Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Vic and I were Watching NewsNet this morning and there was a story about a Hep A outbreak at a local restaurant known as the Foundation. This place is just down the street from the office. Wow, on the national news no less. Later I checked e-mails and got the first of what will probably be many urgent notices from friends of friends all starting chain letters and phone trees and what have you to get out the word about Hep A shots.

I was going to forget about it but I can't resist bringing it up for a bit here. This news doesn't surprise me in the slightest bit. Ian and I tried the restaurant last spring since we had heard from so many people how frickin' wonderful it was, an all vegan restaurant that wasn't the Nam (and the Nam's prices). The windows were constantly fogged up from the throngs of hipsters packing the joint night after night so why not, they must be on to something. A little change from Reno's right?

At first glance it's a big, open space littered with old style kitchen tables, like the ones your grandma had with the sparkly surfaces (usually chipped somewhere), lit by candles (even the kitchen was dark), the walls adorned with tacked-on posters of local artists' work (artists just poor enough to not frame them). And of course those hipsters. Everywhere, looking dour and just self involved enough to not look like they were trying too hard to be noticed for their introspection and depth. Ugh. Whatever, onto the food.

The menus were one of those conceptual nightmares that can't just come right out and say "spinach salad" they have to use cool mispellings combined with images of Che Guevarra and hip hop. How street. And oh yeah, since they were "non corporate" you couldn't just get a coke you had to order some revolutionary, economically friendly variant thereof. And not a very good one either.

After taking forever to figure out just what the fuck they served (vegetables, really) we had to wait an additional period of interminable limbo for one of the waitresses, very dour and self involved enough to not look... you get what I mean, disinterested in being there, to actually come over and take the order. She then shambled off to yet another hipster behind the dark counter (some guy with lots of facial jewelry). And holy shit it took forever to get the food, nearly an hour. We were steaming as much as the veggie soup.

And y'know, the food was pretty plain. Vegetables. A small scattering of nuts. Some water chestnut tasting chunks that robbed the meal of its overall flavour. And it wasn't filling at all. The thing about Vegan is, you have to make up for those protein gaps to be worth while. A big hunk of spinach just won't keep you from being hungry an hour later. Totally unimpressive.

A few months later we decided to give them another chance, just in case that one time was a total fluke. It wasn't. And this time there were giant posters taped to the walls with the same tired, old run of philosophical and political quotes (you know the drill, Ghandi, Santayana, Che again) drawn by hand in old Typewriter font. Oh please. That same Margaret Mead treatise on the power of the individual is on the side of a maternity wear shop over on Cambie! For Christ's sake!

And you know why these Hep A outbreaks tend to happen at the trendy, organic, global minded co-op type businesses (Capers anyone?), it's because the people working there are working so hard to look fucking hip and concerned that they forget the actual important things like washing their fucking hands!

God people! Good intentions don't keep your workplace sanitary. Yeah, hairnets are declasse but not as much as Hep A shots. Nor do good intentions change the world. Going out and doing something for others does. Not sitting around looking like you care because you're drinking a non corporate soda. Not wearing hemp cargo pants and putting your hair up in cornbraids (I'm looking at you Bobby white boy, pale as a ghost because you grew up on the rainy side of Port Coquitlam!), or you the deep poetess in your Main Street boutique gear and nose ring!

How does a glass of non coke change the world exactly? How many cases of that non coke do you think it'll take to change the village that produces it? Really change it for the better? Certainly not enough purchased by the bloody Foundation that's for sure.

I mean geez, you don't have to go out and run Enron or anything but there are so many ways you can contribute to the world that doesn't involve opting out of the mainstream and into the realm of the boring and ineffectual just to appear original because trust me, right now there are a million more out there just like you.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Yesterday we were in a cab taking Charlie to the vet. I carefully balanced the cat carrier on my lap in some attempt to calm the little guy down. This was his fourth trip in a month and he was really having none of it.

At one point I looked across a ravine to a parallel running road. There was a bus stop and a woman seated in a battery operated wheelchair, her head leaning a bit to one side, patiently waiting for her ride. Just then the chorus to Life is a Highway came blasting through the cab's radio.

Vancouver radio sucks.

Monday, January 9, 2006

For all the little annoyances of comic cons, the socially awkward advances, the hygene issues, the Klingons, they all pale in comparison to the estrogen fueled nightmare that is Wedding Fair.

Every year the Westin Bayshore Hotel plays host to this expo of marital frenzy and this year we decided to go and collect business cards and brochures from over a hundred local companies in order to finalise plans for our upcoming big day. So for the ridiculous entry fee of twenty five bucks per head we get the privilege of attending a day long commercial for over-priced crap wrapped in tulle. We also get to fill out dozens of prize ballots inlcuding the whopper grand prize of an $87,000 wedding package, which is aparently the main reason to attend these shows.

After buying the tickets we fill out all the forms and ballots and make our way to the entrance where the door staff hustle the "bride" aka me to a separate line where they take my ticket and slap a large sticker on my chest, dead center between the boobs that says BRIDE on it. Oh great.

Once inside we are treated to one hell of a scene. You hear about bridezillas, you see the TLC shows and gawk at these crazy women who just seem to have come from another planet and wonder how the hell there can be nutjobs like this out there but it's such a shock when you see them in real life. And not just one, but dozenss of them. Everywhere. These women were unbelievable! Ian was knocked around constantly by women racing from ballot box to ballot box. I had so many women deke in lines ahead of me, shove their way to a brochure, wedge between myself and whoever I was chatting with, and oh god, the second it became known that the cupcakes at the Cupcakes booth could be taken as the show was coming to a close (despite the employees saying they were really stale) that table was set upon like vultures to a freshly deceased corpse and picked clean within minutes.

A few people asked me when the big day was and when I said it was in May there seemed to be this unanimous horror in their responses: "Wow! That's so soon!" One mentioned their wedding wasn't until next year. It's fickin' January! How much of a control freak do you need to be over one day!?

It took me a while to figure out the freaky vibe of the place and then it made total sense: of course, it was high school. Multiplied by about a thousand. Combine every vote for class president, audition for a part in the big play, preparations for grad night and a whole bunch of parent/teacher meetings and you get the emotional regression, hormonally charged mania and seething competition of brides looking for a deal.

The said brides all glared fiercely, looking each other up and down, making quick, harsh judgements while their maids of honour hovered ready to get her back should someone pull a switchblade and start a rumble. The mothers all had that worried furrow in their brows wondering how they were going to pay for it all, The grooms, what few there were, hung around the Canadian Tire booth looking at lawn mowers and plasma screen tvs.

We collected the information we wanted and got out of there asap.


Give me San Diego on Saturday any day.