go into them now either but in any event I don't know who's still reading this thing but the travelogue is over (the blog will continue), go in peace.

And It Ends ...

23 July - Will I be missing a day's entry? All signs point to the probable. Well, it appears that this is it. Got woken up by blinding morning sunlight but didn’t get moving for a short while, and after that it took even longer to get morning necessities like caffeine injection and ingestion of foodstuffs. Where to eat breakfast was an important consideration - Fet's was chosen because well, I like their pancakes and the rude waitress whose name I can never remember is certainly someone i'll miss but for what reasons I do not know why. Half price and a kiss goodbye was certainly reason enough for going there. Made a few more goodbyes, some pretty heart rending and some more casual - its always harder to say goodbye to a few people, especially the ones who you just wish you met an age earlier rather than two weeks before your departure date. Is a 9-day girlfriend better than no girlfriend at all? Oh, I certainly think so. Had to get a bit creative with the packing job - good thing old baby blue is in a box with room for quite a bit of padding in the form of the various possessions i'd accumulated throughout the year (pity he weighs as much as a tank though). Spent half an age looking for a wifi access point to refresh my AvantGo and get some email out of the pda before departure was unsuccessful. Transport for the first leg of my exit out of Canadia was provided by Kristil who borrowed a truck from a friend and her, Becky and me loaded my scant possessions into the back and headed out to Van airport. Going on an international flight always brings it plethora of incidents - ran low on gas, pump wasn’t working at petrol station, had to make a diversion to drop off a broom to becky's sister (???), sent to the wrong ticket counter, was charged extra for the bike box despite being assured by Lufthansa and Flight centre that I wouldn't but before I knew it I found myself checked in and being rushed through the gates with barely a chance to say goodbye to the girls seeing me off. Well, I didn’t cry but I did want to. I don’t know when i'll see Kristl or the other vancouverites i've known over the past year again but one thing I do know is that I will be seeing some of them - whether back home, back in vancouver (intention to return is 100%) or somewhere else (it's a small world out there).
In any event, once I made it through the duty free I found myself at border security - the flight was going to stopover at Honolulu and US Homeland Security recognises a stopover as a visit to the states. Guard checked my passport and sent me to an agent, queued for a while then the agent told me that my visa waiver (from the road trip a few months previously) had expired and I had to reapply for the waiver. Sent back filled out the form and the guard said go to Gate 2, went to gate 2 and the miserable f**king lowlife c**t of a border agent condascendingly told me to wait 5 minutes then sent me to another queue (can't you see the 'closed' sign? The guard told me to come here, you magnanimous prick!) then while I was queuing at the next gat the opened up again and I had to go see him. Then the collosal prick told me that my waiver had expired ... Yeah, that's why i've filled out the green form like your f**king colleague told me to. Agent - When did you go the USA? When did you get back? Um, maybe the dates on the stamps of the passport page that you're lookingat right now - date of entry to USA, date of entry to Canada? After the waiver has expired you can't visit the USA for 12 months - I just rejected someone for that today. I only found out I was stopping in the USA today (the Air Canada girl who confirmed my booking told me it was a direct flight) and I was told we weren't even going to leave the plane (apparently we have to get off the plane). I'll let you go through this time but when you leave the USA you have to hand in this card - leave the usa, so I do get off the plane? When you leave the usa you have to hand in this card, do you understand? Yes, I fucking understand you miserable bastard. Good luck (edge of sarcasm). Well, I guess you had to be there but, believe me, that border security guard was on a power trip and I had no choice but to grit my teeth and swallow my pride because any outburst is certainly going to have repurcussions. Well, made it though there and got through the customs declaration without any incident and before iknew it I was on a plane and en route to the place where I belong.

Fwd: Go West, Life Is Peaceful There

22 July - Me and Alex went to the Architectural Museum - a bit confusing as to what the museum actually contained although there was a superb 'Senses of the City' exhibition that showed various aspects of city living and design, very informative and ... yes, well, it was very informative. Realised we hadn't eaten anything all day - how could I have skipped breakfast - so went to a Vancouver style (well, at least according to Alex it was Vancouver style) café for oeufs and crepes then realised that it was nearing the time for me to make a move.  Alex carried one of my bags so we rode down to the Mont Royal metro and managed to negotiate my way to Berri UQAM wthout too much trouble.  The driver of the shuttle bus was a grumpy little Qubecois (same guy who drove me from the airport upon arrival) who told me that there was no room for Celeste on the bus but there'd be another going in 25m.  The second driver to arrive was initially a little scepical about me bringing a velo (short for velocipede perhaps?) on the shuttle but relented without too much trouble.  Despite thinking i'd given myself way too much time to get to the airport I was checked in only 30m before boarding time (didnt charge me extra for Celeste this time which was a bit of a bonus - still couldn't get the f**king peddles off the cranks though (prerequisite for putting a bike on the plane) - they're torqued to hell) and I was saying goodbye to this part of Canadia before I knew it.  Definitely would have liked to have stayed a ways longer in Montreal - did a fair amount of the tourist thing but would be a great place to live - very bike friendly (although it's got the worst quality roads i've ever seen - according to the architecture museum it's because of the salt and snow in winter and the fact that it doesn't have a ring road surrounding it forcingal the giant trucks to go right through the city) - have never seen so many vintage road bikes (peugots, bianchis, velos - very few of them fixed though) in all my life and also never seen so many people commuting on rollerblades (that's just weird), amazing nightlife and more than its share of museums for high brow culture.  Well, i'll certainly be back some day.  Plane trip was pretty much like all plane trips - going back in time so arrived two hous after I left despite it being a 5hr flight then had to wait aways for Celeste and my other baggage to come through.  Took a fair amount of time t oget back to the southside to kristl's place.  Wanted to have a reasonably special night and ended up down at spanish banks with Jolene, kristl and becky having a few relaxing pivos under the stars - was pretty sketchy getting to the beach itself as we rode down there in virtual pitch blackness over rough paths and streets, the only light comingfrom the occasional oncoming car or cyclist with blinding high beams on - getting back was far more pleasant though.  Spent the night in very close proximity to a pitbull who doesn't like me very much who had apparently been sprayed by a skunk the previous day.  Good thing I had a cold because I couldn't smell anythingfor the life of me.  In any event, that didn't distract from the main activities of the night - not much chance of me forgetting Vancouver or leaving with unhappy memories after that.

