Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Yesterday I sat for the last mid-term that I had. I took the weekend off (as is evident from my previous post
and didn't do anything school related at all. It's relevant at this point for me to mention that I don't have an organizer this semester. I saw one that I really liked (that was rather overpriced) and I was waiting for late October to buy it (it's around this time that they slash the prices). Unfortunately, it sold out before then and I'm so finicky about the kind of organizer that I use that I haven't found another satisfactory one. Since I don't have an organizer, I'm keeping track of everything by looking at my various course outlines in tandem. An organizer lets you put everything in perspective and see everything at a glance. Five different course outlines don't. I just found out that I have a quiz and an essay outline due this Friday as well as a major assignment due this Monday, a minor assignment due on Wednesday and another rather major assignment due this Thursday and so on so forth.
I thought I was going to experience a much needed momentary lull, but I guess not.
Meanwhile, I'm still sick. My stomach is still largely unhappy although no longer alarmingly so. I have not been contacted about the tests that were supposed to have been done on the samples I had provided so I can only assume that there's nothing urgently wrong about them. What I seem to have developed, however is a nasty dry cough and an oddly clogged nose. It is the season for this bug but in lieu of the fact that I can't say that I've been healthy for the past six or seven weeks this is getting old fast. I guess the best thing to do is to kip up in bed with a hot cup of Pei Pa Gao
a few good movies and a supply of hot soup and warm rolls. The only problem is that because I took last weekend off work, I can't take this one (considering that I only
work weekends as it is), I've already missed too many classes to miss anymore and I'm out of Pei Pa Gao. Through all this I'm still driving Jim to work in the morning and home in the evenings putting me at a 4-5hour commute on MWF and a 2-3hour commute TuTh. This also means that my days usually start before seven in the morning, which, at this time of year means chill.
Ugh. I sure hope you guys have all prepared your speeches for my funeral.
On a completely different note, I've taken to adopting Gerbera Daises from the flower cart that they have parked at Broadway Skytrain station. I usually rescue the ones from the bargain bin least of all because they're cheaper. The one that I bought the other day (as seen in this rather lengthy post
) went to seed over the weekend so I bought myself another one. Somehow, I managed to behead the poor thing with the results below.
Sure, it's cute. I hope that it'll still last as long. One of the secrets to keeping cut flowers longer is to change the water daily and trim the stem by 1-2 inches each time. It doesn't look like I'll be trimming anything more off this flower, that's for sure.
Over the weekend I made a wicked beef stew that was served over roasted garlic mashed potatoes (ping me for recipies) for Sunday dinner at Jim's Dad's place. While there we watched Fahrenheit 9/11
. There were many places in which Michael Moore
's biases were very evident and he made several not very well founded arguments. However, there was too much fact
in it to discredit the documentary. Here
you can find a line by line back up of the facts that were documented in the film. In lieu of those facts, Michael Moore's sometimes obnoxious and slanted style becomes irrelevant. He used potent images and personal stories layered over broad overviews of the current political situation. If you haven't seen it yet, you might not want to. Were these things happening in a smaller, less powerful country (say Malaysia? Canada?) it would be amusing. Something along the lines of: Ha! Those politicians are so corrupt but the people still stand for it! It's not about a less powerful, no-global-influence country though. It's happening in the frikking US of A. The single most powerful country in the world.
I don't want to talk about it. It's too scary to think that this is the family that is currently in charge of America. Go see it if you're American because then you can make an informed decision in the upcoming election (6 days away and counting). If it has nothing to do with you, I'm of the opinion that you're better off not knowing. I think this war is best summed up by a piece of art by Joe Wezorek on his blog American Leftist
. It was featured as the cover of the July 2004 issue of Common Ground
. AOL has blocked the transfer of this image via email and the picture will not load under most of AOL's settings [Edit: I just found out that this is probably because Saudis own most of AOL Time Warner
]. Here's the picture:
From Joe's Blog: "It's a mosaic composed of the photos of the American service men and women who have died in Iraq. No photograph is used more than three times." Find the full sized version here. More of what Joe has to say about the image here
It's a scary world out there. Take care.
