A rant.

July 15th, 2007, 3:14 pm PST by Greg

So, I wasn’t particularly inspired for lunch today. I decided to satisfy my unholy love for the Burger King Veggie burger.

As I was waiting for my food, I thought I was going to be annoyed by the three women who were all cooing over the infant spawned, presumably, by one of them. Honestly, it was like nobody had ever procreated before. “Oooh… you managed to get knocked up and have the minimal life skills necessary to not have the government take your child away… I’m so jealous.” The child, to its credit, was well behaved.

So, I sat as far as possible away from them at sat down to raise my sodium levels.

As I was finishing, a group came in with a stupid little lap dog. The two guys sat down with the dog while the girls were ordering, and proceed to put the dog on the table.

First of all, anybody who thinks it was acceptable for us, as a society, to have bred a wolf into that should be kept away from sharp objects and not allowed to vote.

Second, I don’t think restaurants are a place for anything except homo sapiens and properly trained assistance animals (guide dogs, and such). I’m willing to admit that this is informed by the fact that I’m allergic to dogs, but I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here. I believe the time Suyoko and I saw a similar dog take a nice wet shit in the middle of a liquor store contributes to this feeling as well.

Third… on the table!?!? Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket! People are going to put their food on there! Here are some of the things I worry about when I put my food on the table at a fast food restaurant: whatever was on the hands of the last person that sat there; the skanky rag that they employees use to wipe the table off; old spilled food. Did you see “maybe a dog rubbed their ass on it” in that list anywhere? No!

As I left, the three women with the kid were taking turns glaring at the dog-on-table crowd, while the others continued to dote on the child. So, maybe they weren’t all bad.

Vindicated!

July 13th, 2007, 5:21 pm PST by Kat

For the past week I have been at war with a squirrel. I’m pretty sure it’s only one squirrel, but really, for all I know, it could be a small army of them.

Last weekend I went into our aviary and saw that my squirrel nemesis had chewed its way through one of the screen doors into the inner hallway of the aviary. This is where we keep the food, and the trash can, and the logbook. The doors of the flight cages also face into the hallway. The squirrel had also chewed through the lid of the food bucket and ate some of the pellets that we feed the birds. Luckily the doors to the flight cages are made out of sturdy hardware cloth (like nice chicken wire), so it couldn’t get into the actual bird cages. So, I took some of the extra hardware cloth leftover from the building of my funnel traps and patched the hole in the screen door.

I should have known that wasn’t going to work. The next day the squirrel just chewed away the section of the screen door directly adjacent to my patch-job. On day 2 of the war I took all of the hardware cloth that we had and reinforced the door again. Unfortunately there was only enough to cover about 6 feet up the 7.5-8 foot door. However, this did seem to deter the little bugger from chewing through that door. What did it do? It went to the other door and chewed through that one! But, I was smart. On day 1 of the war I had moved the food bucket into the lab. Take that squirrel! So instead, my nemesis chewed the rim of the garbage can, but didn’t get all of the way in. HAH! Luckily we had enough hardware cloth to patch the small hole in the second door.

The next day I come in to find another hole. This time it’s right above the top of the 6 feet of hardware cloth on the original door. GAH!!!!!!! Once inside, the squirrel chewed a hole in the bottom of the garbage can, giving it access to pellets that we had thrown into the garbage. Damn that wily squirrel! We’ve had a lot of rain and heat, and since the can is outside, the garbage in it is pretty nasty. I hope it got a stomach ache!

So, I bought more hardware cloth. A LOT of it! All day yesterday, in the stifling heat and humidity, I reinforced both doors. They’re both totally covered now. I also had to wrestle the nasty, wet, hole-riddled garbage bag out of the can and into the dumpster. Let me just tell you, it was NOT pretty. I reeked of old bird garbage and had all sorts of scratches on my arms and hands from where the excess hardware cloth and pine branches poked out of the bag. Needless to say, I HATE this squirrel.

Today, I go in specifically to check on the squirrel-status of the aviary — and to have lunch with Lisa :). That’s when I saw it. The squirrel was sitting on top of the cages in the outer part of the aviary (that’s fine, that part’s open). I scared it away and went to check on the inner doors, and that’s when I saw this. The damn thing totally ripped up the rest of the door! But, because of my hardware cloth, it wasn’t able to get into the hallway. Take that Mr. Wily Squirrel! You lose, and I win! HAH!

I don’t really understand why he’s still trying to get in there – there’s nothing in there now, and you can clearly see that from the outside. The food bucket is in the lab, and the garbage can is sitting open and empty in the outer hallway of the aviary where the squirrel has free access to it to see that it’s empty. Meh.

I just checked “Science” for this post. Yes, apparently I’ve spent countless years to get my PhD in Animal Physiology to enable me to wage war against a squirrel. If that’s not a terrible life choice, I don’t know what is!

Whatever… %$#&. At least I won.

Update from Greg: If anybody missed the Simpsons reference in that last sentence: “they just make a terrible life choice“.

