26 September 2009

Oh man...

I've got a lot of work ahead of me!



Went and picked up all my junk I packed away, before I moved out of the house, at my dad's storage unit. Can't wait to see all the sentimental treasures inside!!! :D

07 September 2009

Vancouver Photos!

Here they are! Vancouver pictures! Enjoy.

I'm new to Flickr... lemme know if this link doesn't work.

Vancouver: Day 5 – 6

Day 5 – Saturday

Since it rained in the morning, Manna [potion] and I decided to visit Granville Island first on our agenda! It's this cute little shopping area, with a large food market, artist studios, specialty shops, and even a small art college.






Lots of pigeons in the food area, looking for scraps... reminded me of downtown Minneapolis. :P


Another letterpress!!! This guys studio was PRISTINE! Too bad it wasn't open so we couldn't go in and play... :(

After this, we biked around Stanley Park along the Seawall path. Very pretty, but kinda overcast from the rain that afternoon.















That evening, we ate at the bay-side restaurant outside my hotel, which was pretty good. I was very tempted to get the lobster, but opted for the fish stir-fry instead. After that, I went back to the hotel room and packed, then watched the new Star Trek movie in HD! Good picture on their flat-screen TV in the room... sound was crap, though. :)

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Day 6 – loooooong Sunday (of hell!)

Got up early to check out and walk to Manna's. She walked me to the train station, which takes you directly to the airport for only $2.50!

So here's where the exhaustion starts... I stood in SIX separate lines before finally getting onto the plane!

1- ticket line (length = 30 minutes)
2- extra line to get into the customs area (length = 10 minutes)
3- main customs/claims line (length = 15 minutes)
4- smaller customs/claims line in front of the authorities' desks (length = 15 minutes)
5- submitting luggage line (length = 5 minutes) [in Mpls, they do it right at the ticket line, which I love!]
6- security line (length = 30 minutes)

Finally made it into the terminal, but accidentally took a wrong turn, thanks to the poor informational signage, which cost me another 10 minutes...

7- plane gate line (phew!)

It took a good 2 hours to get to my Gate... good thing I allowed time for that! Plus, there's a whole lot of construction going on inside their airport, due to the Olympics this winter... I certainly hope they fix it up before then, for efficiencies sake!!! It really made me appreciate our Mpls airport here... it's very clean and updated, and can be pretty quick to check into, all things considered.

Anyway, first flight was on a small plane down to Portland. This flight was fine, except for one extra bit of turbulence where the plan dropped a good 10 feet! People gasped and spilled their drinks due to the gravity shift... made my stomach drop, too. :P

After we landed, I power-walked to my new gate and boarded the larger NWA plane. This one was pretty full... no extra seats for me to stretch out on. :(

I sat next to this kid (well, he was a freshman in college, I think), who was in the middle seat. I was next to the window, but no one ended up sitting in the aisle seat next to him... so, I figured he would move over, but he didn't!!! Ugh, he sat in the middle seat the whole time... wtf...

Finally we land 3 hours later, and it felt SO good to be home! :)

So I walk down to the baggage claim area and text Mum to tell her I'm almost ready to be picked up. I stand at the third carousel and monitor the surprisingly sparse number of bags coming around... 5 minutes later, it stops... no bag!!! Ahhhh!!! This is NOT something I'm in the mood to deal with at the moment, and I've never had this issue before in all my life. So I go to the Oversized Baggage window nearby and tell the woman that my bag is missing. She clicks her computer for a moment, then tells me my bag is still in PORTLAND! WTF!!! I ask her why, and she says basically someone didn't recognize that it needed to be on today's flight, and that it would arrive on tomorrows, and that someone would deliver it to my home when it came in. BIG SIGH... I purposely came back on Sunday so I would have Monday off of work and be able to do laundry and unpack and mentally cleanse before getting back into work. Never fails to get effed up. >:|

So mum is driving me home when I go over all the things I don't have in my possession... that's when I realize I packed my cell phone charger in my luggage. And of course, I had not charged it the night before, because I had full bars then, and I didn't think I'd be charger-less today... so now my phone is turned off cause I had one bar left last night, and I have to save juice for tonight when the baggage people show up and call me. Oh, and my extra charger is at work, because my cell battery acts up sometimes and dies while I'm at work. Never thought I'd need an extra one for my house eventually!

