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Archive for August, 2009

Parental road trip saga continued…

Monday, August 31st, 2009

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Continuing on from this post.

Midway’s nice, but it’s in the middle of nowhere. The tow truck arrived in the morning to take them to Penticton, where the nearest GM dealership was. It was then that they found out that GM had issued a warning about defective ignitions nine days earlier and that this had been the second case brought into that particular dealership that day.

It would take several days to fix. On the phone the rental company staff were incredulous. Surely they were just putting the key into the ignition wrong. It didn’t really matter though. They’d made arrangements to deal with the car, leaving the parental unit stuck in Penticton.

It just so happens that this weekend was the Penticton Iron Man, which meant that there was zero accommodation, no rental vehicles and no taxis available anywhere in town. The parents didn’t want to stick around for very long.

The rental company wasn’t offering any solutions to the problem so they booked a flight home with Air Canada at ridiculous expense. After the tickets were booked, they were informed that another rental car was waiting for them in Kelowna… if they could get there. Too little too late.

That’s where Du and I come in. They apparently had too many souvenirs on their persons to be able to take the Canada line so we were to drive out to rescue them from the airport.

We wandered around the terminals while we waited and berated them in absentia. Of all the flights they could have taken, they just had to take the one that was delayed. If they’d flown from Regina it would have been on time, and the ones from Toronto and Winnipeg were early.

We only had to wait about half an hour though. That was a good thing because if I had spent any more time at YVR I probably would have done or said something horribly inappropriate. Something about the security cameras and the uniformed people everywhere really brings out the stupid in me.

The car was tail-ended a month ago, so we can’t get the trunk open. Getting four bodies and all their luggage crammed inside made for an awkward trip home in which many limbs fell asleep, making it even more awkward to fall out of the vehicle at the end.

This always seems to happen.

Friday, August 28th, 2009

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We’re in Rock Creek, they said, we’re at the gas station and the car won’t start.

This used to happen all the time. We’d go on a road trip somewhere and then suddenly something about our vehicle would screw up. The headlights wouldn’t work, or the heat when it was snowing or it would just break down.

The most expensive time was when they were in the interior and the transmission in the van died. They had to take a Greyhound bus home, rent a car here and then have the van towed all the way into Vancouver from Trail before they could get the transmission replaced.

That was the last straw. No more using our own vehicle for trips!

But rental vehicles aren’t really much better. That’s why they phoned us from Rock Creek. They needed phone numbers and information and someone with an internet connection.

They finally got a hold of the rental company which is replacing the car tomorrow. Finding accommodation isn’t so easy. Rock Creek’s four motel rooms have been booked solid all summer by BC Fire Service. There are a couple rooms over the bar, but the tow truck driver informed them that they did NOT want to stay there.

So… Midway it is! It’s equally as in the middle of nowhere, which is to say slightly larger than Rock Creek but further away from any community of a reasonable size. They called ahead to the motel there and a kindly woman with a British accent answered, and told them that she could find them a room.

When they arrived, there was nothing anywhere to eat so the hotel’s restaurant reopened to make them some sandwiches. Good small town service.

Bridal Falls

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

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Bridal Veil Falls is one of those little touristy things that we’ve always seemed to pass over. For years we used to drive to the Okanagan twice a month, but I haven’t seen a lot of the things to see on the way.

The view from the official viewpoint is nice, but it’s not the one you find in old postcards from the 40s, which seems to be a lot closer to the falls.

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There’s actually a trail that leads up to what was previously the viewpoint. Presumably there was an observation deck there, but only some concrete footings and a bit of twisted metal remains. I guess it must have washed out a couple years ago.

Though no longer maintained, the trail is a lot easier and safer than the steeper, unstable slope people let their kids play on. No one particularly cares about the no trespassing sign.

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One of the main rules you learn in rockhounding is that more often than not, no trespassing signs placed in the middle of nowhere are in place more for liability reasons than to prohibit entry. If you get hurt, you understand that it’s your own fault and don’t sue. It was a commonsense attitude spawned from my grandparents’ generation, before society got ridiculously litigious and liability-obsessed.

Needless to say, in spite of wearing horribly impractical shoes, I got really close. Like everyone else.

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Tuesday purgatory

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

The weather was indecisive today. It was supposed to rain but the clouds hung oppressively without doing anything. The sun tried to poke through without much luck. It was neither hot nor cold, but cool enough that we kept all the windows closed.

Closed windows – always a bad sign. The atmosphere was oppressive as if winter was just around the corner, SAD is in the wings and the melancholy began to set in.

We found a name for it – Tuesday purgatory.

We began to brainstorm ways we could change this and settled on cake. A good, dense, sugary cake, like a carrot cake. With sparklers.

But immediately after we had settled on this plan, we were faced with the realization that though there are many bakeries near where we work, they’re all Chinese, and Chinese bakeries do not produce the kind of good, comfort food baking that we craved.

After further discussion, we resigned ourselves to cookies instead and I set off on my quest. I had a hunch though… My spidey senses were tingling and they led me to VCC where the culinary arts program operates a super cheap bakery full of student-produced food.

By total fluke, it was carrot cake day. They had nine inch square carrot cakes on for $5.50 and not much of anything else.

Nothing cheers you up like walking 16 blocks downtown with nothing but a cake in your hands, and knowing that it’s going to cheer everyone else up when you get back. I developed a spring in my step and by the time I got back I was practically skipping.

