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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

UPDATE: The $50 tax mystery

My awesome pair of brown boots that I requested to be sent to me where valued at $80. I derived MUCH amusement from this because I bought them from a charity store in england for the british equivilant of $20. Fear my mighty thrifting powers~! Rargh!
I've evolved powerfull drinking senses to be able to memeorise phone numbers even when drunk (and after having a few tokes of a joint, but we'll get to that later). I met a guy called Jason down at a club on Granville called "Stone Temple". It was a bit of a dive, $1.50 highballs where acctualy $2 because I liked to have Vodka and Cranberry and juice costs 50 cents extra. Cheap asses. The beats where ok, they picked up later in the evening. I don't really like the fact the dance floor was seperate from the main seating area. On the bright side it was easier to talk down there, but that was pretty much the only major perk.

Anyway. I hooked up with Jason's "group". Watched one of Jason's friends stealth mack on his sister. At closed with stumbled around a bit for a pen so Jason could give me his phone number, because as it turns out we both like to go out and party. Then came the passing of the communal joint, I took a few tokes, I've been wondering what all the fuss was about. It was boring, I already felt pretty drunk and the weed hardly touched the sides. The only suprising thing was that I didn't choke, I guess my Dad's smoking habit already lined my lungs.

I also met the guy who has the white version of my bike who lives in my appartment. I had a chat with him and said he should swing by sometimes so we can hang out. Apparently, I look like a psycho. I guess all my personal worries about looking too "intense" wheren't too unfounded. Hah!

Oh, and I didn't have coffee because I have to clear my free coffee with my manager, who I hadn't seen for a couple of days. I bought 200g at a staff discount price so I could try my coffee maker out. It was gooooood. I had a couple of cups to celebrate finishing at the Old Spaghetti Factory.

Finaly, my negative Karma for having so much fun. There was a $50 tax on one of my packages. When I consulted Miho at the SWAP office, she said that it was random. Luckily I have the money to pay for it, but I'm still annoyed about it.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I can see all you people who keep on visiting but never comment. Speak up, I can't hear you. :)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Today was Monica day at work. I gave her attitude anyway, I would be descriminating against everyone else if I gave one person a day off from my smart alecry. I offered to take her to Sebs as compensation though. Which works for both of us.

I've also managed to lay my hands on a French Press coffee maker. Woo! I just don't have any coffee ground for it yet...

Finaly, a public notice to the entire world. You are all now banned from:-
- Ordering expresso based drinks (especialy four shot drinks) less than five minutes before close. Additionaly, asking to remain in the store whilst we are trying to close or asking what time we close (it's written on the bloody door) is right out.
- Putting anything other than drink overflow in the overflow jar. Please note that Stir sticks, Equal Packets, Napkins, Pygmy aligators and Protazoa do NOT fall under the catagory of overflow and should be put in the bin.
- Complain about the price of anything except the stupid blended drinks, which are overpriced because they are STUPID.
- Ask for expresso run long. If you knew what a shot looked like after being run through a second time YOU wouldn't want to go near a long expresso with a ten foot bargepoll either.
- Queue jump. Seriously, I don't care if you think you can get your order faster than the guy who was in front of you.
- Take other peoples coffee. Especialy when it's very obvious to somone who stops thinking they are the centre of the universe for 5 seconds and listens to the order that is being called, and looks at the drink they pick up. Latte's don't look like Americano's.
- Complain about the music. I don't like it either.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Woo, two posts in one day. Got some of the music I've been hearing to share with you guys. I ripped them using iTunes at a net cafe and won't be held repsonible if they don't work. First, because they where the best live and have cool and funny lyrics. The Wanda Norwiki Group. Saw them at Sebs, they have this nice "late bloomer" feel of people who dance like nobody is watching. Wanda was super enthusiastic when I talked to her and hooked me up with where they where going to be, and somone I should see (who's name I'll remeber, if I see it); and told me about a big Jazz fest. She has a really nice voice too.

Goodnight Hollywood Boulevard
Big grower this one. I didn't notice it the first time I went through the CD, by the third time I stopped to re-run it a couple of times. Nice soulfull number, reminds me of quiet summer evenings.

