Saturday, December 16, 2006 ______________________________________________________________________________

Are You Sure This Isn't Climate Change? 

Over the past three weeks we have had 3 windstorms and a week long snowstorm. The windstorms were bad enough to deprive large communities in the Lower Mainland of power (some areas were without power for 3-4 days, there is a community oustide of the Lower Mainland that still doesn't have power since the first windstorm). The freak snowstorm (supposedly caused by an "arctic front") essentially paralyzed the city. Transit services were running at a diminished capacity. The trains which typically pilot themselves around the track had to be manned by transit personnel. The announcement over the speaker system said that this was to allow them to stop abruptly should there be anything on the tracks. Truth of the matter is that snow was setting off the track alarm (that lets the train know to stop because there's a jumper on the tracks, or something more benign, like a shopping bag full of oranges) and the humans were there because they had to tell the train to ignore the alarms.

What the hell.

No seriously.

There was a foot of snow the first night alone. Do you know how weird that is for Vancouver? In November? Winds were blowing at over 90mph. Trees were falling over everything. Most of the power outages were due to branches and trees severing power lines. I was out of power for 48hours. It gets fucking COLD in here man.

Before this slew of storms, we received an unusually large amount of rainfall. If you know anything about the Pacific Northwest is that it's always raining. Always. I mean even at the best of times it rains once a day, or at least several times a week. Before the storms though, so much rain came down that we experienced massive landslides. Massive landslides which brought mud and wild animal shit into our reservoirs. Vancouver, North Vancouver and Burnaby were under a water advisory for two weeks because the filtration system we currently have were unable to deal with the load. Water was sold out everywhere.

Since I've moved, I've been unable to drink tap water (luckily my neighbourhood was only under water advisory for a day), had my internet knocked out for long stretches of time, had Jim's car stranded at the mechanics because the power cut out before they could lower it, had to wash my hair in frigid water and am now having to rely on a ceramic space heater for heat because for some reason, when the power went out, it also took out the central heating system.

Excuse me, but really. What the fuck is going on?

On a completely different note, stick this in your customer service pipe and smoke it.

Lady [waves at me from 50ft away and runs up to me]: Are you the only one on the floor tonight?

Me [looks around and sees five other employees]: Uhh no.

Lady: Well I haven't been able to find anyone to help me.

Me: I'm here, what can I do for you?

Lady [pulls out our latest flyer and starts to speak slowly]: Okay. This is your latest flyer. See? [shows me the front and back cover and riffles through it] You sent it to me just this week. Okay?

[I nod]

Lady [still talking really slowly]: I want these two items. Do you know where they are?

Me: No, but I have a good idea of where they could be.

Lady [starting to freak out]: What do you mean you don't know where it is? It's in the latest flyer! You work here don't you? Isn't there anyone on this floor who knows anything about THE THINGS IN THE FLYER YOU SEND OUT TO EVERYONE?

[Lady proceeds to grab another employee who is helping another customer]

Lady [shoving the flyer in other employee's face]: Do you know where these things are?

Employee [barely able to see what's being shoved in her face]: No.

Me: I have a good idea of where these things might be. Why don't you come with me.

[I look around to see if there's a free computer where I can look things up, but there isn't. At any rate I think she would flip out if I took her to a computer to find out where things are.]

Lady [talking slowly again]: Okay. Remember, I'm looking for a wine journal and wine label coasters.

[We have a table with wine paraphenalia displayed on it. This is where I take her first. I see some coasters with a vintage-y print on it. They are round. I open it up to take a look at them.]

Lady: Those are not the coasters. These are ROUND. Do you know what wine labels are? Wine labels are not...

Me: I know what wine labels are. And if you want me to help you, you are going to have to not be so nasty.

Lady: That's not the best way to treat your customer, making her feel stupid.

Me: This is not the best way to get me to help you.

Lady [almost yelling now]: You don't need this sale badly enough.

Me: You're right. I don't.

Lady [yelling]: I'm leaving. I'm not going to spend my money here. I'm going to take my money somewhere else.

Me: Okay. [makes shooing motions with my hands] Go.

[Lady storms off.]

Me [to a pair of customers waiting for the lady to be done so I can help them]: Hey guys, how can I help you? [smile]

Awesomeness. :P

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posted by Joie! at 10:17 p.m.


Thursday, December 07, 2006 ______________________________________________________________________________

I Dream of Koreans 

I had a dream last night and I can't decide if I enjoyed it or not. On the one hand I really really really really really liked it, on the other it was really strange and some aspects of it would've turned it into a nightmare were it not mitigated by the everything else.

The dream starts at some kind of tropical resort bungalow. Wooden plank floors, bad reception on the local channels, indoor plants that are so leafy you're secretly worried that there are scary crawly things living inside. Thing is, it's somewhere in Canada. I think it's supposed to be where I'm living now actually because Lisa and David are visiting. They are able to visit because my mother cashed in their airmiles for their plane tickets. (It was at this point that I knew for sure that I was dreaming.) Jim's expected home anytime soon. We're all watching TV on a giant bed with Thai silk prints on the sheets and covers. You know, the kind that you find at tropical resort bungalows.

