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.