Fwd: You're a Quebec City boy, where Sacrement Meets Laurier

20 July - Woke up really early in order to get to the touriste info place by twenty to eight in order to board the Gray Line tour for Quebec City - had initiallyconsidered doing a night there but the day tour seemed to be the most practical plan with my limited time in the region.  The tour contained a very nice Australian family - Chinese, but with the strongest australian accents i've ever heard.  I went to school with a bunch of ethnic Chinese who had reallystrong aussie accents and it never phased me then but maybe it's because i've had limited exposure to god's speech over the past year but it totally threw me.  Both of the parents were born in Australia - the dad even being third generation (his great granpappy came to Australia to mine gold in 1890 - and he used to live in Cairns, which kind of explained the broadness).  Very pleasant, kept on chattingthroughout the entire journey and made me promise to look them up in Sydney - they're on a three week America-Canada tour and were a bit perturbed with my opinion of their next stop, new York City.  The driver guide had the strongest quebeccer accent i'd ever heard - a voice that can only be gotten from living on the south bank of montreal and smoking 40 gitanes a day - because the tour was about half french and half english every comment and explanation was said in English first then French, almost like a rosetta stone for learning French (if you wanted to learn it with an outrageous Quebecois accent).  The city guide who joined us once we got t quebec city also had to do the same, even to the point of laughing for a longtime at his quaint little jokes when he said them in english and then again when he said them in french (one must presume that these jokeswould have been the thousandth time he'd said them if my experience with tour guides taught me anything).  The city itself is incredibly beautiful - certainly lives up to its claim as the most european city in north america although it's not so much like any european city ti've been to, more like what a european city should look like (it's very easy to imagine james bond racing an austin martin or bmw or whatever it is he drives these days through the narrow streets).  Perps because the main attraction for the city is tourism it's kept in a state that's more akin tsatisfyingthe tourists (aka me) than the residents.  We were driven up to Montmorency falls for a 15m happy snap vsit then taken back into town (a lot of the guidance was done from the bus) then given a few hours to do some exploration on our own but not before being pressured to eat at a presumably connected prix fixe restaurant that took forever to get our food (although it was rather good  have to admit).  Had lunch with an american attory and repaid some of my debt to the wonderful people of that country that seems to have lost its way.  After seeing what there was to see we were driven back to montreal where I was pleased to see celeste still at the information centre where I locked her then headed back to the house and onto a little music venue where I met alex for a show - a rather experiemntal one mand band who was not really to my taste but also saw a vancouver band, ladyhawk, who I'd actually seen back in vancouver a few months ago - very loud but very good, and then followed by a montreal band whose name I can't remember who weralso pretty cool.  Headed back to the house and was reminded of how muh older i'm getting - al-l the girls in the house ar all seemingly very intelligent, the books that ar being read are doestoesky and chomsky, but when movies were discussed I found myself biting my tongue when the relative quality of adam sandler manchild vehicles came up.  C'est la vie.

Fwd: Tabernac! F**king Tyres!

18 July - despite the warning that breakfast would only be available until 1030 I didn't rouse untl 11 - the first decent night's sleep i've had for a god's age, despite being on a very uncomfortable top bunk with a plastic pillow.  Grabbed a stale pastry then went out for an incredibly expensive morning coffee and got some cash out (presumably to buy another incredibly expensive midday coffee).  Didn't get a hell of lot of help from the hostel staff and there were no other travellers around to speak of so got on Celeste and rode downtown to find the Tourist Information centre.  Have to say its quite fun if a bit unfuiiating to ride around a completely foreign city - didn't have a map and didn't really know what I was doing but you're not as helplessly beholden to the motion of the traffic when you're in a car and you're so much faster and mobile than on foot but, going into the unknown on crappy pot holled streets with slightly different traffic rules, balances it out a bit.  Couriering in vancouver would definitely have given me a different kind of confidence with traffic but I still got a few little reminders of Washington DC and Las Vegas driving.  Rode around for most of the day - obviously Celeste's rear tyre which was getting worn decided to finally get a flat but fixed without too much trouble (although I did get a cheap replacement tyre to prevent it from happening again) and got to ride around Old Montreal for a while and had a high cholestoral traditional Quebeccer lunch of smoked smeat sammich and poutine.  Rode around a bit more including a rather intense climb to the peak of Mont Royal - a pretty easy but steady incline up the mountain on a gravel road - beautiful view at the top and got to practice skidding on the loose gravel slopes on the way down.  Went back to the hostel where there was nobody very nice there, at least nobody who was speaking english; one of the other resident's dog tried to assassinate me by pushing a pot off a balcony so I decided to head off to see Roach, a qubeccer friend of Shadow's whom i'd met in vancouver one time where I was credited as the guy who introduced them to the kangaroo burger.   Very interesting night spent on his porch in a rather dodgy area of Francophone Montreal drinking beer and puffing away on the local variety of marijuana. Once I managed to cope with the harsh, sometimes incomprehensile, quebeccer dialect I found that he had a lot of very interesting things to say and I can probably credit that encounter as the most authentic montreal experience i'm likely to have.

Fwd: RIP 313

14 July - Well, that's it - there is no more Biker 313 from Novex.  The previous day and night's excessive riding made me a bit worse for wear throughout the day but it was another pretty cruisy day - did a couple of SHTs, picked up a bag of ECOs and dropped them off, did some more regs and SHTs, had some lunch, started picking up ECOs.  Easy.  It hasn't really sunken in that I won't be working in downtown Vancouver anymore - after we finished and i'd handed off my radio and blackberry to the driver a few of us rode down through the traffic to World Park (the temporary courier hangout until the heat drops down at the art gallery) and I felt a bit nervous riding through the traffic - I no longer have the invisible cloak of protection that couriers have - now i'm just a commuter.  Oh well, all good things.  Still a bit exhausted from the lack of sleep over the past few days and planned to crash early but rode down to Kitsilano Beach with a new acquaintance, Joline (ex courier and now fixed gear enthusiast and espresso queen), for a few pivos in the evening (extremely saddle sore from the past few days but my riding should diminish a bit now so I can handle a little bit more rash before an extended recuperation) - the latest little drought has ended so enjoying the wet for a while (reminds me what Vancouver all about really) - ah, vancouver ...

Monday, 24 July 2006

The Sensorium

'The reduction of the sensorium into five senses was first determined by aristotle, but galen said there were six, erasmus darwin thought there were twelve and von frey reduced them to eight. Zen buddhists say there is a sixth sense. Recent authorities calculate that there are seventeen senses.'
If you avoid the new age sixth sense BS I think you can reduce the senses to three - radiation interaction which would include sight and heat detection, physical interaction (which includes touch and hearing - hearing is just your ears physically interacting with the kinetic energy in the air) and chemical interaction (taste and smell which are one and the same in most respects anyway - the tastebuds and smelling things in your nose react to the chemicals in the air or what you put in your mouth).

Blast From The Past

21 July - The common cold. I presume it was caught in Vancouver but the full effects weren't realised until I hit Montreal - I wish they’d stop sending men into space and focus their efforts on killing this little motherf**ker once and for all. Still, I wasn’t going to let the disease ruin the holiday too much. Today's tourist activities included riding out to the Olympic Stadium and Botanical Jardine - the gardens were, well, they were botanical gardens. Very tranquil and very pretty but not the most exciting place of the city - not helped by the fact that I got lost on the loop (as I approached the end of the loop I went into an exhibit and when I came out I somehow didn’t realise that I was walking back the way I came). One of the better gardens was the sensory garden where you were encouraged to feel and smell the plants - not much good beingable to smell the plants when you have no sense of smell but its nice for the blind people. After I finallyextricated myself from the garden I saw the Insec'arium (i have trouble typing the letter 't') which was ... Well, actually it was ind of boring and full of kids but after that went to the Biodome, four separate environments kind of like a little zoo which was sweeett. Had trouble coping with the amazon rainforest section with the heat and humidity closing in on my blocked sinuses but the laurentian forest and polar regions were very pleasant. Especially interestingwas the north pole and south pole environments on the opposite sides of a room - bizarro world. Ended up sitting in one of montreal's numerous parks and read for a little while - finished 'Guns Germs and steel' a fine treatise on the reasons why the world is like it is - basically, it concludes that the reason why Europe took over the new world and not vice versa was due to the availability of wild vegetation and animals that were suitable for domestication, the fact that it was spread across an east-west axs (foods can be transferred east west but more dififcult north south). Very interesting and a stinging rebuke to those who claim that eurasians had a genetic advantage - however, my personal view is that there is definitely some differences between the races - genes control so much of our physical makeup that it's naiive to believe that the difference between the races is only in appearance - I don’t think any of the races are superior to one another but there are certainly differences beyond the obvious phenotypes. In any event, despite feelinglike crap I new I had only one more night in Montreal and you can't go to montreal without checking out the Village. Wandered up and down st catherine street and settled on the Sky Pub, quite literally a heaving mass of male bodies and they're faghag followers - lots of pretty boys and lots of creepy old men (guess which ones fixated on me???) - had a couple of whiskeys to soothe the throat and watched the fairly decent drag shows (all of the songs in English and all of the interludes in french - maybe they were hilarious but i'll never know - I think the shows ar still better in Sydney) - was reaching the end of my endurance aand was just about to walk out the door when I noticed out of the corner of my eye a familiar face - sure and begorrah if it wasn't my old friend (????) Jordan, on his annual Montreal pilgrimage - first Australian friend I've seen since I saw Messuir templeman and the Chope Clan in England many months ago. Had a nice liittle catchup but I wasn’t reallycapable out much longer but we'll both be back in the sunburnt land soon enough ... Goes to show what a small world we live in.

