I went to empty my junk mail folder a couple days ago and noticed an ad for a Christian dating site. Sure if there's conservativematch.com, why not a similar site for all the God-fearing folks? So I'm deleting all this shit when another spam mail grabs my attention, it reads "Eliminate your debt the Christian Way!" There's a pattern here. In the early 90s, it was all about social issues marketing, we used everything from whales to rainforests to sell absurdly unrelated products like cereal and hair products. Now it seems that the marketing of God is really hot! I mean, how the fuck really do you eliminate debt the Christian way? Do you pray your way out of debt?Somehow I don't see Jesus coming to your rescue for pawning your wife's jewellry so you could make your poker debut on the World Poker Tour. I wonder what product they'll use God to market next. How about this - "Pray your way to natural male enhancement!" or "Say amen to new hair growth!"
Friday evening we headed up to Cache Creek Casino for Will's bday. It was pretty awesome that we managed to get enough folks to head up there (85 miles north of SF, about 40 min east of Sacramento). We'd never done an out-of-town, overnight stay, casino bday party before. Some highlights:
- seeing that Denny travels with a tiny purple Pochacco suitcase (photo to come if he allows me)
- realizing that 40% of the suitcase is occupied by cups and dice
- getting upgraded to a really huge jr. suite after they messed up my specific request for two queen beds (since we were planning on cramming 5 people in there refugee style)
- Elena getting stopped by security for carrying around this heavy silver suitcase thing that looks like a bomb or a gun (it's actually her box of goodies -- dice, cards etc.)
- me getting locked out of the party room, calling simon to open the door, and then having to call him a second time because midway across the room he got distracted playing with Will's Transformer and forgot to let me in
- realizing that casino bday parties are not terribly social affairs since everyone is sitting by themselves at some smoky blackjack/poker table
- due to the point above, making a point to spend at least two meals together as a group
- really fresh oysters and yummy meatballs at the Harvest Buffet ($14.99)
- the whole casino is really really surprisingly nice and newly remodeled
So there ya have it. I hardly saw anyone at this bday "party" except from afar as we waved hi to them from across the casino floor but we made the most of the time we shared (during the pre-casino drinking and over breakfast and lunch).
Most of us have a degree (or two) and about 5-7 years work experience which, on paper, usually means reaching senior manager or even director level in a corporation. Many of us, unfortunately, have not. Still toiling away as individual contributors, or worse, sitting on our asses unemployed. Office Space and Dilbert are frighteningly realistic reflections of our lives. To add to the pain, many of us missed the economic boom, only to catch the bust and watch thousands of dollars in stocks and options slip through our fingers. Bad bad timing.
And as we approach the big 3-0 and watch as friend after friend gets engaged and then married, it's hard not to hear our clocks ticking louder, reminding us that now is the time to find a mate and settle. But those plans are hard to firm up when the rest of your life is an emotional and financial mess as are your career plans.
This all makes me wonder if we're pioneers in this lifestyle. For the generations before us, life was a little more scripted. The men got a lifelong job at XYZ corporation working 9-5, the ladies stayed home and took care of the kids, upon retirement they'd collect their pensions and move to Florida. OK so it was a little tougher for those of us with immigrant parents, that is for damn sure. But still, they somehow had this collective optimism that people of my generation just don't seem to have. Maybe it's because we've learned that there's no such thing as "the American Dream", we seen too many instances of hard work going unrewarded or even punished, and we just don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are the jaded generation.
It’s just incredibly bad luck that Hamm’s medal was won at the expense of a Korean. But in that country, it’s taken as proof that America is an arrogant and bloated monolith that won’t be satisfied until it owns the world and all the gold medals in it. That’s an absurd belief, but so are a lot of the things we believe in. The point is if you collected all the ill will toward America on the planet and wadded it up into a ball, it would be a really big ball. We can’t turn all of it into goodwill overnight. But if we can perform one selfless act on a stage that the entire world is watching, we can put a dent in it....You have to ask what’s more important, doing the right thing or having a gold-plated hunk of bronze that tens of millions of people are going to say from now until forever that you wouldn’t have won if the dumb judges — and, aha, one of them was an American — had been able to count? (Celizic, 2004)
I guess I better get used to it. Hockey season is coming and I gotta listen to more of this garbage from Fox Sports etc. I miss CBC and in a few months I'll really miss Hockey Night in Canada.
Anyways, stitches are out, mole was benign, got our tix for Now and Zen and booked our room for our upcoming bday getaway to Cache Creeke Casino. Was a semi-productive day.
