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Friday, March 31, 2006

Things about Vancouver that suck.

I feel the need to start writing some generic articles about living here. Just reporting on my activities is a little boring. I thought a good subject to start with, now I've been here a while and the honeymoon is definitly over, is things I don't like about Vancouver/Canada.

First up, the money for three reasons. Including taxes in the listed price is apparently optional here and tipping is nigh on expected. Something that looked cheap at $2 becomes $2.75 after a 15% tip and 15% taxes. Not very fun. The other thing is the need for having the right change. I've had to go in to a store and ask for change at least half a dozen times in the past fortnight so I can use the bus. Last but not least, why the hell did they have to make 1c and 10c pieces so similer. It's a pain in the ass.

Next on the things I don't like is the bums. Not the previously mentioned super bums. I'm a fan of street theater. No, the bums that piss me off are the ones who approach me whilst I'm trying to DO shit and ask me if I have any spare change, and then just put on a pathetic act in the hope I'll fork over some change. Sorry bud, but all my change is allocated for things that acctauly entertain or beneifit me.

Last but not least, Starbucks. It still grates on my nerves that I have to see one on every danm corner. Twice as much now I know that the coffee there really isn't that great. It gets sickenly busy there at the weekends too...bleh.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Stop the press. I have somewhere to live =D

I move in on the first. More details to come soon.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Con report, Part two, in which our hero defeats the evil wizzard and buys a "Buttsex" badge pin. Well, acctauly I bought a set of 4 pins from the Errant Story stall. In addition to Buttsex, there was "Oh, this is bound to work out well" and "Every time you try to drag real physics into a discussion about a fantasy story, god kills a catgirl" and for some reason a pin saying "Ian did it!". If I ever get my own comic back to life badge pins seem like a definite seller..anyway...

Day two at the con, and I give up a pair of socks to Emma so she can mutilate them to finish her costume. I knew I had brought a spare pair of socks for a good reason. I also got to see the stencil I had spent hours on Thursday night cutting out being put into action. It looked pretty danm spiffy IMHO.

I was pretty danm tired by this point, I had stayed out all of friday night. After doing a couple of rounds on the DDR machine, I went to watch a couple of Anime showings; Girls Bravo, Beserk and Elfen Lied. I was on my way to go crash out in my room (it was 3am at this point) and walked past the games room, and spotted Shadow of the Collusses. Was sucked in for about two hours, untill I was so tired I couldn't even play that any more.

Wandered around for a bit longer, grabbed some caffine. Things started to get busy very quickly as Saturday is the "big" day of the con. The next couple of hours where pretty much a big blur. I took a bunch of pictures and thats pretty much all I remember. We went to find Ollie, she was super hyper excited, Complained I was way too calm and didn't smile enough. It probably didn't help that I wasn't making eye contact, but I was too tired to keep reminding myself how to make eye contact with people without creeping them out (Yes, I do acctauly have trouble doing that, I'm probably a closet sociopath or something).

Did some more con wandering with Ollie, who after having seen Poe, calmed down significantly, let me have a look through her sketchbook and drew me a picture of Lockwood and then took us out for Cheesecake at the Cheesecake factory across the road from the con. It was goooood cheesecake. Smalltalk turned to who had bought porn at the convention (as it does) we had a quick show and tell when Nikki handed out the Doujishin (fan Manga, usual porn) she had bought for the "art". This at least was plausibly deniable, unlike Steves $80 boxset of Hentai anime. I bought myself a Doujishin on the Sunday, because I guess it's one of those 'try everything once' things...I think Nikki has more plausible deniability than me...

Took Ollie to the games room at the con so she could play Shadow of the Collusses. She did pretty much as well as me, past the first two collossi. It's a pretty fun game to watch and she built up a small crowd whilst I went off to find the others. Ollie asked me if I liked her shirt, it was only then I noticed it read "Carefull, I had a bowl of bitchy for breakfast" clearly I hadn't been looking at her boobs enough to notice. Go me!

