Another crazy cat video

The dog's passivity is what gets me, and the kitten's tenacity!
Good "cats are crazy" montage

Am I that fragile?

You Are 61% Grown Up, 39% Kid

Congratulations, you are definitely quite emotionally mature.
Although you have your moments of moodiness, you're usually stable and level headed.

I guess not, but according to their image of me I have much fancier undergarments than when I last checked.


The brunch connoisseur

I am a fiend for brunch. Every weekend we brunch, sometimes twice. There's an enormous selection of brunch spots in Vancouver, many within walking distance of the house. Saturday morning it can sometimes be a major debate as to where we should order our eggs benny. To make things a bit easier for friends who want to brunch, and to illustrate the extensive nature of my brunch habit and preferences, I created a tally sheet of places we have brunched. If you click on the image it should open larger in a new window (or maybe this window).

I'll tell you a bit about the categories.

Coffee: Drip coffee doesn't do it for me, especially at brunch. I expect an espresso machine and a good one at that! Any place receiving less than three stars for coffee has offered me drip coffee, sometimes crappy drip coffee. Locus rules the coffee category, hands down. They only serve espresso coffee and refills are free!

Cream: I'll do the little plastic creamer cups if there's nothing else, but a few places bring a small jug of cream or milk instead. Those places rock. One or two stars denotes plastic creamers while a higher number of stars means they bring jugs of liquid and the Tomato Cafe even asks if you want cream or milk.

Menu: Before the food gets to you, the best menu offers a wide selection of interesting options, appealing to a variety of palates. Locus certainly meets the diversity quotient, but they don't offer many standards like a tried and true, old-style benedict. The Tomato Cafe has terrific, fresh ingredients but a very limited, boring menu, particularily for vegetarian options. C'mon guys, vegetarian food can be very creative! Additionally, some brunchers get annoyed at over-the-top kitschy menus forced upon them before their morning coffee reaches their brains. Slickety Jim's have an extremely annoying menu, according to those people. I'm not one of those people; I find it amusing. *shrug*

Food: The heart of the matter. I judge brunch restaurants by their holandaise sauce since it is a key decision for the house chef: do we make sauces from scratch or chump-out and buy a can of gloop? Barney's, The Tomato, and Crave have the best holandaise on this list. The Main, though short on menu options, has great food even if their holandaise leaves something to be desired. The Templeton has great, traditional fare, including milkshakes, while Locus offers baskets of freshly baked, delicious bread with tasty flavoured butters. Everyone has a poison!

Service: A grumpy or inattentive server can ruin brunch, so can an overly enthusiastic, grovelling server. The Elbow Room, famous for their grumpy, nasty staff (they pride themselves on this aspect), actually give fair service meaning timely, etc. Service at The Tomato has never been exemplary and they run the gamut from absent to grovelling described above. Locus wins points again because the owner/manager guy is always around, bussing tables, getting fresh coffees, checking that everything is alright.

Ambiance: All the above plus decor, layout and architecture pull together to create an ambiance. Locus and Slickety Jim's have wacky decor that you can ponder while you await your meal, if you haven't brought a newspaper. Crave changes hands pretty regularily but no one seems to want to replace the crap baseball photos on the walls. Crave and The Elbow Room definitely leave something to be desired in terms of ambiance, while The Main, The Templeton, and Caffe Barney pick up the slack.

Decibels: Four out of five people claims a degree of hearing loss, so why linger over brunch if you can't hear the witty banter of your tablemates? The Tomato, for all its bright colours and funky look, is Too Loud when it's busy - which is almost always. The Main is a bit quieter at brunch time and I have never had any trouble hearing the conversation while brunching there. The Elbow Room is not called The Elbow Room because you get a lot of it. When I have been there it's been packed to the gills and those meager inches separating one table from the next make it impossible to hold a conversation at lower than shouting level.

According to the tally sheet Locus wins hands down. In truth, I couldn't brunch there every week because the food is a bit wacky and a bit rich (not the expensive kind of 'rich'). I'm head over heels in love with the Huevos Rancheros at The Main, but their coffee is kind of crap. We visit The Tomato too often for my taste (because of the boring menu) but the food is tasty and fresh and the coffee is definitely decent. What can I say? I love to brunch!


Hiney, hiney, oh!

My bum be sore!