Fwd: La Humoriste

19 July - Another decent sleep in despite the inhospitable surrounds.  Ate the hostel's excuse for a breakfast then got in touch with Alex, a Vancouver girl who's a friend of Jolene's, who has kindly offered to put me up for the balance of my stay here.  She didn't live very far from the hostel so I transported my gear via bicycle (i'm beginning to think that bringing Celeste along was an absolutely fantastic idea).  Alex had the afternoon free so she accompanied me to the Musee des beaux-Arts de Montreal where we both got a healthy injection of culture but were also suffering from a bit of art fatigue by the end of it so couldn't really cope with the idea of doing another one.  Went down to the tourist information centre to sort out a day tour to Quebec City then a few more errands.
My French obviously leaves a bit to be desired - ordering a coffee seems to pose not too much of a problem - 'Petite café, sil vous plait' usually meets the response of 'One small coffee?' with raised eyebrows or a flurry of French which means I have to admit that my ability to converse is limited to ordering a few select food items.  Apparenty even the French immersion Canadian kids get similar treatment - apparently the Quebecois have an innate ability to sniff out anyone who isn't a francophone and they don't deign the other Canadians worthy of being able to speak French.  Apparently the actual French also fare pretty badly, as Quebecois French is as incomprehensible to them as Ozzie Marcus's accent is to half of the couriers.  One thing you can say about French speakers whether they're from Paris or Montreal - you can pretty much always guarantee that they will be snooty.
Did a little bit of wandering (but not much) and in the evening headed down to the dark side of town to fetch Roach (was provided with a very nice made from scratch quesadilla for dinner) then we rode down to the 'Just For Laughs' festival downtown (took a bit of an effort to keep up with him, Roach rides like a courier) - in order to take in the stuff that was free saw some very impressive Asian break dancers (not exactly sure what was funny about it), a rather unamusing dog doing some very unimpressive tricks, a bunch of side shows and parades and finished it off with a hypnotist - first time i've ever seen a stage hypnotist live and I have to say that i'm not completely convinced of its authenticity - without a doubt the people are doing things they didn't expect they'd be doing but it seemed that the ones who weren't eliminated were mostly playing it up for the crowd.  Maybe i'm just a cynic but I won't believe it until its done to me and the language barrier excluded me from this guy.  Tabernac, pretty f**king funny though.


I don't know if I'm tired and I don 't know if I' m ill
My cheeks are turning yellow
I think I'll take another pill

Praying for the wave to come now
It must be for the fifteenth time
I've been here for much too long
This is the past that's mine

I want to fly and run till it hurts
Sleep for a while and speak no words in australia
I want to fly and run till it hurts
Sleep for a while and speak no words in australia
In australia

Praying for the wave to come now
It must be for the very last time
It's twelve o'clock till midnight
There must be someone to blame

I want to fly and run till it hurts
Sleep for a while and speak no words in australia
I want to fly and run till it hurts
Sleep for a while and speak no words in australia
In australia

Australia, in australia
I want to fly and run till it hurts
Sleep for a while and speak no words in australia
In australia
In australia
In australia

Saturday, 22 July 2006

FW: A Dying Breed?

Well, not just yet but the day approaches ...<>

Thursday, 20 July 2006

Go East Young Man

17 July - Another far too late night meant getting up was very difficult but today I had a mission and if getting up early had to be done I was going to do it. Broke the fast, packed a bag, grabbed Celeste and took the 98B to the airport because today i'm finally going to see some more of this country besides the jewel of the West (apparently that's what some people in Vancouver call my recent home) - I was heading to the land of smoked meat and poutine, the place where people talk funny, the gay capital of the planet and the place that might one day no longer be a part of this country (although nobody can tell me what they'll call their hockey team if the separatists finally get their way) - Montreal. Gettingto the airport was no problem at all but had a few issues upon arrival - was charged extra for bringing Celeste despite being told when I booked the tickets that it was covered, also couldn’t for the life of me manage to loosen her handlebars or pedals (as I write this on the plane i'm praying that she is being treated with the respect that a lady like her deserves) and when I went to board I was told that I had to check in my carry on bag because my bike tool and lock were banned items (i know terrorists have managed to take over a plane with box cutters but I can’t see how a bunch of allen keys can constitute a threat to airline security - also praying that this bag managed to get stowed away on my flight and not the next one because its going to be very irritating waitingfor it on the other side, especially considering that i'm arriving at 10pm - no idea when the next one's coming). Relatively uneventful flight - flew over the Canada US border for most of the way which brought back memories of my driving across in the other direction, the uncomfortable seat also brought back the awful pain in the left butt cheek that plagued me throughout my american odyssey a few months ago but what ar you going to do? Not very reassuring for the 14 hour Canada Australia flight that no doubt awaits me in a couple of weeks. The four hour trip seemed to take a lifetime but eventually touched down in Montreal and, as luck would have it, along with all of my bagage including the messenger bag carrying the dangerous allen keys (although the security guard gave it a pretty suspicious looking over before I picked it up). Afairly long winded commute into the city and through the Metro to the hostel and when I arrived at half eleven the staff were gettingready to shut down but luckily they found my name scrawled in the register as being due to check in so all was okay. Went for a little bit of a wander to find some sustenance but decided to hold off on experiencing the nightlife for a bit, the past week has been a bit brutal in the lack of sleep and travelling, eeven when half conscious in a plane, always wears me out. But, I have finally made it to somewhere new in Canadia so very happy about that.

Goodbye 1949

16 july - Well, thank f**k for that - I am no longer a resident of 1949 East 1st Avenue - did have some good times in that house but it was reallystartingto get to me in the end (and the hole in the wall from the fireman's antics was also a bit of an annoyance). It's amazing how much crap one can accumulate in a year and I like to think i'm pretty good at keepingthe possessions down to a minimum when I have to. Kristl and Becky brought Becky's work truck around to help me take it over to K's house - an absolutely gigantic ford pickup being driven by two tiny little girls (5'6 and 5'2') - I was amazed that either could actually look over the dashboard. Managed to do it all in one load includingthe bike which was great because it means I never have to set foot in that hovel again (i'm not bitter, really i'm not). Had a nice breakfast with the girls and Becky's sister and b-I-l then wandered off to try to find a Safeway where I could change my large collection of pennies into cash but every one from McDonald to Commercial either didn’t have one or the machine was broken so I ended up carryinga kilo of pennies around all day. Looked for a place where I could get my camera SD card burned to CD but all the big places charge by the number of photos (oh, Kodak tries to make more money by having a maximum of 120 photos per CD - well, it's not working with me because i'm not going to f**king use Kodak then) and eventually scored a solution at Office Works. Had a very nice Mexican dinner with brenda, one of the first people who I met when I arrived in vancouver and then rode back over to the drive where I had what is possibly my last JJ Beans coffee and muffin. Was invited to go out to 'Numbers' on Davey St with Jolene and a couple of the other coffee jockeys - Sunday night is karaoke night and whilst I never got drunk enough to sing myself it was suitably amusing to watch those who were.