posted by Joie! at
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Here's what I did today:
All the animals are real and were found at the Vancouver Aquarium
of which I am now a member. Lisa
, listen up. Got two free passes for you to the Aquarium when you come.
posted by Joie! at
Thursday, October 21, 2004
So yesterday I missed all my classes (two of which were the last class before the mid-term) because my stomach was really unhappy. The details are extremely unsavoury so in the name of public interest, I decline to write about them. Suffice to say I was subject to a doctor's appointment that tested (and crossed by several leagues) my comfort zone the results of which were inconclusive.
I was sent to the lab to provide the relevant samples. The phlebotomist
was very skilled. I didn't even feel anything. His easy patter also put me at ease. Nice guy that. There are still some samples that I have to drop off at the lab and I think I'll do that later today. The doctor thinks that it's some kind of virus (if that's the case then I'll just have to sit it out) or it could be something to do with the chemical balance in my stomach.
There are some astrologists that assert that your sun sign corresponds to certain specific health problems that you might have
Virgo, Aug 23-Sept 22: Ailments of the abdomen and intestines, digestive debility.
You know, if you talked to the people that were around me when I was a real small kid this prediction wouldn't surprise them. I was queen of projectile vomiting. Anything that went in, wanted out. One of the oldest restaurants in Germany has a stain on their carpet courtesy of me. Growing up, I had many stomach problems, but that was mainly because I was lactose intolerant but my mom made me drink milk nonetheless. In all fairness, I didn't like drinking milk so my mother thought I was just making excuses.
Right now my stomach is pissed off. If I don't eat I get gastric pains. If I do eat it wants out in the most ungracious manner. It's quite a conundrum. What I'm doing is that I'm eating and staying reeaaaal close to a bathroom. I figure that my body must be absorbing some
of what I'm eating. I'm also taking some kind of vitamin and mineral supplement which tastes like Cointreau
. It's even 16% alcohol (Cointreau's at 41% alc.). I'll admit there's a slight temptation to have a little more of the supplement than the bottle advises, although the obvious warning on the label about the effects of too much iron in your system is sufficient enough to discourage me from giving in to my inclinations. Mmmm, I like Cointreau, it's so expensive here though.
Right now I'm eating wholegrain pasta in Classico
pasta sauce (the one with italian sauages
). I'm going insert a little plug here. Classico is the best pasta sauce that I have ever had. Sometimes I augment it with some sauteed garlic and onion and perhaps some ground beef (for the sauces that are meatless) but for the most part it's good enough to use right out of the mason jar
. A side benefit is
the mason jar that it comes in. They are so convenient. I find that with the other types of commercial pasta sauce I have to work on them quite a while before they are palatable. For Classico, it's right out of the jar and onto my pasta. With nothing scary on the label (i.e. all the listed ingredients are things that I would use to make my own pasta sauce from scratch) it's the hands down best convenience food on the market.
On the pasta episode
of Good Eats
, Alton Brown
talks about how you're not supposed to rinse pasta because it washes away the stuff on the outside of the pasta that allows the sauce to bind to it. I've always been taught to rinse pasta in order to halt the cooking process. Very often, I find that if you don't rinse in cold water then the residual heat will continue to cook the pasta making it mushy and gross. For someone who likes her pasta just a tad underdone, this is a disaster. But I've always trusted AB's adivce. Plus, it makes perfect sense. You want the sauce to adhere to the pasta, otherwise it would be less than Good Eats. The solution? Don't heat up the pasta sauce
. So easy! Let the residual heat from the pasta heat up the sauce and not itself! The obvious bonus is that now you don't even need a pot to heat the sauce in and clean up is now -1.
