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Friday, June 30, 2006

Bears, Ninjas, and Sigur Ros.

Joel sold his truck. Yeah, that’s how this story ends. He sold it and he drove it to Calgary to deliver it to the new owner, but I’ll always remember his truck as the host of the perfect ending to an evening adventure.
Here’s how my last memory of his truck came to be. (I applogize for the length of this post. Just consider it a short story.)
It all starts with a lazy sunny Wednesday evening. Andrea F. came over to hang out, but we had no idea what we were going to do. We only knew that it would be outside since the weather was beautiful. Finally we decided to walk up to the top of McKee Peak to gaze over Abbotsford. After stopping for a cold drink at EA, we parked the car at the base of the trail on Highlands and started up the trail. Seriously, it wasn’t even 5 minutes later that we met a man and his dogs coming down the trail. He told us that a black bear had been spotted in the area and was likely to eat us... or something like that. So, in the interest of keeping all my meat on my body, I suggested that we find something else to do.
We did.
I told her I’d show her the crazy dip in the road past Western Penn… you all know the one. If you drive 100 kph you get a surprisingly long period of zero gravity. Andrea was driving however, so we had a slightly less exciting experience as the road dropped away beneath us. But Sumas Mountain was pretty. We ended up near the river on Page Rd. Good times. Then I asked if she had ever seen the freaky abandoned army base. She said no, and so I took her there.
Freaky… and abandoned. But maybe not abandoned afterall…
She wanted to drive in to the main building area, since one of the gates seemed to be left open, but I was too scared. Then as we kinda were sitting there in front of the gate, I noticed that there was a new black pick-up. You know the type… the government official big black pick-up type. You see them on the movies all the time. Anyways, I thought it suspicious that there be a new-ish black pick-up parked behind the security building at the gate, and upon further investigation I realized that there was a Canadian Military Ninja-Agent looking back at us from the shadows in the gate building. I tried as nonchalantly as possible to tell Andrea to drive away, but as she had no Ninja-Agent sensing abilities, she just kept on gesturing and pointing and so on. Shoot. Finally I convinced her that we need be leaving now, and we drove past all the freaky weird communications antennas and probably nuclear devices and alien ships down to the end of the street, which happened to be a dead one. Once there we noticed an overgrown section of gate. The ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Danger High Voltage’ signs were still legible, as was the government warning that we would be prosecuted and probably eaten alive if we managed to cross the razor wire. Well, we didn’t try, but I got eaten alive anyways; mosquito style. Then just before we left -- to risk driving back past the freaky gate with the freakier Canadian Military Ninja-Agent in order to extricate her car from the danger of proximity to freaky not-so abandoned military communications bases – I noticed something in the bushes just ahead behind the big checkered Dead End sign. Yup, I noticed a home-made sign that said end. And as I was admiring its cut-out plywood and spray-paint construction, I noticed something to the left of it. Another letter. An H. I was enthralled. I looked, desperately hoping to see a Y on the right side of it, but I found none. That will have to be rectified one of these days.
We drove on back to the main road. But upon reaching the other side of the base, the side without the ninja, our courage began to grow again and we attempted another circumnavigation of the base. We didn’t make it. We got about as far as the “Danger: Entering Live Ammo Range” sign, (which may have actually said “Stay on roadway, Rod and Gun Club Range” or something to that effect). It was at this point that we decided to head off to Joel’s house, since he was home by this time and awaiting our arrival.
However, on the way, we looked ahead at the car in front of us, and decided most definitely that it was a government vehicle. It had numbers on the trunk and back window, and one-too-many antennas, and therefore it was relatively simple to deduce that the ninja was following us. That’s right… following us. We were surprised that the ninja was in front of us when he meant to be following us, but this too had a rather simple explanation –he’s a really talented ninja. A short time before we got to Joel’s house, the ninja turned off and drove away. I guess he figured out that we were on to him.
We entered Joel’s pleasant domicile and we sat on the couch and began relating to him the story of our evening. The conversation shifted to a continuation of an earlier conversation that Andrea and I had had in the car regarding freaky cult buildings and zones and fields that probably were related to freaky cults and whatever else. Andrea had told me this one amazing scary story about a tres-sketchy place she found in Langley, and we Google Earth-ed it on Joel’s computon. After drinking some water and sitting around for a bit longer, we decided that we should go out and sit on the roof rack of Joel’s very cool (and right-hand drive at that) Land Cruiser and look at the stars. It was the last night that the truck would reside here in BC, and so we may as well get one last session with it before it was too late. Some tea was made, a thermos retrieved to retain the chaud-liquid, and we set off with cushions and blankets to find a dark place up on a hill where we could watch the stars.
We drove around quite a bit that evening. No luck. Not anywhere. It does quite seem like every access to cool mountain spots is blocked, either by large rocks or gates or machinery or the like. At one point up on McKee peak, we were watched with great scrutiny as we pulled up and Joel sought out the path. It was gated, but there was a way around. However, Mr. Birdwatcher was standing right there staring right at us, and there was no way to get to our desired location without attracting some unwanted attention. So we gave up and went to try Auguston. No luck there either, though we did manage to find a nice field of bark mulch.
Finally after a few more stops we decided to give up and head back to Joel’s house. At least he lives a bit out of the city so it might be kinda dark-ish. Well, his house is at the base of a cleared out section that is undergoing new development, so we attempted to find a way up the hill. We drove on to the street above his, (a street with no houses, only empty lots and lots and lots of construction equipment) and were intrigued to find a shiny white suburban parked on the side of the road, and two thirty-something year old gentlemen with sketchy beards and cigarettes standing beside it playing with remote control cars.
Now, let’s consider the full weight of this scene. You’re 32. You are successful enough to drive a big shiny white suburban. It is 11:00pm at night, and you are parked on an empty street a fair ways out of town, and you are playing with a remote control car. Awesome.
We drove by them on our quest for access to the hill beside us, and received some awkward and concerned looking glances from said gentlemen as we did. The cul-de-sac provided us with no route up the hill, and so we turned around and started driving back towards them. Then just before we reached their location, we saw some dodgy caterpillar tracks heading up the hill. We turned off the street and started our uneven ascent. Toy-car guys just watched with nervous glances. Eventually after an arduous journey in a fairly tough 4-wheel drive truck, we came to a turn in the dirt path. Now, I better try to explain this too you. We were basically driving up the side of a cliff. I mean, the cliff was on our left and the ‘road’ if you dare call it that was fairly level from the left to right, but was at a very steep angle. To our right was a sheer drop off, at the angle of repose. The cliff turned inwards a bit ahead, and it was only upon finally rounding the corner that we realized that that was where the road ended. There was definitely no path ahead of us, and none to the side, so we parked and opened the sunroof to climb up to the roof-rack.
This is where the night got beautiful. The hardcore-hobbie guys were somewhat disconcerting as they frequently glanced up into the darkness towards where our lights had last been seen, but shortly thereafter they got back in their big shiny white suburban and drove away to go work on their model train. It was then that we were alone, and the stars grew close. Sigur Ros made the perfect soundtrack for the occasion, and we were lulled into the endlessness that is our universe and conversations about nearly everything. In looking down to the subdivision we could see the reflection of moths dancing beneath the streetlights, and the occasional car would drive by.
All in all, it was a spectacular and serene ending to a wonderful evening of adventures. I will miss Joel’s truck, but I guess all good things need come to an end sometimes.
Just like this story.
Peace be with you.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Really teed at Realty

