500 Words Per Day

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Clean Bill O' Health

With my excruciating tongue sore and ear infection incident like, soooo last week, I tied up the loose ends today with an early morning visit to the throat, nose and ear specialist. Given the number of questions I was peppered with and various examinations I was subjected to, this surely ranked among the most expedient doctor visits in my life.

Dr. W. was nice enough, but he caught me off guard with his blunt, rapid fire questioning. What brings you here? What did your doctor say? It still hurts? It feels tight? How do you mean? How do you feel now? Were you ill before? Were you just worried... about cancer?

Yes, I was at a bit of a loss at the third degree but that last question I'll revisit in just a moment.

I couldn't help but notice the curly sticking out of Dr. W.'s left nostril but thought little of it. If you only knew the epic gardening battles I wage with my own nasal follicles. He wore a vision headset, pulled up on his forehead, but never used it. If it was darker and he wasn't in fact a slight Chinese man with protruding nose hairs, I might have mistken him for Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell. Maybe.

On the subject of nostrils, the good doctor stuck a probe up both of mine, prodding me to say "Eeeeee" at one point to, I assume, prevent me from spasmodically jerking away as he pushed that probe up, up and up into my head. He warned me, in typical understated doctor-speak, that it would feel a bit uncomfortable. Well it feels like a probe is going up through your nose, blazing a miniature trail of fire along the way. The slight burning, probe going through your brain sensation was not very pleasant.

He also did the old reliable trick of sticking a bright light into my ear canals. More questions. Did your doctor look into yours ears? What did he find? Do you think there's fluid in your ear? In the parlance of the Internet: WTF, sir. WTF? If you're going to ask me something I can't possibly answer with any reliable certainty... and you're seconds away from looking into my ears to find out anyway... does the question need to be asked?

Thankfully, Dr. W.'s trek through my orifices barely lasted a few minutes. He didn't find anything out of the ordinary and seemed to make me feel a bit silly for visiting him in the first place. That's when he asked if I was worried about a deeper problem, like possibly having cancer. With my usual straight face, I just told him I wanted to make sure whatever it was I had last week had completely cleared up. Is that so wrong, people?

Because I had developed a second, lesser sore on the left underside of my tongue, Dr. W. merely suggested that these sores can sometimes impact to a degree that affects the inner ear... or something like that. As I had mentioned earlier, the entire appointment felt like it had ended before it had really began. Lickity split.


The Mystal Interchange

Contrary to my promise, I haven't yet got around to uploading the photos of the commitment party from two weekends back.

Please enjoy this YouTube special presentation instead, courtesy of C., video editor extraordinaire. (There is an excruciating 3 seconds of me dancing very poorly. Please try to ignore this)

Friday, August 25, 2006

The ClinTicker 2000: August 21st - 25th 2006

There's not much to report this week. Work has been duller than poo and it's made me start questioning the reason behind my existence once again.

Right after my friend's "wedding" bash, I developed a humdinger of a sore on my tongue and it's been agonizing me for days now. Yesterday I discovered I also have an ear infection, so add that to the mix and tickle me pink, thanks very much. The upside is I used that as an excuse to take a day off from work and just chill. I needed that.

Funny though. Almost exactly 1 year ago, I had gotten a nasty eye infection -- I think it was pink eye -- and had to start up on a similar type of antibiotics that I'm on now. I was unemployed at the time and was barely a week in to my Transitions career exploration program. What a nice program. Sure, it was a great excuse to attend this thing every day and just keep busy, but it also opened my eyes to some careers that I had ruled out in the past or not even thought about. I also met some great people there and a few of us even kept in touch as recently as May, when 6 or 7 of us met for dinner. Granted, I'm probably still as confused and indecisive about my grand career plan as before, but Transitions showed me how change can be okay... and you can enact big changes at any stage in your life. And shit, I had to do a lot of public speaking!