Canadia Is For Canadians

15 July - Well, today was the symbolic end of my time in Vancouver - the Canadia is for Canadians picnic at Third Beach to celebrate the upcoming removal of three of the Australian visitors who have been residing in this fair land for the past year. Ozzie Marcus and his girlfriend, Larni, have reached the end of their visas (although the way their plans seem in a constant state of flux I don’t think they’ll ever be leaving this place) and my home ticket is rapidly approaching its expiration date. Started the day by riding down to the previously boycotted Bikes On The Drive to donate my embarassingly large collection of unrepaired inner tubes and Elan, the owner, very nicely offered to box up my bike for free for the jouney home but have already organised that with Simon.
Collected some picnic stuff and beer from Toby's and took Celeste down to Stanley Park and eventually arrived at Third Beach and the due time of 1pm - since I was the instigator of the event I needed to make sure to be their first and despite Sasha arriviing about 20m later it was a fair while before anyone actually turned up and I went through the usual feelings of inadequacy that the event was going to be a no show, despite the day beingfantastically hot and ideal beach weather. Well, my anxieties certainly turned out to be completely groundless because there was a massive turnout - people staggered in over the next few hours but I couldn’t believe how many people deemed by departure to be significant cause for celebration - mostly couriers but certainly not all - attendees included but not limited to former housemates, Mark Mat and Robert, friends Abby and Loria with little Bo, and about half of the couriers in the city seemed to come - all very touching although I tried to avoid beingtoo morbid about the fact that i'd soon be leaving all of these fantastic people behind. A couple of barbecues were brought and lots of beer - not long after we started lunch a policeman came by and told us to dump all the beers and then asked for the senior person responsible to come and have a chat with him - thinking the senior person would be the one to get a fine nobody came forward but eventually he told us just to keep it hidden and there shouldn’t be a problem (f**kingCanada - loves it bylaws). Finally managed to immerse myself in the (rather polluted) ocean and got terrifically sunburnt (it'll turn brown in a couple of days - it always does) and played football (until the lifeguard told us to stop), then frisbee (until the lifeguard told us to stop), cricket (until the lifeguard told us to stop) and hackey sack (which is was just compoletelycrap at). Scored four new jerseys (a couple of dynamaxes, a pdx and a vip - a lot of the courer companies have an x in the title because 'x' means fast) as going away presents from other courers (have a fairly complete collection now) and said what could very well be my final goodbyes to many of them. Tried to get to the gun turret to see the supposedly spectacular sunset but got lost and missed it by about five minutes and after dark the group started to trickle off - a couple of us decided to ride out to a another party in burnaby and I was stuck with a very drunk (and, truth be told, incredibly irritating) shadow and a few others and had to lead the way but lost most of them on the way, its not much fun ridingwith drunk people - picked up jolene who decided to come alongfor the ride and then came to the burnaby boundary and found ourselves without a through road - rode around a few blocks looking for a way to get over before seeing four silent fixed gears with one liught between them wooshing east and concluded that they must be heading in the same irection as we were. The party was already on its tail end but managed to get a few more farwells thrown in to the mix before me and jolene headed back into the west andd to civilisation.

Sunday, 16 July 2006

Pfffzzz ...

13 July - Didn’t rain but was pretty muggy - didn’t move from the front step of 885 for a full hour in the morning and even after that was pretty much strolling from one trip to the next - nothing even came close to being late throughout the day even when their was a little blackberry outage in the mid morning. It was so dead that I was even sent over to the side for the first time in about two weeks - good to do some proper riding for a change. Still, very quiet and if it weren't for the ECOs I wouldn't even be making minimum - as it is, i'm making better money than I did anyday in the furious winter. I do seem to be getting a bit absent minded these days though - after this week's day's fiasco involving a few minor wipeouts, leaving behind my radio, almost losing a trip I added missing a drop when I was in the building and leaving my folder at reception - got to keep it together, I want to be remembered as someone who could get the job done, not the idiot who couldn’t keep a hold of his trips.
I I could add to my complaints about the service industry in this city (country??? we'll see), which include but ar not limited to relentless pestering upselling, whoring out for tips and being very snooty one of my biggest annoyances is the inability of anybody who works behind a bar to multitask. The coffeeshops I frequent the most. Amici at 885 and JJ Beans on the drive, are not capable of making more than one drink at a time and they will not serve the next customer until the first has already ordered, paid and walked off with their drink. JJ Beans is just as bad, unless you're getting a cup of drip the queue might move pretty fast but you'll be waiting upwards of 10m before your drink is in your hot little hand. Went to the pita house for dinner tonight to get myself their very reasonable chicken donair meal (with caesar salad that probably has more calories in the dressing than a krispy kreme) and had to wait 5m before the woman would even acknowledge my existence although when she did she was reasonably attentitve. The queue behind me grew to five people and she wouldn’t make eye contact with them until she was done with me. To top this off, the guy in the shop (husband?) was filling the drinks cabinet and slicing the meat, and an old lady (her mother???) was tearing up pita breads, both completely oblivious to the customers waiting impatiently (although to tell the truth, I think canadian consumers are pretty well trained to wait quietly and not rock the boat - I just wait quietly and seethe). F**king canada. Do love it though.
One thing i'd been considering going on for quite some time but never got around to it was the Midnight Mass, basically a similar thing to the critical mass bike rides but, funnily enough, at midnight. The critical mass crowd are generally a strange bunch, all a bit too young and too into their bikes for me, but the idea of riding around late at night with a big bunch of people did have its appeal. The fact that its at midnight on a schoolnight was the main thing that had stopped me until now. Met up at Grandview Park on the Drive, a fairly hefty turnout of about fifty or so bikers - quite a variety of mounts as well, fixies, road bikes, mountain bikes, cruisers and a few that were a hodge podge of various different bikes. After a bit of arguing Stanley Park was set as the destination and we cruised down via the seawall - its always fun riding in big groups although I have to say that I almost prefer to ride in car traffic than amongst loads of bikes - cars are generallyeasier to predict than bikes, especiallyones beingridden by crazy 22 year olds who may have had a bit to much hot scotch and water and don't really know what a straight line is. The group split off into the high road and low road once we got into the park - some headed alongthe seawall to third beach and a few of us rode up to the top of the lookout point - a pretty brutal climb at the best of times but quite surreal when you're riding in complete darkness. Once we got to the top there was nowhere to go but down - a really steep decline with quite a few twists and turns, no lights at all and doing it on a fixed wheel with very slick tyres on a wet road. Couldn’t see a thing exceot for the faint outline of the white strips in the midle of the road and the occasional flickering rear light of some of the other bikers when we were on a longstraight. All things considered, a very stupid thing to do but pretty exhiliarting nonetheless. Despite the fact that the group was going to kick on for quite a while me and a few others headed back home and got there by 3 - completelyexhausted but pretty pumped full of adrenaline knowing that I was going to be dead to the world the next day.