She's No Lady
I just picked this one at random from what was left on the CD after uploading the other two tracks. It has some decent vocal segments and an overall amusing theme. "That's no lady, that's your wife". Misoganists of the world UNITE =D

I'm living alone, and I like it
Last, my favourite track. If you only download one thing from here. This should be it. I came in from my night out and threw the CD on for the hell of it. When this track came around I giggled throughout. Theres just something about the way it's all packaged...

Camille Miller

Suffers from "singing too close to an unbalanced mic" during live performances. Reminded me of Nelly Furtado somewhat. The girl can sing, too bad a lot of the matirial sounds dangerously similer. I bought both the CD's partly because she offered me a deal to get both, partly because I hoped that there might be some more variance in thier older matirial. I wasn't totaly dissapointed. Unfortuantly I couldn't find her new CD before I left, so heres two track from her old Album "She Knows"

Bird on a Rooftop
The sticky one that stayed in my head. Not the best offering, but I rememebred this one first when I was trying to decide what to rip.

I always will
Track picked at random. I just haven't been through these CD's enough to pick out particuler favourites.
Adventures in Linux, Part One. Guest staring some penguin in a tuxedo.

Yeah, I've decided I'm going to do some multi-part posts on differant subjects because I think they're going to keep on coming up and it makes it easy for people to skip over stuff they aren't very intrested in. The short story is that my copy of Mandriva Linux arrived in the post on Tuesday, the rest is me talking about it's shortcomings and benefites.

So this is my first foray into the world of linux. So far I've been fairly impressed by an OS that is still reciving meager support compared to it's evil corperate counterpart. It's bad rap for being confusing and hard to understand is ENTIRELY unjustfied. Knoppix (the Live CD Linux, bet you can't do that Mr.Gates, huh?) worked instantly, no buggering around. Mandriva was easier to install than windows.

Both Knoppix and Mandriva use the KDE graphical fontend (I've seen GNOME as an alternative, but KDE meets my needs right now) which has all the basic stuff you would expect if you've always used Windows or MacOS untill now. It has a desktop with icons, taskbar, startbar (renamed to the slightly LESS pretentious "K Menu") all of which are easy to customised and mess around with. Most intrestingly, it intergrates multiple desktops, so I can have something running on another desktop and not cluttering my workspace and still be able to check on it easily.

Madriva also came with a decent range of pre-installed packages. Enough to cover all the basics of what you might want to do with the system. Web Browser, Mail Client, Firewall, Desktop Publishing, Text Editor, Graphics package (Incidently, GIMP runs REALLY well on linux), a few games, a dual boot utility and loads of other handy bits and pieces. It has a ton of utilties that windows lacked, like a decent CD Burning Program. Thats before I even delved into all the extra packages stored on the CD and downloadable from the automate internet services. Man, the open source industry has been BUSY whilst I've been screaming bloody murder at Mircrosoft.

Things get a little complicated when you dive a little deeper, although I doubt the avarage user would try and push as hard and fast as I did to do intresting things with the OS. So far I've failed to install anything that wasn't packaged with the OS (I did find a copy of FreeCiv, how do you feel like playing a Penguin user Adam? :P) although I'm working towards it. The horrendous shortcoming of the copy of Mandriva I bought was the manual; which was WAY too simplified. I can work out how to browse the internet and work the mail program myself thanks. The most glaring error appeared when I wanted to try the games that came packaged, for some reason the menu item that was supposed to be for them wasn't anywhere in the menu. After about half an hour of buggering around I find they aren't even installed. Theres nothing in the manual about installing things. Luckily the install program was intuitive enough to work out by myself.

Yes, I've caught the Linux bug. Yes I like it. No I'm not going to start going to linux forums and arguing about which distribution is best. I'm having too much fun with the whole, drinking, dancing and general debachery thing.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Say, lets wind time back a bit. To around last Friday, lets say. Weekends are blogging nightmares for me because most of the intresting stuff happens then, when I lack internet accsess to post about them. I got to leave my dishwashing job early (I handed in my notice last week, last shift is on the 27th) because it was so slow. Which meant I got some extra sleep, which in turn meant I could go out on Saturday with the spare cash I had in my account.