So, our landlords have put their house on the market, leaving us (my roommate and I) unsure about where we will be living in a few months. I will dearly miss our landlords if the sale does go through. They are genuinely excellent people. They have two wonderful young boys who let me play with their remote control monster trucks from time to time, and are just a very sincere and giving family. I could not have asked for better landlords when I was first moving out. They have been a blessing.
The realty company however, has been somewhat less of a blessing. Not that they're bad people, just that their job is a rather intrusive one. They have to show people around the house, and during those times they ask that we be 'not present.' This is so that the house can look lived in, but without the awkward presence of two young men who are either the prospective buyers' future tenants, or future evictees. I guess I can see how that might be awkward. However, let me say, it's a bit disconcerting haveing someone we don't know show people we don't know around our place while we're not there. Not awesome. Secondly, they seem to make plans to tour tehe house at the most inopportune times, and with very little warning.
Yesterday I worked until 5, then went to coach until 6:30 like I normally do. I got a message on my phone in the afternoon saying that they had 2 viewings scheduled for that evening, one from 6-6:30 (no problem), and the other from 7-8pm. Problem. I need to eat. Also, I'm sick, I had insomnia the night before, and I'm stinky after a work-day on the hottest day of the year so far. I mostly want nothing other than to go home, eat, shower, and then probably go to bed and try to sleep. Well, I decided I would have no time to shower and sleep, but I could very likely eat between 6:30 and 7, and so I attempted to do so. I arrived home at 6:17, hoping that the first group had gone already, and indeed they had. I was lucky. Now I had 43 minutes to eat, instead of just 30. I got out my food, eating some crackers while I did, wasting no time getting my mouth full of food. But before I could sit down and actually enjoy the meal, I heard the landlords front door unlock, and the sound of foreign voices. Quick, put all the food back, grab your backpack and shoes and slip out the side door. Listen... no voices. Walk quietly to the front... and, Oh. Everyone is standing right there. Hi.
My roommate was sitting in his car, parked across the road. I guess he had wanted to stop in between too. He was shaking his head as I approached, and we went to EA and sat for 1.5 hours, and thankfully he bought me some food (since I have 'insufficient funds' for even a bagel). Then finally after waiting quite impatiently, we arrived home to an almost empty house, some food, a shower, and most important, some cough medicine and my bed.
So as you can see, this was more than an inconvenience. It was a bonifide frustration. But, hey, I guess that's life. I called the landlords later that night and explained the situation, and the realter was there with them, and he appologized on behalf of his company and promised that we would get 24 hours notice from now on.
Well, that promise lasted about... no time. I got a message on my phone today. IT made me cringe and feel so sorry for my roommate. Now, you need to understand something. My roommate is the sleep-in guru. He has his routine down to a science. I actually admire his ability to wake up 12 minutes before he needs to be out the door and still make it out showered and ready for the day. It amazes me. In a pinch, I can do the same to, but I find that when I wake up stressed, the rest of the day follows that route, and I have a bad day. So, I wake up giving myself plenty of time to relax and make sure that everything is in place. The right side of the bed for Kyle. Hamish has his right side too, and if he gets too close to that side he'll roll back towards the left and stay put until the last possible second. So now you understand who he is, then know that today was his day off. When I'm around on his day's off, I don't expect to see him until after 10. Poor little guy...
The realty company called at 8:35, asking that they realters take a tour of the house at 9:00am. Not even 30 minutes later. This is why I cringed and felt terrible for Hamish. What a bad scene it has been.
Apparently a serious offer has been placed, and so we'll see how this all develops in the future. I'll keep you updated as to any significant changes in my living arrangement.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pro's and Con's of being quite ill.