Ollie had to go home at the point. I headed back to the hotel room to get a little sleep which I badly needed. Apparently there was going to be a dance or something later in the evening, which I was up for, but needed to be awake enough to go to without falling asleep on the dancefloor. The others where watching Tusbasa Resevior chronicles in the hotel room, I caugh glimpses of it between napping. Curse my need for sleep.

The dance, as it turned out was mostly techno music with some DDR music and J-Pop thrown in. It was admitedly good techno music, or failing that, at least amusing techno. I do have a saturation for it around 2-3 hours, so about half way through the night I started to lag a lot. It's almost sad to admit that I had a LOT of fun there, even without any alcohol (It's against con rules not to mention I'm underage). There was this really cool moment before midnight where there was an open circle in the dancefloor where people came in an busted out breakdancing (the image of Vivi and his giantic blackmage hat breaking it down on the dancefloor will never leave my mind) amoungst other things. After midnight they kicked all the minors out (big message on the projector screen "Now everyone is legal to hit on").

It was only right at the end of the evening, as per usual with stupid clubs, they started playing the awesome stuff that everyone (or at least all the geeks who where going to the con) knew. It's really strange to be with people who seem to understand that you just have to get out and dance to something by l'arc en ciel.

I'm going to have to break off again, because my train of thought is starting to get really disjointed again. I've still got con stuff to talk about, I'm still appartment hunting too (now really irritated I missed that place on Oxford street, I haven't seen anywhere as good since) and I've got to get back to that.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Ok, Con report time. I tried to do this last night but there was WAY too much for me to write it all in 30 minutes on top of checking 3 days of backlogged mail and other stuff when I was exceedingly tired after the journy back. I went down to visit Sakuracon in Seattle for a long weekend, it's one of the bigger Japanease comic and animation conventions. In laymens terms it's a good excuse for a bunch of geeks to get together and get crazy, dress up as Anime/Video game characters, buy a load of imported japanease stuff, watch some anime and play new video games.

I left to meet up with the crew going to the con on Thursday, the Vancouver/Abbortsford contingent of the group that shall be known as the "Super Con Friends" from now on. Which was Emily, Steve, Adian, Ruth and Tyler. The latter two where also not cosplaying (going in costume) which made me feel a little better about it. Between them we had 3 of the Homunculus from Full Metal Alchemist; Greed, Envy and Gluttony. Nikki, who we met up with at the con was the fourth Lust. They where better than most of the other cosplayers we saw dressed in the same costumes. Adian made a particulerly good Greed IMHO.

Anyway, we where up half of Thursday night finishing costumes. Then set out at 10am the next morning to drive to Seattle (which is a 3 hour haul). I see my first ever cosplayers on the corner near the hotel we where staying at. Theres something very surreal about seeing Aries from Final Fantasy 7 standing on a street corner. The inside of the hotel is pretty similer. The con...well every 3rd person you pass is dressed up as somone. It would be impossible to list everything I saw, I've taken some photo's but I'm yet to get them on a computer. Amoung the list of characters I clearly remember, A red mage with a D20 dice, Background Character No.5 (no lines of dialouge), Sonic, Vash Stampede (about 10 times), Katamari Damancy, Edward Elric (Full Metal Alchemist hero), A ton of State Alchemists, Necrid from Soul Calibur, Robo from Chrono Trigger, Practily the entire main cast of FF7 and FF9, Gaurdian Type Sora from KH2 (his keyblade was awesome) and a member of organisation XIII from KH2 with an even MORE awesome keyblade. The list goes on, I'll try and get photo's up soon.In the mean time, I'll borrow some from Olivera, who with Nikki and Rob made the full compliment of Super Con Friends (from left to right, Emily, Aiden, Nikki, Rob, Ollie and Myself; out of costume).

