Thursday, April 01, 2004

Ranting about jobs and my discovery of libraries

My first blog post. Not bad for someone who only recently caught on to the whole scanning photos onto the computer malarkey. And due to Samarra's brilliant advice, I have ventured into the unknown world of internet banking and found it to be miraculous. The things I can do at the click of a mouse! But now, what to say?

Well, here I am at work on a Friday in Vancouver. It's not a bad job, though by no stretch of the imagination an amazing one. I recently read "Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robbins and they had a bit about Job Charming-the idea that one day a wonderful job will come along and make your entire life perfect. And did that ever resonate. But at the moment I'm not interested in a Job Charming-the rent is covered, there is money for exploring all the touristy nonsense that Vancouver has on offer, and the people are nice. So much better than my Scottish bank job-after that one I suspect I may be easy to please for the rest of my life. Thank Maude I finally escaped Mandate Centre hell.

Surprisingly, the aforementioned book was taken out from a library! By me, the person who has many a time complained about the annoying habit that libraries have of wanting their books back by the due date. The person who could come up with numerous reasons for being a huge "literature abuser" who never once sets foot in a library. Well, ok, occasionally I have, but only for university purposes. Never for pleasure. But I have to say, I quite like it now. I will no longer have to consider selling my kidney to support my book buying habit and I seem to be handling the whole due date thing rather better than I expected. I have had the two fines, but they were small ones. I do have a horrible habit of not even attempting to read a book until I have renewed the maximum amount of times possible and the due date is about 48 hours away, but there you go.

And that is precisely what I've done with Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Due tomorrow, finally finished on the bus this morning. Granted, it might have been finished awhile ago, if I ever found time to sleep and was able to stay awake to read a book on my morning commute on a more regular basis. But I can't rave enough about this book. It really was fantastic.

My literary addiction continues, but my film addiction seems to have abated with the move to Vancouver. In Toronto, I couldn't see enough films. Here I hardly ever make it to a theatre, though I've seen the occasional rental. However, this has been replaced instead by an addiction to I now get more tickets in the mail than bills (and far more than postcards and letters, my lazy friends!). The Barenaked Ladies was the most recent, and it was fantastic. Two audience members were dressed up in chicken suits, Lisa and I sat near security so we got to see many a concert goer hustled out, and there was a choreographed dance portion, reminiscent of a boy band, but with shopping carts. Genius. I went in February to Rock for Choice, also with Lisa, where I was introduced to Hayden-now a favourite of mine. A talk by Romeo Dallaire (yet another signed book! I'm an addict, I know), and an upcoming one by the Dalai Lama. And tickets to see Sarah Harmer with Jenny, and La Traviata by myself-where are all the opera lovers? Anyone?

Soon I will be 26. An age that rounds up to 30 no less. But I will have to leave it there, as my break is now almost over and I have a few Korean teaching job chores to do. I'm not a big fan of the job hunting process. I find that generally it requires you to be on your best behavior, while potential employers can be as rude and inconsiderate as they like. I may follow the rules and do the whole "thank-you for the interview" call, but they have no need to ever call back and tell me the outcome of that interview apparently! Between my, Jenni, and Alan's experiences, Vancouver employers have proven to be a particularly rude lot, though it is possible the problem is bigger than that. So job hunting by internet has it small advantages.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004


I had a fairly busy weekend-which is good, it makes up for my rather lackluster work weeks.

Jenny and I went to the Anti-War Rally on Saturday. It seemed a bit less organized than the one I attended in Glasgow before the war, but that could be due to the fact that we didn't actually participate and now are just protesting the occupation. As always, going to protest one thing you disagree with means associating with a ton of other random causes you might not agree with (or even know exist)- and we seemed to be supporting everything from BC health care to El Salvador to saving the whales on Saturday.

When we arrived there were some folk singers with some interesting songs. I have a lyric book, but can't be arsed typing any of them out in this email. Too bad, cause they're funny ;) there was a real lack of organization in the signage. Granted if I was less of a lazy protester, I could have made my own-in fact many people had some fairly generic signs that makes one think they protest on a regular basis. However, Jenny and I lucked out. There were some signs on the ground, not yet attached to any sticks. No one seemed to have anything to do with the signs, so we grabbed two that expressed things we were happy enough supporting and went off to find some tape. It's a good thing the socialists come prepared.