Ugh. As good as my meal was, it doesn't seem to want to stick around. Got to run (in more ways than one).
posted by Joie! at
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Random, Tired Things
I just got back from a shift at the Casino. I like the shifts that I'm getting although some people consider them the bum shifts. I like them because they're only 6-6.5 hours long. They are considered the bum shifts for exactly that reason. I was at the $10 minimum blackjack table tonight, although looking at the majority of the bets, you wouldn't be able to tell. I'm starting to get used to people buying in for $400-500 without blinking, but I'm still not so used to it that I don't think about it after. Alot. For a long time. I mean there was this guy tonight, and believe me, this is not unusual, who bought in for $500 5 times. He'd lose all his chips, leave the table and then return after a smoke and a visit to the bank machine. After the fourth time he asked my pit boss whether the casino had a cash advance.
Just to clarify, here's the difference between an ATM machine and a cash advance. At an ATM machine (we call them Interac
machines here) you use your bank card to withdraw funds from your account. Usually, if the particular ATM you are using isn't owned/operated by your bank, you would be subject to some service charges. Either way, the point is that you are taking money that you have in your bank account from your bank account. Now a cash advance is an entirely different thing. A cash advance is called an advance
because you don't actually have the money. It's cash that you get from a machine (some ATM machines are cash advance AND Interac machines) but that's borrowed from Visa
or whoever else you might be carrying in your wallet. For the record, If you have credit cards other than the two named above...really, what's the point?
I digress. Most, if not all, credit card providers have a special rate when it comes to cash advances. Either it's a higher APR
or they start charging interest immediately (unlike a purchase, which normally only starts accruing interest 30 days after the transaction. Read your cardholder's contract for specific details). The point here is that you should only use cash advances when you're in a real bind. Well, that's their intended use anyway.
So back to the guy that was at my table. After $2000 he asks my pit boss if he can get a cash advance in the casino. So there's NO MORE MONEY IN HIS BANK ACCOUNT. Now he wants to BORROW money to gamble. It looked like he was the type of guy who could afford it. Also, his reactions to losing his money didn't seem indicative of someone who had a gambling problem. I know more or less what to watch out for in terms of problem gambling and I think my supervisors actually have to go through a course of it. So I don't think this guy was in any danger or anything. Here's the kicker though. He didn't spend the whole night at my table. It's extremely possible (and highly likely) that he played at other tables tonight. If he dropped $2500 at my table, how much did he drop tonight? It's really his own business and not mine, but something twangs in me when I think that there are dozens (maybe more) people that can drop a year's worth of my tuition on a night that I'm working at the casino. (In fact, just last week I had this guy playing $500-$1000 PER HAND OF BLACKJACK. He was playing 2-3 spots at a time) You know, I'd gladly deal to them in the comfort of their homes for that amount of money. I guess I don't have the money to pay them out in the unlikely event that they win though. That's why there's casinos. Ohhhh.
Knitting needles don't just up and walk away. I bought myself a new skein of wool today in a colour that would match my hat to make a scarf. I want a scarf that would match my hat because I would be wearing it alot more often for two reaons. (1)Winter is coming and I'm going to need to wear a hat anyway. (2)I'm going to be wearing that particular hat very often (not least because it's my ONLY hat) but also because Lisa's sending me this
to stick in it. According to Lisa it's more of a fuschia colour that's not really reflected in the webcam shot of it.
Oh great. I left out some turkey and now Gato's dragged some out of the bowl that I left it in and is eating the piece over my open Psych 100
textbook. Great. She dropped it. Just like I figured she would because that's just how she eats stuff. Just great. Oh wait look! She's decided to move and eat over my Visa bill. Oh, oh wait, oh...she's walking away! And she's left turkey on some papers that I hope are not important. Great. Love you Gato. (In case any of you still don't know, Gato's the black one)
Knitting needles. Right. So I keep all my craft stuff in one place. Well, two places, to be honest. Storage has got all the stuff that I use for knitting and there's this box in my coat closet with a random bunch of stuff and my latch-hooking supplies. Either way, there's only two possible places for my knitting needles because I haven't used them since I moved here and so they should be in either of the two places. I have two pairs of knitting needles, one metal and one plastic. The plastic ones are obscenly thick and I was using them to make something out of that extra fluffy wool that results in a really soft weave. The fluffiness of the wool makes it a real bitch to handle so it's been a work in progress for a while. There's one plastic needle still attached to it (if you've seen anyone knitting you will know what I mean). The other three knitting needles are gone.