Oh yeah, Clara is in town, tonight til 30th. What is going on the next two weekends?
Incidentally, Twisters has a drop-in rock climbing for $10 for a whole day pass which is quite a deal. They say on their site: We offer top-rope climbing to whoever knows how to tie a double figure eight follow through, belay with a gri-gri, and perform the safety checks for these systems. [$10 day pass]
Stanford might also have some adult drop in classes for I think $15, which seems to include instruction from some comp sci grad student.
So the mole came off today so I thought I'd share the experience for others who might have to undergo the procedure, or who are just curious in a sick way. They laid me down and covered me up in sheets of paper like at the dentist, presumably to catch blood spurting out. So by this time I'm shitting myself. Nurse came in with a tray of instruments and a release form that says I agree that I may experience bleeding, infection and scarring. Great, that made me feel better. A needle was used to inject local anesthetic next to my nose. That kinda hurt, more than the "pinch" they said it would, and it took forever to inject fully. But it totally numbed the area and I didn't feel anything when he did the test poke. He then used a pen shaped cookie cutter like instrument and kinda stamped out and plucked out the mole and, I think, used scissors to snip it off. Then came the frantic gauze-to-face to stop the bleeding. Didn't feel a thing but it was really...weird. Then came the suturing. I didn't feel that either but it was really weird to see him pulling at the thread and watching my nose and cheek get pulled this way and that. That also seemed to take forever but he assured me that he wanted to make it "beautiful" so I wouldn't scar and the little line left would just tuck in next to my nose. Then the nurse slapped a dab of polysporin (not neosporin) on it, covered it with gauze and put this big bandaid (like the type for when you scrape your knee) right over it across my face. I was expecting a fancy small see-through bandaid, but nope, just a big plain bandaid. And that was it. Now it aches like a toothache. Will let you know how it heals and the biopsy results. Most likely negative I'm told. Stitches come out in 7 days so I'll have to look like Frankenstein for a little while.
So I decided to do a comparison of the distances between home and downtown in Van, TO and here.
Si's old house to downtown TO (Yonge @ Queen): 19.5 km / 12.12 miles / 22 min driving time
My old house to downtown Vancouver (Granville @ Robson): 24.9 km / 15.47 miles / 26 min driving time (totally off, I'd say 35 min)
Our place to SF (1015 Folsom to be exact): 34.4 km / 21.4 miles/ 27 min driving time
I was right, we live a lot further from downtown now but it takes around the same amount of time to get there. I think if I had lived 34 km from Vancouver, that would put me somewhere in Surrey or Steveston :-/
So here's a pic of what the Royal Ontario Museum will soon look like. They have destroyed the Asian and Egyptian wings of this historic building and are putting what looks like a sideways ice cube on top of it. Somehow someone with a lot of money and clout thought this would look nice. I have an open mind about modern architecture but this looks fuckin' ridiculous.
Rendering of the future ROM
- eating bouillabaisse at Marche (Movenpicks) - awesome seafood soup they make right in front of you
- eating his parents' home cookin'
- meeting all of Simon's friends and checking out some of the clubs and lounges
- reuniting with Angela, a girl I knew from gymnastics when I was little (she was the friend of a friend's sister and was stopping in TO en route to Vancouver)
- eating hot dogs on the street in the middle of the night
- shopping Queen street (think Haight or Granville with more boutique shops and less of the used clothing ones), reminded me a lot of the shops in Montreal
- Beer Market
- seeing the inside of Lucid Club which used to be Playdium, now a ridiculously large and beautifully decorated club. we went on a dead Thursday night but Simon's friend Nigel (DJ Sin) was spinning some really good old school 80s (i.e. mix of DM, Madonna, Prince, Rick Astley, etc)
- Royal Ontario Museum had closed its Asian and Egyptian exhibits to build this monstrous ugly modern extension to its once beautiful historic building (photos to come)
- initial unbearably humid weather
- traffic from Caribana
- catching a fish and having it get away while we were up at Hastings
- coming out of a bathroom at Pearl Lounge, not finding my friends, figuring it would make most sense to meet them outside, getting locked in some stairwell while looking for an exit, then tripping and falling OUT of an exit door down two steps onto my ass in a lane as the door slams shut with one of my shoes behind it, then walking through the lane drunk with one shoe on and asking the bouncer for help retrieving my shoe (in front of a big line of club goers)
photos and details to follow next week after I finish my work and clean up our place.