Once the being wowed by cosplayers was done. We hit the dealers hall to spend some money. I was buy far the poorest person there, with only $30 to waste. I didn't spend much money at all on my first day; Except when I ran into a stall being run by Lirel, author of Bad Blood, who sold me 4 origional sketches for $1 and and a shaded drawing for $5. I had a chat with her about web comics (she remebered my pixel art comic). On the subject of web comics, when I did meet with Ollie, she was all "ZOMG Michael Poe!" when she found out that said author of Exploitation Now and Errant Story had a booth in the dealers room. Luckily I didn't acctauly have to sedate her, it was kind of hard to keep up with her super fast talking though.

Well thats me done for now. We'll call this part one. I have to run to the bank and pay my cheque in from work, and then head back to the hostel and try and sort my stuff out. Part two coming tommorow =D

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Anon person. I've been BUSY. I'm looking for somewhere to live, I haven't had a good nights sleep for a good few days. Hell I was too tired on Tuesday to go out drinking. I did find the time to meet up with another SWAP participant called Sandy, who was bored because she's not met many people on account of staying with her family. I think I've inspired her to start going out and meeting people ad-hoc. Something I don't do enough of any more, mainly because I'm trying to save my money for the first months rent and a damage deposit.

A bike is looking a LOT more appealing now. It would cut my avarage travaling time in half, thus doubling the area I could look for an appartment in. I'm unsure if I should fork out for a bike now and see how it goes, or grab an appartment and then get a bike if I have the cash left.

Speaking of which, I should have just grabbed the first place I looked at. Even though it was slightly over my budget. In the week it took me to look around some other joints, Kay had found somone else to fill the room. I've not found anywhere quite as well placed since. Still, there are a lot of new ads being placed every day, I'm sure I'll find somewhere before the end of next month.

Off to Seattle at the weekend. Once I'm done with this, I'm going out to see if I can get some US currency. Not sure exactly how much I want to get, I've got to cover my share of the hotel room and entrence tickets to the con, and have a little cash left over, just in case. I also need to stop by the appartment in Kits and pick up some of the gifts I left there. The hostel has a long term storage room, so I've got somewhere to stash my big bag whilst I'm away at only $1 a day.

No cosplay getup for the con sadly. As I suspect I didn't have time to put a costume together. I'll stick to shamelessly advertising my comic, even though it's dead. I might do a quick synopsis for this other idea thats been plauging me for the past two weeks, just in case I meet somone at the con who it might be worth handing too. As I commented the other day, I'm a big fan of lost causes :)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Went to the Saint Patricks day parade, in true, all technology hates me fasion, my camera batteries ran out after the first photo. Which was all blurry anyway. Jeeze, these guys take Saint Patty's seriously, they've been celebrating for 5 days now, and the Parade itself went on for over an hour. I've picked up a few bits and pieces (I got free cookies and candy) to put in my journal in the absence of any good pictures.

After I went with a bunch of other hostel people to see the game of Galic football, which is kind of like british football (soccer, to you americans) where you can pick up the ball. The match was Ireland Vs Aussies, the irish won. Looks like an awful lot of fun. Not as good as Rugby though. There was a game of hurling too, which looks absolutly brutal. I've seen one of those hurling sticks up close and they look like weapons.

Can't wait for Seattle next weekend. Gotta get my crazy yanks money...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The burn on my hand that I got at work yesterday is healing fast. I've had my official Barista training. I can now make KILLER least, 60% of the time >_>. The other girl training works at Nesters market, which is about a block away from where I'm staying. Yay for strange concidences.

I've managed to aquire some new clothes. I met this new findlander guy who had busted his back and was stuck in Vancouver without much to do, I kept him company for a while and he gave me some new clothes. Got an awesome pair of jeans. The problem is now he will NOT stop calling me (13 times, whilst I was at work and couldn't even answer the phone) and talks some scary shit about having some kind of bond. >_< I'm tempted just to get my number changed.