I went to an awesome little Bistro/Cafe on Broadway called Seb's. Seb himself was at JJBean about a week ago picking up beans and Shannon (who works in the wholesale section in the back) told me I should go down there. Contrary to what she suggested, which was breakfast incidently, I chose to go down on the Saturday night to catch the live Jazz band that was playing whilst I grabbed myself a bite to eat. I had myself a mighty fine time.

Seb's is a tiny little intimate place with good food, good service and warm, comforting but nicely arty decor. It has less than a dozen indoor tables. The band where playing right near the door, I nearly walked into the bass player when I entered because there's no kind of stage of which to speak. Even the kitchen opens up onto the main dining area. It's an easy, relaxed place. Service isn't super fast, but it doesn't need to be. Going to Seb's and rushing through your meal would defeat the point of going there and soaking up the atmosphere.

The most important thing, the food, was really good. It was tasty and filling, the menu was one that you wanted to try a bit of everything from because all the dishes looked so yummy. The table next to me had the right idea, the five of them ordered five starters and just took a little from each. I just had a starter and a pudding myself, which was filling enough. I also had a coffee and the a baileys later when I started chating with the people on the table next to me.

The whole bill came to just under $20. Way less damage than I was expecting (I acctualy used what was left of the cash to have a far LESS fun trip to the Royal on sunday). All in all, definitly worthy of the traipse across town to get there.

Now, the music. You know I couldn't go to somewhere with live music without commenting on it. I'm getting into the Jazz scene down at Vancouver now, it's my kind of thing. The musicians have to be really into the music itself, because the Jazz "scene" doesn't have the same adrenlanin charged atmosphere as most others. It makes me feel a little more sophisticated too, and I can chat to people without having to YELL OVER THE MUSIC, which I hate. With a passion.

The band playing at Seb's was the Wanda Norwiki group, a trio at the time, but a little earwigging on the singer talking to the table next to me revealed they vary between a duet and quintet, depending on who is avalible. They're one of the best musical acts I've seen in Vancouver since I got here, I snuck away from the conversation I was having with the table next to me to find out where they where playing and grab a copy of thier CD (10$ well spent, IMHO). I'll upload some tracks in the near future.

The very best part was when I got home and threw the CD on whilst I straitend out my appartment and set my alarms for the next day. It shuffled around to a track called "I'm living alone, and I like it" that left me in fits of giggles. Half the trick is in tone in which the whole song is sung; and the rest is in the lyrics. I'll do my best to get it Mp3'd so I can share it with you all next time I post.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Quick post, because this is paid for internet again. Did a bunch of stuff over the weekend, the best bit was finding I had some cash left in my account at the end of the week and going to a little bistro called Seb's on broadway. Yummy food, good music provided by the Wanda Norwiki quartet. I bought there CD and picked up some other dates they where playing.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I went on a little photoshoot over on the east side today.

Monic (Left) and Kim (Right) Two lovely ladies I work with at JJBean. I was going to take a photo of the store too, but you can see pleanty of it in this photo
A coffee roaster I acctualy work at the "Mothership" store for JJ Bean, where they do the coffee roasting. Milan (our head roaster) kindly let me lurk around and snap some shots of it for prosperity
The Dockers Diner The place across from work that answers my cooked breakfast craving for the mear price of $4.95. I always leave a decent tip as the lady who is usual there is really nice.
A park by the waterside "Your taking photos" says Monica "you should go a couple of blocks down on Wall and cross the railway, it's a good spot for taking pictures" Sure enough, it was.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Why is it that a whole bunch of stuff happens over the weekend, when I'm feeling too stingy to pay to update my blog? I've been rather busy (despite and also because of work). For those of you who don't want to read an epic post to get to the pretty pictures, just scroll down to the bottom of this post and the links are there. I feel like I'm being violated by Translink who are entirely unsympathetic to my wish to not have to aim to get to work half and hour early just in case they want to do random crap and I miss my bus because of it. The practical upshot of the buses in Vancouver making my life a bitch is that I'm going to get an official written warning at work for lateness. Although a little more worrying is how much it pisses off my co-workers.