Uh huh. Three out of four knitting needles have gone AWOL. Did someone break into my storage locker, remove all the loose knitting needles, leave everything else there, replace the lock and leave? I mean seriously now. I would understand if my metal pair is missing. Perhaps for some reason I took them out intending to use them and then left them somewhere (my apartment really isn't that big so if that's the real explaination then I would've found them by now...). It's plausible. But what about the other plastic one? I know that I kept it with the unfinished piece precisely because it was unfinished. It's not like I would remove it to use it for something else seeing as how knitting needles are only useful in pairs. The only thing I can think of is that the plastic one planned the break out.
In case anyone was wondering. Yes, I have better things to steal than knitting needles (especially a single knitting needle) out of my storage locker. The folding bike in particular would have been very easy to carry off.
You know what's interesting. I bought a Gerbera Daisy
for myself on Friday. It's very pretty. It's got raspberry-cream petals with a fuschia centre. It was looking really sad because it was in the bargain bin with other more refugee-looking flowers. I had to rescue it. If any of your out there are familiar with Gerbera Daisies (which just happen to be my favourite flower) then you would know that the stem tends to bend just below the flower. I'm not sure why, but it's probably got to do with the weight of the flower in relation to the strength of the stem. I left it overnight in the car by accident because there were a great many things to take from the car as I was leaving it last night. I brought it in early this afternoon and the stem didn't look any worse for wear than when I had bought and I had bought it with that characteristic bend.
All I had to put it in was a 250ml bottle that used to hold real Balsamic vinegar. (Did you know that most of the stuff that's marketed as balsamic vinegar is really balsamic flavoured
red wine vinegar? To know if you're getting the real stuff, read the label carefully. Generally if it says "Di Modena" it's real. I don't know what that means though) So I had to trim the 1.5ft stem to 6-7 inches. I added the correct amount of flower food and stuck it in. Here's the result:
Look! No bend!
Isn't that interesting? I didn't know that the stem would straighten out again. By the way, it is a very pretty flower. I'm sorry I didn't get a better shot of it but the bottom line is that my digital camera was running out of battery and any angle that would have shown how gorgeous it really is would not have shown the straightness of the stem. I like Gerbera Daisies.
Earlier today, after I got home from my MUSC 103 final exam (glad that's over...what a tedious piece of shit course. Don't get me started) I got on to MSN
. I was engaged in a three-way (now before you start...the three of use are in three separate continents here...) with Lisa
. Oh my God it was so much fun. I didn't think online conversations could
be that much fun I think I almost died laughing at one point. I love the both of you and I can't wait for you guys to come over. Man! I don't know about you but there are times when you get the feeling that the people you are interacting with really get
you. You don't have to censor yourself and the last thing you are worried about is how you are appearing because they enjoy you for who you are and you them. Ahhh, I'm getting gushy.
Goodness. I just noticed the size of the little bar thing that goes up and down the scroll bar. This is a ridiculously long entry. I guess I am
a little wired. I always am coming off a shift at the casino. Being a croupier means that you have to be "on" the whole time you're on shift. The 15 minute break that I get every hour isn't for winding down (as everyone else thinks it is. I'm usually told how lucky I am that I get to break every hour) it's for re-focusing. There's a tremendous amount of brain and energy that has to go into card dealing and I guess I can't just switch off after an evening.
Wow. I thought I would end the entry last paragraph. Wow. I can't believe that I have more to blog. Wow. I can't believe that you're still reading this. Wow. I think I should wind down now seeing as how it's ten to two and I need to be up early tomorrow so that I can study for my mid-term on Monday. (I have another shift at the casino tomorrow night. Another 6 hour shift. Man, I'm loving it) Wow. Ok, ok. Apologies for a long and disjointed entry. Be very
glad it isn't longer and more disjointed. Goodnight everybody!