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Vancouver Returns

12 July - Well, the sunshine couldn’t last forever, this is Vancouver after all. Thinking it would just be a bit of god's spittle I just wore an extra layer and didn’t bother with a rain jacket - was pretty sodden by the time I got downtown and got fairly saturated throughout the day. Was wearing cutoff jeans, which are really not ideal for riding in the wet - they get swollen and they stay wet which is particularly dangerous for the water sensitive blackberry that I keep in my pocket, my bold experiment with using a condom to keep it try failed as it was very difficult to wash the lubricant off the latex and even after that it fairly broke apart when I tried to stretch it over the device. also got so wet that the glue in my silly hat completely melted out, every time I touched it there was a slick film oozing out of the brim. Did have some amusing moments downtown though - when I arrived at 885 a tourist puffing away on a cigarette exclaimed to me, 'Gee, y'all sure do have yrselves a beeyootiful city', I thanked her despite the city onlybeing mine for a short while longer, 'Where are all the fat peeple?', I assured her they were around - it turns out that she was from Weezieanna down south - and I tell you what, if I lived in Louisiana i'd sure as heckfire be hyperobese too ... Best goddarn food in the world (yep, that's what I say, my limited world travelling has led me to conclude that it just doesn't get better than the American South). In the afternoon a young lady was doing a photography project on biking in Vancouver - she wanted to get action shots of couriers in action, some of them weren't being too helpful (paranoid about having their picture in the public domain is my guess) but yours trulywas very happy to help her out if it meant gettingsome shots of me. The slick conditions were perfect for practising my skids and managed to do a few throughout the day but I know i'm still not doing it right because every time I try to lock up the wheel the chain creaks and I get launched up into the air and the bike keeps rolling - very frustrating. Had two crashes throughout the day, both times at the exact same location at 401 georgia the firlst time I came up knowingthe area was really slippery and I was telling myself to be carful and not to crash and the bike just went out from under me. The second time I managed to negotiate the tiles but I thought to myself that the mirror surface would be perfect for trying out a skid and I skidded for about 5m before the bike collapsed. Both times the security guard at the bank came up to me to ask if I was alright - I fairly ran away in embaressment the second time (foold me once, shame on you, fool me twice, fool ... Fool .. You can't fool me again! Oh yes, you can apparently). No real damage done so I guess i'll be trying again tomorrow. Herb came down in the afternoon as well and it was great to be able to ee him before I go, we had a nice chat and it was very difficult to have to say goodbye, because I don't think i'll meet someone like him again for a long time. A very good man. He asked me when we parted ways to do somethingfor him, he didn’t want to preach and he told me not to bother about the rules and the guilt of Christainaity but he asked me just to 'consider Jesus' - think about him every once in a while and consider what he means to me - well, when someone like herb asks for that I think I will.


11 July - What a f**ked up day! From the very beginning when I went to the 925 coffeeshop instead of the 885 coffeeshop (the morning girl at 885, Emilie, is just sour to deal with at 7:50am and her café lattes leave much to be desired) - I've been asking the girl for a small café latte, skim milk and no foam and i've been getting a 12oz cup - far too much for one sitting - I asked the girl if they had anything smaller than the one I usually got - pointing at the cups she was using - she replied in the negative, but as she handed my coffee over she said, 'oh, unless you mean the mini' and pulled out a far more respectably sized 8ozer. Well, what the f**k did you think I meant when I said 'smaller'??? Whilst doing a few morning trips I bumped intp a wall and hit my radio clip and it was then that I realised i'd lost my radio. Backtracked to every place i'd been in doublequick time before bumping into Legs who told me that my radio was back at 885 - raced down there, it wasn't. Presumed it had been picked up by another Novex guy and got rid of a few more before rendesvousing with Duncan for the ECO bags and luckily, my radio. Early on, I dropped a trip at the wrong place (right company, wrong building - I blame desperately needing to go to the toilet for distracting me) and as I was routed away from the original place itook me ages before I could go and pick it up to take it to the right place - it was where I left it and, as luck would have it, sitting next to another trip to accompany it to its proper home. However, when I went to drop it off in the middle of a HOT little run, I found it had disappeared again. Couldn’t find it anywhere. Went to every place i'd been at breakneck pace but it wasn’t anywhere - fessed up the dispatcher who called the client to break them the bad news only to find that it had been delivered. Later on I found out that it had dropped out of my bag into the lobby of the mailroom when i'd pulled out its partner. Still, far too much stress for my last week. Also fell on my bike, I was stationary, just tripped and collapsed on top of it - twisted the seat but that was easily fixed but also not needed at that tme of the day. More ecos in the afternoon - half of them mislabelled by treacherous receptionists who will be the first on the wall when the revolution comes. Remember, that's the same as stealing from me. Had to deposit a bunch of the heavier ones at the 885 coffeeshop (and that costs me a packet of candy every time)Radio played up in the afternoon but at least 7-11 was celebratingtheir 79th birthday or something and were givingaway free little slurpees all day - I drank far too much pop that day. Heather, one of the more alcoholic couriers, wsa given a $115 ticket for drinking at the art gallery - apparently a 'skanky ho' (her words) from 925 has been calling the police every day complaining about the couriers drinking in the art gallery (all public imbibing is illegain BC - not necessarily enforced but very puritanical laws in effect down here). Said my goodbye to kim, the driver who meets us after work - he's probably going on holiday tomorrow and I won't be seeing him again - a capital fellow, and one that will be sorely missed. It's all coming to a head now - - don't want to get too emotional but am starting to realise that this little adventure is coming to a bit ofa close.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

El Capipain

10 July - One of the long term Vancouver couriers, Emory, will be making a move to Toronto later this week so she saw fit to organise a worktime scavenger hunt and race to celebrate. Registered early on with my fiver and can of beer but was distracted from doing proper completion by the inevitable work that interrupted the event. Events included stealing pens from receptions, a flat tyre fix race (couldnt be at the checkpoint for that one so missed out, probably a good thing because it takes me freaking ages), courier style test (are you wearing lycra shorts, jersey, gloves, skullcap, socks, bike shoes, do you shave your legs? For some reason wearing a helmet was left off the list ...), collecting underwear from receptionists (??? I'm far too much of a professional to ask such a thing but it was surprising how many of the couriers managed to get some - although I would guess that most of the underwear came from the Winners seconds store), individual time trial event (half way around the one block course my rear gear came off my hub - have no idea how it happened but as it happened on Robson St I ran off to Simon's to get the tool to fix it and by the time I eventually returned the checkpoint was abandoned so as far the timers were concerned the clock is still ticking - kind of reminded me of my last marathon attempt), sudoku and crossword competition, open mic cycling rap or poetry standoff, draw a picture that shows how cool a courier you are, and a bunch of other random things. Didn’t do nearly as bad as some but came nowhere near winning - Legs won by virtue of stealing 33 pens, at 10points a pop, it pretty much meant that she didn’t have to do any of the other events. Work wasn’t too busy throughout the day - did get the famed talbot mediation run, which was kind of nice but for the most part was just doing ECOs in the morning and afternoon. Nothing terribly exciting - had more blackberry issues - went through three fully charged batteries throughout the day - I think that there may be somethingwrong with my particular device. Angry Chris, my old dispatcher, came downtown and he seemed as bitter and offensive as ever, but it was good to see him - he certainly has a nevil reputation amongst the couriers for his temper but he is supposed to be the best bike dipatcher in the city - even the old timers vouch for that. After celebrating the end of the event down at pub 340 I teetered home where I was welcomed by my replacement gamera - the giant tortoise in the form of a picture taking device - would have been nice to have it on the weekend and if hp/ups (they're one and the same when it comes to fixing cameras under warranty) weren't so incompetent I may have had it. This time i'll be much more carful with it - wait a minute, I was carful with it last time - this time i'll be suthat my friends are more more carful with it, yes.

Monday, 10 July 2006


7 July - A strange work day - had more power issues with my supposedly brand new equipment - despite leaving both radio and blackberry charging all night the blackberry lost network connectivity around noon and I had a bit more 80s styling while I waited for a replacement to be sent down to me (lo and behold by the end of the day the replacement battery (third one i've had) was running low again. Also, had radio issues throughout the day as well - the device kept on losing contact with the SIM card so for short periods throughout the day I was completely cut off from the dispatcher - the battery was also running low throughout the day as well but lasted until the very end of the day - I was speaking to Scott, the afternoon dispatcher, and closing off for the day when the radio completely went. He ended up calling me on my phone to let me know about a final SHT. As I rode off my rear axle slipped out of the dropouts and I had to borrow Duncan's road bike to get me there - very nice bike but kind of hard to ride with the free wheel (rather than fixed) and the brakes locatetd right down in handlebar drops. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth and being patronised by Scott it turned out to be a no-load anyway. Another one of the weird ECO days though - picked up a bag in the morning and got rid of about 20 and picked up 38 in the afternoon - mostly all envelopes but a couple of big ones that I stashed away at the 885 coffeeshop with Maria (after bribing her with candy). I reallycant complain about this - the money for the ECO work is a lot better than the point-to-point if the volumes ar high enough and its a lot easier (unless the weight piles up too much) but it's not really messengering. Still, not too much longer to go and doing the ECO runs is presumably rewarded to the person who has earned it. All in all, lots of sitting around - did drop a red rose to one of the Phantm courier's girlfriends for their anniversary (he bought a dozen and got twelve different couriers to deliver them throughout the day - what a sweetie). After work had some beer at the gallery and then went down to Crab Park for another beer then wandered over to Emery's house for another one on the porch. Only four drinks throughout the evening but enough to almost knock me senseless. My capacity for strong drink has diminished somewhat over the year - can't be a bad thing but its making me a bit of a lightweight, especially amongst my current crowd.