And here I sit. Employed again 8 months running and still clueless. And scarfing down the antibiotics once again.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The ClinTicker 2000: August 11th - 21st

A little late with the ClinTicker report this time around. I can barely remember what happened at work last Friday but I certainly had several minutes to spare to mash out a few words on the keyboard. Well kidz, that's what Mondays are for...

Committment Party 2006 - Drunken Revelry, DJs and Cupcakes
My old high school buddy, M. and his live-in partner, Cy. got hitched on Saturday. Although it was officially not a celebration of marriage, there were all the trappings of a traditional wedding: chaos, last-minute changes, mad dashing about, dancing and cupcakes with a generous 2-inches of solid icing. The festivites kicked off early in the evening with a scenic beachside photo shoot of the happy couple with friends and family. A prolonged, but delicious dinner at a Greek restaurant followed. The night concluded with the dispersal of almost everyone over the age of 35 and a trio of DJs (myself included) took to the decks and rocked out the party until the restaurant owners ordered us to get the hell out so they could get some sleep.

This is probably the most fun I had spinning music in my 2 years of being an amateur DJ. I'm usually squirrelled away at home sweating over my recording sessions or playing to small pockets of other music enthusiasts at the ANZA Open Dex nights. But this night was special. People were in the mood to party and it was a menagerie of close friends, people I'd never met before and familiar faces I've seen only a few times since graduating high school... all united and DANCING. I, along with Ti. and Sc., thought we were in for a tough sell with nothing but house and breaks to keep everyone entertained. To my pleasant surprise, they ate up all the breaks we could dish out and then some. I not-so-slyly positioned myself to start playing at the peak hour, just shortly after midnight, and I KILLED. Yes, I am not known to pat myself on the back too often, but I will take full credit this time. People were going nuts to the music and I had such an awesome time behind the decks.

Truly one of the most memorable weddings I've been a part of, even though it wasn't a wedding.

I'll try to link to some Flickr photos of the event in my next post.

Oral Pain
On a more sober note, my body is giving me the heave ho again and punishing me for my careless ways. I'm currently suffering from a painful case of canker sores... at least that is what I think they are. I got the first one on the side of my mouth in the middle of last week. It just sort of flapping around right now and it doesn't really hurt any more. In fact, it hasn't even turned into an open sore yet. The one that really hurts is the sore at the rear underside of my tongue. This sucker makes it hard to drink and even harder to eat. Home brew remedies abound to combat these kind of sores and it looks like I'll be gargling with some salt water tonight to ease some of the discomfort. I've had some luck with that before so here's hoping the salt water wash does the trick.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Livingstone Lives On

FF_logo I was browsing through video gaming blog, Kotaku, and was surprised to find a post leading me to an interview with Games Workshop co-founder, Ian Livingstone.

I'm a big a fan of the Games Workshop properties as much as the next guy who didn't have the time, money and geek friends to really get into games like Warhammer. I was actually too busy sulking, playing Super Nintendo and sulking some more. Same story with my friends, who can add "trying to get laid" and "demolishing cars" as part of their daily agenda. No, what really perked me up about the Livingstone interview and put me into nostalgia mode was that fact that he and Steve Jackson started up the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks series, of which I still own many of the books. I have some fond (and some very maddening) memories of reading through these books in elementary and early highschool. I always thought of them as "Dungeons & dragons Uber-Lite" because of their simplistic rules and combat system. That didn't stop me from buying tons of them, of course, and for a kid that had a serious lack of friends to play with, it was better than nothing. This handy Wikipedia entry does a better job that explaining the FF phenomenon better than I ever could.

