Vancouver weekend

I'm going to keep my update brief because I'm past my bedtime again. So Friday we flew Qantas to Vancouver. They surprised us a meal of lamb, potatoes, peas, shrimp salad, cheese, crackers, and a pastry. It was delicious even though I had just eaten because, since when the heck do airlines serve food anymore? That night we went to Alex's pre-wedding BBQ to eat some more, and then headed to Guu Izakaya (Japanese tapas) to eat even more. Of course Guu Robson has a 1 hour wait even at 9pm so in the meantime we walked up to Mondo Gelato to have dessert before dinner.

Saturday we had a half day before Alex's and Candace's wedding so we went to Lynn Canyon. What I love as much as the suspension bridge itself is the warning sign with graphic drawings of the ways people have died messing around in the waters below. This one says, "in 1991 a hiker was trapped in this position for 5 days."

There's a series of these drawings of people who jumped and had their shoes go through their feet and end up around their legs, or people getting stuck in whirlpools and being mixed up in the water with rocks and lumber. It's kinda funny. Anyways, after that we had lunch at English Bay at the Boathouse deck.

The wedding itself was beautiful, simple, free of fuss, and full of fun. Open bar is always good too. That night we stumbled over to the McDonalds on Burrard at 2am to eat again.

The next morning we feasted yet again at Sandbar in Granville Island. It was an awesome weekend especially since we got to hang out with friends Joe and Jane the whole time. Now I'm fat and lethargic


Alex and Candace

Congrats to Alex and Candace! The ceremony was out on the patio on a beautiful sunny day with Vancouver's mountains in the background. It couldn't have been better.


unlikely friends

The reason I like doing things like Toastmasters and volunteering for various organizations is that you get the opportunity to meet people you wouldn't ordinarily encounter through work or those comfortable friendship circles. From my Toastmasters club I've met and befriended people with more life experience than me, who have lived in more continents than I have, and who enjoy such occupations as homeopathy, life coaching, bio-medical research, emergency preparedness, and public health to name just a few. It's been so awesome to listen to people from different walks of life tell their stories and share advice from a very different perspective than my own. I'm really not even sure how I'd be able to find such a unique opportunity again, especially if I transfer my membership to a univerity-based club where everyone's a student and pretty much share common experiences that aren't too far out of the ordinary. It would sure suck. Those of you who spend all your time working and hanging out with people you've known for years and years who share all the same values, goals, and interests, I challenge you to reach out and meet people from different walks of life. I guarantee you won't regret it and it'll make your life so much richer.


last speech

I am doing what will probably be my last speech with my Toastmasters club tomorrow night. It's also officer election night so I need to hand off my post as President and webmaster to some other very capable folks. After that I think I need a little time off from Toastmasters to do some reading (I'm finding myself at a loss for words and I think it's due to spending zero time reading academic uh...stuff. See what I mean?) I also need to work on submitting a rewrite of my thesis for publication which I promised myself I would try to do over the summer even though I don't know who the hell would want to publish my schlop. So much to do, so little time. With this full time gig, I can't seem to do anything else but work, commute, cook and clean. Not the kinda life I want and the reason I went back for more torture, I mean school.

I got home at a decent hour tonight and tried to haul my fat ass around a 3 mile loop in my neighbourhood and it felt like I was dragging a bag of rice (attached to my thighs). It took a pathetic 40 minutes (okay so I stopped to look at the baby Canada geese). Still, it was bad. Tomorrow no time to work out, Friday I'm off to Vancouver to stuff my face some more and milk this open bar at my friend's wedding for all it's worth. I'll get my life back on track next week. I hope. Dammit how do you people train for marathons and tris while working full time? Do you people not sleep? Do you have maids? You guys and gals put me to shame.