Oh, Johnny, how could you disappoint me so ...

8 July - Started the morning by riding good ol' baby blue downtown to Simon's where I got him taken apart and boxed up - had breakfast at the elbow room (get your ass over here girl!!!) then waited about 45m trying to find an overpriced taxi who would take me and the boxed up bike over to Kristl's for storage. Later on in the afternoon met up with Casey to watch the latest Pirates of the Caribbean - not the worst sequel i've seen all you (MI3 easily took that accolade) but a complete waste of my time. Convaluted plot, implausible character interaction, over the top and completely unrealistic action sequences and for far too much of the fillum the screen was taken up with messy 'lets blow the budget' CGI effects - to top it all off, the movie doesn't even end - it just trails off into a To Be Continued scene with Geoffrey Rush stepping in at the last minute with a leering grin (and I don't care if i've ruined the film for my limited readership, Jerry Bruckheimer ruined the film for me by making it). Spent the rest of daylight practicing skids and trackstands at Strathcone Park (feel like such a kid doing that) then off to the Chinatown night market to watch bad karaoke and eat nice pork buns. Whilst there I finally broke down and tried the famous scientology stress test - the very, very young tester had me hold on to the two electrodes of the stress tester (cannot for the life of me remember what it's actuallycalled) and then asked various questions about my life and watched the needle quiver - apparently i'm not a very stressed person after all, asked questions about my work, relationships and other bits and pieces and everything was a-okay. Not that I believe that the tester could detect anythinglike stress in my body but perhaps if he'd asked a year ago he may have gotten a different story. However, despite 'passing' the test he told me if I wanted to spend $47 the scientologists could senme on the path to success. Politely declined. Had some beer at the Brickhouse (great place - just like the living room I wish I had) where we tried to explain the ins and outs of the messenger world to the coatcheck girl then had and another one at the Morrissey downtown (a f**king horrible place).

Oh Zenadine, how could you disappoint them so?

9 July - Woke up pretty early in order to try to find somewhere to watch the football in the morning. Had hoped to go to Fets but they don't take bookings and even though I got there half an hour before the place opened (almost two hours before the game started) the queue was halfway up the block. Commercial Drive is pretty much the Little Italy of Vancouver and the city seemed to descend on force on the street - any place that had a TV could guarantee a packed house that day. I'd pretty much decided to support France, if nothing else, because they had nothing to do with Australia being knocked out of the tournament and any other team I had the slightest interest in were already gone. The Continental ended up beingthe place to watch it - tucked away with a tiny bit of standingroom at the back, no air conditioning made it like an oven but at least I had a decent view of the screen. When the first goal was scored for France the reaction of the café was excited enough to make me think that the supporters were pretty mixed but once Italy responded it was pretty clear who the crowd and the entire street were with. Very exciting game again - right down to the wire - I really want to know what that guy said to Zidane which prompted the headbutt - I know the stress of such an important game can get to someone but to cap off your career like that one has to presume it was a pretty nasty thing that was said about young Zenadine's mother. The café and the entire street pretty much erupted after the fifth penalty goal - half of commercial drive was completely shut down and all the surroundingstreets were full of cars and trucks full of Italians (and a shedload of people who'd just jumped on the bandwagon - not that there's anything wrong with that) waving Italian flags and blasting their horns. The Drive was packed full of people all in italian blue with a couple of sedate French supporters scattered around - enjoyed the scenery for a while before giving up on it - didn't open up the streets again for at least four hours. Sometimes its good to live on the Drive.

Saturday, 8 July 2006

Creative Asterisk Makes Reader Unaware Of Word 'Fuck'

Stolen from the Onion ... I don't know why i've kept the travelogue so clean ... But anyway, fuck, fuck, fuck ...
NEW YORK—A profanity-laced quote from comedian Chris Rock in the latest issue of Newsweek was successfully bowdlerized, leaving subscriber Liz Haines with no idea what was meant by the sanitized non-word "f*ck." "I'm baffled," Haines said of the creative censoring. "In the article, Mr. Rock is quoted as saying, 'To be honest, I don't give a f*ck what my critics say.' Fick? Fack? Fpck? What did he say? He could have said just about anything." This week, Newsweek will be awarded a special citation by the Center For Family-Friendly Media for ingenuity in hiding offensive words from readers.
« The Onion | February 17, 1999
© Copyright 2006 by Onion, Inc. All rights reserved.

Bitter Juice

6 July - Rode downtown, went to lock my bike up and realised that I did not have my key around me wrist. Contemplated heading over to Simon's to borrow a lock and key from him, which i've done once before, but that would mean carrying around two locks all day and two locks is one lock too many. Had a coffee and then shrugged and rode back home again to fetch it - 15km is not that far a ride but doing it at that time in the morning when it's not for money but just because I was forgetful isn't the most fun thing in world. Did trips over the radio for a little while before my new Blackberry arrived with an ECO bag for me - took a little while to get used to the Blackberry - i've been upgraded to one of the newer models (i wonder what i'll get if I drop THIS one???), colour screen, more applications and a slightly different configuration for the Courier Complete app - but didn't take too long to get comfortable - then, a couple of hours into the day I started getting messages saying that the battery was too low to connect to the network - f**king idiots in the office didn't charge it up. Told the dispatcher that he better get ready to do some 80s stylin again and he told me to use the spare battery that i'd been given. Well, maybe the office isn’t as incompetent as I surmised. Another afternoon of picking up ECOs, for the most part they were just envelopes although near the end of the day when I picked up the 401 Georgia treasure trove (23 ECOs from one pick!) there was also a 10lb block which didn’t sit very nicely in my bag - managed to leave it with Maria at the coffeeshop for the afternoon while I carried on (got to be carful not to overcapitalise on her hospitality but picked up some cigarettes for her earlier in the day so I think i'm on her good side) while I carried on. Finished off the day with a little bit of a rusharound downtown dropping off a media alert from one of the big law firms to a bunch of newspapers and television stations - don’t know what was in it but will be googling James Hoggin tomorrow to see what it was all about. Another pretty huge payday - was a bit pissed off at scott, the evening dispatcher, who is impossble to get a hold of when he's needed, blurted my total out over the radio when another one one of the couriers was present - I can hardly be ashamed of getting more money than my coworkers but when it's almost double it doesn't seem fair. But then again, ii'm the longest serving biker at Novex (which is kind of bizarre considering how short this particular career stint has been) and I did work through the winter and some pretty brutal days - from both weather and work (super busy or super slow) - so if anyone is entitled to the juice it's probably me. And there's no way i'd be happy if they gave it to one of the bikers instead of me so no more complaining. Watched a bit of the Tour on television in the evening - ireally can be kind of interesting at times but a fair part of it is just watching them ride across pretty scenery - I don't see myself getting too far sucked in bthis particular sporting event.

You Want A Piece Of Me?

