Thursday, August 31, 2006

Laughing and crying are the same thing

While Michael and I were waiting for Raissa and Imti to arrive on Tuesday, we were looking at videos on this website. We couldn't resist watching the one called Panda Sneeze, and since then I've watched it twenty times. I laughed so hard I cried, and I can't really explain why. I told Raissa and Imti about it yesterday, and while they agreed that a panda sneezing and scaring his panda mom might be funny, I wasn't impressed with their level of interest. I knew their ambivalence might have something to do with my inability to describe the comedic quality of the video, so I sat them down in front of the computer when we got home. I was nervous that I had hyped it up - that maybe we found it funny the other night because we were tired and would have laughed and cried at anything, but they confirmed our initial reaction and more tears were shed. Then Raissa and Imti upped the ante and started acting out the sneeze reflex. That's worth videotaping itself.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rabbits disapprove of everything

I'm wrapping up my position at the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC with only four more days to go. The job has served me well in terms of pay, resumé value and closeness to home (here's to being a part of the six percent of Canadians who walk to work!), but it's been a little boring at the same time. I was too qualified for this job - a fact my boss and I both acknowledged from the get-go - so I ended up with a lot of spare time on my hands. I spent many hours browsing the Internet, and I have found many mindless forms of entertainment as a result. And when I say mindless, I mean it. The above picture is from one of my latest finds: the famous disapproving rabbits. The rabbits have brought me a lot of joy, even though they look unnaturally large and I'm pretty sure they've all had heart attacks since their pictures were posted. I discovered them on the website where I receive daily cute therapy: Cute Overload. I'm especially fond of the site's Rules of Cuteness, such as rule 7: A thing, accompanied by a smaller version of that thing, is always cute. Then there's rule 24: Have suction cups on your hands. Who can argue with these kinds of rules? I figure looking at puppies and kittens has to be good for one's mental health. Even if it doesn't have any measurable impact, it sure does make the time fly (especially because the site adds new pictures multiple times a day), and that's what I've been looking for.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Extra! Extra! Water shortage foils schemes!

Michael and I were thinking of taking a little trip with Raissa and Imtiaz this weekend. They're visiting from Seattle and Asia, respectively, and because we want them to move here we wanted to impress them with a glorious destination. First we were all, let's go to Hornby with Ananda so we can eat that awesome blueberry pie! But then we found out Ananda's working all weekend and Hornby isn't Hornby without Ananda. Then I was all, let's go to Tofino so we can eat at Sobo, one of my favorite restaurants in the world. But then I found out Tofino is making all restaurants and hotels shut down before Friday because of severe water shortages. What?! You heard me, the king of tourist towns is shutting down for the busiest weekend of the year. Check this out if you don't believe me. Now I don't know what to do with them. I was thinking of taking them to the Royal BC Museum at some point, but even though it's a wicked museum, I have a feeling it won't make them want to up and move here.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Wedding number two

Today I finish posting wedding pictures. It seems like ages ago that we were in Saskatchewan, but I still want to acknowledge Jen and Tim's big day here, even though it's old news; Jen is one of Michael's two sisters and Tim is the karaoke king.

Here is Michael's aunt and grandma prepping lettuce. His aunt is in her pjs still because the work bee started at the crack of dawn. All of the food at the wedding was homemade. All of it.

The cakes were made by Jen's buddy Adele, on the left. They were magnificent. One was carrot (my favorite), one was chocolate, and the last was butter pecan (which won the people's choice award).