Let me qualify that. At the cult on Tuesday we ran 5km then had a lecture/demo from a chiropractor who is also into biomechanics and stuff. She stretched us but good! I really enjoy stretching but I just never make time for it, so the rare day that includes stretching usually means a couple days of pain to follow. She showed us this glute (aka. ass) stretch that has caused intense ache in my bottom ever since.
I might go find a hot tub to sit in for a few hours until the muscles give up their pain to the sweet swells of bubbly water. I know, I know. If I worked regular stretching into my day I would not be in this much pain. Well, in a perfect world...


news brief

Apologies for not posting more lately. Life picked up the pace a little over the last week so it has been hard to find time to post, but not hard to find things to write about.
Bullet point update:
  • Mark and Stacie Iwaasa showed up unexpectedly and we had a terrific visit last week. They are about to have their first child so it was really nice to have a visit with the two of them, and Denali, just before their lives change dramatically. They are both super excited about the little Iwaasa, though maybe Stacie is even more excited to have a year off from teaching. Kidding! While they were here we ate, we ate a lot, visited the Science World (saw the Lego presentation of ancient Egypt - very cool), played some bocce ball at the park, and ate some more. It was truly a great time spent together. Thanks for dropping by, guys!
  • On the weekend, Rocco, Steven and I all went to the Great Canadian VW Show in Coquitlam. We drove little Beatrice out there (she performed admirably and got us there and back without any problems) Sunday afternoon to see the collection of Volkswagens. What cars! My friends made fun of me later for going to a car show but it was so much fun. There were maybe 7 or 8 Type 3s, some of them in immaculate condition and some being refurbished. More VW vans than you will see in one place, except maybe in the parking lot at a West coast folk music festival, and some very odd, rare cars like the Type 4 and the VW dual-cab truck (who knew?). I'll post some pics from the show soon. We picked up an extra seatbelt for $10 at the part swap so we can replace the rear passenger belt that rusted out of the car a few years ago.
  • Some of my friends suggested a beach picnic on Sunday evening so I met up with them and brought lots of dips, crackers, roasted red peppers and cut up endive. There was too much to eat, beer and wine, etc.
    It actually got quite cool out after sunset so the plan shifted to keep the party going at someone's house. I was the only one without a bike, so Miranda (of the Yukon adventure) doubled me the whole way. Thighs of steel, that Miranda. I sat on the rack behind her. Let me tell you about ab workouts! That was Sunday, today is Wednesday and I'm still feeling muscle ache in my abs when I sneeze, run, sit up, or turn a page in my book. I'm going to patent it and sell the process on the Home Shopping Network. Get your wallets ready.
  • The reason I didn't have my bike is because Sunday morning found me running with the cult (that's the Running Room to you uninitiated). I'm training for a half-marathon and we have worked up to 16km for the long runs on Sundays. Most of us in the group have 'suddenly' realized that the 10km distance is perfect - just long enough to get a good workout and not so self-punishing that you feel like you're atoning for the sins of 13-year-old Catholic boys everywhere. My feet were sooooo sore, and I'm beginning to question the sanity of this endeavour. Another 16km this coming Sunday, and 18km on next week’s long run. These days we are running about 40 to 50km a week, all told. I'm experiencing a lot of foot pain so am trying out some fancy arch supports. Since they seem fancier than they seem useful, I might be laying down the cash for new shoes sometime this week. Blah. The cult continues to make money off me.
This is a much more personal update than you usually get. I try to to stick to more newsy items than personal anedotes, but this is what's been a happenin' so this is what you get. You don't really want to hear about my cat's current and evolving issues with inappropriate defecation, do you? I didn't think so.


More Holga results

Both pictures taken at Locarno Beach two Saturdays ago. And yes, that sasquatch-like footprint was made by yours truly. These two pics are currently in a photo comp in a chat forum I post to. Wish them luck!


Newest rental addiction

Cruising the Black Dog video store the other day, Rocco and I noticed a tv series we hadn't heard of, available on DVD. Dead Like Me is produced by MGM and apparently airs on the Sci Fi chanel for those who have cable tv.

It's quite funny and very, very odd. The lead is an 18-year-old girl who is killed by the toilet seat of the Mir space station as it plummets to Earth. She dies in the first 20 minutes of the pilot episode. Allegedly, some souls have work to do before they can pass over, and newly-dead George (aka. Georgia) gets recruited as a grim reaper. Her job is to capture the soul of a person just before they die. Illogical and bizarre situations arise, colleagues are weirdos, and her family have trouble dealing with George's death.

