Monday, December 29, 2008

Abreva or Herpestat

My friend made me drive him to London Drugs today for two reasons.
1. He couldn't get out of his driveway because of the snow.
2. He has a big meeting coming up, and had to get some medication to get rid of his coldsore.

He said it's not herpes, and cold sores are what he gets when he's under stress.

So I pick him up and we head over to London Drugs and find the cold sore medication. There's two different types. Abreva and Herpestat. The Abreva is 19.99 but the Herpestat is 10.99. Clearly, the Herpestat is the better choice. But my friend doesn't want to go to the cashier to buy something called Herpestat, so he decides to fork out another $10. Who are the marketing geniuses behind the naming of Herpestat? Who would want to buy something with the name Herpes on it. That's like instead of buying "Summer's Eve" for *feminine* odor, I'll just buy some "smelly vagina stat". Couldn't they come up with a more subtle name then Herpestat? I think the extra $10 for the Abreva is to pay for the brains behind the people that came up with the name.. We buy Preparation H, not Preparation Hemerrhoid.

BTW, did you know you can use Preperation H for puffy eyes?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Boxing Day shopping in Vancouver. Coach store on Burrard

I actually went Boxing Day shopping on the 27th.. On the 26th, I was snug as a bug in my bed watching more movies.

The Coach store on Burrard (755 Burrard Street) is having like one of the best handbag sales I've ever been to in Vancouver. Tons of purses are marked down to $59. And a whole lot of them are 50% off. The sale was on Boxing day and the 27th, and apparently on the 28th and 29th as well. The salespeople said they will be REPLENISHING THE STOCK. All the goods on sale are on the right of the store. So don't even bother looking on the left part of the store.

I don't even like Coach. But my friend and I were walking down Burrard on our way to HMV and saw a big-ass lineup in front of Coach.
Coach sale
We heard about the sale the day before, but didn't know stuff would still be on sale after Boxing Day. We decided to wait. This was 2pm. At 3pm we got in. The lineup to pay inside was looped all around the store like a kids train track set. If you even strayed an inch from the line, one of the sales associates would correct your position.. It was another 1.5 hour wait. We browsed for about 30 minutes. I picked up three Coach bags, at $59 each. Which is nothing. I saw people with about 15. The limit is three per style. Some of the wallets were 50% off, some scarves were $19, shoes were $29. The regular price for my bags were $338 each. My friend bought three.
Coach Burrard location
And while you're in line, the salespeople bring out more purses from the back for your consideration, so be friendly with a salesperson when you walk in. I saw tons of people standing in line with several purses, but while they're slowly moving through the line to pay, they have second thoughts and put the purse on a nearby table, or hand it back to the salespeople, so keep an eye out for these too.

I took some pics which I will post later.

I went to a few other stores. Lululemon, Future Shop, Winner's, B2, Aldo, Aritizia, Mexx, TNA, Banana Republic. The sales were no good, in fact, they were kind of a joke. Perhaps they only had their good stuff on the 26th, which I somehow doubt.

I would recommend you check out the Coach store. Even though the stuff on clearance is last year's fashions, it really doesn't look like it. There's some really good staples, and excellent for a gifting.

One thing I need to remark is how polite all the customers were in the store to each other, I didn't experience any pushing or shoving, nor was there any grabbing. I heard the day before, there were a few catfights. I did see a few customers YELL at the sales staff. ohh, what was annoying was that the cashiers didn't remove the security tags, so every store we went into after that, we would sound the alarm as we walked in and left. We were a public nuisance.

I'm now listening to Amanda Seyfried from the Mamma Mia soundtrack. Something about her voice is very soothing.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I sometimes get depressed on Christmas

You probably know this song already, but just in case you don't, have a listen. Jeff Buckley drowned at 29. So tragic. I don't know why, but I often like listening to songs of people that have passed on. I also like to listen to Elliot Smith. I can hear the tragedy/sadness in his voice.

Sometimes I guess I wallow a bit on Christmas. Like today, I've been feeling like shit, so after coming home from the movies, I soaked in the tub with some Lush bathbombs that I got for Christmas and I cried and sobbed for no reason. Then I noticed a hair stuck on the ceiling, how the heck did that get there??? But the cry made me feel better. I love Lush products! I used to hate walking past their store cause of the strong smell, but after using a bathbomb and some of their other products, I'm hooked.

I think Christmas is such a commercialized holiday. I mean, once in a while, I get someone something they really want that makes them happy, but really, does your friend really need another hoodie or perfume?? Most of my friends have everything they need. I prefer to give to someone that actually needs it. I think we need to stop buying gifts for each other, and use that money to help those less fortunate. I wonder if I can start a, "stop buying Christmas gifts" campaign. I'm sure Future Shop and department stores nationwide would be all for it. We're only lining the pockets of some rich assholes. The weather's been so bad, and all these people are like taking the bus and going to crazy busy malls to buy some gift that the receiver will probably tire of. Buying a gift just for the sake of it. Next year I'm only gonna donate to charity, and make baked gifts (I don't bake though, so I will have to learn)

Merry Christmas and to all a good night.

Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Christmas in Vancouver

I don't have much family. The family I do have, are overseas working. So I didn't have turkey dinner. I got invited over to a friend's place last night, and had dinner there, but no turkey.

Merry Christmas

Today I woke up around 11:30 with a terrible hangover. I planned to only watch movies and catch up on my tv programs this week. So yesterday and today I have watched:

Wanted - very unrealistic, spoiler alert: but why after finding out MF has been lying all this time, Angelina would blindly believe that their names came out on the weaving machine??? (I know it's supposed to be a non-realistic movie, but it's not even consistent within itself). Angelina looked friggin hot in this movie. It inspired me to change my makeup. You see her butt too. I don't know, it's kinda really small. I didn't think the butt was nice, but her tattoos, so beautiful.

Notes on a Scandal - very good. I love Cate and Judi.

Kung Fu Panda - entertaining, but I didn't need to see this.

Curious Case of Benjamin Button - I watched this today at the theatre in downtown. I can't even remember the name of the theatre, is it Scotiatheatre?? We wanted to watch the 4:30 showing but it was sold out at 3:30 so we watched the 5:30 show (forgot to go and feed the meter again, but no parking ticket - Merry Christmas to me!!) I love Brad and Cate and Tilda. I don't want to spoil it, I liked the first 65% of the movie, but didn't like the way it ended. Some movie reviewer said it was the best movie of the decade, but I beg to differ. I didn't think it was that great. It was good, I cried a few times but it wasn't like the best movie in the last decade. Oh, and what I thought was really weird was the way Mr. Button grabbed the baby out of the bassinet and the way he first was holding him after he grabbed him. Like he's carrying a bag of apples.

Since we had so much time to kill before the movie, we went to the Japadog stand in front of the Sutton Place. I had the Teri-Mayo dog, and my friend had the jalapeno cheese dog. I dont' like the Teri-mayo. I should have gotten the oroshi. A lot of people were taking pictures. They have a sign showing all these ads they were featured in, but the way it's set up, it looks like picturs from some surveillance tape. Anyways, as we were waiting for my dogs, I was close enough I could hear what the workers were saying. One of them was excited because someone left a four dollar tip. I wonder where they use the bathroom??? I'd hate to be working there if I had like the runs or something.. I don't want to be gross, but that shit happens right? (Haha, no pun intended)

At the theatre, there was this Asian chick there with her boyfriend. She was wearing a sequined purple evening dress (ended above the knee). She was in the lineup to get into the movie, and I saw her pouting to her boyfriend about something, and he went and got a chair for her to sit in in the lineup. Then she goes to the bathroom, and she takes off her jacket to go strutting all the way to the bathroom. A lot of people were snickering cause she thought she was like Paris Hilton walking the red carpet. Don't want to be mean, but she looked like an idiot. All the people around me were laughing at her, including me. It was just the attitude she had. Her boyfriend is an idiot too for getting her the chair. There were tons of old people in the lineup, they were standing like everyone else. I really wish I had a camera. But then again, she would probably think I'm like paparazzi.. Oh, and I saw some lady wearing a fur coat.. First of all, I'm like a silent animal rights activist, I wouldn't throw paint at anyone I don't think, but seriously, that's so tacky. Leave that shit at home, or donate it to a homeless person.