We wandered across Burrard Bridge, did a circle around downtown and ended up at sunset beach. Jenny and I proved to be quick walkers, so we got to march with just about everyone-Greenpeace, the unions, seniors for healthcare, the Green Party, the communists, queers for peace...

The speeches were ok. There was a union guy that got heckled by some people dressed in black with face masks-they actually looked a bit like ninjas, and we never did figure out what they were all about. A guy from El Salvador spoke, making me wish I knew something about El Salvador. Jack Leighton spoke. And some other people I don't remember much about. And then...

Noam Chomsky. He was cool. He talked a lot about Reagan's war on terror, and how it relates to Bush's. And he was just generally very, very cool. Once he was finished the crowd of 25,000 disappeared fairly quickly, because they scheduled the whole thing to occur at lunchtime.

It was a beautiful day and had a great vibe. Did anyone else go to any protests?

Have now ridden the new bike. May need to purchase one of those things that pad the seat.

And "OH MY GOD!!!" I'm already getting job offers for positions in Korea in eptember. I am actually going to do this. And it's just starting to hit me now :) Woo hoo!!!

"Boredom and stupidity and patriotism, especially when combined, are three of the greatest evils of the world we live in." Robertson Davies

Thursday, March 18, 2004

A future as a career guru?

One of the guys I worked with asked if I would get a job in my field once I go to Scotland (I've told them all I want to go to Korea for a year). What field??? I don't have a field, and I suppose that can be looked at in a very negative way. As
things go right now, I am mostly choosing jobs based on travel opportunities! Which, in terms of quality of life, has been fantastic, but in terms of career, well I don't have one. That bothers me occasionally I do admit. And the whole Korea thing is just me going off to have an adventure, and totally leaving career out of the picture for another year. I'm gonna do it anyway though :) I have been reading a lot of career guidance books lately, in an attempt to get my head around where I want to go with career/life/etc. I'm reading Your Money or Your Life by Dominguez and Robin right now, and it has some interesting insights.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Dallaire and Bikes

Last night I went to hear a talk by General Romeo Dallaire, who was the UN commander in charge of the mission in Rwanda during the genocide. It was really fantastic. He was very inspirational, especially regarding Canada's potential for world leadership as a middle power. And he had some very interesting things to say about what leadership qualities the military, government, and humanitarian groups need to develop and what sorts of ethical questions are coming up in the field that just aren't being thought through enough (a good example was the issue of child soldiers and what to do if they were firing on refugees in a church-do you fire back at 9 year olds?) Great talk, can't wait to read my (newly signed) book. I know, I know, I've got quite a book signing addiction.

And on Sunday Alan and I bought bikes! Yay!!! They are cheap second hand ones (mine looks a bit cooler than Alan's, but sadly was $80 and his was half that!). We only had a chance for a quick ride on them before I headed out to UBC for the talk, so I'm looking forward to riding it properly soon. And that phrase, it's just like riding a bike, is nonsense! I feel like an idiot trying to ride the thing. I haven't really ridden since I was like 12, and while ok, I can get on it and not fall over, I don't feel very confident about riding it yet. But I love it already. It will be hard to leave it behind. I sort of get the thing people have with their cars now, for the first time ;) I'm surprised I haven't named the damn thing ;)

"The real university is a state of mind." Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Canucks and Snowshoeing

It's been a rather exciting week, though not so much on Monday when I feel asleep on the couch at about 8:30. I can't seem to get used to these 5:30 starts to mornings.

Andrea and Jenny came over for dinner before Andrea flew back to Scotland on Tuesday. Which was cool, because I had thought it would be a good year and a half before I'd be able to see her again.