Anyway, I did some further "research" aka. goofing off at work, and discovered that the FF series survived until 1995, after which the series went on extended hiatus before Livingstone returned with a pair of new gamebooks in 2005. The series is now published by Wizard books , who have done a fine job of resurrecting these literary oddities for a new generation to enjoy. They've also reissued many of the classic FF books from the 80s, complete with new Wizard branding and cover art. The new covers are neat, but can't touch the originals released by Puffin. These new covers definitely look targeted to the Harry Potter set and lack a lot of the edge you would find with the old covers. Dare to compare? - old and new. Also compare this with this. Ain't no friggin' comparison, in this geek's humble opinion.

Ian Livingstone has largely abandoned the pen & paper/gamebooks industry for greener pastures and now works as Product Acquisition Director at Eidos, creators of the Lara Croft Tomb Raider games. That's probably for the best. I was tempted to check out the latest book the series, Eye of the Dragon, for old time's sake. Some of the fan response, however, leads me to suspect that not much as changed with the Fighting Fantasy gamebook in the last 20 years. That applies doubly to Livingstone as a gamebooks writer: I've always found his particular adventures (Deathtrap Dungoen, Trial of Champions, Forest of Doom) to be high on the challenge and unfairness and low on story and engaging prose. No, actually I do remember chucking a lot of his books against the wall during fighting fits of fantastical rage. He really did screw you over a lot in his books!

But hey, Steve Jackson has jumped back into the gamebooks game too, so maybe there's still an opportunity in the future where I'll get to relive my mispent youth and have some fun while I'm at it. Who am I kidding? I'm going to waste some half my afternoon browsing through the Wizard catalogue...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Life Chores


I have a lot of time to blog now. Let that soak in a bit before reading on...

I used the free time I have at the office today to catch up on a stack of ugly bills. A couple stern, past due reminders from the hydro company, annoying cell phone bill and my always impressive Visa statement. Visa bastards dinged me $30 for not making a full payment last month. Just awful, those credit cards.

Another game of Ultimate awaits me tomorrow but I don't know if I want to commit. I've been dastardly tired this week I actually feel partially drunk. Hauling my load out of bed has been a trial of epic proportions these past couple days. I'll even sleep through the blare of my alarm radio for 20-30 minutes before finding the necessary will to act.

With most of my bills settled up, I now face the prospect of cleaning up the apartment. It's in dire need of a dusting and vacuum and the bathroom could use a wipe down later this week. The kitchen's looking alright since I managed to outwait my roommate thereby forcing him to clean all the dishes in the sink. The fridge, however, is gonna be all me. I have too much old food in there. I don't look forward to performing a "Kitchen Reset" on the fridge, but someone's got to do it and it may as well be Lazy Ol' Me.

Leaving work early today to complete an errand. Going to get myself some nice foam. I'll let you know how that goes.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday Blah

435941_porte_verte How does a key stop working on the same lock? That's what my coworker and I were pondering this morning as we huddle in front of the office, locked out and rather bemused. All the principals were away until Thursday and the building management proved to be very unhelpful. It still gave me a nice excuse to visit our neighbours next door and speak with the comely interior designer, M. and borrow their phone.

A. and I retired momentarily to fetch our late morning coffee and returned in the hopes of trying out Te.'s keys when he arrived. Te. is our Czech applications programmer and always the last to come into the office each morning. I tried reaching one of my bosses to no avail. We contacted A.'s mother, who also happens to be my boss' sister, to get some alternate phone numbers to try. She promised to call back in 20 minutes once she had a chance to check her phonebook. She never did.

Luckily, her assistance was no logner required. We were debating the merits of spending the rest of the day on the beach when the elevator dinged and Te. walked out. Surprisingly (or not surprisingly, depending how grumpy and cynical you are), Te.'s keys turned inside the door locks, at long last freeing us to drone away at our desks.

I had dropped my muffin during the lockout and opened it up to see if it was mashed. Nope, all good, except that I ordered a blue berry oat bran muffin, not a banana muffin. Banana muffins blow. It's hard enough to mistake "blue berry oat bran" and "banana" when you say it. They also look completely different. I wonder how they fucked that one up. This day was really boding well for the rest of the week.