Afterwards, we were hungry, and there wasn't much open on Robson except for Blenz, Guu, Gyoza King, Hon's and some Korean restaurants. We tried to go to Guu but the wait was one hour unless you wanted to sit outside. No thanks. So we went to a Korean restaurant called Book Jang something. It's on 1638 Robson street. I'm not a big fan of Korean restaurants. Don't get me wrong, I love Korean food, but the service and food is usually inconsistent in Vancouver Korean restaurants. This place was no different. The service was good, but there was a hair in the food. I had a noodle dish. The noodles were really soft. I like my noodles firm. Al dente. is that too much to ask? And it wasn't even spicy. I like my Korean food spicy. OH MI GOSH. and the music. so annoying. It was like really loud pop music. They played Timbaland, Christina Aguilera, and some Korean pop. I don't mind that music, but I don't like listening to it over dinner.

Very funny story, but apparently I was so drunk last night I was dancing furiously to Christmas music. I'm just a slave to Christmas music. I don't remember any of that, but I know I woke up today with a bump on my head. Oh, and took a look at my camera, and there are definitely things happening that I don't recall.

Right now I'm listening to Tie My Hands - Lil Wayne

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why do I write this blog?

I write this “blog” as a diary. I know I don’t need to do it publically online and just do it in a word document, but something about putting it online is very thrilling to me. I don’t tell anyone I write it, but sometimes I think if I ever get framed for like a murder or something, I can use this online diary as like my alibi. And to be honest, when I get like a comment or something, it is quite exciting. I guess in some way I hope I can help someone whether it is picking a good restaurant or avoiding a bad one.

I have to sleep with the closet door closed. And I have to brush my teeth in a certain way and gargle in a certain way otherwise I can’t like sleep. So I can’t let anyone watch me brush, cause it’s probably a little bit weird. Never been a problem though since no one exactly begs to watch me brush my teeth. I'm glad I got that off my chest. It feels incredibly liberating.

The other day my co-workers were talking about some blog where some couple blogs about their dining adventures, they were remarking how this couple must have no life because they write that blog. I took this very personally. I didn't talk to my co-workers the whole day which is hard since I work in a small company of 12 and we tend to work quite closely together. I get along quite well with four of them. The others either just aren't in my age bracket (that's 29-45) or we have absolutely nothing in common. I don't hang out with any of them outside of work, but I do enjoy their company. I think people at work will say I'm a nice person, but have no idea what the heck I do outside of work except for the fact that I have a lot of pets and like to eat out a lot.

I'm listening to Keep on Pushing - The Impressions

Why do people say Vancity? Christmas gift update

I really hate when people say Vancity. Or people saying, the 604 (as in the area code) as if we’re in New York saying 212. At least 212 is cool, but saying 604 sounds so lame. And really, 0 is supposed to be pronounced “zero.” I also don’t like when people say, what’s the 411. I guess I don’t like when people use numbers to replace words. At least in Vancouver. Why do I feel like I’m the leading authority on how people should say things about Vancouver? Why does shit like this bother me. It’s ridiculous. I saw a show today about all these elephants getting killed for their tusks (ivory). I couldn’t watch it. It makes me so sad. If I watched the entire show, I would probably start some kind of crusade against people that buy ivory, or stores that sell ivory, but to be honest, around this time of year, I just don’t have that kind of energy. So I had to stop watching it for my own mental health. But really, the three minutes I saw was heartbreaking. All the dead elephant carcasses. Apparently China and the US are the top buyers for this. I am never going to get anything ivory. And if I see it in someone’s house, I’ll probably resent them and not talk to them.

Update: Costco Burnaby no longer has any Ugg boots. On Friday they had about six pairs of size fives left. They have tons of Ugg slippers for 74.99.. But please, if you want to get someone Ugg boots, do not get them the slippers instead. At that point, get the special Sex and the City DVD set with the wedding theme.

Winner's - all Christmas stuff is an additional 50% off. I got some stuff for next year. not too bad.

Book a flight through Air Canada or Tango up to December 26 (for travel up to May 2009) and get an additional 15% off with this promotional code: GF6V9EW1

Planet Earth DVD set - this is a safe bet with anyone. It's 99.99 at Costco, it can be had a lot cheaper elsewhere if you don't mind waiting till after Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Beard Papa in Vancouver

YUMMY. I love them. It's a cream puff chain from Japan. Or as the Japanese call it, choux cream. The cream is very delicious, "It's like a flavor explosion in the mouth" (as the Japanese Iron Chef judge would say) it's not too dense nor is it too light. It's perfect. And I love the actual pastry part of it. It's a little crunchy, you need to eat it immediately. They are almost $2 each. Some people think it's too hyped. Well, I think they are better than any pastry you can get at a Vancouver bakery. I can't think of any bakery/pastry treat that comes close except for the Creme Brulee they had at Senses when they were still open.

There were mad lineups when they first opened, but now I never see them. In Hawaii I tried their breakfast puff, no good. The other flavors are not bad, I like the Royal Milk Tea one. I can't remember if I had that in San Fran though. I don't think they have that flavor in Vancouver yet.

I'm now listening to "Keep on Pushing" from The Impressions. It's on the Vanilla Sky soundtrack.

Costco Burnaby has Uggs. Winter tire shortage in Vancouver

Yup, they're real. They got the tags in the back and everything.
They just brought them out yesterday. They are $199 for the talls. I believe they are $160 at Nordstrom in the US, so the price isn't bad.

Winter tire shortage in Canada
Since it's mandatory in Quebec to have winter tires as of December 15, 2008 there is a shortage of winter tires. My friend just tried to buy some and was told she would have to wait three weeks, and pay $1,200 (for the shipping costs). At Costco last week it was a four hour wait to get your tires on.
funny ad

Everyone needs to slow down when it's snowing. I decided to drive over to Metrotown mall today cause I figured it wouldn't be busy, (I was right) and it was slippery as heck, and I witnessed three different incidents: a two vehicle accident, one car up on the sidewalk and one car that drove into a no-parking sign. (all in different places) I also went to the gym today (Fitness World) thinking it wouldn't be busy, and it was packed.

Let's see, what else is going on, I'm listening to "I Might be Wrong" - Radiohead. There's gonna be a sale at Bebe this Saturday morning. All tops are $29. They had this same sale a few weeks ago, and I totally banked. I got 7 tops at $29 each, and the actual value for all the tops was over $800!! I don't normally like Bebe because I always thought their stuff is for tiny people, but that's not true. You definitely need to try stuff on because some small tops fit medium-like, but some small tops are really tight. So I got a mixture of XS, S and M stuff. The tops on the website are the tops they have in the store.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brentwood Mall

I come here once in a while if I need to pick up a gift or something, since it's a lot less intimidating then Metrotown. Over the years, it's definitely improved. It's lost some stores, but gained some decent ones. (E.g. Gap become Bryan's Bridal, American Eagle became Children's Outlet). Other than that, the stores that I'd likely go to here are Le Chateau, Kin's food mart, Aldo (crappy selection), London Drugs, La Senza, liquor store, and maybe the Naturalizer outlet cause they have some good deals. There's a postal outlet on the ground floor. There's also a Sears and a Zellers.

Generally I think this mall is pretty unfriendly in terms of sales staff. You can walk from store to store, and perhaps one out of five, you MIGHT get a somewhat genuine greeting. If you go into Bryan's, it's a totally different story, it's like used car salesman sales people. They are all over you. And anything you try on looks SOOOO NICE! Even if it is two sizes too small, and it's clearly unflattering, they'll say something like, ohh, just take off the shoes. There, there! look how nice you look now! umm, no. I would hate to work here, because you can tell it's very competitive in terms of sales. The moment I had something in my hand to try on, two women with the gaits of olympic speed walkers came rushing over to me to "start a dressing room for me"

I don't know what's better, getting totally ignored, or getting totally hounded, and told that you look so wonderful even if you come out looking like a sack of potatoes.