Speaking of my co-workers, When discussing going out on one of my little jaunty adventures around Vancouver, Alexis (who is cute enough to take the place of the second cutest punk rocker I know, she doesn't one up Angie though) told me about some bands rocking out down at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre. Since rocking out really works for me, I decided to check it out, even though I had work the next day.

Getting to the centre itself was an interesting enough experience. A couple of blocks away from where I had approximated the centre to be, I entered a residential area and things got very very quiet. It was pretty amazing, you could pretty much forget you where in the middle of a city in the calm there. I was starting to think I was lost until I caught the sound of sound check guitar riffs being played on an amp turned up to 11. It's making me more certain that moving over to the east side like I planned originally would be a good, a more social atmosphere would be nice too.

The gig itself was fun. It was this strange mix of a traditional punk rock concert combined with the general eclectic-ness of the East Side. The two bands, where pretty generic in my opinion, which got me dirty looks from some people there. Screw social faux pau I say what I like, if memory serves thats supposed to be pretty damn punk anyway. Alexis turned out to be one of those awesomely popular people who knew EVERYONE. She took me on social rounds between songs. Another load of names I've forgotten. I discovered Alexis's boyfriend was playing as the drummer in the band (and weirdly enough the lead singer, I've never seen that before). Being the responsible person I am, despite drinking copious amounts of alcohol and probably getting a little high on second hand fumes from the pot. I managed to make it home and set my alarm for the next day.

Which brings me on to the Translink screwage. Translink is the public transport service, that it seems until a few days ago pretty reliable. That was, until Friday this week. On Friday morning, the bus just sped strait past my stop, making me 20 minutes late for work. Saturday, I get to see it pulling away from the stop 5 minutes EARILIER than usual, probably karma for my complaints the previous day. That'll teach ME for leaving myself 25 minutes to get to work in the mornings.

Not to be out done, the managers at the Old Spaghetti factory decided to counter this stupidity by putting a trainee with me at work and NOT TELLING ME. Good one guys, put a trainee with a worker with the least possible experience. I went and politely reminded my manager that in most circles doing that sort of thing is considered bad form. I got another apology (and a reminder that at least it wasn't 3am... give it up Tam, your not going to get out of me holding you accountable for that, and no, I'm not going to forget about THIS either) that didn't really help with the whole issue of having an hour and a bit less time to sleep and being way more tired having to cover for the other guy. Nobody like dish washing, the reason you work really hard is so that your out of there as soon as possible. It doesn't take any brain power to work that one out. I didn't get a proper break or a meal either.

So then I'm late again on Monday. This makes it 3 day's in row since Greg told me he was going to write me up for it. Monica was really nice on the phone when she called me. I'm really not sure how to deal with this, I'm doing a really terrible job of showing I can be responsible and take account for my own shortcomings. Oddly enough the lateness is corrolated with taking the second job, but I don't want to drop it incase Greg decides to let me go. If I was him I would be furious with me by now. I'm heading in today to face the music and talk to him about it before he gets the story from anyone second hand. That is all I can do asside from upping my getting to work time to 45 minutes.

On the bright side, some good things have been happening. I'm starting to get to know some of the people on my floor now. I was daring and let in a lady who had lost her keys because she knew my name. I also discovered Tanya, who works in the back of JJ Bean, lives across the block from me. I ran into Duran (who runs the video rental place I have) took my overdue DVD even though the shop was shut and said we could work something out. Finally, and most awesomely, I have a bike :). Camille one of my awesome co-workers, hooked me up with Seth who collects and re-fits bikes. He sold me an awesome old british folding cruiser for $50. He also fixed it up a bit for me, fitted a quick release on the saddle, repainted the chain guard and fixed the tracking on the handlebars. Just the service in england would have probably cost me that much.

I've also got my computer temporerily set up with an install of KNOPPIX on the hard drive, until the copy of Mandriva I ordered arrives. Which in addition to booting OBSCENELY fast, has decided to jazz with my camera. So I can finaly hook everyone up with some photos. First up, my room:

Multicoloured Comforter
March Desk Wall Fridge Entrance
May Desk Wall Fridge Entrance

I stash all my junk in this draw, wooo.
My awesome fold up bike. Little bike for a little guy.