HNIC stands for Hockey Night in Canada but for us it was hockey night in Sunnyvale. Simon, still recovering from single handedly taking himself down at EZ-5 on Saturday night, got up late this morning. The 5 am call from Germany didn't help things. I will get up late as possible on any given day so I got up when he did, which meant we rolled into work at 11:15 am. Great start. Midday we took a 1.5 hour lunch to pick up his car from my mechanic friend. By 5:15 pm a goal had already been scored by Carolina so Shannph and I packed up our things to head to Bennigans where 7 of the other Canadians showed up to watch the game together. I don't want to talk about the game except to say that Carolina's goalie is from Edmonton originally. Who do your family and friends cheer for if you're playing on the opponent's team? Another hockey season over. I guess I'll be close enough to the border to head back north on weekends to watch hockey on TV next season. We were actually thinking to bring back a Slingbox to watch CBC from here. We've fiddling with one here so I can steal Simon's cable from Seattle and watch TV online.


mini quake

You know it's going to be a weird day when it starts at 5:30am with an earthquake. I felt the bed shaking and heard the TV in our room rattling against the wall. I was pretty excited since it's only the third one I've ever felt. I had already moved down here when the big Seattle one hit and shook Vancouver BC. I feel like it's the earth just cracking its back and preventing a big one. That's totally unscientific but that's my analogy. Of course, being a geek I went to the USGS web site to submit my report.

On the way to work we saw a trailer with a camel inside. No it was not an ugly long haired horse, it really was a camel and it didn't look happy to be riding down the 101. S/he was swaying back and forth in protest. I wonder where s/he was going.

The rest of day was kinda routine. I did manage to book our hotel for Vancouver (so we can get good and liquored up at Alex's wedding) and also booked our trip to Puerto Vallarta for a destination wedding. Sadly it'll be at a resort I went to 3 years ago so I won't be seeing anything new and I totally don't like making repeat vacations. Oh well. Speaking of weddings, if you saw I Do Let's Eat on Food Network featuring Jess and Jason, there was a close up of me in it. Yay I'm a star. Jess is Simon's first cousin so we were there for the whole family part of the wedding and there were a heck of a lot of camera crew and producers running around. I can't wait to see it.



It's been hard to blog now that I'm working full-time (summer thing). I have to fight my nocturnal tendencies in order to do the 9-5 (or more like 10-7) grind like everyone else. I've developed a bad habit of falling asleep on the couch after dinner and then not being able to sleep when I haul my ass up to bed.

I'm also battling my need to eat constantly because I haven't come prepared with snacks and the free Famous Amos cookies have lost their novelty. I visited Google for lunch the other day. That place is the site of an over-the-top feeding frenzy at lunch time. I had to valet my car because so many employees bring guests to their out of control free buffet of nearly every cuisine imaginable, and prepared really nicely too. They even have resident nutritionists on hand. In between meals there are areas better stocked than 7 Eleven and all free stuff too. I think the free food alone would be reason enough to work there. I don't even think sexual harrassment would phase me if I could eat like that every day. I'm so easily bribed by food it's kind of pathetic.


drunk ass

This weekend was my friend Ben's birthday. He's the one on the right below. However, the most memorable part of the evening happened at about 3am when we went to Peter's Cafe in Millbrae for some eats. My bald friend (who will remain unnamed for his privacy) was drunker than the birthday boy and it made for a good time (for the rest of us).

My bald headed friend telling his story (none of us can remember what his long ass story was about but it took a long time to tell).

Soon after, my friend began stomping on the floor. We couldn't see over the table so we asked Candice what the hell he was doing. Apparently he was flattening cutlery. No, we don't know why.

After all his story telling and cutlery stomping he gets all tuckered out and falls asleep sitting up

So we decide to build a tower of food on his head. It was fun, sort of like Jenga. See how many pieces you can add without waking him or having it all tumble down.

At this point there's french fries, pepper and now a piece of toast.

At this point, we've freakin' run out of food to put on his head. I thought the onion and fry behind the ear was a nice touch.

So the game turns from Jenga to Operation where you must now remove all the pieces without waking him.

It wasn't very challenging. My battery died here but after the last fry was removed we decided to use it to do some ketchup and mustard face painting. When he woke up we just told him that he went face first into his plate while he was sleeping to explain all the crap on his face. He seemed pretty convinced.