The food court is decent for a mall that size. It's nothing to write home about, there's a couple somewhat healthy alternatives, like the Mediterranean food stand, and maybe Roasty Jack for a turkey wrap (it rhymes). Other than that, it's got standard fare like A&W, KFC, Orange Julius.

There's a skytrain station there now. But if you plan on doing some Christmas shopping, I think you're better off going to Metrotown. There's much more variety. Or if you have a car and want to avoid the craziness of Metrotown, I would prefer to go to the Queensborough Wal-Mart and go to the shops there, like La Senza, Dynamite, Le Chateau outlet, Aldo outlet and much more.

Lululemon outlet in Burlington

I went to the Lululemon outlet in Burlington for the first time. It's about an hour south of Bellis Fair. They have other stores at this outlet. Some worth noting are the Gap, Nine West, and I'm sure some will like the Coach outlet there. For some reason I find this outlet a little sad compared to the Premium Outlets. This outlet center was recently bought by the Horizon Group. They gave it a new paint job, and although it seems a bit brighter, it does not have as many good stores as the Premium Outlets. I think it needs a few more clothing stores.

Lululemon OutletLet me tell you, even with the exchange rate, the deals were good. You need to look at the chalkboard behind the cashiers for the prices, because the price on the label is not necessarily the actual price.
A few things I saw that I thought were decent to awesome deals:
Nylon vest $19. (regularly priced $100+)
Yoga mat bag $10.
Bras $8-14. The $14 bra tops were, buy two, get one free
Dance leotards $4.
And the men's clothing is very reasonable. Lots of stuff from $10-$19.
The only problem is, the sizes, the sizes are either very small, like size 0 or 4, or very large. I think their stuff fits a bit weird. I can fit into some of their size six tops, and sometimes even size four tops, but when it comes to the tanks, I can barely get a size six top over my head. I wear a size eight for tanks.

Before you buy, do a check, a lot of the tops had foundation or lipstick on them. Some clothing were missing something, like a bra pad, or like a zipper cover. And you don't get the Lululemon eco bags here. Although that should be expected.

I don't think it's worth it to buy any pants or hoodies here. After the exchange rate, it basically works out cheaper to buy in Vancouver.

As for the other stores, the Coach and Nine West, they have what you could get at the Premium Outlets. I think the vitamin outlet next to Lululemon is pretty good too. They have some very good specials. Like I got a bottle of liquid Echinacea for $2.

Trattoria Italian Kitchen on 4th Ave

Trattoria Italian Kitchen on 4th Avenue is great. We tried to go there a few times, but it was always very busy. Despite how busy it was the times we tried to go there, I found the hostess is always super nice without any kind of attitude. And she doesn't give you the feeling that she doesn't care if you don't decide to wait.

We happened to be walking past, saw a long line, but decide to give it a shot. We were actually planning to get some fast food.. We got seated like right away.. I think the manager mistook us for some regular important customers or something cause he was all super nice and there were lots of other people still waiting. Which was kind of funny cause we were both dressed very badly. We were only planning to get fast food, but ended up walking past here, and thought we’d give it a try. I was wearing a dressy black coat, but I was wearing blue jeans that are too big and brown clogs. Oh, and a t-shirt I wear to sleep, that is too big. I looked really weird. Especially with the dressy jacket.
The guy I was with just finished at the gym, and was still wearing gym clothes. It was a little hard to enjoy our meal, cause I thought he would realize we were not the important customers, and tell us the jig was up.

Everybody else there eating is very dressed up and trendy looking. I liked the bathrooms there, I don’t remember why now, but I remember liking something in there, maybe it was the tile or something. Only thing is, it’s really far from the front of the restaurant. I don’t like walking through crowds of people like that. Especially wearing oversized blue jeans with brown clogs and a pajama shirt. I always thought Pajama is spelled “Pyjama” but my spellcheck is telling me it’s wrong. It’s also telling me I’m spelling spellcheck wrong..

The service was excellent. There was absolutely no pushiness when it came to drinks, and our waitress was very attentive. They give you a survey card to fill out in the end, and I had nothing but praise. You may be thinking we got good service because they mistook us for some important customers, but I noticed everyone aruond us was receiving just as good service.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Les Faux Bourgeois

I called several times to make reservations, but majority of the time, no one answered the phone and if they did, they were fully booked. Finally got a reservation here for four during prime time (7pm) on a Saturday! It was worth the wait.

I was a little bit disappointed by the music they were playing because it seemed a little cliché. They were playing the "Chillout in Paris" compilations.
One thing I didn’t like is that the names of all the dishes are in French. Like, “Fillet de Boeuf Grille” or “Steak Frites” I had a bit of a dilemma, if on a date, would it be pretentious to order using the French title, and risk sounding really dumb if pronouncing it incorrectly, or will it look “uneducated” to just say, “give me the duck”. Then again, if you are the kind of person that eats duck, you can probably say “Canard Confit” Anywho, I ordered the fish, cause it was the easiest thing for me to pronounce, and I knew I was saying it properly.

I find the décor a little cold, but it is pretty stylish. I think it’s the subway tile floor that makes it appear kind of cold. The waiters at Les Faux Bourgeois are francophones and service is pretty good.

The prices are very good for what it is. I was very satisfied with my meal. It was $200 for the four of us including tip and a bottle of wine and a couple of cocktails. This is much better than going to like Earl’s, or even worse, Milestone’s. This is a nice date place, but it is a little crowded in there, so it may not feel so intimate. If you’re single, this is probably a nice place to pick up women at the bar, I saw a lot of cougar types at the bar. Good looking ones.

Oh, and free bread!! Oh yes! It’s good too. And the napkins are awesome. You’ll know what I mean. Speaking of free bread, I met this couple that were on some tour through Canada, and they went to an Italian restaurant with the tour group, and they served free bread, and they thought that was all they were getting for their meal, so they kept eating it, the waiter kept refilling it, the food was running late, so when they got their meal like 30 minutes later, they were shocked, and couldn’t eat it cause they were full. Ahhh, cute tourists. Love it!

As for parking, there wasn’t anything on Kingsway, but there was plenty on Fraser street. I noticed at about nine pm, there were a few tables for two available, so even if you don’t have reservations, I think it would be worth a try to just walk-in, and perhaps sit at the bar if no table available yet.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Drunk Assholes in Vancouver

On any given weekend in downtown Vancouver, you get the young 20-30 something exiting from the clubs at about the same time. Of course lots are drunk, and some are acting like idiots.

A girl friend and I were walking along Granville street and we see some drunk guy with his friends terrorizing a homeless guy. They were kicking his stuff, and yelling at him cause he asked them for spare change. We were waiting for the light to change, and by the time we crossed, those guys had walked on.

When we approach, the homeless guy is crying, so I give him some money, and he starts sort of shouting about the assholes that were kicking his "bed" and his stuff. One of them heard, comes running back, and gets in his face all menacing. I was really mad. So I just blurted out, "what's wrong with you, why do you have to pick on someone lower than you, just leave the guy alone, pick on someone your own size." he says, Bitch, mind your own business. I was getting scared, cause the guy was big, and if he's such a loser he needs to pick on homeless people that are like 60 years old, then he's obviously got issues. So I just started walking away, and he comes after me, and pretends to punch me in the head. I said to him, "Fuck you idiot, why don't you go pick on someone in a wheelchair" He then mumble-shouted some other stuff to me relating to our female parts, and when my friend turned around, she saw he was giving us the finger like a little kid, so she shouts to him, "come over here and do that why don't you," so he comes running across, and lunges at her like he's going to punch her out.

Some guy across the street saw this happening, and he comes running over to help, and I'm not joking, the drunk is obviously scared because this person is a guy of his size. I'm getting mad just writing this now, looking back, I wonder if I had called the police they would have done anything. I'm kinda glad we stood up for the guy, but I'm kinda thinking we should have just ignored it cause it could have potentially been very dangerous.

There's nothing I can't stand more than people picking on people lower than them. Or treating other people like garbage for absolutely no reason to "impress" others.