Oooh, oooh, I just did a word count. Not including this last line addition, there are 1901 words in this entry. Man I'm wired.
posted by Joie! at
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Some smartass came up with the line "Why do they call it rush hour when none of the cars are moving?". I always thought that was a stupid line. The obvious answer to that is regardless of whether the vehicles are moving, the drivers are in a rush to get to their destination. The only reason they are in a rush is because traffic is at a standstill. If traffic was moving, then there would be no need to rush
anywhere. They'd just go there. Like during Go hour.
Wait a tic, what's all this talk about rush hour then? With the advent of the U-Pass
shouldn't I be a strictly transit girl? Shouldn't I spend rush hour languishing in the back of a bus wisely spending the time that I have to myself catching up on required readings? Catching up on some sleep? Catching up on the latest headlines
by annoying the person next to me and reading their newspaper over their shoulder? I should be, really. But here I am, caught in traffic during rush hour, heading home into Vancouver while everyone else is heading to work. What's wrong with this picture?
. So Jim's license was taken away for two months. Getting to work on time for him would mean two hours in transit across three "zones"
or $4 per one-way trip (for those of you looking at the map, he has to go from yellow to green). So about $80/month for a one-way trip. If he were to ride the bus back, then it would be $120/month for a three zone bus pass. Not to mention about four hours in transit daily. Not a pretty picture. So here's the deal. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I drive him to work, park the car in the Kobelt Manufacturing
employee parking lot and then take the bus to UBC
arriving half an hour before my 9am class
. Works out pretty well because in the mornings we're headed out
of Vancouver while everyone else is headed in
. The opposite of rush hour? Go hour. I get to Surrey (map below) in about 20 minutes.
As a point of interest, note Point Roberts on the map. It's technically part of the US so what happens is that in siutations where you buy stuff online and they would only ship to the US, you get them to ship it to Point Roberts which (if you note it on the map) is decidedly farther away than any given point on the Canadian border. Jim's dad has a mailbox in Point Roberts for this expressed purpose. He lives about a 10-20 minute drive away from it. You've got to love the postal system. I'd better stop talking about it though, otherwise someone with a semi-automatic weapon might open fire in my direction. Oh and if you're reading this Lise, now's the time to order stuff online and have them ship it to Jim's Dad's Point Roberts mailbox. It'd be here just in time for you to pick up. Check out this site
for stuff you might want to order. Free shipping on orders over $200, so we might be able to co-ordinate something.
Back to the point. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I don't have class until 3:30pm. (Well on Thursdays I have an optional review class that I regularly attend at 1pm) so I thought that it would be a good idea to bring the car back into Vancouver so that I wouldn't have to take the bus from Surrey. You see, to get to UBC from Surrey is easy enough because I can take the Skytrain
(Vancouver's version of the MRT
) and then take a direct bus from the Skytrain station to UBC. It's a service that they provide. But if I wanted to get home, then I would have to spend two hours in an inconsistent bus from a skanky Skytrain station. Not that they're not all skanky, just this one a little more than others, although by no means the worst. So I decided to drive
home. Into Vancouver, with the morning rush hour traffic.
Almost an hour of stop and go in a manual car later, I'm home. I've just had garlic cheese bread for breakfast and I think it wants out. So I'm going to end right here. If any of you out there see the guy who composed that line about rush hour, give him a smack upside the head for me alright?
posted by Joie! at
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Cause for Celebration
I received a rather frantic email from Lisa
asking for a prompt reply to the following questions:
1. How much room do you have?
2. Are you relatively free for the three weeks starting just before Christmas?
Believe you me, the way I've phrased the questions are infinitely more coherent than they were put in the email that I was sent. I thought that my assistance was needed to set up some kind of emergency refugee camp for people who were being heavily persecuted. The real reason behind the frenzied request was that she was planning to come here.
