bachelor party

A friend is helping to plan a bachelor party in Vancouver and solicited my help. Figured I'd share the info with all the rest of you. I'm not much help in the nightclub area as I never go to these places anymore when I go visit (except for Red Room and that place that used to have '80s night). BTW, in Canada we sometimes call bachelor/bachelorette parties stags and stagettes respectively.

As I mentioned Vancouver thinks it's LA or some shit so every club deliberately jacks up cover and holds a line outside to make it look good (even if it's empty inside). Best to call ahead and get on the VIP/bottle service or your whole party will stand in line the entire night, I'm not joking.

My friend recommended these two. Granville is a good place to keep the party because most nightclubs are there, there's 99 cent pizza to eat afterwards, and if you get bored with a venue, you can always ditch the club and hit the bars and pubs on that street.

Caprice - on Granville Street - http://www.capricenightclub.com/
Plaza - on Granville Street - http://www.plazaclub.net/

Tokyo lounge is not bad either but not as big www.tokyolounge.ca/ -- it's off robson street
Atlantis www.atlantisclub.net/ used to be pretty popular and might still be but if you get bored there's not much else in walking distance. Au Bar was hot for a while too http://www.straight.com/content.cfm?id=10746 it's not too far from Granville Street.

I'd also recommend going to this site to see what is happening the night of the party http://www.clubvibes.com/ and then calling ahead to book VIP and bottle service. You can also read the club's description at http://www.straight.com/section.cfm?id=270

Warning, take a cab. Aside from being the responsible thing to do, cops always form "road blocks" so that every artery leading out of downtown has cops stopping EVERY car to check for drunk drivers. You basically can't avoid it unless you hit an afterparty and go home the next morning. Another warning, Vancouver has been notorious for club shootings. Be careful.

Restaurants (good seafood, some with beautiful view) I listed what I think would be best up top.

Bridges http://www.dinehere.ca/restaurant.asp?r=165 (awesome view from granville island with outdoor patio)
C Restaurant - http://www.10best.com/Vancouver/Restaurants/Seafood/index.html?businessID=30756 (also nice view)
The Boathouse Restaurant English Bay http://www.boathouserestaurants.ca/2004/english_bay.htm (view of English Bay)
Monk McQueens http://www.monkmcqueens.com/ (well known place)
Carderos http://www.dinehere.ca/restaurant.asp?r=618 (I think i've been here but cant remember)
Lumiere http://lumiere.ca/ (maybe a bit too stuffy snotty for a bachelor party?)

Also consult the 2006 Golden Plate Awards

Nudie Bars

Brandi's - "classy" place http://www.clubzone.com/c/Vancouver/Adult_Club/Brandi_z_s_Exotic_Nightclub.html
Cecil - off Granville walking distance to clubs http://www.clubzone.com/c/Vancouver/Adult_Club/Cecil_Hotel,_The.html
Marble Arch - great for cheap lunch too. 518 Richards St. 688-ARCH
Number 5 Orange - super ghetto part of town in the east end by Chinatown where I hear the strippers are the raunchiest 205 Main St.687-FIVE

Also see http://www.walnet.org/csis/services/vanstripclubs.html


Oh my god, you idiots. Are you fucking kidding me? How much more stupid could a reality show really get? http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/447377p-376563c.html


no more MLMs

I just a message via MySpace (ugh) from a former student (God I hate MySpace) inviting me to a conference call/meeting. Man I could smell something fishy going on right away.This is the third person in the last year to try to get me into their multi-level marketing "success plan". Frankly I'm sick of it. Please people, stop inviting me to your conference calls, lunch meetings, cocktail parties to tell me about how I can make tonnes of money if I just work hard enough (at scamming all my friends and family). I don't want to hear about it, and I don't want my friends to hear about it either.

Here's my letter back to the student:

Hi ______,

Couple links you'll probably want to read. I have a couple friends who got involved in a similar business model and to put it bluntly none of their friends want to hang out with them anymore because they keep using every social situation to "share stories of success" with friends and friends of those friends and pull them into the organization. It's gotten to the point that it's embarrassing to invite them out. Just letting you know this could be a slippery slope. Even if you do somehow end up making money, it's at the expense of annoying and potentially losing your friends.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/federal_ct/2005/276.html (scroll down for the law suit details)


Dear United

After losing my luggage, United has screwed up my delivery address 3 times - San Ysodro, San Ysdoro, Sansierro. It's San Ysidro, just like I wrote in block letters you fucking idiots. And it shouldn't take 3 days to get me my damn luggage back.

Below was the letter I wrote on Monday, followed by the letter I wrote today.

Dear United,

Yesterday (Sunday) I flew from Seattle to San Francisco on flight 571. I checked in one bag and it did not arrive in San Francisco with me. I filed a claim at SFO and found out that the agent in Seattle made the mistake of being logged into the profile of the passenger who was in line ahead of me when he checked my bag in.