The last time I was in front of Chill Winston, I saw a homeless guy ask a couple of early 30's guys for a cigarette, they told him, if he got on his knees and begged, he would get one. The homeless guy got on his knees and begged, and the guys laughed, and threw a cigarette on the ground to him. Seriously, if I was a guy, and I was built like, oh, I don't know, Jason Statham, I'd kick the shit out of them, then make them beg for mercy. I'd also humiliate them and make them say stupid shit. I'd then pull out their wallets, and give the money to the homeless guy, and then I'd put their IDs and credit cards in a pile of crap and make them fish it out with their mouths. I'd make sure it was videotaped, and youtube it, and show all their friends and colleagues. But I barely weigh 120 pounds soaking wet and I sometimes listen to the Carpenters. Oh, and I sometimes listen to 103.5 FM.

My shitty experience with ICBC. Bad drivers in Vancouver, and the new casino in Burnaby

So last week I’m stopped at a light and some 19 year old kid in an $80,000 car (BMW) decides to change lanes at the last minute going about 120 k. I did not suddenly stop or anything. In fact, I was stopped for a good 30 seconds. But being such a dumbass he hits my car, and doesn’t realize there’s a TRUCK in the next lane, and hits the truck as well. I was so stunned. Pieces of our three cars were all over the road. The BMW driver was immediately on his phone to his friends who all ‘raced over’ in their BMWs. Really awkward and unnecessary.

We exchange information, and I actually felt sorry for the driver, cause the truck driver was freaking out on him. I thought he was gonna kick the shit out of him. He somehow calmed down, and we all got each other’s numbers and license and registration information.

So I go to the new casino in Burnaby since we are meeting friends there, although I felt like going home and drinking a bottle of wine and watching lame reruns at that point, but I couldn’t not show up, cause I’m not like that.. anyways, my bumper was hanging off my car, so I parked, and my friend picked us up.

I call ICBC at approximately 2 am, and I speak to a really dumb call center rep. He asks me for my driver’s license number and license plate. I give him the information, and he tells me my license plate number is incorrect because it’s not in his system. So I repeat it, and he still says it’s incorrect. I used the military alphabet (Alpha, Charlie, Bravo fiiiive threee sixxxxx) to spell out my license plate, and he still says it’s not in his database. He suggests I reversed the numbers and letters, so we try 536 ACB. And he asks me, “Are you Joyce D Nord?” UMM, idiot, he should ask ME what my name is, and confirm whether or not it matches what he’s got in his system, he shouldn’t be releasing this kind of info as it’s a matter of privacy. Anyways, I’m like, NO, that’s not me. Also, I’m thinking, he has my driver’s license number, he should KNOW my name is not Joyce. He tells me to go outside and check the number. I was like, I KNOW my license plate. But I go and check it, and sure enough, I gave it to him right the first three times. So I tell him, he enters it again, and he goes, “oh… there it is, I musta pressed the wrong key” whatever. That’s fine, so I tell him what happened, he kept asking if it was the guy in the truck’s fault. It’s like, umm, NO, it was the guy in the BMW. And then he was like, oh a BMW truck?

During this time he’s yawned twice. Okay, understandable, he is working a shitty shift, and it’s 2 am, but really, this is ridiculous. ICBC should not offer a 24 hour service if they can’t even get a semi-professional person working there. They might as well have Miss Carolina working there. So he asks me if there are any injuries. I tell him my passenger appears fine, but I was bleeding and part of my body is stiff. While he’s listening, he’s yawning again, but he doesn’t even try to conceal it. I am sure he hears about accidents all day, but still, he should be at least somewhat capable of being a little compassionate, or at the very least, NOT FUCKING YAWN. So then he tells me he can’t give me a claim number because something is wrong, and someone will call me back the next day. By the way, his tone was very condescending, and I can tell he was rolling his eyes when I was telling him my license plate information.

The next day a rep calls me and this person is very professional, empathetic, and obviously intelligent. She asks me to repeat what happened, and she then tells me the information she has on her screen is different. The dumbass I talked to the night before wrote that it was the truck driver’s fault. &^@*$. She tells me I need to wait a WEEK to meet with an ICBC rep regarding the accident. I was like, I can’t wait a week. My car is undriveable, I need to take it to a bodyshop right away, and get a courtesy car. She tells me because of the personal injury, I need to go to see an adjuster. I was like, I’m not waiting a week, I don’t even feel that bad, so forget that. I’m not claiming personal injury. I’m sure ICBC is happy with that. But honestly, I just don’t want to deal with the hassle, and I knew I would feel okay. I’m sure I could have milked it, but I’m not like that. I don’t even take sick days… yeah, I’m a humble motherfucker with a big ass dick. Just kidding. I’m a girl. So I don’t have a dick. But back to the story. So she tells me if I’m not claiming I can take it to any approved ICBC repair shop, and she’ll email me a list. She also tells me the BMW driver has not reported the accident, and that I will have to pay the deductible. To which I argue as it’s clearly not my fault. She tells me unfortunately, that’s just the way it works, until he calls in. WTF??????? So I say, so he can just not call and be off the hook, and she tells me, no, they will send him letters and try to call him to get him to make a report. A fucking letter? A phone call? Judging by the demeanor of him the night of the accident, I doubt he’ll even read the letter, nor would he answer a call that would show up on his call display as ICBC. But whatever, my goal was to get my car fixed and get a courtesy car in the meantime.

I take my car to Craftsman Collision (they are awesome) and I have to drive a sweet Toyota corolla that says Craftsman Collision on every visible surface. Okay, this is mean, but normally I AVOID corolla drivers, cause there’s always some very slow driver, or bad driver sitting in the driver’s seat. Especially the beige ones. But my courtesy car is silver.

Three days later, I call back ICBC to ask if the BMW driver has reported the accident, and he still hasn’t. I’m fuming now. If I hit someone and it was my fault, believe me, I would call ICBC immediately, apologize to the people I hit for the severe inconvenience I am about to put them through, I would not sit around touching myself and avoid calling.

So I am fucking mad. I want to sue the guy now for being a dick. So I call back ICBC, and let them know I want to be compensated for:
-the half day I had to miss from work
-the fact that I have to drive around in a car that is a downgrade from my usual car for two weeks
-the fact that I was supposed to go the US the next day to go shopping, and couldn’t nor can I the whole time I have my courtesy car and I normally go fairly often
-that now when I sell my car, it loses value cause it was a pretty bad accident.

I am only wanting to “sue” because this ignorant jerk that can’t even take the time to be a teensy bit courteous and call and report his mistake. The response I get from ICBC. “If you have to line up for a long time at the bank, do you expect to be compensated for that? So why would you expect to be compensated for a little inconvenience. You didn’t have to take time off work, you could have gone before, or after, or during your lunch hour” Umm, first of all, I don’t wait in line because I use the fucking ATM and they offer alternatives like online banking. Also, some banks offer like $5 if you have to wait more than ten minutes, and the bank I go to, if I ever have to go in, I never line up for more than ten minutes, and there’s tvs to watch while you wait.

Well, so I decide I am being dumb to bother sueing, so I just fume some more. I actually have the guy’s number, but when I polled people about calling him, it was pretty much a resounding NO. But I’m mad, and I call. It turns out the guy (no longer a jerk) called to report the accident. I ask him for the claim number and I call back ICBC, and they say, ohhh, sorry, sometimes our system overlaps (whatever that means) and it takes awhile to relay. So yeah, he did report. Umm, okay. In this day and age, where you can get information in like a millisecond, ICBC can’t afford a better system?

Anyways, I dealt with five different ICBC reps, two of them were for just very basic questions, and I only got one really bad rep, so they’re not all bad. Two were excellent, two were average, and one was like below average. It left me with a bad taste. I’m gonna look into other options. I have driven over ten years with a perfect driving record. I have never even gotten a speeding ticket. I have tons of parking tickets, but that’s a different story.

Okay, so here’s this. I don’t know this for sure, but I’m pretty sure the actual road test has not changed much in the last 15 years, and things have really changed in Vancouver in the last 15 years in terms of the number of drivers and cars on the road. Yeah, I know there’s this graduated licensing program, but come on, I see these N cars at all hours of the day. BTW, I find it annoying, when they try to be cool and put it on the car sidewasy.