And the last bit of icing on the cake, is when I checked my mailbox before going up to my condo... I had requested online, that they hold my mail until Tuesday. Well, I had a feeling... so I checked the box and sure enough, there's PILES of a week's worth of junk mail and two bills stuffed in the tiny little box. DOUBLE ARG! Actually, no ARG... too exhausted to be mad anymore. :P

So today, I'm luggage-less, which has been hanging over my head all morning (not last night though, cause I took a Sleep Aid to knock me out). Luckily, I packed small portions of my toiletries, but most of my (favorite/usual) clothes are still in Portland. I can do without for now... but the one saving-grace is that I always store those shitty toothbrushes the dentist gives you for free — so I could brush my teeth at least! And normally I have 1 toothpaste here, except I was running out, so I had just bought a new one and took the nearly-empty one on vacation with me...

Okay, so negativity aside, today I'm relaxing and going to probably finish up Dexter S3 (which is SO good!) and most likely play WoW. :D Since I have no food here besides cereal and milk, I cross my fingers that at least one Chinese place is open in the neighborhood, so I can eat some REAL food (unlike yesterday).

I'll post one more blog about the trip, which will include the results of tonight's luggage fiasco, and a link to all the pictures I took, which I plan to post now, on Flickr!

05 September 2009

Vancouver: Day 4

Day 4 – Friday

Side note: I figured out how to rig a white-noise maker! So here's what you do if you're ever staying in a hotel with a lack of (loud) white-noise: take the radio and turn it to an AM station with very even static; crank the volume and place it underneath a pillow with blankets on top! BAM! Constant, even white-noise all night! :D Needless to say, I've been sleeping pretty well these past few nights now...

Anyway, long day! Manna, her friend Erin, and I went to PNE (pacific national exhibition) today! Very ‘State Fair'... yummy greasy food, games, shows, etc. First we watched a Celtic dance show, then checked out the barn animals! The baby chicks were especially fun to watch. :D

After that, we watched the Super Dogs show... also very precious! Lots of different breeds of dogs doing tricks and such. Then we checked out the Marketplace with all sorts of goodies to buy... including the ShamWow! I resisted. :)

Then around 6 pm we grabbed a spot on the grass in front of the band stage to see the Gipsy Kings. There were PILES of people there! The video below shows how crowded it was...

video

We left once they were done, after having been at PNE for a good 7 hours. Phew!

Manna had to stop by her studio space to get some tools, so I got to see her Letterpress!!!!!!!!!!




Tons of leading sizes! :D


Manna's business card.

Can’t believe it’s already Saturday tomorrow...

03 September 2009

Vancouver: Days 1 – 3

Tuesday (day 1)

Top notch! Flight was fine... I changed my seat to the very back window seat on the right side. No one else had reserved the two seats next to that one, so I figured I’d have a whole row to sprawl out if I wanted! And let me tell you... totally worth it! It made a huge difference and I didn’t feel uncomfortable or claustrophobic at all.

So I was all set to chill out and watch Dexter S3 on my work laptop... I go to put the DVD in and the computer and to my surprise, it needed to be told which region it should play DVDs at. Okay, no problem... it’s Region 1... but when I go to click ‘okay’, this pops up:



Nooooooooo!!! Omg SO disappointed... I forgot to have our tech people fix this issue at work, cause I just switched to a laptop a few months ago... uber sigh...

So I ended up reading my book the whole time, while listening to a little girl, traveling alone, bug the flight attendants and befriend another little girl on the plane, then proceed to jump around in her seat and run up and down the aisle a lot. Yeah.

Finally the plane lands and I get into the Customs line to ‘declare’ nothing I brought with me. I get up to the booth and this small, young female takes my claims form and passport, and begins to INTERROGATE me about why I’m in Canada.

Woman: Why are you visiting?
Me: I’m on vacation.

Woman: What are you going to do in Vancouver?
Me (confused): Um, see the city and hang out...

Woman (now glaring at me like I’m some sort of liar): Who do you know here?
Me: Uh, my friend Manna Wescott.

Woman (angry): How do you know her?
Me: I met her at a conference a few years ago...

Woman (full of smug): So what are you going to do here?
Me [thinking that she already asked me this question]: Um, hang out and check out the sights...

Woman (now changing her purpose): What do you do for work in the U.S.?
Me (thoroughly irritated, yet feeling like I should be guilty of something): I work at Target Corp. in the Marketing department.

Woman: Mm, what type of work do you do?
Me (c’mon already!): Design.

Then she didn’t really speak after that, but stamped my claims form and handed it back to me.

So WTF was that!?! Flustered by this event, I forgot she gave me back my claims form to give to the guys at the exit door... figured that one out quickly. :P

So anyway, Manna met me in the Arrival area after I exchanged my filthy American money for pretty Canadian ones! We then took their version of the Light Rail into downtown.

