Just back in last night from our 4 day trip to Puerto Vallarta where we attended a destination wedding of one of Simon's university friends at the Riu Jalisco resort. I was a little apprehensive about the whole trip because we did this exact same vacation at the same resort in December 2002, it costed about 50% more than it did that year, it's hot as hell in summer, and right around the time we went I also found out it was hurricane season and some sort of mosquito season too.

Despite coming home eaten alive by sand flies and mosquitos, the tropical storms subsided for the most part and the worst we got was some thunder, lightening, overcast skies, and light spitting. The food was pretty good as far as resort buffets go, the temperatures were somewhat manageable, the ocean was warm as bath water, and the best part of the trip was the company. We went with another couple, Dan and Sarah, who are Simon's friends from high school, and met up with another couple we hung out with for most of the trip. We kept the staff busy restocking our minibar and we lost count of the number of drinks we had had by mid-afternoon each day. Instead of packing each day with activities and excursions we decided to stay on the beach each day except the day we had to go into town for the wedding at the church and our last evening which we spent strolling the boardwalk.

I think minus the bugs (which weren't there when we went in December), I could've stayed another day or two. More if I could bring my own bedding because I'm picky about stuff like that and the smell of industrial laundry detergent gets to me. But as it is, I got overtanned and overfed and it was probably time to get back to work, working out, and prepping for my transition to Seattle. Hopefully the next trip will be on a cruise with the same folks we partied with in PV plus a few more of my friends. We were supposed to make Hawaii happen this summer too but it looks like I'm running out of time and money. Oh well. Anyways, back to the grind and hopefully some regular blogging.


crazy month

Wow I abandoned my blog for yet another week. We've had houseguests lately which has been a lot of fun. We headed to Sonoma in 116F weather on Saturday and did a great tour of San Fran on Sunday. The rest of the time they've been on their own while Simon and I have been working our asses off to get ready to head to Mexico for a wedding. Between now and September I've gotta find a new home in Seattle, finish up my work for TeleNav and another contract I picked up, buy a laptop, get my finances in order, get registered for school, and pack up. It's only going to get crazier.

I just finished spending some time on this web profile I had to write so I guess I'll share that so you guys have somethin' to read...Hope all of you out in blog land are well.

Vanessa Au (M.A. Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts, San Francisco State University, 2006; B.A. Communication, Simon Fraser University, 2000) is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication and deserter of the high tech industry. Once a product marketing manager for software companies big and small in Vancouver, BC and the San Francisco Bay Area, Vanessa is now interested in investigating the ways in which new media are enabling and empowering Asian North Americans to find their voice. In her master’s thesis titled “Import Models Online: The Sexual Politics of Web Authorship,” she revealed the variety of ways in which the web sites of young Asian American “import models” gave the young women a space to negotiate their cultural identities, assert a sense of personal empowerment, and challenge dominant stereotypes of Asian women. Vanessa hopes to continue developing an understanding of what Asian North Americans have gained by carving out a piece of the Internet to be seen instead of overlooked and heard instead of silenced as they often are in other media. Outside of school, Vanessa enjoys snowboarding, gymnastics, public speaking, blogging, traveling, and campaigning for fair portrayals of Asian North Americans in the media.


trip planner

I'm having a shitty time finding a decent fare back to Vancouver so I can sort out my future housing in Seattle. The cheapest fare on Harmony gets me there in the mid-afternoon when my parents can't pick me up. I'm going to be pressed for time and don't want my friends to pick me up at Vancouver International and drive me all the ass lickin' stupid way to Coquitlam especially if I need to work immediately after and can't return the favour by spending the time to buy them a meal.

So I figure that since our highways suck and I typically have to drive downtown on narrow city streets, BC Translink would make a special effort to get people around especially from the airport. Airport, main starting point for many travelers right? So I went to the web site and clicked on the trip planner. Here it is in all its glory.

BC Translink Trip Planning piece of shit

I searched both under "popular locations" and "all" for YVR, Vancouver International, Vancouver Airport, Vancouver International Airport. Nothing. It gave me suggestions like York House School and the Vancouver Cancer Clinic. I even looked up the street address of the airport - 3211 Grant McConachie Way, Richmond BC - and put that in, and it came back with Granview Highway and Grant Street in Vancouver. What the stinkin' hell is this crap? I am no stranger to finding things out on the web. I can stalk you all the way to Timbuktu and even find out the name of your grandma's dog, I swear. It took me about 20 min to look at all the categories and finally found Airport Station under "TRANSIT SERVICES/EXCHANGES" (but it's not under "ALL LOCATIONS" or "POPULAR LOCATIONS"). Does it tell me where exactly Airport Station is? Nope. That's a research project for tomorrow evening.

As a point of comparison, I've been using the Seattle metro trip planner to figure out how far apartments are from UW and it gives me 3 alternate routes depending on how far I want to walk among other options. The thing is simply awesome. I don't understand how people new to Vancouver ever learn to get around.