I was appalled to find that the claim sticker they gave me read “Sarah Roberts.” This Sarah Roberts was to continue from SFO onto San Diego and so that is where my bag is now. I am absolutely outraged that a mistake like this could happen. Even the agent in SFO with whom I filed the claim commented, “Pretty scary how something like this could happen huh?” Yeah, it’s scary alright. Especially since my bag contains my medication, eye glasses, and file of important documents containing very personal information. That file included a lease application with all my banking, credit, and social security information – plenty to get someone started on stealing my ID. Lest I mention that the lease application was due TODAY for an apartment that I spent the weekend in Seattle looking for. So now I’m without my glasses, medication and now overdue lease application.

The agent in SFO, who did not once utter an apology, processed my application and promised that my bags be delivered to my office by noon today. It’s 3pm now. I logged in on your web site and it says “Unfortunately, your baggage has not been located. However, we do have it on priority trace. We apologize for any inconvenience we may be causing you. Please check back with us in a few hours for any updated information.”

But that’s not the worst of it. From the web page I could see that the agent at SFO had entered my office address incorrectly. Of course that doesn’t matter much when my bag is still lost in San Diego, but it certainly doesn’t give me any more faith in United Airlines’ ability to serve its customers.

Let’s sum this up. My bag was checked in under another passenger’s name. That passenger went to San Diego, as did my suitcase. My suitcase was not delivered by noon as promised because it’s still lost. I check online and my delivery address was entered incorrectly by a very unapologetic and incompetent agent. Now by the time the bag is located and delivered I probably will not be at this address (I’ll be at home) and I will have to contact United once again to reroute the shipping of my bag. If I don’t I will miss two days of medication, endure navigating my house in the evening without my glasses, and possibly lose the apartment I spent my weekend in Seattle looking for. For this, United has promised me a $25 travel certificate. The inconvenience and time this has cost me is worth far more than $25. I am requesting more compensation than a laughable $25. That hardly makes up for the time I spent just waiting in line to file a claim at SFO late on a Sunday night.



And today's letter:

Dear Levi,

I finally got my luggage back Wednesday afternoon 23rd Aug, three days after it was lost Sunday night the 20th. While I appreciate the travel certificate I am still concerned about what was done with the contents of my bag while it was gone for three days.

When I checked in my bag I had hastily stuffed a file with all my apartment hunting/lease application documents into my suitcase. When I got it back, I noticed this file was neatly tucked into the strap inside my suitcase. This is not where I had left it. The reason for my concern is that those documents, as I mentioned earlier, contain very personal information including:

- My social security number
- Account numbers for all my bank accounts
- Driver's license number
- License plate number
- Phone numbers and addresses of all places I've lived the last three years
- My parents' and my landlord's contact information
- My birthdate
- My income

I am extremely concerned about who might have seen/copied that information since my bag was left unsupervised in a public place for 3 days. Even if it had been held in a locked area by United (which I doubt since the last customer service rep I spoke to had to call the San Diego Airport Tuesday just to track down the whereabouts of my bag), I'd still be concerned about my files having been moved and people, including United employees, viewing/stealing my information. As I hope you understand identity theft is a very real and very serious issue and such instances of theft are common and often ruin the lives of those victimized. Other companies who put their customers at risk of identity theft commonly compensate by issuing a year or more of credit monitoring services. I am requesting the same of United and expect that, as a company that strives to take care of its customers, United will comply. I look forward to your response.




luck or lack thereof

Does anybody believe in luck? We had endless lucky things happen during our Seattle housing search on the weekend. Someone's denied rental application meant an opening for us before the place even went on the market. All our timing worked out perfectly. But at the end of the trip Sunday night my luck ran out when United lost my suitcase. I still haven't gotten it back. I posted on it earlier but I took it down and will repost with more details when this ordeal is over. Let's just say I've been on the phone with United 5 times in the past 48 hours and all they've done is screw it up more each time I call by doing things like trying to correct an incorrect delivery address by making it even MORE incorrect if you can believe it.

I'm so fed up with them. And while I see the need for outsourcing in many situations and fully support the wonderful people overseas who do this work, it really doesn't work for some things. Helping people get their luggage back is one of those things. The folks there can do nothing more than read a computer screen that I can log into myself and then read a script about being sorry for my inconvenience. It's an endless loop that got me nowhere. They don't have local knowledge and are not instructed/allowed to do proactive things like contact the airport directly to track down my bag. After my first 3 customer support calls my calls got routed to someone local. I wonder if that is by design. The last woman I spoke to actually did call the airport where my bag is sitting so hopefully I get it back tomorrow and I'll share my whole ordeal. Let's just say, I'll never fly United again if I can help it. It's been human error after human error and it's simply unacceptable.