As we’re walking to my hotel, we come to a cross-walk and a woman with a walkie-talkie asks us to wait to cross... I’m a bit confused and give Manna a look, and she says “oh, this happens a lot here...”. Turns out, they were shooting a scene for a Nissan commercial!!! :D I witnessed my first Vancouver filming in my second hour here! I don’t know why I’m totally in awe of that... it’s just so cool to have to wait to go into an area because they’re filming something for TV... ca-razy!

Anyway, after my brush with fame, we get to my hotel and check-in and she goes back to work. Overall, the rooms are very nice. They ‘upgraded’ me to a double-bed room with a better view. I can see the bay, city, and some mountains all from my sliding door!







This evening, Manna and I checked out the Vancouver Museum of Art (free Tuesdays!). They had a Rembrandt show going on, which turned out to be multiple artists overall... so we whipped through the exhibit and went to eat at an Italian place on Robson Street (the equivalent of our Nicollet Mall, but with much more specialized and independent shops/restaurants).

Now I’m back in the hotel room, exhausted after a LONG 20-hour day with not-so-great sleep the previous night. Feels like two days ago already!

***

Wednesday (day 2)

Okay, 2 things to always remember when traveling and sleeping in a bed that’s not yours: 1- if you use a special pillow, like a Memory Pillow, BRING IT! Squishy/lumpy pillows are yuck for the neck! And 2- if you sleep with a loud amount of white noise, it would be best to bring something equivalent, instead of relying on the room fan — because it’s not always going to be as loud as you assume and the seagulls just love to yap to each other from 6am to 9am! :(

After breakfast, I walked around Stanley park a bit, then took a ride on a horse-drawn carriage through the east section!


Eeeee! That's King on the left... can't remember the other guys name, but they were both precious!

After that, I walked even farther through the park, checking out their rose garden and really peculiar trees.



The weather here is quite like Minneapolis, but much more shifty in temperature... this morning it was overcast and cloudy (no rain though). So I dressed appropriately and while I was out, the sky cleared up within minutes and it was hot and sunny! During the carriage ride, it was very warm until we turned the corner and faced the water – which brought about a very brisk wind. Needless to say, I’m a bit sunburned. :P







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Walked to the other main shopping/eating street tonight (Denman Street), took some great pictures at a public beach, and ate an incredibly yummy dinner at The Boathouse restaurant that overlooked the sunset!




SNEAT! :D

I also purchased a cupcake from a cute specialty shop and then we picked up our PNE tickets at a grocery store. PNE is essentially the equivalent of Minnesota’s State Fair. They have yummy food, concerts, rides, and animal/farm stuff. I’m excited to go, especially since I won’t be able to enjoy our State Fair this year.

Aside from the abundant Asian population here, look what else I saw! :)



These Canadian Geese would let you get SO close to them without hissing! I could literally pet this one if I wanted... unlike those mean Minnesota Canadian Geese... huh?

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Day 3 (Thursday)

Rainy and a chilly 15°C this morning, so we’re gonna do PNE tomorrow instead.

Have I mentioned this creepy public art thing outside my window?



It’s hard to see, but the statues are life-sized people in a crouch position... yeah, creepy... but people seem to like playing on them.

Today I took the Sea Bus across the water to North Vancouver! There was a cute little market there with all sorts of shops and food and touristy items. I bought myself a sweet little Nelson Family Crest pin from this beautiful Celtic store.



Here’s what the info card says: The surname Nelson is an English patronymic name, being derived from Nell, Neil or Neal as its origin. One of the most noted was Lod Horatio Nelson, of British naval fame. The name today is found in its greatest numers in America, where it ranks as the 39th most numerous of names.
Variants: Neilson, Neels, Niles.
Name Meaning: Neil’s son.

I also bought a Raven print!!!



I wrote a paper about the Raven Haida in college. Raven is, to put it plainly, the creator of human life on the planet; yet he is the ultimate trickster who enjoys messing with his creations, but is also required to teach them how to hunt for food and survive in the natural world. Needless to say, my eyes lit up when I saw it! :D

I also experienced a wonderful moment of euphoria while shopping at the Celtic store! This woman was playing her guitar and singing a Perfect Circle song SO beautifully and slowly... it was really relaxing!

So, after taking the boat back I checked out Gastown, which is where all the old historical buildings are, along with some cute little specialty shops.

This evening, Manna drove us up to a park on the north part of the city (across the bridge), then up the mountain a bit to get a great view of the ENTIRE city! The sun wasn’t very cooperate, so the pictures are a bit washed out, but you get the idea of how HUGE this city really is...



Took a quick video to show a better view...

video

Then we went to a great little bar/restaurant for their famous Fish ‘N Chips! Omg they were yummers!

*I took many more pictures of course, but I'll probably post those on Flickr or something when I get home!