Great. I had just spilled my cup of water all over my desk, drenching a few papers and nearly putting some work CDs, my iPod and my cellphone at risk. Strange thing that happens when you spill things on your desk. It sets up a series of potential dominos, just waiting for you to set them off. Sure enough, after the spillage I leapt to my feet and started pulling out the Kleenex for damage control, in the process nearly knocking my iPod to the floor and spilling the rest of the water from trying to mop up the water from every little nook and cranny on my desk. The news is so right: liquids suck.

This day, if you haven't already surmised, sort of sucks overall. I thought I had a fair bit to do today, but I don't. You would think not having any bosses around would spell instant party, but it does not.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Barber Shop

I knew I had a long wait ahead of me in the barber shop. That's why I had my book with me, a cheap-o Book Warehouse special of William Gibson's Pattern Recognition.

An older man is in the middle of his cut when I walk in, with two customers still in queue ahead of me. Based on the meticulousness of the barber, I estimate an hour before I would be walking out of there with my new haircut. I sit down, still debating if I should even bother getting my trim but quickly commit to waiting it out. I didn't wake up early this morning for nothing.

I spend the next fifteen minutes alternating between my book, the blare of CNN on the ceiling-mounted television and regarding the barber's progress with his clients. My barber's a middle-eastern man in his late mid-late 30s and has a rough-hewn, roguish handsomeness which makes him resemble the middle-east version of ex-Bond actor, Timothy Dalton.

CNN begins to test my patience because I'm trying to read my book and realize I've spent 5 minutes on the same page. William Gibson's writing style has come a long way since Neuromancer but his latest book falls into a similar trap of being overly descriptive. The plot is captivating enough, but I'm over 130 pages in and it barely feels like anything of real import has happened yet.

Back to the headline news on CNN. There is something very awful about this network. The barrage of talking heads does little to hide the impression that this is little more than MuchMusic dressed up in pop-commerce-journalism. There's a quick, slick video roundtable on the Lebanon crisis in which they slip in a segment called Blog Voices. From what I could ascertain, this was CNN's attempt to acknowledge that they are up on the going-ons in the "blogosphere" (an insufferable term that has usurped old stinkers like "cyberspace" and "e-commerce") and use blogger content for their own purpose, while at the same time taking this golden opportunity to discredit the information. They are, after all, only bloggers. Quite disingenuous.

Timothy Dalton the barber is speeding through his haircuts much faster than I had expected. He's down to his last job before he gets to lay his scissors into my fuzzy, spikey mess. A couple walks in and take up seats right by the entrance. They look eastern european in origin and the woman, blonde and slim, is quite attractive. Everthing on her body is either brown or tan in colour which matches very nicely to her light-roast tan. I do a few quick sidelong appraisals and decides she wears her summer skirt and flip flops very well. She's got a slim upper body but her legs are thicker and have a bit more definition. Silky smooth. Interesting.

The couple apparently made an appointment with the barber's colleague, who is running a few minutes late. I clue in that the euro guy's English is not up to snuff and he has his lady friend to provide direction on his haircut.

It's finally my turn to take to the cutting chair. I'm extremely scruffy this morning. I didn't bother to shave and threw on a sweater too short overtop a t-shirt that is way too long. I take off my glasses and Dalton ties the smock around my neck. I'm telling him to trim my hair and I can't help but feel like a blind man. My eyesight is terrible now. When I look at my reflection, it appears as if I'm bald, with my hair having receded to places unknown, or at least into the dark, murky blur of the shop's back wall.

The haircut goes pretty well. I always doze off with my eyes open when I have my hair cut. The barber has a way of grasping my head with one hand to position the proper angle that is very dominating but also gentle. I never seem to notice barbers positioning the heads of their customers as much as they do for me. Maybe I'm always daydreaming and letting my head loll into strange positions too soon, forcing them to reset my head again.