Arg, so many things frustrate me about Vancouver and it pains me so little has changed since I left 5.5 years ago. I mean, there are some impressive builders putting up new business towers and condos left and right but that's about it.



And this is why you shouldn't raise your children out in the suburbs. Lack of stimulation, lack of excitement, too much gangsta rap music influence. Next thing you know they're flashing guns and pretend gang signs, and wearing gold teeth. Stir crazy kids turn into thug wannabes. That is my theory and I'm sticking with it.



Most of my friends, whom I must say are very intelligent because that is a minimum requirement of people I call my friends, realize that I have absolutely no fucking patience for stupid people. What pisses me off is when stupid people read my blog and post stupid comments because 1. they're barely literate, misread everything I wrote, and make unjust assumptions about my character 2. they're a bunch of marginally educated backwards thinking racist assholes. And that's why I love the Moderate Comments feature in Blogger. Yes you stupid fuck, flame me all you want. Spend hours crafting your message to me and to the world. I wont publish it on this little piece of cyberspace I call mine.


So I've been carpooling to work with Simon the last while which means my car stays parked out on the street for days, sometimes up to a week. So on Friday I had to drive my car to work. When I got to my car there was a HUGE orange sticker on my rear passenger window that says my car will be towed if not moved, and there was a parking ticket on my windshield. Bastards in the house I parked in front of must've called the cops for parking more than 72 hours. That's what the ticket says anyways. It's a god damn public street with no parking restrictions. Get a life you assholes! The ticket is for only $25 but nowhere is it posted that you cannot park for more than 3 days. I'm trying to figure out a way to appeal this now. Unfortunately there's not a lot of advice online for violations in the teeny tiny town, I mean city, of Foster City. Dammit.



Last night I went to bed at 2am, which is bad but not unusual. What was unusual was hearing the alarm clock go off at 6am. We wake up to news radio because I like to know the weather, traffic, and which country is blowing up another country that day. This morning it was more news about Israel. What's annoying is that I always fall asleep again immediately after the alarm wakes me up and I incorporate the morning's news into a dream. My dream this morning involved packing up in a hotel in Israel and getting the hell out of the country. Our guide was a man wearing a black burka trying to put eye drops into his eye. I have no idea what that was about.

At 6:40 am I had to crawl out of bed and get Simon to SFO to catch his flight to Toronto. I couldn't open my left eye because my body loses partial function when I don't get my 8-9 hours of sleep. He drove there as I tried to will myself into consciousness. I got my eye halfway open by the time I had to drive myself back. I got home and got back into bed and woke up at 10:45am. I decided that I'd work at home today which was actually pretty awesome especially since I'd have to go to work in either pajamas, a halloween costume, or a prom dress tomorrow if I didn't do a load or two of laundry today. Unfortunately Simon's set up of the Slingbox hosed our wireless network so my connection on my laptop has been spotty. Thank you neighbour for lending me your unsecured wireless connection. I think I'll head to the gym and then get some groceries.



Tonight was my first time back in the gym (gymnastics gym) in about 3.5 years. My how time flies. I dragged my friend Nathan along, same Nathan whom Eva dragged to run the Nike Women's marathon. He's good for that sort of thing :P. What I didn't count on was the 15 minutes of hard cardio running down the blue strip you see in the pictures - forwards, backwards, sideways, high knees, frog jumps. By that time I was about to throw up. Not used to cardio of that intensity. I took a breather (literally, like I had to take a hit from my inhaler thanks to this adult onset asthma of mine). After the mat hell, we did continuous jumps - tuck, pike, straddle, 1/1 turn, forwards and then backwards - on the tumble track (long black trampoline thing there) and ran back on the blue strip. Soon after that I had to park my fat ass on that stack of blue mats next to the fence there and silently dry heave while sobbing a bit inside trying not to lose my grilled McChicken sandwich and fries. After I recovered from the cardio warm up, the stretching helped me regain my strength (and pride) and I managed to pull off some aerials and for my finale a round-off, backhandspring (flip flop), back tuck on the 40 x 40 floor (left of the fence). Not bad for an old lady who packed on 10 lbs in the last 6 months. I think I'll be coming back and trying to get back into shape because like one of the other ex gymnasts there said, gymnastics works muscles that no other physical activity works.

