I have to make this quick, but even still, I'm blogging in another country! (Yes, Canada counts.) I don't know what I've been doing; Vancouver is only a four and a half hour drive away. I guess I've just wasted some trips to Boise and the Oregon Coast. I need to come back here for longer next time. I also need to stay in a different part of town; the trendy downtown monied people aren't quite my people. Even still, it's clean, the women are gorgeous (and often French!), and you can find any sort of delicious Asian food just about anywhere in town, at any time. I'll edit this later with more exposition.


As I was saying, Vancouver is awesome. I think my next trip will focus exclusively on Chinatown, Granville, and Commercial. Chinatown is self-explanatory; Granville is an artery that runs out of downtown. It's where all the sweet dive bars, hole in the wall restaurants, and hostels are. After some drinks my brothers and I had some dollar-a-slice pizza....apparently Canadians like potatoes, because I haven't seen potato pizza anywhere else. Sadly we couldn't spend much time on Commercial. Somewhere along that street is Little Italy. I will say, it's not the most scenic part of town; it's two or three Skytrain stops from downtown, and runs south from the bay, not along it. However, what little time I did spend there it was easy to tell how there would be a ton of cheaper shops/cafes/coffee places, etc. The sidewalks were overly wide to allow for table space. As I'm trying to remember highlights to write about, I'm finding all the highlights were food and drink. Is that bad? I didn't ride a tour bus, I didn't visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge, I didn't take a 'this movie was filmed here tour', I just ate a lot of food. I had delcious ginger and green onion beef hot pot, Nutella crepes, potato pizza, super delcious dim sum, etc etc. My only souvenir was/is some pancetta from the Lonsdale Quay Market that I am going to use for a red pepper/mozzerella/pancetta omlette or two tomorrow. (I actually had never had pancetta until last week - it's too salty to just eat, but I don't really want to take the time to make a sauce or something. Anyhoo.) Oh yeah! Probably the only non-food related 'highlight' was smoking Cuban cigars downtown with my brothers. To be honest, I've had better Dominicans in my lifetime. We got them mostly because we could. My middle brother and I got the 'cheapest' little Cohibas (still 20 bucks), while my youngest (19, impulsive, over-doer extrordanaire) got the Siglo 6. For reference, the little ones were the Siglo 1. After a late lunch/early dinner of fish and chips at Lonsdale Quay, and a last walk around that market, we rode the ferry back to downtown. We then split a pitcher at Steamworks Brewery, where said brother decides to order a whole second dinner of cheese tortellini. After our two beers a piece, we walk up to a downtown bench, and my brother smokes his cigar in roughly 45 minutes - the time it took my other brother and I to smoke the little ones. THEN we set out to walk/hike back up from the water to Robson Street to go for a late cocktail before going back to the hotel. (I'm sure you can see where this is going.) Bottom line: my youngest brother waits until we're about to be seated in a very nice bar and grill, in the lobby, in front of the beautiful blonde British hostess, to demonstrate the effects of overconsumption and violate a good 3 to 4 foot swath of stone entryway flooring. But as good brothers, we let him walk back to the hotel, and we stayed for drinks. Having left you with that meandering gross tale, here are some pictures of the excursion.

Downtown on Burrard

inadvertent self-portrait

potato pizza place! (the had poutin and i didn't try it! sad.)

baked goods in Granville Market - that Eccles cake front and center was mine. (yes they are delicious.)

hot pot!



I did some exploring of a graffitied (sp.?) retaining wall between I-82 and Hwy 97 in Union Gap...it was pretty interesting. Even right between freeways everything right along the Yakima River is very much the wild; skunk was nearby the whole time, I spotted a couple rabbits, even a heron. Right adjacent to the river bank is the train track; just west of that is this wall, above which is Highway 97. Had I had more room on my phone I would have taken more pictures. Maybe I'll go back in a couple months and see the new stuff.

I have NO clue what this says.....any ideas?

This looked way better in person....it looks washed out here because it was bright and the light colors washed out on my phone.


maybe it's genetic?

It's possible. My grandpa was a sign painter for years doing commercial work for Pacific Power before semi-retiring to do custom sandblasted signs from his garage. Sometime in the 70's, he dabbled in oil paintings (which are pretty damn good), then moved onto photography. He went full on after retirement; he could work as much or little as he wanted and use the rest of the time honing his skills. (Of course from start to finish, his favorite subjects have been his grandkids....with 17, plus 6 or so great grandkids, we need to start scanning and archiving his albums.) He eventually moved to Idaho, designed his own custom house complete with darkroom, and gained some local notoriety for his rodeo, wildlife, and outdoor photography which reflected the McCall, ID area. He opened and ran a gallery with my grandma from 2000 until just last year when he finally REALLY retired. He retrofitted a room in a new house for a dark room, and uses another for a studio where he's again getting back into painting.