Wednesday we went to a Canucks game, and it was fantastic. We started off with a suitably British Columbian meal-a BC burger at White Spot, and then headed out to the stadium. We bought one of those genius big foam fingers and got free Canucks baseball caps by pretending to sign up for credit cards. It's remarkably hard to try and come up with a fake address on the spot. Having spent $14.50 on beers, we felt suitably ripped off, after all it's not a Canadian sports event if you haven't paid out the nose for some alcohol. Our seats were fairly high up, but we had a really good view. It's funny how you can go through life with not much interest in sport but when you go to a game, you're right there yelling and booing along with the rest of the crowd. They had some really cute kids playing between periods, falling over, and not being able to keep up with the puck. We bought some of those brilliant mini donuts that they make right in front of you- I haven't had those in ages, since my family used to go to the CNE in the summer. The Canucks tied the game.

Yesterday at work, along with it being a beer Friday, we also played a few rounds of darts. They bought the dart board just a week ago, and it is hanging in the company library. I get the feeling it is the most activity that library has seen in years. I managed to hit the board about 75% of the time, so I was chuffed.

Today has been fantastic. The sun is shining, it's nice and warm, and Alan and I headed out to Cypress for a day in the snow. We started off with an hour of tubing-and we were one of only two couples over the age of about 14. However, it was fantastic (I highly recommend spinning in a twosome!). Then we rented snow shoes and went around some of the trails. Weather permitting, we may try and head out to do some cross country skiing before the end of the month.

Tomorrow I am off to hear a talk by general Romeo Dallaire, who was the UN commander in charge of the mission in Rwanda during the genocide. Which sadly means I will miss my weekly dose of British telly - Heartbeat, Monarch of the Glen, and the Royal.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Postcard Mania

Working life is rather good, actually - after the bank this office is just what I need to restore my faith that working in an office can be ok. Everyone is so nice and there is almost nothing in the way of nasty gossip or evil office politics!

Alan is going nutters with the postcards. I kid you not, the guy that got annoyed with me for sending his relatives Christmas cards only months ago, because it would set a worrying trend, has run out of people who haven't received about 10 Vancouver postcards each and has started badgering me to send them out to everyone I know as well! We seem to have gotten into a cheesiest postcard competition with half of Britain, and Canada just can't compete in a contest like that, we simply can't match those levels of cheesy, tacky postcards. Sad reflection on the state of the country, I know.

It really is a pretty city, when it's sunny anyway. However, my speech patterns are degenerating at a rapid rate-the west coasters say like more than any other people on earth-I'd better leave before I start sounding like a bad episode of 90210 (did you ever get that in Britain? With all the valley girl accents?).

Anyway, back to reading and proofing my concrete specs-I like the work generally, but the content lacks excitement :)

The Rumour Mill

The rumour mill is alive and kicking in Scotland. It has Alan on his way home to Scotland by way of Las Vegas and me on my way to South America. It seems that Alan's cousin works with a girl he went to university with... Quite amusing. He is planning on going to Kansas before leaving Canada in August, and I am planning on heading out to South Korea, so I suppose it's not too far off.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Ear News

After a long boring week of job interviews, I did something vaguely exciting today-I've had my ears repierced, so I am back to having a total of 5 ear piercings. Almost went wild and had one done at the top of my ear and then wimped out.

Otherwise, not too much else going on out here. I bumped into Ellen, a girl I knew in Edinburgh back when I was an exchange student, who is now working at a coffee shop here in Vancouver! Odd, I know. And we got to listen to a raccoon spat last night while trying to sleep, though apparently this is the mating season... Finally, I spent some HMV gift certificates on another Ryan Adams CD-love his music. Ryan, not Bryan, please note ;)


From Jenni:


Well between racoon spats and ear piercings it's all go in Dunbar. In fact I may suggest to the local council there, to rename the area "Dunbar - hub of excitment". Ok, I won't be too mean.


Thursday, January 15, 2004

Jenni, who didn't go down like a dart


I'm back safe and sound, didn't go down in the Atlantic - or the North Sea, like a dart. Glad to be home, glad to be with my family. It's actually pretty chilly here today, but it's a beautiful day - no jet lag as yet. It's all good. Hope you're both enjoying sunny Vancouver! Keep me up to date with all the goings on, and I'll do the same here.