We have a lot of people here from other countries, and even if they can’t speak English, they can get their license. I have no problems with that, but the rules for driving here are different compared to other countries. There are lines to follow, and rules to follow.

Here in Vancouver, your cousin can teach you how to drive. A cousin that thinks it’s okay to drive like an asshole as if he’s auditioning for a role as a stunt driver in the Fast and the Furious. In many other countries, it is mandatory to go to a professional driving course. In Denmark, potential drivers need to take a first aid course.

It should be a lot harder to get a driver’s license. There are so many bad drivers in Vancouver. It is not uncommon to witness more than one accident in a month. Once a week depending on the route you take to work.
My friend told me she knows a girl that pays a premium of an extra 400% and she just hit a pedestrian, yet her license does not get taken away. Driving is a privilege, not a right. The government needs to do something about this. There are way too many accidents here in Vancouver.

I was in Japan recently, and I did not even see one accident, and you should see how many cars are on the road, how much traffic, and how fast people are going, and how narrow some streets are. Same as in Italy, did not see one accident, and I was in the car for like at least five days straight going from one region to another.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Voya lounge in Loden Hotel

I got a chance to check out the Voya Lounge in the Hotel Loden on Melville street.
Service: From the doorperson to the hostess to the waitress. Excellent.

Clientele: Trendy, and a dress to impress type crowd. Mostly a 30s and up crowd, but there was some younger too. Including an Ed Hardy wearing couple. And some guy that was too cool to take his sunglasses off even though it was dark in there.
It wasn't that busy. Perhaps there was a hockey game on. Good place to take a date perhaps. Maybe on a non-busy night in the lounge area though, or else you'll be elbow to elbow with strangers.

Drinks: Cocktails are expensive but very good. $10 and up, with the average cocktail around $14. At that price, I'd rather pay half, and just get a good drink, or a very nice glass of wine.

Food: Only had some appies, and they were good. The chef used to be at Lumiere. Not Rob Feenie, I believe it's Marc Choquette.

Decor is nice, but for some reason, I got this feeling of loneliness in there. Maybe I felt out of my element. I thought the location is a little bit strange too, like in a residential condo area. I don't think I would suggest going here again.

Although the service is good, you get the feeling that you better be getting bottle service, or ordering drinks constantly, and not the cheapest thing on the menu either. My friend was supposed to meet us there, I'm so glad he didn't show up, cause I would have felt embarrassed for suggesting the place. It just seemed like a very cougar place to invite someone.
I'd prefer to go to the Italian Kitchen Trattoria and have drinks and food there instead.

RocknRolla at Tinseltown. Movie theatre mistakes. Why I don't like going to the theatre anymore.

I watched RocknRolla tonight at Tinseltown theatre. This is the new Guy Ritchie movie, and I thought it was weird as the night before I watched his ex-wife in concert, but anywho, during the movie, there are a few scenes (four or five) where the characters speak in Russian, and it is subtitled.

The projectionist did not frame the movie properly, so you could only see like the very tops of the subtitles. Just enough to know there were subtitles, but no way of knowing what they said. Also, you could barely see the beginning credits, E.g. you could only see the words, "Directed by" and no name, cause Guy Ritchie's name was underneath.

VERY VERY frustrating. I wanted to go out and complain, but I didn't want to miss the movie either. Well, by the third time a subtitled scene came on, I noticed a lady storm out to complain. But the next Russian scene, you still could not read the subtitles. Finally on the fifth scene, you could see the subtitles clearly.

My complaint: Why the fuck am I paying good money to watch a movie that isn't even framed properly? I don't know what's going on, but the last few movies I've seen in the theatre, there's been technical issues. Let me list them:

-Metrotown, the sound was off. Like no sound completely. Then the screen was so out of focus, I thought it was supposed to be some weird drug trip sequence, but that wasn't the case.

-Fifth Avenue cinemas, during a foreign film, you could only see the top 60% of the subtitles, so you had to try to figure it out.

-Downtown, the sound was off from the picture. so annoying. plus it was like 28 degrees in there and all I could smell was BO. Okay, that's not a technical issue, but still.

-Tinseltown (again) I could see the boom mic. Another framing issue.

Back to RocknRolla, I found it hard to enjoy the movie because I knew I was missing a piece of the movie. At the end of the movie I went to complain, and she told me I could get a refund, but I would have to LINE UP to get it, or she could just give me a raincheck to watch a movie another time. I took the raincheck option. It took her awhile to "authorize" them, and in the meantime, only two other people complained. I thought that was weird. There was at least a 150 people in there. Does everyone else not mind?? Do you see nothing wrong with paying for something, and not getting what you paid for? It only takes like two minutes.. And the more people complain, perhaps next time they won't screw up cause they know that people actually care about enjoying the movie in its entirety. Please people, complain. I'm sure Guy Ritchie spent endless hours editing scenes, and kept in important scenes, only to be undermined by the movie theatre who isn't even paying attention to frame the damn movie properly. If not for the director, then for the sake of getting what you paid for. I'm not being cheap, I just want what I paid with my hard-earned money.

When I watched Ironman, literally, the entire theatre missed out on the first five minutes of the movie, and the sound was cut out about 10 minutes of the movie. I swear, only 6 people complained and got vouchers. I actually went back and watched the movie again, I don't think I should have to pay money again. Plus I had wasted time the first time I watched it.

These are my main reasons I don't like going to the movie theatres anymore:
-People talking during the movie.
-People that forget to turn their cell off. Or even worse, I had some asshole sitting a few rows in front of me and answer his phone, and exclaim how boring the movie was.
-Theatregoers that munch loudly.
-During a full movie, being asked to move by the theatre staff to accommodate late people. I got there 30 minutes early to get a good seat, why the fuck do I need to feel bad if I don't agree to move five seats down so some couple that came in at the last minute can sit together. Fuck them.
-Movie watching technical issues (see above)
-Sitting in front of a bunch of 15 year olds that put their foot right behind your head and giggle about nothing.
-Sitting in front of someone that puts there feet on the back of your chair and shift a lot, or just kick the back of the seat every so often, you know, just enough to be reminded you are not in the comfort of your own home.
-The cost. For two people to enjoy a movie with some refreshments and some popcorn, be prepared to spend close to $40. At that price, I'd rather just BUY a DVD. I could even get the Blue Ray option.
-Paying money so I can sit through twenty minutes of commercials, including commercials for like cars and soda. WTF? I don't mind a commercial for a soon to the theatres movie, but for a fucking cell phone plan?

Best Theatres to Watch a Movie in Vancouver Area
Fifth avenue cinemas - most people here are serious about watching a movie, so you don't get the Fast and the Furious crowd. And the concession stand has a pretty good selection. But the seats are not comfortable.
Tinseltown - for the comfortable seats, and free parking considering it's pretty much downtown area. There movie selection is not that great though. And I find it really dark in some areas. Plus the escalator from the food court area to the theatre is pretty damn scary.

Worst Theatres to Watch a Movie in Vancouver Area
-Metropolis - Metrotown station. Especially opening night of like, 2 Fast, 2 Furious.
-The movie theatre in Surrey. Can't remember the name of the theatre now, but some 16 year old Eminem wannabe called me a bitch, because I shushed him since he was literally talking at normal volume during like half the movie. It was a horror movie, and I think he was scared, so he was trying to be cool.
-Silvercity in Richmond - depends on the movie, but a lot of people texting during the movie. If you don't mind seeing the bright screen of someone's cell, as people repeatedly check their phone for their latest text message, than this theatre is for you.

I think I'm going to avoid the theatres for awhile. I so much enjoy watching a movie at my home, and being able to pause it when I use the bathroom, and kicking my shoes off, with the close captioning on so I catch every word. And getting to skip through the commercials. I really can't think of the pros of going to the theatre right now.

To any movie theatre people. Please pay the projectionists more. I don't care paying an extra dollar if you are gonna treat your staff right to make the movie theatre experience better. If you get a hundred people to watch each screening, that's an extra $100 plus all the money you must make from pop/corn sales and from advertising for cars and soda. You can afford to hire someone to make sure the movies are projected properly, and there's no assholes making a nuisance of themselves, and asking people in the beginning of the movie to turn off their cells and to shut the fuck up when the movie starts.