CNN is still blaring away. Another blurb about the situation in Lebanon and my barber allows himself a snicker. I don't get it. I start daydreaming about the tapas restaurant I plan to visit on my date tonight. Abigail's Party is a pretty original name for a restaurant. I ponder the last time I asked someone out who wasn't from the internet and my search comes up empty. Maybe it was last summer, when an old friend valiantly tried to set me up with his wannabe model friend. But even that started off as innocent chit chats on MSN Messenger. I give up trying to remember and acknowledge myself one last time for taking my dating efforts back into meatspace.

The barber does an excellent job on my trim, eliminating the garbage around my ears and my neck and retaining the overall shape of things. I pay Mr. Dalton, who graciously thanks me for waiting. Before I go, I grab my novel off the counter and brush off this large grain powder that was lying around.

I know I might be running late for my early lunch appointment with my dad, but I stroll over the two units to peer into the chic little clothing boutique. I saw a drop dead gorgeous woman working here a couple weeks ago. She looked like a younger, less glossy Kelly Hu. Sadly, I didn't see anyone inside.

At this point, there are no more clouds from the somewhat dreary morning. I turn back the way I came and set off to meet my dad and the rest of my weekend.

Friday, August 11, 2006

ClinTicker 2000: Returning from Montreal Til Today

My inner thighs are now complaining as part of my recovery from Ultimate the other night. Well, you have to admit my posting regularity had improved dramatically leading up to my short trip to Montreal. I even squeezed in a post while experiencing a lull in activities over t here. Then I came back, and pptthh, back to my trickleage of postings. Well kids, that's why I do the ClinTicker, to give you outdated but condensed summaries of full posts that could have been. Anyway, it feels like I have a lot to write for the next 5 - 10 minutes so I'll get things rolling now...

Volunteer blogger gets sacked
My contributor's account for BeyondRobson.com unceremoniously deleted. The editor, Ar., felt that my posting frequency has never been sufficient or consistent enough and now that they were finally deciding to pay their writers, the posting requirements would become a little stiffer. So that was that, booted out of the inner circle of quasi-journalism!

To her credit, Ar. was apologetic and left the door open for me should the time come when I would be motivated enough to contribute 3- 5 posts per week. It's ironic because I had been doings things around town and keeping better tabs on upcoming local events/news but could not get it up to post on the blog. I am currently awaiting a similar fate on Kitsilano.ca, where I have submitted a big 2 posts since joining in late May. Their posting requirements are ridiculously lax andI still haven't been able to satisfy them. Talking just about the Kits neighborhood is tough. It's just there... the same old Kits. It really makes me feel that I've lived in this city way too long because I can't seem to find anything novel.. or just anything that interests me about one of the most popular areas in town.

Camry Gets Pwned by U-Haul
My beloved Camry Power was roughed up by a shitty driver and her rented U-Haul truck late last week. Coincidentally, it was the first day I got carpooled to the office, so I had left my car unattended for the entire day and was oblivious to the damage done to my car until the next morning.

Thankfully, the culprit was honest and left a detailed note on my windshield that outlined her name, driver's license number, cell phone number, the U-Haul plate number, a sincere apology and a special Grand Theft Auto rating of just what a piss poor driver she was. I was very thankful for the note, since it made for smooth transactions with ICBC (fairly unhelpful) and my extended insurance provider (much better). Granted, it was merely convenient for the driver to leave her honest note on my car, since she disclosed that she had insured her truck rental. Smart girl.

My deductible is $300 and I've been warned that I will likely have to wait a couple months to get that moolah back. Oh well. The damage to the Camry is significant, with the front left blinker completely smashed half the bumper was hanging off the body. Value of the repairs will probably exceed $2000. Times like this when I don't grumble about my premiums and feel very lucky to be insured.