BTW, this is unrelated but here is a really interesting article about some folks studying the effects of magic mushrooms. Now, I've had to go through the process of getting "human subjects" approval from my university and all I was doing was interviewing people. It took me three months of going back and forth and rewriting my informed consent form to get approval. I can't imagine how the hell they got approval to conduct that study but kudos to them for doing it. It reminds me of an article I read about the guy who invented ecstacy for therapeutic purposes. I totally agree with scientists who argue that our society demonizes the use of these drugs when there really is good reason to incorporate them into psychotherapy for certain patients under controlled conditions. If you haven't figured out by now I support the legalization of several substances. That doesn't make me a libertarian, hippy, or fanatical promotor of drug use. I just lean left and have my reasons for it.


self perpetuating cycle

I'm caught in a couple of self-perpetuating cycles. For example, there's no food at home, we're working late and since there's no food at home, might as well go out to eat instead of going to get groceries. Since we went out to eat again tonight, we have no food at home for tomorrow. I'm so sick of eating at restaurants. The other cycle involves spending so much time at work (or out eating) that I'm not getting to the gym. When I don't work out I get fat and tired which keeps me from finding the energy to go to the gym. So this is what happens when I live Simon's schedule. It sucks. It's absolutely unhealthy. I need my balance back and I'm almost considering taking yet another car from San Mateo to south bay so I can live my own schedule. I've got a million personal tasks to take care of and a list of personal goals for the summer, none of which I've touched because I spend about 3 waking hours at home each evening and I need part of that to do things like oh I dunno shower, brush my teeth and get dressed. I haven't even been able to do laundry because I don't want to wake the neighbours running the wash at 11pm. I think I'll have to go to work in pajamas on Friday due to lack of clean clothes.

In other news I'm exchanging emails with another landlord who responded to my housing wanted post on Craigslist. I'm getting some good responses from landlords who like to find their own tenants before posting their ad. Works well for both parties. This lady has a basement suite in Ravenna. She sent some photos and it's partially furnished. My main concern is that there aren't a whole lot of windows. Well, I'll see it in person hopefully next month to check it out. I printed my academic schdule and with this 10 week quarter system with breaks in between and long weekends, I can come back here every 2 to 7 weeks. Not bad huh? Probably just enough away time to focus on my studies but hopefully enough to keep my ties and some sort of a life here. I've already sold my big items - a standing mirror, my PDA and accessories, and my too-big not-so-portable laptop. Now I've gotta plan for the move, figure out what stuff I need to buy, and book an August flight to spec things out.


China duty

Holy cow I haven't blogged in a week. It was our week for China duty, meaning we have to take care of the company's employees visiting from the Shanghai office. This involves picking them up from corporate housing, taking them out to eat all meals including dinner, and taking them out on the weekend. Usually we try to get them out to do stuff they don't have a chance to do where they're from. For example, driving (in the company car in the parking lot at night). That was kinda scary but they got a huge kick out of it. One of them mentioned that the first thing he plans to do when he gets home is get a driver's license.

Friday night they also had their first taste of olives and vodka martinis. They were good with the martinis but not so fond of olives. They saw Simon devouring olives like they were chocolate or something and one guy had nothing to say but "I don't understand." That was pretty funny. Saturday we toured Stanford University and then went to Malibu Grand Prix so they could drive the go carts and play some games. That's where I had a first. My first try in a batting cage. In phys ed we never had to play baseball and I only ever attempted the sport once in junior high and I don't remember doing so well at it. This time, I hit 19 out of 20 balls. I was quite proud of myself. That night the guys also tried champagne and French food for the first time.

It's Sunday night and we're finally home. I feel like we've been out of town or something. Everything is as we left it a week ago. I can't wait to burn off all these restaurant food calories. Gonna check out an adult gymnastics class Tuesday night to start.


eating habits

A great article on globalization and the spread of bad anglo-saxon eating habits. Good read. Smaller portions, sit and enjoy your food, don't eat on the run are the tips they give. I wonder if that's the secret of Asians as well. But with our 10+ course family dinners, I'm not sure if we end up eating smaller portions or just healthier more balanced foods. On a side note, wouldn't it suck balls to find out you're one of those anonymous fat people they took a picture of for an article on obesity? The one in that article was really unflattering. Worse yet, imagine if it were video they took of you from the neck down for a news show.

HK films & BBQ

We recently discovered that one of our friends has a huge collection of HK films. Since he's not Chinese we never would've guessed. Friday night we watched two of those movies at our place. Today was Canada Day so we barbequed at another friend's house. After polishing off all the goods at our fusion BBQ, including the spam musubi, deep fried wontons, grilled veggies, kalbee, Filipino style noodles, calamari, drunken chicken, fried cheesesticks and I can't remember what else, we sat on our butts and watched two more HK movies. We thanked the hosts and continued the party at our house where we played Pass the Pigs and then two rounds of poker. Young and Dangerous played in the background while we did that (the ladies dominated with me winning round one and Candice taking round two). After we packed up the cards and chips we watched yet another movie. The last one being the Gods of Gambling. So that is a total of 6 HK flicks in a little over 24 hours. I sure picked up a lot of vocabularly watching those but nothing that you can repeat in front of old people. What a weird way to celebrate the Canada Day weekend. The birds are chirping, it must be time for bed.