Two Christmases ago i received a Sony Cybershot 6 MP point and shoot. I used it mainly at social events and concerts. It got stolen last Halloween from my own house during a giant house party. With limited zoom and simple dial controls for general outdoor/portrait type settings, this is about the best stuff I could get. (Not exactly gallery material....) As long as it was good to the naked eye, it turned out ok. Lately though I've thought about replacing the old Cybershot with a digital SLR; Nikon is the option I want to consider. Yes I've heard Canon are better. No I don't care. What little SLR experience I have with a 'real' camera has been using my grandpa's Nikons, so that's that. I've heard good things about the D40.....they're really pushing the D60 right now, but from what reading I've done it sounds like the D60 is actually lacking in some areas, and otherwise isn't worth the extra expense for someone like me who's looking for a first SLR. If I get one I'll let you know how it goes......hopefully the skills run in the family.


unfinished business

I don't quite know where to start. I have more media to handle than I have time for. This became clear as soon as I left the bookstore with an exciting new book, Sacred Games. It's essentially a sort of primer to modern day Mumbai, if the primer you were after was a sprawling cops vs. gangster tale. It looks cool, it got good reviews, and it was cheap and in next to new condition. Sadly, there are two other +/- 1000 page books vying for my attention - Anna Karenina, and The Stand. (That's in a small hardback though, so the 'real' page count would be smaller.) Another King novel staring at me is Needful Things, a book I hadn't even heard of when I picked it up; it was a one dollar library overstock sale find. That's at least 600 pages or so. I've tried starting A Great Improvisation, a narrative history of Franklin's relations with France that secured their aid in the Revolution, but God bless her the author doesn't know how to hit a stride. I have textbooks that are easier reads. Maybe my best bet is to crack open Flowering Judas (and other stories). Another library sale item, authored by Anne Porter - I've never heard of her. If I finish that, it might get me over the hump and move on to the next book. All told, there are at least 3500 pages yet to be explored.....and that's completely ignoring movies I downloaded and haven't watched yet (Paris, je t'aime, Lost in Translation, Into the Wild, Ghost World, the Sci-Fi Channel Dune) and new albums left silent (Los Campesinos! EP, the newest from Atmosphere, Death Cab, Back Door Slam, and Minus the Bear.) To sum up: don't belittle me when I sit back and flip between the Dog Whisperer and the History Channel. At least it can be done in an hour.


time to get into it.

It's really hard to get into a regular biking schedule....a lot of that has been the weird cold/rainy spells we've been having every other week. I do have a rear blade fender, but really that doesn't help; the worst of it gets kicked up by my front tire and goes straight up. At any decent speed, I ride into this continuous stream. I'm cheap, so rather than buy a front fender I tell myself I'll just ride on nice days. Sadly these same 'nice' days have 40 mph wind to ride into, are days when I have stops to make in my job hunt, or both. All that aside, I'm now pledging to myself, starting this Saturday, to ride at least an hour a day every other day after 5 pm. This is totally feasible since any job hunting I need to do will be done by then, and since it's becoming summer I won't need to buy a light and reflective gear. I'm also not allowing skips due to wind, but I am retaining a rain exception. Unless I'm swimming, I DESPISE being wet. I do like the rain though......driving in it, sitting inside looking at it, etc. I have the luxury of enjoying it since I live in the rainshadow of the Cascades. Tying local geography back in with my original subject, my goal is to be able to bike the canyon to Yakima by September....depending on progress I might change the goal to there and back, but one way is good for now.


i hate times like this.

Every so often I get the feeling that I will definitely not end up using my degree, at least to work in the field I'm going in to. That doesn't really bother me, except that over the past few years, I've gotten the itch to open a restaurant eventually. Being an avid follower of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, I'm aware this isn't for everyone. A major disadvantage for me is that I will have graduated without taking any business related courses. An economics minor will help in terms of general principles, but really I should have signed up for the totally made-up Restaurant Owner major.

off topic:

Sometimes I think I'd like being in a band, then I'm struck by my total lack of experience, or at least singing in front of anyone except my family. Additionally I don't play any instruments, and I for sure have no desire to 'front' a band.....just to get into one. On the other hand, I know I can stay on key pretty good, but as for it sounding pleasant to anybody....that's yet to be seen (heard?). The next step would be to keep an eye out for bands looking to jam. It's that first step that's the biggest.

very off topic:

I'm getting restless and want to get on a plane to some foreign country with no return ticket. The Netherlands sounds good.


MLS Seattle, or 'Football' in a Football City

I'll be the first to say that soccer has never ranked very high for me on the 'let's all get excited' scale. I never played, which is part of the problem. The other part of the problem is just getting over the hump of actually watching a game, even though I don't know anything about the rules. However, after I heard Seattle is getting an MLS team (side?), I figured it would behoove me to brush up a little. The other day I watched most of a Chelsea/Arsenal match that actually ended up being exciting towards the end....especially since I'd decided to root for the underdog. I may not be much of a soccer fan yet, but damn it, if Seattle has a team I'm pulling for it. I'll actually GO to games (matches), since I don't think tickets will be priced so ridiculously high as Seahawks tickets. The proposed names for the teams haven't been too encouraging yet, especially speaking as a general sports fan. Starting tonight at midnight you can vote for A: Seattle Alliance, B: Seattle Republic, C: Seattle FC, or D: a write-in. From the sound of it, diehard soccer types in the area are going to try a Sounders write-in campaign. I don't know or care about the long history the Sounders have in Seattle......it's just a stupid name. (So is the Sonics/Supersonics while we're on the name topic.) My last hope as a sports fan is that the logo and uniforms at least look cool and professional......more than other sports, it's kind of the state's face to the sporting world, and the MLS has plenty of ridiculous teams already. This picture is my favorite jersey choice from some mockups done by some firm or person brainstorming; sadly none of them are being considered. They're all pretty solid. You can see them all at http://www.fanhome.com/forums/sports-logos/10604-4-design-concpets-mls-seattle.html. At least if the team turns out lame, I'll still have my ancestral team to root for.....
Go Oranje!


how do people do it?