Saint Patricks day was a bit slow, due to a lack of effort on my part. The queues where too danm long to wait in considering I was going to finish the night early because of work the next day. I settled for compleatly failing to build up the nerve to openly flirt with the girl I liked from the hostel down in the attached pub. Alas.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My drawing muse is going patchy again. I don't know why I bother anyway. It's not like I'll get good enough to acctauly make anything of all this crap I sketch...

Anywho, since I can't draw, I thought I would log on and talk about Vancouvers bums. They aren't all your regular, cap holding, trolly pushing pathetic looking beggers. No! Some have transended to a whole new level of bummery.

For example, theres one who instead of writing something boring and cliche on his card like "starving and broke, please help", he requests money to help fund his plan to dominate the world. Another one stands on one of the news boxes on the corner of Granville and Pender and juggles. Then theres a girl who has a change fishing rod.At night, outside the nightclub there are some who go up and down lighting people ciggerettes for money.If you beg in THIS town, you have to be a proffesional.
Aaaand I've fallen behind again. Two days worth of adventures backed up to talk about because I couldn't get the time to write some stuff on Monday. First I'm going to talk about going to see She Wants Revenge on Richards and Richards.

It was a pretty snap decision to go. I read in one of the free newspapers (bless the free press) the same morning that they where playing on Richards on Richards. I had been thinking about going to see Electric Six at the same club on Tuesday, but settled for Revenge as it's much less likely I would get to see them again and I wanted Tuesdays free so I could go bowling or down to the Royal.

They are undoubtably a band that should be heard live. The crowd down front and centre (where I was) went absolutly nuts. I got thrown about a fair bit, which has added to my list of aches and pains from the mechanical bull and skating. It was worth it though, bloody amazing vibe. I almost bought a pair of black "She Wants Revenge" panties for Olivera to get signed by the lead signer; but decided $15 wasn't worth the evil looks I would get for such an innapropriat gift.

I'm glad I put some planing in to it too and had some drinks somewhere cheap before I left for Richards on Richards. It is by the far the MOST expensive place I've been in to. $15 on the door cover, 2$ for the cloakroom and then $6.25 for a bottle of beer. Needless to say I kept it down to one drink that night.

Then last night, whilst I was hanging around the hostel, wondering if I should go bowling with the hostel trip or sneak over the road to the Royal for $2 drinks I ran into Mike and Phil, my two Aussie friends who had spent the day looking for a car. Apparently they had managed to find van pretty much in the first place they went to. I suggested we went down the Royal for the evening for cheap drinks. That was when the fun really started to kick off.

Phil and Mike both got greased by some blond girl called amber for two drinks each. I've never seen a girl so hammered play guys for drinks so well. It made me feel a hell of a lot better that I haven't seen any action yet >_>. After that we headed down to the The Roxy, payed the 5$ cover charge and listened to the band do some really dangerous covers (It should be ILLEGAL to cover Coldplay). It got better fast though. Danced at the Roxy for a while, eventual Phil and Mike decided to head back. I held on to hang around for a bit, for reasons not known even to me. Phil seemed a little reluctant to leave me behind. Dunno why, perhaps he was worried I would get into trouble by myself. :p

Monday, March 13, 2006

Finaly had some good weather on Sunday, it was bright and clear all day. I went down to Stanley park, after a little internal debate at the rental shop, got myself a pair of Rollerblades for the day (10$ for the day, pretty cheap) and bladed around the seawall. I covered all of the seawall I hadn't yet visited, which was about 13 miles, all the way around Stanley park down to the Burrad bridge, grabbed the Ferry to Granville Island and skated back around false creek, past science world and back to Stanley park.

I fell over once, when I cut back down to the hostel to drop my coat and scarf off. I well underestimated how steep the streets where, and couldn't stop my blades fast enough before the next junction so I ended up grabbing a lampost and going flat on my face and scraping my arms. One Band Aid, A pack of brownies and an apple (so I felt less guilty about the brownies) later, I got back up and carried on.