Foreign workers

July 7th, 2007, 11:41 pm PST by Greg

Okay, so I was just watching the news. They were talking about Microsoft setting up shop in Vancouver.

One of their stated reasons was the ability to hire more foreign workers than the US will allow. So, we’re talking H1-B visas in the US, which come in limited numbers. Whenever this comes up, they invariably interview somebody who says the companies want to tap into cheaper foreign labour.

Okay… sending your call centre to India, that gets you cheaper labour. Having crap manufactured in China: cheaper labour. The common thread? The work is done over there.

Are companies really bringing in foreign workers and paying them less? “Sorry Arjun, I know the guy down the hall makes $80k, but we’re paying you in promotional swag.” “Queenie, you’re just going to have to sit on the floor and wear a headlamp: we can’t afford a chair or lights for your foreign ass.”

Am I missing something? Is it not more likely that they can’t hire enough US workers with solid technical skills? Why else bother?

Fun things to do in Vancouver

July 5th, 2007, 8:55 pm PST by Kat

I’ve made a list of things to do in Vancouver for Lisa and Brian, who are going to visit the city in a couple of weeks (with me along for part of their trip). When I started the list I knew there had to be places to eat, places to shop, outdoors-y things to do, etc. Well, it turns out, since I don’t actually like being outside, that portion of the list is quite lacking, and since I LOVE to eat, eateries make up the majority of the list. Brian suggested that I post the list so that it’s up for everyone to access. This way, people from Vancouver can add to the list too! So, here goes…

Places to eat a meal

  • Lumiere
  • West
  • C
  • Nu
  • Tojo’s
  • Wild Rice
  • Feenie’s
  • Pear Tree
  • Moderne Burger
  • Sun Sui Wah
  • Pink Pearl
  • Golden Ocean
  • Hon’s
  • Schezuan Chong King
  • Bo Kong
  • Toyotomi
  • Koko
  • Vij’s
  • Bombay Bhel
  • Thai Cafe
  • Cioppino’
  • DaMario’s
  • Domenico’s
  • Provence Marinaside

Places to go for a snack

  • La Casa Gelato
  • Pearl Drops Teahouse
  • True Confections
  • Terra Breads
  • Senses
  • Tim’s
  • Thomas Haas Chocolates
  • I Fly for Pie – Chiliwack Airport Coffee Shop

Places to shop or site-see

  • Granville Island
  • Stanley Park
  • Chinatown
  • SFU
  • UBC
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Robson Street
  • Commercial Drive
  • West 4th
  • Fireworks on English Bay
  • Museum of Anthropology at UBC
  • Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Metropolis at Metrotown
  • Coquitlam Kwik-E Mart

Outdoors-y stuff (Summer)

  • Grouse Grind
  • Kayaking
  • The Chief
  • Mountain bike riding
  • Grizzly bear centre on Grouse Mountain
  • Hiking
  • Climbing in Squamish
  • Reiffel bird sanctuary
  • QE rose garden

Any other ideas?

Specifically, my family always does Dim Sum at Sun Sui Wah in Richmond… anywhere else that’s good?

My Day

July 1st, 2007, 7:13 pm PST by Greg

So, I started off my long weekend with a bang yesterday. Unfortunately (and as I said in my Facebook status), I have nobody to blame but myself.

Part 1: tow truck drivers and drug dealers

I started off the day by going to Metrotown, which was relatively uneventful. When I got home, I decided to finally get rid of a box of stuff that I wanted to take to the Salvation Army. I went to the SA store just down the street to find that they no longer take donations there, only at the New Westminster store.

So, I swore a little, but figuring I didn’t have too much else to do, I’d go down to New West. Down I drove, parked, grabbed my jacket, and got out of the car. Now to get the box out of the trunk… no keys. I had locked my keys in the car.

The Salvation Army is in kind of an armpit part of New West. After phoning BCAA, I walked around, declining offers of drugs, and finding myself unable to help some guy find a prostitute. After maybe 20 minutes, the nice BCAA man came and opened the car. All was well.

Part 2: cheap glassware and an owie

Then I came home and decided to do some dishes. What could go wrong?

So, I was washing a glass, with my hand in there washing the inside. The glass chose that moment to break, just as my hand was turning. The broken edge caught my pinky finger between the two knuckles, and cut it pretty bad.

I sat around for a while, waiting for the bleeding to stop and making sure any shock had passed. Once that was done, it was clear I was going to need some stitches. Hardly an emergency, but no clinics are open at 6:00 on a Saturday, so to the Emergency Room I went.

It took about two hours from the time I got to the hospital until I was out. Honestly, I don’t think that was too bad considering the rightful priority of people with owies in the ER.

Three stitches, but no notable nerve or tendon damage.

I took the dressing off today and cleaned it up a little (that was my first good look at it). It’s pretty gnarley looking: a triangle of flesh a little bigger than the nail on the finger was peeled back.

Gross. Anybody want to see pictures?