Thats it for now. More to come soon

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ok, so it's been a while since I made a post. I've been a bit busy with sleeping in the aftermarth of last weeks disaster. I did manage to find time to go to The Railway Club one night to catch some live music. It's an odd place, quite narrow and chopped in two by a big square bar in the middle. I liked it, the who venue was nice and intimate at the front and quiet enough at the back to have a drink and a chat. It also had some really nice accoustics, despite it being on top of a 7-11 store.

The second act to play (the first was a band called "Folk You!" whatever you imagened is probably more intresting than the truth, so I'll leave it at that.) was a girl playing the piano and singing. I have to admit, somehow I don't see her voice carrying a solo career. The intresting thing was, within the first 30 seconds of watching her play, I could tell that she normaly played on a real piano, rather than an keyboard type. It was quiet gratifying when between the first and second songs she said something along the lines of "apparently, this is a piano". Clearly I'm not totaly musicaly inept :).

I had a chat with her after (something else I love about going to see small bands), she told me that the Railway Club is a popular place to play and that it did used to have a piano. I found myself going through the same spiel about how I'm a brit on a years working visa, it's getting to be second nature now. I have decided next time somone asks me where I work I'm going to tell them I protect the planet from evil omnipotent demons who want to take away free will, but thats a story for another day.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Life is full of those "if only" moments, like, when my boss from the Old Spahghetti factory had called at 4pm yesterday and asked me to come cover for somone who quit on them, if only I had asked "am I covering for one regular (and therfor much faster than me) or two" as the case was. This meant that instead of leaving at just before midnight, which I had deemed acceptable, I left at 2.45am, to grab an couple of hours disturbed sleep before going to work again. In the big book of management Fau Paux, I think THAT deserves to be rated pretty danm high.

Luckily I've had some sleep (and a mango smoothy, I always wake up hungry and thirsty) went to SWAP in the little time I had left in the day and booted my copy of KNOPPIX. It suddenly came to me that I might be able to get thier broken computer running on it again, so I let Julie know before I left and said I would come in and give it a shot on monday. Now I've just got to get it to work on MY computer.

Duncan Out...for the count.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sometimes I get the feeling that I just don't really belong... Its the downfall of handling everything by myself. Like I'm stuck somewhere between the "Bar Scene" and something else far more responsible.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

God Bless the free press, and I mean 'free' in the most literal sense of the word. Vancouver has two major free newspapers (The Metro and 24 Hours) and a whole bunch of specific intrest ones too. The former is great way of getting the days news without having to wade through a load of bias. There simply isn't enough space to have anything but the basic facts, which suits me just fine. It's also much faster to read so I know pretty much everything that is going on in the time it takes me to get to work.

Better still are the more specific intrest papers, consisting of: The Gorgia Strait (Entertainment), Weekender (Gay and Lesbian), Dose (Technology) and Exclaim (Indy Music). Between the four of them you can pretty much find out about anything going on anywhere in Vancouver, for free. I tend to grab a copy of the Strait every so often for listings of shows amoungst other snippets of info.

They all have great distribution too, generaly I don't have to walk more than a block for the daily free paper, or two blocks for anything more specific. Dead handy. If it hadn't been for the "whats on" column in 24, I would have never found out about the 'She Wants Revenge' at Richards on Richards, which was awesome.

I managed to aquire myself a computer today. Admitedly it has no operating system (I'm downloading KNOPPIX Linux distribution at a net cafe right now so I can boot the danm thing). Hopefully I should be writing again in my spare time (which is also CHEAP) and working on a certain, neglected webcomic.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My recent schedual has been comprised of mostly working, and sleeping in between. I'm very very tired, but I've amassed a decent amount of money. I've decided to cut my shifts at the old spaghetti factory right down, because that amount of work in such a short period was literaly killing me (admitedly, very slowly).

And no Jack, Canada doesn't HAVE any traffic cones.

Oh and a mouse crawled under my desk and died whilst I was at work. Blah.