See starting in 1996 after the PSLE, Lisa and I have travelled together every four years. It was Austrailia in '96, Vancouver in '00. So we were due again this year. The only problem was that now we were in markedly different continents and neither of us had the money (now that we were both working for very little and going through post-secondary education) or really the time to make any plans for '04. Well, it turns out that Lisa's dad (my Kukong) who works for Singapore International Airlines
can get her a ticket. So she's going to come over! She's also promised to bring over her copy of The Sims 2
and install it on my computer. I can't stop thinking about it. I'm literally counting down the days until she arrives, which is a little difficult on account of the fact that she hasn't confirmed her arrival date.
I haven't seen Lisa since she returned to Singapore after completing her provincials here. We've mostly talked online, had a few scattered phone calls here and there, but nothing, really, can take the place of actually physically being in the same place together. I'm planning on going all-out-tourist with her. It should be fun because apart from the obvious tourist attractions like the Vancouver Aquarium
I haven't done the touristy things either. In an earlier MSN
conversation the topic of housecleaning came up. I was putting off cleaning the house as usual and I saw fit that I spend the time I was avoiding doing housework researching companies that provided housekeeping services. My search turned up this guy
. At $60/hr his services were priced at over three times the going rate. What's the big deal? Well, I'll let you check his webpage out yourself. Meanwhile, Lisa and I agreed that if she were to ever come over to my place that we'd hire him to clean my apartment while Jim visited with his friends.
The best part about all this is that I have been preparing for this for a while now. Just take a look at this entry
to appreciate the efforts I have taken to become a viable host.
I don't know if I can stand the anticipation. There are two more months before she's going to land here, I just hope I can concentrate on other things in the interim.
posted by Joie! at
Monday, October 04, 2004
Some of the more observant among you might notice that there have been a few slight changes that have been made around here. Before I begin talking about everything, I would like to offer my most sincere apologies for subjecting all of you out there to an excruciating colour scheme and a regularly obscured text area.
For the most part, the only place that I view my blog from is, naturally, my home computer. It looks fine here, obviously, I made all the fine-tuning adjustments here. The colour was fine and all the text could be seen. When I switched from the latest version of Internet Explorer
to Mozilla Firefox
behest, I realised that the CSS
didn't really hold up all that well. Now I like CSS and I like Mozilla (for how mamzing I think Mozilla is look at this entry
. And don't even get me started on Ctrl+T) but the CSS on my blog template just didn't express itself at all on Mozilla. In fact, very often the result was that most of the first post got obscured by the other elements on the page. Going through my archives (as well as the diminishing frequency at which I was posting) one gets a good sense of why I really didn't do anything until this point.
Then I started surfing while I was on campus. Now UBC's
computers are a varied bunch. They all have varying browsers and they don't all come from the same generation (or even a recent generation, for the most part). As I moved from computer to computer, I was witness to the travesty that was my blog. For all those out there who continued to read my entries despite this, thanks, I'm touched. Something had to be done and soon! I needed a skin that was nice and simple and that would give me a good berth for my rather lengthy posts. I was really tempted by this one
but the problem was that I had a few too many elements on my blog and I didn't really like the thing/smiley/unpleasant paint failure in the bottom left corner. I was going to cover him up with those random pictures of mine but my CSS wasn't good enough to do it within the time that I had planned to spend on redesigning my blog. Besides, more CSS didn't seem like such a great idea.
of Calvin and Hobbes
fame noted in his Tenth Anniversay Collection that the eye is lazy and therefore attracted to white spaces. He was explaining why it was harder to do his Tracer Bullet private eye spots that used alot of black in order to re-create the film noir mood that the theme required. I have to agree with him. It's alot nicer to read black print on white than it is to read another colour on black. Moreover on some of the computers in the UBC lab the pink that I saw on my home computer (a Dell
, incidently that's really, really nice) it glared toward red. Something like pink with a really bad case of acne. When I saw that effect, I resolved to do something about it within the week. Last week was really busy and I was stressed out to no end due to the fact that I was sick but still desperately wanted to be on top of all my school work (and go to work on the weekends). This is the start of a new week.
Hope you guys like it. And yes, the pictures of the cat at the top of my blog? That's Fort. Innee cute?
posted by Joie! at