Finally, here is the happy couple. Well, if crying through the entire ceremony and then the toasts can be called happy, then yes, Tim was happy. All in all, it was a wonderfully cute wedding. The only low point was the fight between two of Michael's male cousins that led to several root canals the following week. Luckily the bride and groom left before the violence tainted the evening.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Crispie with a C

I've had some sort of stomach bug for the last few days and have not been inclined to write in my blog. I'm still not inclined, but I thought I'd make a small effort to describe a wheat-free dessert I whipped up the other night. I bought some puffed brown rice with the notion of making rice crispie squares from scratch (no processed marshmallows for me!), but I've delayed that plan that until Shannon emails me her marshmallow recipe (no need to worry about it until after Burning Man, sister). After a quick google, I found a recipe that combines honey, peanut butter, puffed rice and ground flax seeds. It is super simple and good in that 'no refined sugar' kind of a way. And it tastes good. It never occured to me that puffed brown rice was available for these types of schemes, and I'm pleased with the discovery.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Dear West Jet

After a harrowing experience on our intended flight to Saskatoon, I decided to write a letter of complaint to WestJet. My dad told me to do it right away, so I remembered the important points, but there was a wedding to attend and friends to visit, so I didn't take his advice. Here is the edited version of an earlier draft posted on this site. I mailed it today.

To Whom It May Concern:

I was on WJ Flight 178 on Aug. 4, 2006. I was flying from Victoria to Saskatoon with a transfer (to Flight 178) in Calgary. The plane was not able to land in its intended destination, Saskatoon, because of a storm. After an hour of flying above the storm, waiting for a break that never came, we flew to Regina to refuel and regroup; during the landing in Regina, the level of turbulence traumatized the passengers on the flight. People were screaming and flight attendants were trying to control their tears. My partner and I, both experienced travelers, were very shaken up.

The pilot informed us that after refueling, we were going to try to land in Saskatoon again (it was now midnight, local time). He told us this might not be possible because there were two storms still above Saskatoon. If unable to land, we would return to Calgary.

The pilot should be commended on landing the plane safely in Regina; however, I was disappointed in his conduct after the landing.

First, the pilot and the crew did not reassure the passengers about the safety of the rough landing and divulged too much information about the weather conditions that they had decided we were going to re-enter. I was surprised that the pilot addressed the passengers' fear with light-hearted jokes and no serious concern. This did not instill confidence in his ability as a pilot. I don't think it was wise of him to tell us about the storms we were about to re-enter, due to the level of fear and anxiety that existed in the plane at the time. I didn't want to experience another rough landing, and was ready to avoid it at all costs.

Second, no explanation was given regarding the decision to return to Calgary if the landing was unsuccessful a second time. I didn't want to end up in Calgary because I had a wedding to attend in Saskatoon the following day. Why Calgary over Regina? In addition, no information was given as to our travel options from Calgary. In fact, the flight attendants seemed confused about the decision and were unable to provide us with a logical explanation.

Third, the pilot was disrespectful to some of the passengers, including myself. He told us that we had the option to get off the plane in Regina, if we wished, in order to find our own way to Saskatoon. My partner and I opted to do so. After approximately 15 of us decided to get off the plane, he back-tracked and tried to convince us not to go. In fact, he suggested that we were now delaying the other passengers with our decision to get off the plane, a tactic that only succeeded in raising the tension of the passengers who chose to remain on board. He used a condescending tone that was inappropriate, especially because many of us were concerned for our safety. I didn't think the anxiety I was experiencing was worth the possibility of landing in Saskatoon that night, and because he made no effort to reassure me of the safety of the flight, I don't see that he was in a position to judge me on my choice.

WestJet cannot control the weather, but it should develop protocol for its pilots in these types of scenarios. The passengers should be the most important thing to WestJet, and I didn’t feel important to your company during Flight 178.


Erin Riley

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Duck Lake

Bare-ass beach

While we were staying in Saskatoon, we were able to spend a couple of hours out at bare-ass beach with our nude friends Imtiaz (of blog commenting fame) and Melissa (who I consider a second sister). Sadly, I don't have any pictures of the beach, so picture white sand bars in a clean, cool river, trees and barely any people. It was a dream; if summer lasted a little bit longer in Saskatchewan we might even consider moving back for that beach alone. Imti brought along some music, and we had a mini Peaches dance party before we left the river's heavenly shore. Awesome. It was in honour of the Peaches concert in Vancouver that we missed while on holiday.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Wedding number one