I swear, I don't know how a month just went by. I'm definitely not a 'blog every day' person. Oh well. I just moved; that was interesting. I'll just sum that up by saying I'm in a much better environment (plus rent is cheaper and my room is bigger). I'm also super close to downtown, which is nice. I can walk to and from the bars! On a related note, all the snow is gone so I've finally been able to ride my bike all over. I'm still getting used to riding in traffic occasionally and still haven't quite found a good seat height, but otherwise the bike has been great. Eventually I'll want a helmet, and better splash guards, etc. Luckily there's no helmet law in town, and since speed limits are pretty much 25 everywhere it's not an issue.
I made some red curry last night; it wasn't quite what I wanted. I needed to get basil, lemongrass, fish sauce and other authentic thai condiments which I didn't have on hand. It was still ok. I got some plain yogurt and tomato paste; I'm trying some sort of tikka masala next. Delicious! For now though, I'm going to eat an english muffin and watch the office online until LOST COMES ON!! AHHH!!!


who are these people?

eavesdropping at starbucks today i overheard the workers conversing; one was telling the other how they aren't going to vote in the presidential elections because they aren't informed enough. on the surface it seems a noble gesture; staying out of the way of people that know because they care. patriotic almost. but straightaway i realized how totally apathetic one has to be to not be up on candidates. even in primaries you're not dealing with more than 10 between the two major parties. it really takes a five minute introspection regarding what YOUR values are, then a determination of how much you want a government to impose them, if at all. from there, it's a pretty simple matter to find out if someone agrees with you or not. really, it's the height of laziness to not take five minutes and at least figure that out. maybe it wouldn't be such an annoyance if people didn't pour so much time and effort into vapid, asinine pursuits. gotta keep up with america's next top model, espn, and that wacky lie detector game show; God forbid we should come across something intellectually stimulating.
on a related note, i finished reading fahrenheit 451. excellent book. i'll end with a quote. actually two.

"School is shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work. Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts?"

"The home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school. That's why we've lowered the kindergarten age year after year until now we're almost snatching them from the cradle."

-Ray Bradbury (amazingly, in 1953)


i lied.

I'm not done nerding out about Lost. I felt like giving people another compelling reason to watch, beside the storyline. Sometimes I wonder if I should be living in Australia.....


the beginning of the end

Job hunting is frustrating, especially in the dead of winter. It doesn't help when interviewers schedule a time for you to come in, then ask you questions they could have answered had they even looked at your resume. It's also fun to hear that their inattention to detail is such that until just that moment, they didn't realize you didn't have the experience they were looking for anyways. But on a lighter note, I feel free to use 'but' to begin a sentence. No, actually the real lighter note is that LOST IS BACK ON. The premiere was good, but it really did need to be two full hours. I'm too used to instant gratification with the DVDs I suppose. I like the flash forward they're doing now; it really doesn't ruin anything because the future that's flashed to is not the end of the time line. I hadn't noticed until i was reading some articles regarding tonight's episode that in the last episode of season three, Jack insinuates (in what we find out is a flash forward) that his father is still alive. Interesting. Whatever exactly happened with Michael and Walt anyways? Hopefully we see more of their journey off the island, or whatever actually happened. Anyways, I'm done nerding out about that for now, but if you haven't seen it, rent, borrow or steal the DVDs and get crackin'.



i think more people would like rap if they heard guys like mf doom. just like neko case demonstrates that country lyrics can be lyrical and coheed and cambria practically scream through their guitars that rock can have substance, doom and his ilk stand alone trying to save rap. no one who really appreciates rap can even think of jibbs or 50 cent or li'l wayne as belonging to the same genre; it's akin to lumping led zeppelin in with nickelback. to sum up, i'll quote doom himself from his song "Old School" (with Talib Kweli) : "And since when lyrical skills had to do with killin a cat? What type of chitlins is that?"

Danger Doom featuring Ghostface Killah "The Mask"

historic new hampshire province, china

this being my first official "real" blog (i.e., not myspace) i'll be brief. i watched coverage of the new hampshire primaries all night, then i wondered if there was something else i should have been doing. i guess someday though, i can tell the grandkids how i was watching when president (insert name here) won in new hampshire, or lost but came back miraculously, and then went on to take the white house. in all actuality i'll just grumble about how tancredo was my guy but was totally unelectable, and then wax sentimental over 3.40 gasoline, and how when i was a kid we didn't have to take chinese in school. i want a drink now.