Sample shoe sale at Shriner's hall on Wayburne

So I checked out the sample shoe sale in Burnaby located on 3550 Wayburne Drive. It is only from October 31-November 2. Well, I got there October 31 at 11:30 am and there was some very anxious shoppers and a very long lineup. Surprisingly it moved pretty quickly. But it was not worth the short wait. The brands I saw a lot of was
-Marc (not Marc Jacobs, but using the same font)
-Arturo Chiang
I can't remember what else, but really nothing worth noting. It was not cheap. In fact, I was looking here, and saw the same shoes for under $50 which they were selling at the sample sale for $50. But I saw people with bags and bags of shoes.. So I don't know what I was missing.

The lineup to pay for shoes was ridiculously long. I found some cute Marc shoes for $40. Again, I will state they are NOT Marc Jacobs. They were not worth the lineup. My shopaholic friend also did not think it worth the wait. Some of the shoes were brutally ugly. Like one looked like it was made of pasta. On top of this, I was hot hot hot.. I had my halloween costume on, and I felt silly wearing it, so I was wearing a long trench. and couldn't take it off. Plus I was hungry, so maybe that's why I just was not in the mood to shop. But seriously, I did not see anything that caught my eye.

Madonna concert in Vancouver October 30

The ticket indicated a 7:30 start time. My friend told me that since this is her first concert in Vancouver, it was best to get there early to buy a t-shirt that said, "vancouver" on it (a mere $45) I'm not really big on concert t-shirts, unless it's a really vintage shirt, I feel kind of silly wearing them. But my friend was eager to get one, so she wanted to get there early before they sold out.. and she drove... so we were there at 7. Surprisingly, there was a huge line-up just to get in. and the line ups to buy $7.50 beer were all at least a 10 minute wait.

Madonna did not come on stage till 9:25. I've been a Madonna fan since 1986. In fact, I performed as her at Airband when I was still in school. I did a version of Jimmy Jimmy (from the True Blue album). I have every album of hers. I admit, the Hard Candy album I have is a copy, but every single other album I own of hers is an original. Plus I have her singles, and I have two of her records, and True Blue album on cassette, and CD. I even have the freaking "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" CD single. But I was not happy with having to wait almost two hours. To keep 55,000 people waiting that long is rude. If I knew she was going to be that late, I would have had dinner somewhere.
The concert was okay, but I was sitting so far, it was like watching it on a small television. In fact, I used binoculars to watch the big screens. That's how far I was. I may as well have been sitting in GM place.
My favorite parts:
-How the show opened up with her sitting on her chair.
-Video backdrops were amazing.
-La Isla Bonita
-When she had EVERYONE in the stadium singing Like A Virgin with her. How amazing to hear over 50,000 people singing together, "didn't know how lost I was until I found youuuuu"
-The video about change. Powerful.
-Get stupid video
-The video for the Like a Prayer segment.
-Surprisingly, I thought the video segments of Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and various others singing worked really well. it didn't seem "cheap" that they weren't there. Although I did have faint hope that one of them would make a special appearance.

Besides the fact she was late, I did not like:
-The lip-synching
-Her costumes (looked like she was just wearing shiny gym clothes.
-Sometimes her movements/dance did not match the beat. Perhaps I was sitting so far, the sounds didn't match her moves. Kind of like thunder and lightning.. the further you are, the further out of synch they are.
-I couldn't get the fact that she was 50 out of my head. And when I was using the binoculars on the big screens, I noticed how veiny her hands were. They looked like a detailed map of the Tokyo subway system.
-The fake Kanye West.
-The freaking venue.. I know it was necessary, because she is a HUGE star, but come on.. BC Place is not the place for a concert. The people on level four might as well have been watching a 14 inch television from 30 feet away..
-How hard it was to get OUT of the stadium at the end of the concert. You had to go through the revolving doors because of the unique stadium roof, there can't be any open doors, otherwise, the roof will deflate. Imagine if there was a fire in there, I shudder to think.

Today I was talking to my friend, and she said they said on that horrible radio station which will not be named, that she was not to appear till 9pm.. So I guess that's what I get for not listening to that horrible radio show. The one that rhymes with Dave. Oh well, I'd rather wait two hours for Madonna, then listen for even one minute to that station. anyways, i guess she was only late 25 minutes. And she's one person I am willing to wait half an hour for.

I would love to see her again, but next time, I am going to go at a smaller venur, and try to sit much closer to the stage.. Not sitting Miles Away from her.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Designer shoe sale at PNE

So I went to the designer shoe sale at PNE tonight. Apparently it is Vancouver's first ever designer shoe warehouse sale in Vancouver. All shoes and boots are $49, and boots are $99 and the sale runs till Sunday October 26th.

So let me give you the lowdown. There is plenty of free parking on the street if you get there early. The "VIP" sale started today which entitled everyone to an additional 10% off, but you don't actually need to be a VIP, anyone could have gone to it. We got there about 45 minutes before it started, and already there was a bit of a line. Well, it's a good thing we got there early, cause they handed out large plastic garbage type bags, cause everyone just started filling their bags with the intention to try on later, then just leave their shoes on the ground. So you really needed to get there early to get first pick.
The shoes really were not that great, and almost all the shoes were from the brand Arnold Churgin which is from Calgary. That's not exactly what I think of when I think of "designer." They also carried other brands like Nine West, Via Spiga, but it was few and far between. Some of the shoes were obviously returns, and obviously shop-worn (E.g. one shoe was a lot lighter than the other from being in a store window too long.) I did however end up buying three pairs of shoes. But looking at the shoes, it's not really something I would have bought if they were that price somewhere else. It's almost like I felt I should buy something. When we left about 7pm, there was a huge lineup of at least a hundred people. I felt like telling them not to bother lining up.
There were some good deals though. my friend got $600 boots for $99. If you decide to check it out, head straight for the boots. I would skip the purses..
I saw some shitty deals, like some boots that showed a sticker price of $69, they were selling for $99, and a lot of the boots, the regular price tag showed $129 so be careful.
I would say the service was good though. Normally at the other semi-yearly sample shoe sale I usually go to, the service is really crappy. But the ones at this sale were great.

I must also say, there were some pretty rude people at this sale, like people grabbing other people's shoes, and people butting into line. It's like calm down, it's just shoes, and it's not worth fighting over..

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Eco-bag, the reusable grocery bag

What I'm finding annoying is when I'm at the supermarket and certain people think they're mightier than the next person cause they're using an eco-bag and you're not. Surprisingly there's a lot of people like this. They think they are superios because the believe they making more of a difference in the environment than the person that is getting the plastic bag. This is my co-worker. He drives a huge gas-guzzling SUV. When he leaves the office for the day, he leaves the lights on. Prints almost every email out that he gets (single sided), then he ends up throwing it out later. Half the time, he just puts it in the garbage. But he acts all high and mighty when he pulls out his fair trade 19.99 bag at Caper's. I feel like punching him in the face to wipe that smug look off his face. Or sometimes he'll forget his bag, so he'll make a big show of saying very loudly, "no bag!" and carry his bananas, cereal, soy milk and chips to his car instead, cause you know, he needs to show how green he is. Yes, I go for lunch with him sometimes and we stop by the supermarket so I know his annoying shopping habits. Oh, and he only lives five minutes to work, there is no reason he needs to drive.

Yeah, I do reuse bags and I have a couple eco-bags for this purpose, but I also need these plastic bags cause I use them to clean up dog poop.

What happens to unclaimed luggage. How can I avoid a lost luggage problem

How do I avoid lost luggage, or advice for the extra cautious..
If you ask ten of your friends, it’s likely a couple have had luggage issues – lost or stolen. Two people I asked actually took someone else's luggage by mistake.. This happens more often than we’d like to think, especially in situations when you are not on a direct flight and have to do a transfer or two. Since not checking luggage is not always feasible, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of this stressful and frustrating problem.

I like to dress up my luggage. In fact, I’ve seen a few people point and laugh at my luggage on more than one occasion as it makes its way around the luggage carousel. But believe you me, no one will mistakenly take my luggage, nor would they attempt to steal it because it would be so obvious. So whose laughing now bitch?