Union Proggressive Progressively Improving
Ti., one of my DJ mates, finally came clean and offered many blistering, but helpful, criticisms on our DJ site, unionprogressive.com

In summary, he told me to cut the amateur act, remove the fluff writing and garbage photos and get with the program. Ouch. We had another meeting of the minds (in itself a somewhat amusing story...) and I polled Ax. and Ta. about Ti's suggestions. I was a bit surprised to find out they agreed with most of it. And so it was back to the computer where I've been steadily streamlining the content and prettying things up, and I have to say the site is looking a lot cleaner and much more focused.

The site has been up for almost a year and it took that long for someone to finally give me some real input to help improve the site. As harsh as I found his complaints, I have to credit Ti. for getting involved with the evolution of Union Progressive. You can't always have people slapping your back and saying "it's all good" when in fact the website you've been coddling for 10 months has been too wordy, borderline pretentious and marred by some truly awful, sub-amateur digital photographs.

DJ Seeks Audience with Bar Owner, Eats Pho Instead.
There's a lounge/pub downtown called Tribeca which I have been eyeing up for a few months as a potential venue to host an official Union Progressive night. Now that I have amassed a small posse, recorded some decent demo tapes and finally printed up some professional-looking business cards, I was ready to make my pitch to the owner.

I rallied the troops for the attack, even dragging out Ta. despite her severely weakened and hung-over state and we converged on Tribeca last Thursday evening. Imagine our surprise when we found the dimly-lit, classy lounge had been taken over by a Vietnamese restaurant. Remnants of Tribeca could still be found, like their chalkboard menus, Tribeca signage and the statue of a half-naked Greek god, which made for an odd-looking but still very classy, pho joint.

Ti. and I arrived first, jaws agape. The situation was quite amusing and since I was still in need of dinner, I relented and went inside for a bowl of vermicelli. We decided to let Ax. be taken by surprise as well. Because she was borderline ill, I gave Ta. a warning in case she didn't feel like hanging out now that Tribeca was gone. She came anyway.

It was a slight shot to to the morale. The crew spent several futile minutes brainstorming other viable place that would be receptive to us starting a DJ night with them. The good news is everyone recommitted to the idea of going full bore on the streaming radio station which we've bandied around since the inception of UP. We've started our DJ recruitment in earnest now and will hopefully have a decent roster of show hosts in the next 2 months. If anyone knows a DJ, you know who to talk to.

Talladega Nights
People are seeing this movie left and right. I hear it's a riot, even better than the venerable Anchorman. Time to crack open the phonebook, get on the horn and see who wants to check this out with me.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ultimate... Ass Handing on a Plate

The ClinTicker 2000 will be fully functional again tomorrow (Friday) after a lengthy period of inactivity.

But today, I wanted to talk about the art of whipping a frisbee around a grassy field.

Oh, I've the usual experience of passing a frisbee back and forth among friends, thanks to something called a childhood and a modest string of beach BBQs and backyard parties where I wasn't content to just sit and eat charred meats all day. It's the tossing of a frisbee, oh pardon me, a disc in a coordinated manner that has me a little stumped.

I played my very first game of Ultimate last night with a pickup group I hooked up with through a cute girl at my dining club. It's a fun, running-intensive game that has uncovered some terrible truths about my body. First, I'm still way out of shape. Second, I'm not a limber 18-year old any more. Actually, I'll call cop out on my second admission there. Age is not the issue. J., a fellow dining club member who was also at at the game, is a few years my senior and is in phenomenal shape. No, I think I can admit that although I've jumped back on the Fitness World bandwagon, no amount of grinding away on the ellipticals could prepare me for the Ultimate full frontal assault on my cardiovascular endurance.

There really is no substitute for getting outside, getting your hands and knees dirty and engaging your entire body in a singular mission of chasing down an airborne plastic disc. I suppose it didn't help that both teams played grossly short-handed for most of the evening. We kicked off several rounds 3-on-3, before a couple stragglers boosted us up to a 4-on-4 skirmish. Suffice it to say, a lot more running around required of all players as opposed to a proper regulation game of 7 players per team, with substitutes!