Also stolen from The Onion ...
By A Pie
Hey, you! Yeah, you. I see you standing over there with the hungry look in your eye. Something bothering you? Something gnawing at your gut? Huh? You want a piece of me, is that it? You want a piece of me?
Oh, you do, do you? You think you're a big man, huh? You got a big mouth, I'll give you that, but do you have the guts? Well, you're going to have a belly full of me before this is over, that's for sure.
Oh, you're a real big man, all right. Real big. You know something? I don't think you've got the stomach for this kind of work. I think you're going to have to run and get somebody to help you. You're going to need five of your friends to finish me off. You bit off more than you can chew this time, buddy. I'm too much for just one man!
You want a piece of me, come get a piece, pal. You'll be lying down for a while after this, I'll tell you right now. Lying down moaning. You'll be feeling this tomorrow, big shot. I may look sweet, but don't let that fool you. I'm the kind of sweet that'll knock your friggin' teeth right out. I may look cherry, but I'm still too big for you.
What's that? What's that you got there? A knife? What, you going to cut me? You are, aren't you? You're going to try and cut me to pieces! Better make 'em little pieces, buster. A little piece of me is all you can handle, tough guy, with your big bad knife. Well, I been cut before, you can see that for yourself. I ain't afraid. Bring your little knife over here. You're going to need it if you want to get a piece of me. Ain't no other way for a guy like you who's too damn scared to use his hands.
C'mon. You want to find out what I'm made of? This is your big chance! Take a seat at the table, big boy! I'm servin' it up hot! C'mon! Step up to the plate, buddy!
Oh, yeah! Pow, right in the kisser! I'm up in your face now, you betcha. How you like that, huh? How you like that? Oh, you didn't like that, did you? Well, too bad, 'cause there's a lot more where that came from! Not such a big talker after a mouthful of me, are you? Looks like you got a bit more than you bargained for there, doesn't it?
Oh, now look at that. Did I mess up your nice white shirt? Huh? Did I? Well, don't start cryin' yet, pal, 'cause there's going to be a real big mess by the time you're done with me. It'll be a while before you get cleaned up. I'm going to put you down for a nice long nap. You'll be out for quite a while, I bet.
What? Fruity?! Who the hell you callin' fruity? And so what if I am, huh? Christ, I can't help the way I was made, goddamnit. And you know what? I was just minding my own business over here 'til you came over, man. I think you like it that I'm fruity. I think it makes you feel a little strange when you look at me. That's it, isn't it? You want me. You came over here because, deep down in your gut, you want a piece of something fruity! I think you came looking for a little taste of something different, and now you can't handle it. Well, I may be fruity, but at least I'm no goddamn cream puff.
That's it. You're done! You're through! I was too much for you, wasn't I? Wasn't I? Admit it, pal, I was way too big for you. Well, you may think you're done with me, but I ain't done with you. Hope you didn't have any plans for tonight, 'cause I'm going to go right through you. I'm going to go through you like Sherman through Georgia.
Man, I wouldn't want to be you tomorrow morning.
« The Onion | May 26, 1999
© Copyright 2006 by Onion, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 6 July 2006

A Hollow Victory

5 July - Started off the day with getting rid of yesterday's SHTs, the morning was going swimmingly until I dropped my blackberry normally, they're reasonably robust but my little toy was gone after that. The drop coincided with a short network error that made it very difficult to convince Rick (dispatcher) that the actual device was toast. For a few hour I played it 80s style - getting a bunch of trips over the radio and then getting them off before getting another small load. Not nearly as efficient as usingthe blackberry system though - if the process is working right hardly ever need to speak to the dispatcher, he knows what I have to pick up, what I have to drop, the last place I was and he can assign trips that I can work into my route - when its just radio it means to get the same result i've got to constantly be talking to him which isn’t really feasible when he's dispatching to twenty or so bikers and drivers. So, after about 1 he got me on the ECOs again - just sending me all over downtown picking up overnight deliveries - normally, this is done at the end of the day because nobody wants to be loading up with stuff that has to be carried around until te end of the day - by 4pm I had over about 60 trips on me - mostly envelopes but a couple of boxes and rolls (i don't think a messenger really looks like a messenger unless he has an architect's roll sticking out the back of his bag) - I felt like a f**king postman. Despite only getting paid for half the value of a trip for picking it up I completely smashed my cash record for the day - and soundly beat Jason's record as well - however, unfortunately I don't think I can count it because it was not the work of a real messenger. A messenger picks AND drops - today I just dropped. And then I picked. If it's not point to point its just not same. Goddamn that spoke and wheel model!

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

Beware Of The Fire

3 July - Slept in, sweated around at the house for a while, had breakfast, drank coffee down the street, spoke to the HP technical centre, got rid of my sideburns, ate some cakey products, smoked some weed and then tried to do a little bit of reading.
While I was sprawled out on the bed I realised that I could smell something burning - looking out of my window I saw that a little fire had erupted on the roof. First thought was to empty my water bottle on the flames and it seemed to work for a little while but there was still a lot of smoke. Ran downstairs and found that the flames were licking their way on the underside of the gable so got another few jugs of water to try to quench it. Got rid of the flames but there was still far too much smoke coming out of the roof for my liking - all a bit much so I jumped on Celeste and rode around the block to the local fire station, figurng it would be quicker to tell them directly than by calling 911, when I got there it took a few attempts to vocalise the problem (there's a ... Gasp gasp gasp ... My roof is ... Fire!) but it wasn't long before the men were sliding down the pole (they really did have a firepole there, just like Batman and the Ghostbusters!) and into the truck to come around to the house. It didn’t take too long for them to put the fire out but they did have to chop a pretty big hole in the roof to get to the fire, which had spread through the dry rotting wood under the gable, also as smoke had found itself via the path of least resistance to my roof they ended up chopping a pretty big hole in my roof too, including a chunk of wall so that i've got a second window now. A few of the neighbours were out to look at the spectacle and even a reporter from Channel 13 news came down to cover it - he tried to interview me but started to put words in my mouth (i think you're trying to say that it spontaneously combusted! No, that's not what I was trying to say) so I waved him away and let him annoy the fireman instead. Real pity that I didn't have my camera available because it was a pretty incredible spectacle to see the fireman at work. In anevent, i'm not going to be at the house for too much longer but i'm stuck with a fairly annoying hole in the wall and roof which is not going to be pleasant if it rains again. It might be summer but the rain gods have not been kind to me in my time in this city. Spoke to the fire detective afterwards and he gave me a lowdown on what the probably cause was and later on had a bit of a chat witthe landlord, who'se on holiday at the moment so nothing is going to be fixed until he returns, by which time I might be already gone. The house is a bit of a firetrap, all old rotting wood and very flimsy - I think that whilst the damage that this little fire caused was pretty minimal it'exposed a few other problems that ar going to be pretty expensive to fix. Funny thing was, in the entire time, none of the fire alarms went off once.
Afterwards went and watched 'Nacho Libre', a singularly unfunny movie - the only two times that I even cracked a smile were a very amusing fart joke (only one of the many) and the climactic fight scene, which was f**king hilarious. Other than that, two thumbs down - oh jack black, how could you stoop so low ...