I have four pieces of check-in type luggage. Two hard clamshell type suitcases and two plain black Samsonite type luggage. I dress up the clamshells with colorful luggage straps and stickers. I use In-N-Out burger stickers, or any other stickers I get for free. I dont' use any obnoxious type stickers though, cause I don't want the baggage handlers to not like me based on my stickers..

Most of my travels I use the black Samsonite type cloth suitcases. I think if you decide to get the unique orange suitcase set at Costco, it’s not the best idea, cause several other people will have that same idea and they might not think it's not as necessary to check the baggage cause they think no one else has luggage like them.

What I do to differentiate my common black bag is, I buy colored duct tape or electrician’s tape in different colors. You can get these at any dollar store. If you use electrician tape, make sure you tape it all the way around and tape it together as it sometimes peels off. I sometimes like to do a rainbow pattern. I'm sure the baggage handlers enjoy this too. If you have the kind of luggage tag that is kind of like a snap on belt, put some duct tape around it to secure it. Keep in mind, these often break off. If you don’t like having the tape all around your luggage, even tape it around the handle. When someone attempts to grab your suitcase in error, they will realize they didn’t have red tape wrapped around the handle. Another option is to use those body puffs because they are always attached to a string. Just loop it through the string. I don't use the body puff, but I tie different coloured ribbons around the handle. It looks very festive going around the luggage carousel.

Always keep a copy of your itinerary and contact information inside your suitcase in case the luggage tags go MIA.

Make sure your luggage tags indicate your current contact information. My lazy friend often uses her sister's suitcase, with her sister's information on there still..

How to pack
I first lay a clear garbage bag in the suitcase and pack a layer or two (I put stuff inside the bag.) I then tape it closed with packing tape or whatever, and also put on a label with my name and contact info. I then layer another clear garbage bag on top, and pack another layer. and repeat till I'm packed. I do this in case the suitcase breaks open (it does happen) and that way I won't lose everything. Also, if for some reason my toner or perfume decides to leak, then it won't damage everything. If security happens to open up my suitcase, it will also keep everything together. I'm sure little knicknacks fall out, and you don't get it back.
This plastic bag layering is surprisingly very easy since it doesn't need any special accommodation.

Even if you don't do the plastic bag thing, at least put a copy of your itinerary in your suitcase in case the luggage tag breaks off.

When checking it in
Make sure to check the three letter airport code on the luggage routing tag the airline staff puts on your suitcase.

Oh, and I would really avoid using a "fragile" sticker on your luggage. I know a baggage handler that told me when some people see this, they treat the luggage like a football. Just really pack things very well in clothing, bubble wrap, whatever. in situations like this, a hard clamshell type suitcase is very good.

If you are re-routing, you may even go the extra mile by taping a label on your suitcase that shows something like, YVR to YYZ to final destination: HAV. Yeah, it's a little excessive, but I'd rather not be drinking a mojito in Cuba wearing my underwear inside-out, and still wearing my plane clothes three days later..

This is what happens to some unclaimed baggage.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Annoying people on

I like reading dinehere when checking out new restaurants, but I have to admit, and maybe I'm PMS-ing, but there's a couple of reviewers on there that I can not stand. So much in fact, I tried to contact one of them, but there's no way to do that. I am going to copy and paste a couple of the gems that one of them writes. He is so condescending and rude, he throws in unnecessary info like that he lived in Silicon Valley (it's like who cares) are we supposed to feel so lucky and privileged in Vancouver that he decided to grace us with his presence?? Also tries really hard to sound like he is much better than everyone, and that he's sooo well travelled. I know some of the reviews he writes are good, but generally, his attitude is rude, and I must be pms-ing, anyways, here's some examples:

"Would I return though? Well, yes. Given how everything else was carried out, I'll gve it a free pass this time." - uh yeah, gee, we just can't wait for you to come back. thank you thank you so much for the free pass..

"Now, just a word about the previous review from another poster. If he/she really does hail from Sunnyvale, well that explains it. I spent many years working there and for the standards in Silicon Valley, yes, this would be worth 3-4 stars easily. But this is not Silicon Valley, this is Greater Vancouver and you have to work much harder." -- He mentions in several reviews how he lived in Silicon Valley. I think he's just jealous another reviewer lived in Cali. I don't think he realizes there's probably several reviewers that lived in different places, but they don't feel the need to brag about it on Dinehere like he does.

"I feel sorry for their kids that they don't get to sample finer fare during their time here." How fucking rude. Does he really need to insult other reviewers. (kind of like what I'm doing now lol, I love the irony)

I really think I know this person.. That's what's scary. I can tell from the restaurants he frequents, and little tidbits he reveals about himself, well, actually brags.. not reveals. The funniest thing is, my friend actually brought this poster up to me as well.. total coincidence, so I know I'm not the only one that finds him annoying!

Wild Rose Detox and weight loss

I spent 12 days doing the Wild Rose detox. It basically consists of taking 12 pills a day plus about 60 drops of some liquid that some people find pretty nasty tasting. Surprisingly, there's a lot of foods you can eat, and you won't starve provided you like fish. In a nutshell, this is what you can NOT eat:
Fermented products (vinegar, soy, wine, ketchup)

In case you're wondering, yes, you are allowed two cups of coffee, but no cream or sugar or milk. just black.
There are other specific items that you can not have, like no bananas or peanuts. To be honest with you, the hardest part for me was the no alcohol. I don't even drink that much, but come on, it's summer. there's so many barbecues going on.. The first three days were tough cause there's a lot of that having to go to bathroom. But after the first three days, you feel pretty good. And on top of that, I lost 8 pounds. Yes, 8 pounds. And I was eating a lot. Someone told me it is just water weight, and they might be right, but I felt friggin awesome, and I looked like a million bucks. Right after that I went to Vegas, and pretty much pigged out at the buffets every day.. so kind of defeated the purpose. But will definitely be doing this detox again. It's about $32 to buy. and surprisingly, it seems only Canadians do it. Oh yeah, how can I forget this, my allergies went away after I did this. seriously, well, actually, they came back, but not as severe as before. (i'm allergic to dust, mould, grass, you name it).
I have a confession to make, I cheated on it. Knowingly. I ate some seafood with black bean sauce on it which is not allowed.. Fish is fine, but no shellfish.. i felt pretty bad after I did that, but I still turned out okay.. I think..

I bought the kit at a health food store in North Vancouver which I don't recommend, I don't remember the name so I can't even unrecommend it.. All they try to do is sell you a bunch of crap without any good explanation on why you should buy it.
The reason I got the Wild Rose detox is because I know several people that did it, and they had pretty good results.

Las Vegas for Canadians flying out of Bellingham

I haven't posted in awhile, nor have I had a chance to read this. I have been so busy with my friend's destination wedding in Hawaii. Then after the wedding, two friends that are now living in Japan came to visit and stayed with me for a month!! Not that I'm complaining of course!

I just got back from Vegas and have some hints for anyone planning to go to Vegas.
I was able to fly roundtrip including taxes for just under $300. Here's what I did:
Booked my ticket from Allegiant. I checked this site everyday and I notice the prices often drop but sometimes only for a day, and it helps to book about a month in advance. Bellingham to Las Vegas was $28, and the return was $88. As the date neared, the prices shot up to $288 each way. The parking charges at Bellingham airport is about $6/day. I believe my total charge for four days was $28 or $24.. can't remember now. You have to pay extra to pre-select your seat, and to check any luggage. But really, if you get there early, you'll have no problems sitting with your travel partner. Also, for a short trip to Vegas, you really only need a carry-on. The only thing is, you can't bring any liquids. If you do a lot of shopping while you're there you can check luggage for $25. If you pre-pay this option when booking your ticket it is $15 per way.

Warning, I have flown with Allegiant four times, and twice, they were considerably late. I talked to a fellow passenger on my recent flight, and she told me once they left EARLIER than the stated time. That's why you need to be there 2.5 hours early to check in cause they might decide to leave earlier. It really is a no frills airline. No music, pillow, blanket, drinks, you need to pay for everything. There is however, a mint at the end as you're getting off the plane..