Some of the characters are better than others, but many of the actors are familiar. Ellen Muth plays George and is essentially annoying and incapable of expression. But really, that's like any normal 18-year-old, so maybe she's doing an ok job of acting. From the tv series Criminal Minds, Mandy Patinkin plays Rube, the head-honcho reaper, on Dead Like Me. I can only think of him as Gideon in the Criminal Minds show since he really plays the same character and doesn't seem to be doing anything at all different in this series.
One of my favourite characters on Dead Like Me is Roxy, played by Jasmine Guy. Anybody of my generation watching The Cosby Show or A Different World will recognise Jasmine. I think she was the all-snooty, all-terrible, southern-accented bitch who maybe dated Theo on The Cosby Show then was living in residence at college on A Different World. Roxy is waspy and hormonal. She works as a parking attendant for her day job (yes, reapers need regular jobs too) and deals with a lot of shit, as you can imagine. She's super fun to watch and I wish she would show up more often.

It's a pretty good show. We're rented the pilot episode and half of the first season so far. I think Rocco might be picking up Season I, part II this afternoon. This is the best way to watch a tv series, I think. You can watch it in your own time, stretching them out if you want to savour the season, or overdosing and watching all the episodes in one long sitting with lots of supplies like chips and juice. Who needs cable when you can get your hands on just what you want when you want it? You should get your hands on Dead Like Me. It's no hilarious, really, and not the best series I've ever seen, but it is definitely entertaining and different. Forget all about Six Feet Under, because this is better.



We suspect there's a sting about to go down on our street, or at least there's somebody being staked out. That's why I'm whispering, 'cause the unmarked but ever-so-obvious* cop car is parked just across the street from the window I am sitting at while typing this. The car has roll bars and double aerials. It has an on-board computer thing and no hubcaps, which I'm told are all dead give-aways. Our nextdoor neighbour leads an alternative lifestyle, and I've suspected a strong lean towards the narcotic in him and his random collection of regular/irregular visitors.

When I was living in Toronto I watched two bounty hunters get their prey, a mid-thirties woman, from a walk-up apartment building across from my bus stop. My local grocer and I discussed it at length while the man and woman dressed in black fatigues kept their right hands on their holsters and staked out, then flushed, the building. It's kind of exciting to see that sort of thing right in front of you instead of on the glowing cube, but I would rather it didn't happen anywhere near my home. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather live in a slightly grittier area than a fully gentrified, yuppified "community", but I still want to live somewhere safe and clean.

Anyway, in tonight's case, we think the cop across the way is being intentionally obvious. It may not be a marked car but apparently anyone in the know would recognise enough to get their dope somwhere else tonight. I feel like going out there to tell him that most of the customers come in the afternoon and through the back gate, though some do come to the front of the house. On the whole, it is probably best to stay the hell out of it and keep to my own business. Still, I'll keep you all updated if anything big goes down! Ssshhhhhhh!

*I'm the naive one; Rocco is the informed one.


Holga results

I don't know why it has taken me so long to post the results of my first Holga experiments. As you may recall, I was given a Holga camera for my birthday in June. It's a plastic camera, complete with plastic lens, that is renowned for light leaks and atmospheric results. I wanted to load up at least three pictures but Blogger is being difficult this morning. Only one file would load so here is a photo of a tree stump, taken in Johnson Canyon in Banff National Park.

It really doesn't show off the magic of the Holga. I'll keep trying to load a few more photos so you can see what the camera produces. Sorry for the delay.


Faux pas - geddit?

Hmm, cauliflower, eh? That's the worst smell in the world! Right this moment, my hand smells of Bactine. You see, I made a faux pas.

Running along, trying to ignore the many little voices urging me to walk, I decided to speed up in an attempt to pass a gas station before the little red Audi pulled away from it and into my path. At just that exact same moment, a crack in the notorious Vancouver sidewalk chose to yawn, opening a great chasm before me complete with cliffs on either side of the abyss. Needless to say, the now chasmic (is that even a word) crack was too much for me and I careened forward with great momentum.


All one hundred and seventeen people at the gas station saw me grate the sidewalk with my skin and rushed over to exclaim the ever-helpful, "Are you alright?" For christ's sake stop looking at me! Get outta here! Forget you ever saw me and the bleeding stumps that are my limbs! I hoisted myself up and got right back on trucking. Strangely, the rest of the run felt much better, even with the stream of blood coursing down my leg from what used to be my knee.

Ok, I'm exagerating. The story is true in its entirety but my wounds are not fatal. I did run dripping blood, and I do look damn rugged (if I say so myself), but really the worst of it is a nickel-sized pus-oozing hole on my left palm. It's gross. It's so gross even I won't post a picture.


Back atcha

So. How's everyone feeling today? What's the weather like? Smell anything unusual you need to report?