Bored On The Fourth Of July

4 July - Well, maybe not bored, but I was hoping that I would be so I could use this title. Took me a ways to get moving in the morning - a few picks and drops at places that weren't open, started the day out at the UPS depot on Nelson so I could also send my camera out to the repair centre (i remember reading in 'The World Is Flat' how the brown shorted boys from UPS have become a logistics company - how amazing, what would be far more sensible would be for companies like HP to partner with local repair shops so they could get fixed on the spot if they're under warranty but that would be far too convenient for the consumer) - hopefully it won’t be too long before I get it back - first half of the day became pretty hectic, was completely overloaded a few times, sometimes with SHTs which was pretty nice but in the afternoon I became ECO boy - going all over town picking up the overnight deliveries - half of them mislabelled (oh yes, 1 item 1 pound, you lying harpy!!!) and gradually filling up my big Chrome bag with far too much stuff for a mortal man to carry. Had a brief meeting with my bank in the afternoon - starting to organise the bits and pieces for my departure, don't want to do it but it's gotta be done. Met up with Kim afterwards and was about to shut off when Scott beamed me four SHTs from Lawson Lundell, our most important client, which he'd obviously been sitting on for about 15m (there's a 20m timeframe for us to pick and drop them in) and found myself riding to four different places - all but one of them all closed for the day, meant not finishing until 6pm, which is about as late as it gets for someone in my job - 10 hours of bikingaround with no break, not even a coffee or a slurpee in the afternoon, can be a bit much for even the most determined courier. Still, very nice weather and had a few opportunities to chat with some of the others - Zeb, from Flash, bitched about his result at Sunday's Cypress Mountain Climb (he only got second, or as he put it, he was the first loser), Jeff from Dynamex criticised me for watching the world cup instead of the tour d'france (REAL athletes DO use drugs!) and one of the Corporate guys gave me a lecture on Wayne Rooney's disgraceful performance on Saturday morning's game (i think he thinks that i'm english). Very tired at the end of the day so bought some Thai food from around the corner and got a DVD - got to enjoy this while it lasts ...

Tuesday, 4 July 2006

Beware of the Lesbians

2 July - A new month dawned ... yesterday. Very hot day, couldn’t really muster up the energy to do anything terribly productive but headed down to Stanley Park to meet with Kristl and Becky, whose entire family (mostly from Nova Scotia) were in Vancouver, checking it out. Went for a bit of a bushwalk (not really bush, but I don’t really have anything else to call it) through the park and out to Second Beach. Had a little bit of a disaster when Kristl was looking through the pictures of Friday's critical mass on my little camera when it jumped out of her hands on a kamikaze dive to the ground. Long story short, it doesn’t seem to want to work anymore. Kristl was a little bit upset about it but there's not much you can do - it's under warranty but these things always happen at the worst times (is there ever a good time for tech-tech-technology to break?) - long weekend so nothing is open to get it checked out and near the tail end of my trip, the time when I want to be taking lots of pictures and also a time when I want to be able to get it sent back to me whilst i'm still in the country. After I got back to the house I maanged to get some online tech support and after 45m of being walked through a few of the most obvious tests, which i'd already done (take the battery out and put it back in again - hmm, I think that was the first thing I did) their conclusion was that it was a hardware issue and needed to be sorted out at the service centre (yes, pretty obvious that dropping a camera is going to be a hardwar issue - I don't think the impact reprogrammed its innards too much but you never know - maybe that's how Skynet became sentient, when someone spilled coffee into its terminal - worse science fiction tales have been wrought). Headed back over to Kristl's with a view of a bit of intoxication and revelry and we ended up on Davey St, first in the seedy Pumpjack then onto the glitzy Celebrities where it seemed to be dyke night. Lesbians, everywhere I looked they were there, scorning me with their pierced brows and unmascaraed eyes - I realised that it had been a long time since i'd actually been to a club club because half the songs i'd never heard (and some of them were pretty good) but there were still anthems from way back blaring out of the DJ box so didn't feel too out of place. Had fun but everything shuts down very early in Vancouver - which is actually not such a bad thng for me, because i'm a bit prone to that myself these days ..

Monday, 3 July 2006

Where's his helmet?

Where's his helmet?
Originally uploaded by scucvara.

A Day For Canadia

1 July - Apparently it's Canada Day today which is evidenced by the fact that maple leafs are being proudly displayed all over town. Basically, it's pretty much indisernible from any other day in Vancouver. There's more flag waving in this country (well, my limited observation of this country considering i've not seen much more than this city) than any i've ever seen - even on my trip through the states. Admittedly, going down Commercial Drive after the game you'd probably think you were in Portugal. Every second car was overflowing with people and Portugese flags, honking their horns, celebrating my second team's untimely departure from the World Cup. To give credit to those cars, a fair proportion of them were flying the maple leaf alongside the green and red. Well, that's England out as well, I don’t know who to support now ... maybe Germany? Breakfasted at White Spot, apparently a Canadian (or even a BC) institution - fairly decent but now that its done it won’t be needed to be done again.
Did a little window shopping for bicycles and rode back towards the Drive where I crossed paths with Jesse, a dodgy courier with Connection and we watched the tail end of the France Brazil game at one of the local pubs. Can’t say i'm too disappointed to see Brazil out after - however, don’t know too much about sport but watching the brazilians play is always a joy , they're so elegant with the ball. Comparing the French who just barrell through the opposition like cannon balls, in itself an effective and beautiful thing to watch, the Brazilians are like ballet dancers. Well, at least the drive was slightly more somber afterwards - the gallic fans aren't nearly as vocal as the hispanics (do portuguese count as hispanics?). Had heard there were going to be fireworks at Spanish Banks so headed out there in the evening with a beer or two but there was nothing to be had so watched the sunset and came back home again. Actually, a pretty boring day when it came down to it.

Sunday, 2 July 2006

Sage advice ...

A man walks into a bar. He is an alcoholic who is destroying his life.

Saturday, 1 July 2006

Critical Condition

30 June - Woke up feeling completely awful - still really worn out from the day before but did get a nice surprise on the ride into work - a girl had set up a little stand on the Adenac bike path with free coffee and cinnamon rolls for the commuters - Surly John was there and I stopped but while I was there at least two dozen commuters bypassed the free breakfast with excuses of being late for work, I for one will never give up free food. The GST has been reduced 1% which means my morning coffee only costs 2.06 rather than 2.09 (basically this means that rather than gettinga single penny to throw away I now get three). The day wasn’t nearly as busy as yesterday, Duncan is back at work and we also had Jeremy on givingus a total of 8 bikers - I had a very good day moneywise but was so sore from yesterday's pandemonium that I couldn’t reallyenjoy it. One of our big clients, HSBC, seemed to be really upset with us because of the tardiness of the deliveries but not much could be done - there's only so many bikers and drivers and it was not only the end of week, but also end of month AND end of quarter so everyone wanted to deliver stuff. Did get the much sought after Talbot Mediation bank run - Lynn Talbot is treasured for the free food and cold drinks she forces on any courier who graces her doorways. This was very useful as I didn’t get a chance to eat all day. As it was the last Fiday there was the usual Critical Mass (like Reclaim The streets) but because it coincided with the end of bike month there was a giant turnout - about 1500 people turned up (well that was the target), the gallery was overflowing every kind of bike you could imagine: mountain bikes, BMXs, road bikes, hybrids, track bikes, recumbant bikes, unicycles, tall freak bikes, tandems and a couple of Penny Farthings for good measure. The critical mass crowd are a strange bunch, mainly lefty environmentalists all a bit TOO political at times, but they certainly turned out in force. A bunch of the couriers went along for a ways - up Georgia St and onto Howe, over the Granville Bridge, down the Sixth wind tunnel, over the Cambie bridge then through downtown to the Georgia viaduct and onto Main, right at Hastings then ... Well, tthat was when we decided we'd had enough. There was a bit of support from the locals but generallythe attitude from the cars was pretty vehement as the crowd of bikers was pretty much stopping traffic completely - the group must have been at least half a kilometre long and was not moving fast at all, there were a couple of little skirmishes between drivers and bikers, nothing serious other than the slapping and kicking of a the cars but as jeremy said, that woman is probably goingto go out and smoke a cyclist ... tomorrow. As much fun as it was paralysying the traffic grid riding so slowly after 9 hours of riding reallyfast was just too much. My bum was killing me and we were starving. Had a slap up meal at sha-lin noodle place then I went home and tried to pass out.