Someone is knocking to get in and I roll out of the bed to see who it is. I have to go into the corridor (which is carpeted with the same stuff that was on the floor of my old apartment) to descend the wide stairs (which are hardwood and lead to the middle of what can only be described as the foyer). Yul's at the door. Yul's at the door in nothing but those bermuda shorts that he wears on Survivor. (For reference, please see picture are right. Only in the dream he's smiling, not like in the picture where he's looking perturbed.) He asks to come in and join the party. I confess that I have an incredible crush on him. He grins and takes it as a compliment. The best part about it is that he doesn't let that comment make things weird between us. In fact, we're relating to each other as though we've been friends for a long time. We all climb into bed and continue watching TV. I lean against him and his arms are rock hard. My excuse is that with four people in the bed at this point, people have to lean against each other, otherwise there wouldn't be enough space. So there.

Jim gets back and the show we're watching is either over or we've agreed that we've tolerated our fair share of the Malaysian-esque reception we're getting on the heavily subtitled show. We're all getting up to greet him and all I can think of is how psyched I am about introducing him to Yul (who by the way is Jim's pick to win Survivor - Jim picked Brad initially but switched to Yul on the 3rd episode*.) I brush against the leafy foliage and something bites me. Hard. It hurts like a bitch and in no time at all I can't move. I can still see and hear, but I can't move. A bit of scuffling ensues as people decide what to do with me. I'm eventually moved down to the patio (which is carpeted in the same stuff that is covering the floors in our current place). Someone turns the TV back on as they wait for the stuff in me to wear off. The show's boring and I fall asleep.

When I wake up I can move again, but I find everyone panicking because they thought I passed out. There's paramedics everywhere. Jim and Yul are both in paramedic uniforms (HOW HOT IS THAT?!). Things calm down a little and we decide to go to Costco to get groceries. Jim and I don't usually shop there, but since there are five people now (in case you've lost count, there's Lisa, David, Yul, Jim and me) it would make a trip there worth it. Besides, Costco is so much more than a grocery store. We figured we could make an outing out of it. We split up when we get there. I'm with Yul and Lisa and we're looking at bunnies. (No, Costco does not sell bunnies in real lide. Not live ones anyway.) The bunnies are so awesome. One of them puts my finger in its mouth. I thought it was going to bite me. Instead it sucked my finger. Really hard. We all giggle and consider buying Sucky the rabbit then come to our sense and realise that when Sucky the rabbit meets Gato the hunter and Fort-"is that a toy for me"-inbras it would quickly turn into Bleedy the dead bunny. We find Dave and Jim and leave without buying anything.

Next scene I'm at work, having left the other four to entertain themselves. I'm with a co-worker in the Mystery/Erotica section. (I kid you not, the Erotica section is at the end of the Mystery section. Someone had a sense of humour up at corporate.) She's looking for something in the Mystery section, but we're also giggling at some of the Erotica stuff. The lighting in the store is getting gradually darker. Imperceptibly at first, but we notice when we start to have to squint to read the spines of the books. As the place darkens, this letch starts walking by us leeringly asking for help with the Erotica section. We ignore him and think he'll go away but all he does is walk around the back of the shelves to cruise by again. He's doing some kind of circuit as the lights get dimmer and dimmer. Eventually (despite the low-lighting and the letch) we find the book she's looking for. She takes it and leaves the section. I'm following right behind her but I trip on something and fall flat on my face. It's completely dark at this point and I can hear the letch coming up behind me. I know he can't see anything either but the last thing I want is for him to trip on me. So I start yelling.

I must've been yelling in my sleep because before that resolves Fort's nudging me with a wet nose. I think he was drinking water when he heard me. Either way, that was enough to wake me up.

I suppose that would teach me to watch a surreal South Park episode before I sleep. The episode I watched featured a singer called Wing. For a sampling of her tunes, visit her official website. Just for fun, here is a sample of her work. First person to tell me what the hell she is singing wins a prize.

*At the start of all the Survivor seasons Jim, Brian and I choose a player who we think will win. This is largely luck, of course being that you can't really tell much about someone after the first episode. These things are generally binding and you're not allowed to switch your choice. The thing is that after the first episode Jim and I both wanted Ozzy. Jim graciously let me have him and picked Brad only because he got his head pinched in and was the only other person from the episode that Jim remembered. When we watched the next few episodes, Jim wanted to pick Yul instead and because he let me have Ozzy, I let him switch his pick. We do these first episode picks for all the reality shows we watch. Right now the only show on our roster is Survivor 13: Cook Islands.


posted by Joie! at 10:19 a.m.


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