Marla and Ben's wedding was, for me, part wedding, part high school reunion and part drunken photo shoot. I graduated with all those kids in the top photo, and even though that particular photo is sort of blurry, maybe due to the drinks consumed by a certain Michael Bowen, I just love how Erin Coulter is getting down! I look pretty sassy myself, and that doesn't hurt. The following chandelier photos illustrate our photo theme for the evening; they got progressively worse as the night wore on, which is why they aren't all posted here. The first one of Janis, Marla's bridesmaid and one of my favorite ladies, is the one that started it all. Michael took that photo too, but I also took many photos during our vacation (the best of which I'll post over the next couple of days). I'm fulfilling one of my original tentative plans! However, I failed miserably in my goal to make perogies before my trip home. That plan was hard to fulfill since I'm not supposed to eat wheat anymore.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Way down yonder on the chattahoochee

What is a chattahoochee? Or where is it referring to? Should it be capitalized? All I know for certain is that as I bopped my head to this country gem at the first of two prairie weddings, I wished with all my heart that my west coast buddies could come to my home province for a visit. It's a different world. Right now Michael and I are in Prince Albert, where we are preparing for his sister's wedding. In between making mass quantities of potato salad and drinking sorry excuses for americanos, we've found time to explore Michael's home town on rusty bikes (without helmets, obviously) and in my parents car (we're so thankful they loaned it to us because it has provided us the ability to escape this house full of people and animals - soon to be five dogs and two cats - at a moment's notice). I'll post some pictures of our adventures next week.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Free to be you and me

I don't want to be a lazy blogger. It's easy to post a link to a fabulous video (see previous entry) and not explain exactly what this song means to me and where it comes from, but that's not what this blog is about. Friends, this blog has depth.

The video is from Free to be you and me - the best show you could ever show your children. Note the famous names involved in the production, above. Marlo Thomas played Rachel's mom on Friends, FYI. The show was made in 1971 and I first watched it in grade 2 (1986-87), possibly on a film projector. I struck gold when I befriended Marla Sanderson in grade 3 because, aside from being the sharpest kid in the class and a great friend to boot, her family owned the show. They had one of these machines that plays videos that were the size of record album covers. Anyone know what kind of machine was that was? No matter, we watched the puppet babies enough to memorize bits of dialogue that have never left me:

- I'm a baby!
- Well what you think I am a loaf of bread?
- You could be, what do I know, I'm just born, I'm a baby, I don't even know if I'm under a tree or in a hospital or what, I'm just so glad to be here.
- Well, I'm a baby too.
- Have it your own way, I don't want to fight about it.

The memory of that dialogue, however faded, was too tantalizing to ignore for long. A few years back I decided to track the show down - not too hard thanks to the Internet. I ordered the dvd and prepared Michael for the wonder that is Michael Jackson as a black child. He couldn't resist the show either, but he had his own favorite song: Parents are people. It goes a little something like this:

Daddies are people
People with children
When daddies were little they used to be boys
Like some of you but then they grew
And now daddies are men
Men with children
Busy with children and things that they do
There are a lot of things a lot of daddies can do

Some daddies are writers, or grocery sellers,
Or painters or welders, or funny joke tellers,
Some daddies play cello, or sail on the sea,
Yeah, daddies can be almost anything they wanna be.

You can bet that Michael is singing the lyrics in his head as he reads them. It's a catchy song, believe me or listen to it yourself: YouTube has almost all of the show's segments available here.

I don't have the dvd anymore, which is why I'm relying on YouTube and my blog to share the good times. I gave it to Mike and Meera (in the days before we invested in a dvd burner) so they could show it to their three lovely children; I'm so glad I passed it on because now I get to imagine Manas singing and dancing to the songs, as I'm told he was wont to do.

I hope you all get a little enjoyment out of the show or the lyrics or this sentimental jibber jabber. Remember (and this one goes out to Robyn, who's about to leave her beau in London for a few months):

It's alright to cry,
Crying gets the sad out of you.
It's alright to cry,
It might make you feel better!

Well said.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Will I be on the moon?

This song is gold. Roberta Flack and Michael Jackson gold. I'll tell you more about the show this segment comes from another day. Maybe tomorrow. You'll thank me for posting it.