The airport is very easy to get to from the I-5. It is about 20 minutes from the border, but when I went last week, we were stuck at the border for 2.5 hours waiting to cross at the Pacific Crossing. This crossing is almost always a shorter wait than the Peace Arch. If you want to be an asshole, you can always go to the duty free and buy a bottle of water, so you can butt into the line by going out the parking lot which i do not recommend, but it's a free country.. But warning, sometimes it takes longer to go through the duty free which is what I have heard, cause so many people do it, and then no one lets you cut in. So i would highly recommend not doing this, and if you're lining up without going through duty free, don't let anyone in that tries to butt in.. :)
You may even want to go a day early and spend a night in Bellingham cause twice I was at the border and they SHUT IT DOWN cause of some incident. So you're basically shit out of luck if this happens.

Checked this website for hotel prices other people were getting as well as Biddingfortravel, which is where people post what they're getting through Priceline. My buddy actually works for a hotel, so we got a smoking deal on a very nice hotel on the strip. Normally though, I would just check expedia for ballpark figures, then check with the hotel websites directly. My favorite hotel there for reasonable prices is the Paris. and I tried the $20 trick there and it did NOT work.
Even if you smoke, you should request a non-smoking room. The smoking rooms in Vegas usually have such a strong smell, it's like sitting in an ashtray..

Food and Misc
Definitely sign up for the player's clubs at the casinos, for people that sign up for the first time, you often get a funbook, which is basically a coupon book. At Planet Hollywood right now, you get $5 for slots, an extra $15 if you play $40 as well as a funbook that includes a $25 matchplay for table games. It also includes coupons for their restaurants including their spice market buffet. So the $17.99 lunch buffet is only $12.99! The Rio offers a free t-shirt.. probably size x-large..
If you want to have a nice dinner, but have a budget, have a nice late lunch instead. I would really recommend sitting out on the patio at Mon Ami Gabi which is in the Paris Hotel. It's right across from the Bellagio fountains, so try to go about three pm, so you can watch the fountain show while you eat. (The fountains don't start till 3pm and run every 30 minutes). In the evening the fountain show is every 15 minutes.
View from Mon Ami Gabi
View from Mon Ami Gabi
The Paris buffet is also very good. It's 24.99 for dinner which is not bad.
If you are looking for good food that is served 24 hours, there is a restaurant in Planet Hollywood serving foods such as braised pork ribs and breakfasts 24 hours a day.

From the airport, when taking a cab, it should run you about $15-17 including tip. Ask the cabdriver NOT to take the tunnel, cause that is the long way. A shuttle is about $6-$8.50, but if there's two of you, you may as well take a cab because a shuttle can take an hour to get to your hotel cause it has to keep stopping at each hotel.
The double decker bus that runs along the strip in Las Vegas, called The Deuce is very easy to take. You can buy a 24 hour all you can ride pass for $5. Make sure you have exact change though. When you board, you just put $5 in the billtaker and you get your pass. Very easy. Apparently you are not allowed suitcases or large bags on the bus so I wouldn't take this option from the airport.
If there's over four of you, consider taking a limo.
There's also the Monorail

I highly recommend checking out a show while you're in Vegas. Besides the free shows such as the beautiful fountain show at Bellagio (I'm such a sap, I get tears in my eyes because the combination of the music and the fabulous spectacle make me weepy) and seeing the lions at MGM if you don't mind seeing caged animals, try to take in a show. I really like Mystere, and nowadays, you can get discounted tickets for Mystere (Cirque de Soleil) if you look around. I also really like O which is a Cirque de Soleil show, part of the show takes place in a pool. I don't think O tickets are ever discounted, but it is truly worth every penny. There are some limited view seats which are 92.50 which are the cheapest.. The Blue Man Group is also a fun show especially if you're into music.
There are a couple TKTS booths in Vegas, one is in the fashion show mall by Treasure Island. You can get discounted tickets for shows and buffets here.
personally, I would avoid the Sirens show at Treasure Island.

There is tons of shopping in Vegas. There is everything from outlet malls to high end stores like Manolo Blahnik (the only Manolo boutique in the US besides the one in New York). If you're like me and like bargain shopping, check out H&M in the Miracle Miles mall, in the Planet Hollywood funbook, there's a coupon to get another couopon book at the Miracle Miles mall, that coupon book includes a coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase at H&M. There's also an Urban Outfitters at this mall, but there's one in Vancouver, so not really a big deal. There's a Bettie Page store in this mall, the dresses are so much fun. Definitely check it out. If you make your way to Fashion Show Mall, there's a Forever 21 there if you want to pick up some trendy clubbing clothes.. If you go to the Palazzo shops next to the Venetian, you can check out the Christian Louboutin store!

Liquor exemption
If you are not checking luggage, but want to take advantage of the liquor exemption you're allowed, there's a 24 hours wal-mart right by the Bellingham airport, so you can stop by there before you head back home to Vancouver. They have champagne, wine and beer there. If you are checking luggage, buy a bottle of hard liquor in Vegas. At the ABC store in the miracle mile shops, they sell Grey Goose vodka for $30 which is normally about $50 here (it could actually be 47.99 or $60.. can't remember now). there's cheaper places to buy liquor, but the Miracle Mile shops next to Planet Hollywood is in a pretty convenient location.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ripped off on Craigslist

I guess this is obvious, but I wanted to post this cause I see tons of these ads on Craigslist, and I know someone that got ripped off with this.

People are selling Westjet credits on Craigslist. Westjet credits are transferable. My friend found an ad for a Westjet credit of $700, and he was selling for $600. She contacted him, and she offered $500. With no hesitation, the guy agreed. So he asked her to meet him at Metrotown Mall in front of Yogen Fruz. She waited for the guy and he never showed. He called her from a "private" number and then told her his son had some trouble in school, but his friend would meet her at Lougheed skytrain station. So she drove over there, and some guy met up with her, he called Westjet from his cell and transferred the credit to her name, and then she called Westjet to confirm the credits were in fact in her name, and WJ confirmed the credits were now in her name. She paid him, and about an hour later, Westjet called her to tell her the ticket was purchased that same morning with a STOLEN credit card, and they just found about it, so the credits she had would not work. Although my friend did in fact make a mistake, I just want to point out, why the heck does WestJet sell a ticket that day, and when someone calls back the SAME day to cancel the ticket, and DOES NOT want a refund (if the purchase is within a 24 hour period, they are entitled to a refund) and insists on a credit, THIS SHOULD RAISE RED FLAGS!! Apparently a year ago, some con artist ripped off 50 people with this scam, and Westjet said they would put more controls into their system to stop this from happening.. Obviously they are doing nothing.

Anyhow, my friend called Westjet and complained, and she was told it is her fault, however, they were willing to help her out a bit.. anyways, lesson here is, be very cautious about buying credits and gift cards and that sort of thing from Craigslist.

Ramen in Vancouver. Motomachi Vancouver

Hello, it's been awhile.

Motomachi on Denman in Vancouver is quite simply awesome. The soup tastes so "clean" if that makes any sense. Not greasy at all. It's a bit pricey for Ramen, we're talking $7-$10. It's owned by the same person that started Kintaro which is also on Denman, but there is no lineups like there are at Kintaro. Motomachi's soup base is chicken based, whereas Kintaro is pork based. Motomachi uses good quality organic ingredients. Make sure whatever ramen dish you order, it includes egg. It's like the best egg you'll have in Vancouver. The service is good, and it's consistently good. I've been at least 10 times now.

Today I decided to be adventurous so we tried out Benkei on Robson street. Originally we wanted to try Kintaro, but the line up was too long. I was very disappointed. The soup is oily, and the server should not be allowed to serve. To top it off, when the server brought the bill, she charged for three bowls of ramen, when there were only two of us.. The only thing good about it was the spinach in the soup. The decor is bad. Something about it just looks cheap and busy. The vases at the front are so ugly that it's disturbing. (the vases are from Ikea.) I like the clean minimalist feeling of Motomachi. I felt bad I strayed from a good thing. It's like cheating on your boyfriend with some asshole that isn't worth talking about.