We were unable to procure any sparklers so we substituted question mark candles in a colour that can only be described as clown barf. In retrospect, that was entirely appropriate for Tuesday purgatory. It was really good carrot cake, and the perfect excuse for an impromptu staff social. $5.50 well spent.

It’s always windy in Hope

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Yesterday I tagged along with the family out into the Fraser Valley for a day of wandering through antique shops and stocking up on food.

We visited a store in Mission that had a very impressive selection of ceiling lamps. It also had a lot of awesome old, wooden arts-and-crafts office furniture and I was inexplicably drawn to an oak filing cabinet with bakelite handles. When I grow up that’s exactly how I want to do my office. We left, but not before the parental unit bought a huge art deco milkglass pendant lamp. The collector in me loves it because those things break easily so they’re rare. The practical part of me wonders where they’re going to put it because their house is most definitely not the place were art deco lighting of any kind would fit in.

We stopped by Farm House Cheeses in Agassiz, because we were running dangerously low on cheese.

The people there must think we’re totally bizarre. Most people buy a sliver or a couple hundred grams of cheese. Dad steps up to the counter and asks for the whole wheel. You won’t see me complaining though because I really like cheese.

Hope was quiet. Nothing’s really open there on Sundays, not even the bakery with the awesome dinosaur cookies. We drove around in an unsuccessful bid to find something that looked interesting enough to justify stopping.

Finally we arrived at my grandparents’ memorial to look at it for the very first time without it being stormy and dark. A bunch of very friendly people at the visitor’s centre checked their list of antique and used stores in Hope to find that every single one just happened to be closed at that very moment.

Hope wasn’t completely void of excitement though. Du made the mistake of wearing a swishy miniskirt, and Hope being perpetually windy, it made for numerous Marilyn Monroe moments.

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It wasn’t until we got home that we found out that while we were in town, the body of Ryan Jenkins was found at the Thunderbird Motel.

Embossed

Friday, August 21st, 2009

The packaging on the toilet paper in our staff washroom claims that the paper is ‘embossed.’  That makes it much fancier than the inferior non-embossed 2-ply toilet paper varieties out there.

If I was the one in charge of purchasing supplies, the presence of embossing would surely play an important role in my choice of toilet paper brands.  Though I’m certain that my butt does not notice the difference, the aesthetics of the pattern undoubtedly contribute in a positive way to peoples’ bathroom experiences, leaving them with a sense of satisfaction that plain toilet paper never can.

Just think – someone designed that flower and dots pattern that’s pressed into the paper.  An industrial designer, using professional tools and software.  This person likely went to school for several years and assembled a formidable portfolio of work in order to land themselves a job embossing toilet paper.

I’m glad that in today’s society such talent and experience is not wasted.


* I’m certain it was likely price and not the presence of embossing that contributed most to my employer’s purchasing decision.  That’s very unfortunate because have you seen the embossing? It’s fantastic.

New blog. Ish.

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

I have this indecisiveness that gnaws at me almost constantly, causing me to second guess pretty much everything I do.  It was inevitable that eventually it would cause me to pull the plug on my own blog.  By the time I let my old blog die, it had 1339 posts spanning 4 years.  It wasn’t my first blog, but it was definitely the one I put the most time and effort into.  It occupied a pretty important place in my life.

I’ve always been adamant that my blog is just for me.  It’s to help me remember things and sort stuff out and record the mundane.  It’s always given me a place to throw things out, see it written down.

Its’ content ran the whole gamut – much of it mundane but some of it hilarious, bizarre, deep, painfully sad.  I threw a lot out there and was lucky enough to have some great readers who stuck in there and read it all.

But I’m nothing, if not an introvert.  As some people have found out, I can be a very hard person to get to know.  I keep my thoughts to myself, reserve my judgement and I don’t really like it when people know what I’m thinking unless I want them to know.

I think my blog has always served an important function there.  I say things online that I just wouldn’t say in person.  It’s not that they’re horribly private or would get me into trouble.  It’s easier to tell things to random strangers without fear of reprisal, even if it’s about something that shouldn’t matter, like the music that you like.

But when people you actually know start reading, it changes a lot.  I’ve never really posted anything to my blog that would incriminate me or that would get me fired or burn a lot of bridges.  But nevertheless, I began to second-guess everything, which killed the spontaneity and the routine at a time when school picked up, things got busy and I was still dealing with the fallout from 2008, which was without question the worst year of my life.  I had a lot to say that just couldn’t end up on the internet and my blog fizzled.

But the fact is that there are a lot of things that I write down that I’d never post online.  Everything that makes it online goes through that initial filter, so is it so bad that people read?

So whatever, if you’re reading, read on if you wish.

I’ve finally decided to self-host and move to WordPress, because it just seems so much more grown-up.  It gives me a little more freedom to do whatever I want.  I was tired of being on blogspot.  I didn’t like that Haloscan was sneaking little ads into my blog either.  I’m not completely adverse to having ads on my blog, but I do know that if I ever do, I want to have control over what shows up.

As always, this will likely be mostly a personal blog where I throw out whatever I’m thinking along with photos I’ve taken that don’t necessarily have anything to do with the text.  I’m not a big fan of forcing myself into niches.  People try to do that to you enough without you having to do it yourself.

The name… has a long story behind it. Maybe I’ll share it sometime.