Saw a couple of intresting things whilst I was out. In one of the parking lots near Science world a bunch of people had rigged up a "pack" of four bikes to the front of a car and where trying to pull it using the bikes. Apparently it's something for the saint patricks day parade. Which is going to be NUTS, I'm sure. Apparently it gets bigger every year.

I also saw my first ever real life protest, marching down Granville highstreet yelling some incomprehensible things about getting China out of Tibet. Some people where taking it so seriously every time there was a cry of "What do we want?!" somone on the street would yell back "For you to shut up!"

I met Sioban in the afternoon and went for coffee, I've promised to take her to the Commador for the day after her birthday. I'm waiting till then to check it out. Last night I went to the Buffalo club. Although there where no topless girls as mentioned, there was a bull riding machine. Apparently I did pretty good on my first try (and then got steadily worse). I think I held on for a good 45 seconds. Had a good night out.

The previous night I went out to the Picadilly pub. Kinda annoyed as I paid $18 cover to get in and after the first two bands the music changed from some sweet indy rock to shitty death metal. I want my bloody 18 dollars back. Damn you. The first two bands where awesome though, so it wasn't a total waste of money.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Well I'm starting to take to my job a little more now. I've had to learn a hell of a lot of stuff very quickly as the staff at JJBean have more responsibility. One of the hardest things is getting my head around the currency differance. Canada money has 1,5 (Nickles),10(Dimes) and 25. No 50's or 20's, which is a little confusing when somone gets 40 cents change. Also, the dimes look very very similer to a UK 5p piece.

On the bright side, I can do my own voids and drop things from transactions now, which means I don't need the manager every time I screw up. I've also put the letters M and D on the back of my hands to help me when I'm getting drip coffee (Medium or Dark). Asside from my bar training, I've only got to learn how to do closing before I'm all set.

I've also got my written test, initaly it looked like a handfull, but I realised that I was really good on the sections where I had acctauly read the sheets a couple of times (I've been homeworking on a 1 factsheet per day basis). It shouldn't be too much trouble.

I've also met my coffee house nemsis (at least for now) who shall hence forth been known as "the little more coffee guy". Thanks to him asking to have an insanely full cup, I spilt boiling hot coffee on my hands. Curse you little more coffee guy!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Cooked my first meal in the hostel tonight. Took some pride in the fact that of the 15 people that came through the kitchen I was one of the three that acctauly made a propper meal.

That said, making my Risotto was a real trial, I had trouble just finding the stuff I needed to make the meal. I've seen pieces of wood sharper than the knives in the hostel. The rice refused to take the water for aaaages, probably because I couldn't find risotto rice to make it with. It was worth it though, nothing is quite as satifying as eating a meal you've cooked yourself.

Met a guy down the pub after, told me about a rentshare house for $450 a month downtown. Like many other foolish people I know he seemed to think there was some stock in the fact that I was so young and coming here alone. It might be a little too pricy for me to manage, I'll run the figures sometime tommorow and check. That said, I want out of the hostel and the sooner the better.
Yay, snow at 4:30am, just the way to start my day. I have to start obscenely early today and tommorow to help open up the coffee shop, then work through to 12am. Morning do go pretty fast though.

The weather started off absolutly god awful today. Hail, snow, rain and feezing cold tempratures. Brightend up for this afternoon when I get to go grocery shopping...¬_¬. Oh and a package and my bank card have arrived. Which is good.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Had a good night out last night. Wasn't great, but didn't suck either. SWAP pub night at the Royal, which is a short stumble away from where I'm staying at the SameSun place. Met up with a couple of other swappers. An older lady who had only just got on the program (the upper age limit is 35) and a girl who had a room leased at a hotel for a month. We've all only been around for a couple of weeks.