Top Chef

I'm a week behind in my reality TV watching, thank goodness for Tivo. We caught up on the finale of 24 on Sunday night and tonight we watched 2 hours of Top Chef. I was sad to see the emotional, lovable, all around good guy Dave go but I knew the producers would pit Tiffani against Harold after the novelty of Dave's constant crying wore off. You don't really think the judges make all the decisions now do you? If you think they do, you need to take media literacy 101, seriously. Tiffani v. Harold is the story of woman versus man, sly versus honest, daring versus steady. Of course good presides over evil and Harold wins. That's not to say all is fiction. I think the fact that Tiffani has a rotten attitude and flat out lied about giving Dave all this direction on the dessert, the most favoured dish, when in fact he was saving that recipe for himself if he were to make finals...I'll bet all of that had a whole lot of truth to it. I don't think the producers had to work terribly hard to create the bitch character in this show as Tiffani came out for that part in full force. I was sad that one of my favourites, Lee Anne, wasn't in the final three but I guess America can't handle having an Asian sister winning both of Bravo's big reality shows. In the end though, the story was well told. The moral of the story is simple: Be kind to people, be honest, be humble, be a team player, go with your gut, go with what you do best, stick up for good people and they'll stick up for you, don't backstab, don't take credit for other people's work, don't over complicate things and, finally, what comes around goes around. I cannot wait to try Harold's restaurant in Lower Manhatten and, while each restaurant has only one super star, it'd sure be cool to see Lee Anne and Dave there too. And if you're wondering how a chef spends $100,000 check this out.


weasel puke

I spent the weekend drinking too much and eating too much. Saturday night we went to Peter's Cafe in Millbrae which is open 24 hours. I really did not need an avocado cheeseburger and fries at 3am but it sure tasted good. I also had a taste of my friend's loco moco which was heavenly. Sunday I went to the art and wine fest down the street and it was just more eating. Simon came back from the UK and Germany with about 5 pounds of chocolate and a couple packs of Weasel Coffee, which according to the web site "has been eaten and regurgitated by rare Vietnamese weasels! Honestly! As you can imagine, the weasels' gastric goings-on radically alter the taste of the coffee and the result is a stronger, smoother, heady flavoured coffee that will appeal to serious connoisseurs of the mighty bean." I later found out it's made by the same company that makes Civet Coffee, which comes from Civet poo. "This feral feline prowls Sumatran coffee plantations at night, choosing to eat only the finest, ripest cherries. The stones (which eventually form coffee beans) are then collected by sifting through the Civet's number twos." Awesome. Now I'm waiting for my stupid files to transfer so I can reformat and sell this laptop. This is taking for freakin' ever. I hate doing IT shit like this.



After a week of not seeing a whole lot of people, I decided to go out for drinks last night at Olive and then at Rye. A few too many it turned out. I spent the day today drinking Gatorade and watching Trading Spaces and What Not to Wear. I felt so guilty about doing nothing I decided to enter this Go List contest on TripAdvisor. This week's theme is budget so here's my contributions. Now I've finally got a list of my favourite Vancouver restaurants and sites written down somewhere.


Wen Ho Lee

This won't make up for the suffering he endured, but it helps. I just hope there is money left after paying back his legal fees for that witch hunt.



Originally uploaded by vau604.
I just spent a bunch of time re-learning Photoshop. I wish I used it more often. Now I've downgraded to Photoshop Elements because I haven't the skills to use CS anyways. Check out the magic of the magnetic lasso tool (used to delete my background including some dude who looked like Napolean Dynamite eating chips behind me) and the Sumi-e filter. With all the blurring you wouldn't notice that I had a stupid infection on my right eyelid that whole weekend. It took great effort to try to open that eye extra wide so I wouldn't look like I'm winking in every photo.

I think if I were better at stuff like doing make up, I could've corrected for that, but I suck at that like I suck at doing my own hair. So before graduation, I got my hair done as a hair model during a class at L Salon. The owner and instructor did most of my haircut since my student designer was a bit new so effectively I scored a $110 haircut for $20. Too bad it looks like shit when you don't know how the hell to blowdry and style it yourself. How come other women know how to do these things and I don't?