In other news, we were witness to a car accident today at Central and Castro in Mountain View en route to Maruichi for my favourite ramen. This white minivan with an elderly couple was stopped at a red light, right next to us. This junky car came careening down the street and rear ended the minivan. The guy barely hit the brakes. The shitbox was pretty much totaled with smoke and water spewing out of his crumpled hood. The scary part was that the guy got out of his car and at first I thought he was dazed from hitting the minivan but I don't think that was it. His shirt was half untucked, the other half tucked into his belt which had missed about 4 belt loops. He seemed sort of unstable, the kind of unstable that most people demonstrate after about 6 or 7 drinks. The man stumbled up to the minivan and attempted to open the rear door to climb into the elderly couple's back seat. I think all of us in the car said, almost in unison, what the fuck?? Luckily the door was locked and so he walked up to the driver's side window which the woman wisely kept partially closed. We looped the car around and I ran up to the van to give them a business card in case they needed a witness to the accident. I heard the guy who hit them say, "oh thank you thank you." I'm thinkin' don't thank me, I'm here to back up the old couple who just got rammed in the ass by you, you crazy fuck.


Seattle pics

View of the Space Needle from my roommate's friend's gorgeous place in Queen Anne

Coffee in West Seattle at a place specializing in cupcakes. What you see there is a "baby cake"

View of Lake Washington from our table at the Blu Water Cafe in Leschi (pronounced Lesh-EYE)

The place we put a deposit on ($1K for a 2/2 with a w/d and 2 garage parking spots, can't beat that)

View of yet another body of water (so many I can't keep track of them all) from the I-5 en route to SeaTac Airport



Been waiting for Simon to leave work and it's meant getting home midnight the last two nights. Too tired to write but not too tired to drag and drop. Check out the new photos in my Flickr.


out of state move

I'm learning quickly that looking for a new place to live is only fun when you're moving someplace within driving distance. This out of state home hunt is killing me. People who live in Seattle are beating me to open house viewings and I'm leaving myself only one weekend to get it all figured out. Luckily I have a plan B because my friend is dating a guy in Seattle who needs a house sitter in September for a couple months but that really is a plan B. If I stayed there, I'd have to find a home while I'm in the middle of school. Not a good situation at all. All I can say is thank goodness for the Internet and email. I dunno how people did this before.



Checked couple things off my list of pre-move tasks today -- appointment with my mechanic for a tune up tomorrow, new all season tires purchased for installation Saturday, new (used) teeny tiny 700m laptop purchased, 2nd meeting with future roomate planned for Friday night dinner at our place. Still gotta get my tires balanced, car alarm fixed, and uh find a place to live.

Despite all this I managed to haul my ass to the gymnastics gym last night after a 3 week work out hiatus. I semi deliberately came late to miss the cardio warm up from hell complete with joint straining moves from the 70s. It worked out well since I managed to have enough strength left to work up the nerve to do my round off flip flop to layout into the pit and later a cast handstand to layout flyaway, again into the pit. I think I am too old to ever safely land an acrobatic move on anything other than a 6' deep pit of foam cubes. I pay dearly for it though as it takes me several minutes to climb out of the foam after doing a move that takes a couple seconds to complete. I guess that makes up for my playing hooky during the warm up.


count down

Man I'm kinda getting sick of people asking when I'm moving especially when after I tell them mid September, they comment that that is coming up really soon. It's like getting reminded on a daily basis that I ought to be counting down the days. I'm naturally one to get stressed by change and I was doing remarkably well until everyone decided to ask all these damn questions. Now I'm just generally pissed off. Not at any one person or even group of people. Just general pissed offedness. I almost feel like writing a fucking FAQ for the most annoying ones and printing them on a shirt.

Q. Is Simon moving too?
A. No.

Q. Why not?
A. Uh, he has a job that means more to him than just a pay cheque.

Q. Will you be back in a year or two?
A. No, there is no such thing as a two-year PhD you retard. I'm not doing some bogus online program.

Q. Why didn't you just go to school here instead?
A. You don't pick something like a doctoral program based on proximity to home. It's not like a health club membership.

Q. But won't you miss Simon?
A. Holy shit, can I punch you?



Simon's sister and her bf are here for a week before they head to Hawaii, which means we will have had house guests for two consecutive weeks with 4 days out of town in between. That means eating dinner out and drinking a hell of a lot. Oh and no time to work out. It's starting to feel really kinda gross. I'm also juggling a copywriting contract gig on the side so that takes up any spare time I might have used to get my ass off this office chair. I'm almost tempted to try a morning workout but I know that progressing from conceptualization to execution on that front is not likely.

Not sure if I mentioned but after posting another housing wanted ad on Seattle CL, a 32 year old Asian American woman contacted me saying she needs a roomate and my description of myself sounds like her. ie. obsessive about cleanliness and militant about not allowing shoes in the home. Turns out she is currently living in the Bay Area and works literally 5 miles away in Santa Clara. We met a few weeks back and determined we're compatible and sane. So we're headed north to Seattle on the 18th to find a 2/2. She is going to UW to do her MBA. I think this will work out nicely especially if we can save money by giving each other the occasional lift to the airport to visit home, or splitting a cab.