Look closely and you'll pick me out on the field. I'm the guy most likely bent over, hands on knees, and panting after every touchdown. That is the same guy who also had a penchant for skidding on the damp grass with his crappy runners, botching give n' go passes and launching wobbly discs way out of bounds, clearing the reach of any teammate by a good kilometer or three.

Thankfully, this wasn't a league game and everyone was casual about the game, despite the drubbing my team received for the longest time and even after we took a mercy trade for a better player/captain. No matter how many passes I fumbled or overshot, someone was there to offer encouragement or helpful advice. And thank god for that. It motivated me enough to pull off a few impressive scoring assists as well as a touchdown of my own early in the night. Ah, the glory of the sport. The spirit of the game!

My legs felt like death when we packed up at 9:00pm sharp. That was almost 2 hours of uninterrupted running around like a headless chicken. And today, I feel pretty useless. My legs are sore in new and interesting regions and even my lower back has joined the party. Will I go back next week? Probably. The people are good and with any luck, the weather will hold out for a while longer. Some of the players are fairly experienced, so if we're feeling ambitious we can form a team and join one of the many leagues in town for some real competition.

Me, I'll be happy to contribute disc-fumbling skills any day of the week. BRING IT.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Vancouver vs. Montreal: The Inevitable Comparisons


It's been a brisk two weeks since returning from my jaunt to Montreal. With the exception of spinning records and listening to music on my precious first iPod, I've been terribly unmotivated since coming back to Vancouver. It's easy to write it off as post-vacation blahs, except that I was only away for a little over a week, in effect missing 6 days of work. Vancouver was still at the tail end of a brutal (by Vancouver standards) heat wave and it was comforting to sleep in my bed again and breathe in the drier, fresher air. Although I could have used a few more days of exploration in Montreal, despite the oppressive humidity over there, I was glad to be home.

Or was I?

I don't know how to really compare my experiences in Montreal to my life in Vancouver without sounding like I'm totally pissing on my hometown. I have a reverse bias, in that I've lived in Vancouver for so long that almost nothing fazes me anymore. The city has changed so much in the last 29 years and I've paid so little attention to it that time it's like nothing has changed at all. Instead of a fascinating memory stream like a time lapse video, I get an eery sense of stasis... of time standing still.

A week in a new city surely isn't long enough to uncover all the negatives of the same, but it's given me a taste of something new and very appealing. I'd like to make it easy for myself and mention two great things I noticed over there. The first, is the social vibe in Montreal is so much more textured and varied than it is in Vancouver. While there are visible cliques and groupings in all cities, in Montreal they are all so out in the open and simply co-exist in this great melting pot of subcultures. Every group seems to mind their own business accepts everyone on the outside so long as they keep to their own thing. As a results, you'll see all manner of people on the streets and everyone seems to embrace their own sense of style and individuality. In stark contrast, the people in Vancouver seem to be a lot more homogenous, with everyonef striving to become (or just buying into) some sort of socially acceptable image.

The second thing, of course, is the women. I've had a lot of help from different people, whether it be my sister, B. or my architect friend, R., in trying to describe just what makes the ladies in Montreal so attractive. It really boiled down to their sense of style, reflected in their urban chic fashion sense and their overall attitude. Girls are infinitely more creative and stylish in dress and conversely, they are much more willing to wear less. Whereas you routinely see women in Vancouver conforming to a certain "uniform" of trendyness or looking like they are trying too hard, you will find women in Montreal who just look comfortable in their own skin, even if they look distinct and unique from anyone else in a 3 block radius. I saw so many short shorts, summer skirts, mini skirts and skimpy tops over there that I just gave up trying to scope out everyone who passed. And most of it, believe it or not, did not look slutty. It just looked right.

There's more to report, but I'll save it for another day.