{Alternate working title: Sick Days: Part II}

I generally can't say I am a big fan of being sick. However, I can ceratinly say that I am a big fan of sick days.
I am currently sick again. This time a bit different than last... less psychological, and more nauseatical. Don't tell me it's not a word. I have a B.A. now, and that means that I can fall into the loving arms of poetic liscence. If I say nauseatical, then it's a word. I have a B.A. I am a university graduate. I have gone through 4 (read 'six') years of university level education. I have a degree. I work at a low-paying and labour-intensive summer job. I have a B.A.
I am sick.
So anyways, there are a number of descriptivorialianismicological (again; don't question me... I'm warning you) qualities that can be applied to the concept of sickness. These qualities--while they describe a single state of being--can be placed into two distinct, yay, two mutually exclusive and inherently opposite categories. These categories are: 1) Things I like; and 2) Things that I do not like.

The first category includes descriptivorialianismicological qualities of sickness such as 'not having to go to work', and 'getting a day off.' These could be better explained with statements such as the following:
I don't have to be asked to do three things all at one time.
I don't have to be asked to do anything at all.
I can spend time reading a good book (such as Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, which I am working on right now.
I can eat whenever I feel like it, even if it's not between the hours of 12:00pm and 1:00pm.
I can drink tea. Lots. With honey.
I can enjoy the out-of-doors. It was sunny today, and I was not forced to be inside a stinky factory.

The secong category includes qualities such as the following:
Having a headache.
Wanting to throw up, but not feeling energetic enough to do so.
Missing a days worth of wages on the next paycheck.
Not being able to fully enjoy the flavour of my favored foods and beverages.
Not tasting coffee, even when I drink it.
Shivering then sweating, then shivering again. (It's like when I worked day shift in the middle of summer at the food processing plant, I was moving product in and out of the freezers. Also, it's like being in South East Asia. Those crazy asian's love their A/C).
Coughing worse than before.
Feeling bad for missing work (redemption came in the form of a phone-call to a fellow employee... as it turns out, there was hardly anything to do today and they were mostly bored).
And so on...

So, illness of the sort by which I am plagued these days can be both a blessing and a curse simultaneously. And it baffles me to consider the quantum repercussions of a single element bearing qualities from opposing camps, and still functioning as an operational entity. There's gotta be a life lesson somewhere in all this... it's like those beetles that explode when they get agitated. Hmmm, on second thought, that comparison takes too much energy to explain. Forget it... I'm sick, afterall.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Giving in to Pandora's lure...