2$ Hi-Balls (thats mixers like Vodka and Coke, for the unitiated) made for quite a few rounds before I headed off back to the hostel. Outside I met the guy I had seen at the SWAP lunch meet. Apparently he's staying over in chinatown and saw some guy get knifed. Lovely. The police are very heavy down in East Hastings, I've seen flyers calling for "anti police action" in Victoria sqaure soon. It's slighty worrysom.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Woooo, I got the job! I'm a working stiff now. God I love working surrounded by the smell of coffee. In addition to my $8 and hour that should pay the rent eventualy. I also get a free 1lb of coffee for every 40 hours AND all coffee free. Fears about me coming back high of caffine seem more than possible.

I've not worked behind the coffee bar yet, but I found out how to work the tills and basic mantaince stuff. Theres pleanty to be done, even during the lulls. The not lulls are just as hectic as I imagened. I love measuring out bags of all the differant coffee, cos I get to smell them all.

Went out Ice skating last night. Managed to stay on my feet all the time despite having a full (discounted) pitcher of beer in me. Planing to go next week so I can get some practice in before the rinks close for the summer. Went out for a meal after, best damn $5 buger ever.

I've booked in to stay at the hostel for the rest of the week. Using the place in Kits was nice, but my indepedant streak needs to be satisfied. This may not have been the best idea considering how early I have to get up, combined with the fact that last night I was worken up by a bunch of drunk people coming back at 2:30AM. It was kind of amusing when the the aussie asked them to quiten down because he had work in 3 hours and was met with loud responses of "Hey! It's the australian dude!"

Going out to celebrate my job tonight, catch ya'll later.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Second job interview today, went better than the last one. Much better prepared for the interview. JJBean sell yummy ginger molases cookies...

I did the very Vancouver thing and went out for Coffee last night. Leanna took me to a place on the corner of Denman and Nelson that sold the yummiest chocolate cake. I had a hot chocolate which had a starta of cream on top of it. It's not very far from Stanly park, good place to meet to put on some calories before going and burning them off cycling around the park.

A bike and computer are now at the top of the list of expensive things I want (and Kingdom Hearts 2, but that can wait). I don't like walking much, and now I'm getting used to a couple of my regular routes around the city, the novelty is wearing to the point where it's getting on my nerves again. I'm going to sit on it till I get word back on this job though.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

On a time limit again today, SWAP center is closed so net is costing $1 for 30 mins.

Interview at coffee place went well. Disarmingly casual compared to some of the ones I had in england, I even got a free coffee. I'm meeting the supervisor tommorow, as long as they don't dissaprove of me working there, I'm going to come back to england a coffee expert (that is bouncing off the walls). It seems like a really cool place to work.

My vauge plan to go to Stanley park today was ruined by the rain. I didn't really feel up to it after staying up last night drinking and watching the Hockey game at the bar in the hostel. I've now seen my first full Candian hocky match, it certainly makes for more intresting viewing than football. Might try and grab some tickets to see a game once I've got some kind of income of which to speak.

The hostel is a pretty cool place to hang out. There is a huuuge amount of Aussies here. It's less sterile in SameSun, but not as high quality as HI. I might go invade the royal (the HI bar across the street) for a while tonight on the word of the other brit I met in the bar last night.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Raaargh, have cleaned up jobhunting in downtown. Booked a bed at SameSun backpackers lodge for the weekend. Slightly more expensive per night than HI, but has attached bar, and generaly looks more awesome.
If any of my buddies from Birthdays are reading this, I've applied for Carlton cards. Will I be able to stand working for the enemy? ZOMG! Oh, and I saw an Asian version of Ed too.
Went to explore Granville Island yesterday once I was done jobhunting. Granville island covered market is by far my favourite place in Vancouver, it has some great places to eat. So much lush looking food. Yum.
I went and picked up the camera too, the nice people I went to get it from threw in a battery charger too. I'll see about taking some photo's today, although I'm not sure about getting them on to a computer.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Not much to report today. More jobhunting, going to get a Buspass and check out a Digi-cam I saw on craigslist (so hopefully photos soon =D). I'm addicted to the Coffee here.