You may have heard of, the music genome project. Or you may not. Anyways, it's a pretty good little idea. You enter the name of an artist or song that you like, and then it will play that. Then it will play something that is similar sounding. Then you can click on a thumbs up or thumbs down, eventually cornering your music taste within that genre. It actually works pretty well. Dan Bryce showed me the web page a few years ago, and I thought it was pretty cool. However, I never really visited the page, and perhaps I was scared to.
You see, I like music. A lot. It can be kinda addicting sometimes I guess. So I didn't want to end up spending evenings and weekends trying to discover the most obscure band or artist. That's one of the things that annoys me about the underground music scene. It's all about dropping names or being the first kid on the block with the latest CD by "so and so". Lately I've been rebelling against this attitude. I give props to Emo Neufeld for showing me Mum, Looper, and The Notwist. I did not discover these bands. I give props to Kevin 'Boss' Warkentin for The Appleseed Cast, Sunny Day Real Estate, Mates of State, and so on. I give Props to Miles for Poison the Well and Zion-I, which I was listening to before all'y'all, whether you like it or not.
Bands I've discovered independently (and before the mass of the local scene) include .hopesfall., All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors, As I Lay Dying (no don't even claim that one... I was listening to them for a year or two before Frail Words Collapse came out), China the Beautiful, Coastal, !!!, Creeper Lagoon... and that's just A-C... Okok. enough trying to reclaim lost claims and recover stolen scene points.
I have been exploring the world of Hip-Hop lately.
It all started a number of years ago with Zion-I, when I was driving Miles604 back to his Cloverdale Home. He brought along a load of CD's and in typical compulsive scene-kid style, he took over my car stereo and commenced 45 minutes of introducing me to good music. Poison the Well and Zion-I were two CD's that stuck out, and that I looked into and purchased (I had to order them both in, since there was nowhere in town that carried them. Okok, but back to hip-hop, I'm getting off topic. BAck in those days, I was a one sound man. I loved my hxc and emo. My idea of rap was that it was all gold teeth and Hummers and gatts. Zion-I showed me that rap could have a social conscious too. MC Zion's lyrics spoke on issues such as urbanization or life on the streets, like, the love/hate relationship that he had with his city, and so on. Stuff I completly can't truly connect with, but appreciate regardless, cause he's not spittin' about how big his hummer is. I bought Mind Over Matter, his debut album, and have since purchased his next two releases.
From Zion-I, I moved on to Blackalicious. Blazing Arrows was my first exposure to The Gift of Gab, and from there I went backwards to listen to Nia, an earlier album, but I did not appreciate it fully right aways. I have since realized how amazing it is. I then went out and got myself up to date by purchasing his latest CD, The Craft.
From features on the Zion-I and Blackalicious' CDs, I learned of other great undergroud hip-hop artists that could rap about things other than killin' niggaz. Talib Kweli, Common, Atmosphere, Black Moon, Shad (props to Furtney for the London connex), A Tribe Called Quest, Jurrasic 5, and so on. I even procured a French Hip-Hop CD; 'Sang Froid' by Sinik. I don't know what he raps about, so I can't put him in the social conscious. I shoudl get one of those pretty French speaking girls I know to check it out and tell me of what he speaks.
Anyways, I've finally given in, and just recently (an hour ago) tuned into and have a Blackalicious station going. It's been pretty decent so far. The current song kinda sucks, but a lot of them have been pretty good. So far on my little pad of paper I have scribbled down the names and albums of 5 pretty decent sounding hip-hop artists or groups. Hopefully I can swim out of the sea of good music that exists out there on the web, but we'll see how far downshore I surface. Ooooo, found number 6 for my list. Blood of Abraham. I like this song so far... we'll see what the rest of their stuff sounds like.
Aight, I suppose I'll log off.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

11 hours of work, Bright Eyes, and a conumdrum of sorts

I worked 11 hours today. Apparently we sold a heap of pressure washers, so a heap had to be made and shipped to meet the terms of the sale. I guess that's how business goes. So, I was raymond crazy today. Seriously... crazy.
I got home just after 8:00pm, having left for work at about 7:30am, making it a very long day. But the free pizza that the man bought for us, as well as the OT pay, (and a surprisingly significant amount of fun), made the day not only bearable, but oddly somewhat enjoyable.
I am listening to Bright Eyes. Sometimes it's just great. Oh Connor...
Tomorrow night I have a choice to make. I can go straight from work to a season end party for the track and field team I coach, or I can go to a graduation party for those of us who graduated from UCFV with geography degrees. So, tomorrow night I have a choice to make. No, I do not have bad grammar, I just know that I will not make the choice until tomorrow night. There's positives and negatives for going to either one, so I just will end up doing whatever I do. It'll be interesting to see what happens.
Uhm, I have nothing else to write about, since I'm mostly just wasting time as it is. Oh well.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


I can't wake up.
I am running.
I mean, like, actually running again. Perhaps even training. I think I will. September.
School is done, so I will run. I will train every day then compete next year. Travel around a bit,... break some records... get my bosses to let me off a few hours early so I can train... etc.
My eyes are itchy.
I have hay fever I guess.
I was outside on the grass a bit today.
Shad is coming to Vancouver.
I will go see him. He seems nice.
My moped gives me trouble, but like normal it costs me little to nothing to fix it. So even though it's constant problems, it's better than the once a month problems on my car.
Work is ok. I get paid and do lots of OT.
I sit on my couch or computer chair when I don't work or run.
I ran out of coffee filters, and will go purchase more.
That is the updates.