Saturday, March 29, 2008


i officially said goodbye to my twenties yesterday. after prepping with a jolly bash with happy-d in vancouver, i was gearing up for a grand ole time in london... only to be knocked out by the flu! after three days in bed / on the couch, i put on my glad-rags, packed my handbag with strepsils and paracetomol (tylenol), and headed for the electric birdcage. the food (asian “tapas” / dim sum) was surprisingly delish (and very reasonably priced for london), the glamorous cocktails equally delish (and not-so reasonably priced even for london) and the company properly merry (even S came with bump and bump – twins due in 2 months!), so all-in-all was a good night, despite fighting the flu and trying to talk over the music – a horrific fade-in / fade-out shuffle on itunes of top 40 and best-of-the-90’s (independent woman? really??)

OH, and i have to tell this anecdote from when i made the reservation for the party. i walked over to the premises on my lunch break a few weeks ago and the following ensued:

me: hi, i’d like to make a reservation for the 28th of march
guy-at-the-desk: no problem, can i have your last name?
me: “ng”. it’s spelled...
gatd: it’s spelled n-g, yup, i know.
me: (in mild shock and eyes wide) OH, i usually have to spell it out for people...
gatd: oh, i’ve got a few friends with the same last name.
me: (even wider eyes) REALLY?? wow, it’s not that common a name in london....
gatd: oh, no they’re friends from home, from canada.
me: (eyes about to pop out of my head completely) NO WAY! HEY I’M from canada!
gatd: (finally looking up from his computer) WHAT? get out. me too! what are you doing here?
me: work. and you?
gatd: (pointing at his surroundings) work. what part of canada?
me: vancouver
gatd: toronto (does the fingers pointing in opposite directions, slight shrug of shoulders in acknowledgement of east v. west thing).

how strange... but this simple interaction made me feel less of a foreigner in this city of foreigners. it reminded me of one of the things i love about vancouver (and canada), and i quite nearly skipped all the way back to the office.

photo: gorgeous chocs bought for me from dorset (south west coast of england) from chococo, a small company run by a husband-and-wife team (how cute!)

Friday, March 28, 2008

according to "stuff white people like" mr. a and i are white because we love,

and i love:
and andre loves:

now i just have to get better at snowboarding and get some vintage clothing to "retain that precious ‘indie’ cred" and i'm set!

oh! but wait, i have a tv now so i'm back to square one.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

skytrain snaps

waterfront station
waterfront station

city of glass
city of glass

olympic village construction
making the olympic athlete's village

expo '86 - science world
expo '86 keepsake

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

i'm happy to report that still has it's oddities directory! today i was surfing through the site and was reading about the world's tallest man and noticed that the directory is still alive and well.

i originally blogged about this directory when i read an article on a blind car mechanic who had a deaf apprentice. sadly, i think the cbc has rearranged their article archiving system because the link to the cbc piece doesn't work anymore and i can't seem to find it when trying to do a search.

still, there are enough entertaining reads from this directory that can be navigated from the 'diversions' link. more oddities here!

Monday, March 24, 2008

clouds nov 2003

yay my taxes are done! thanks to quick tax the taxes for my first year in business were relatively painless to prepare. i just had to create a spreadsheet for the different expense categories, data entry them in and then quicktax calculated the percentages and totals that i could claim.

also, as long as i don't lose my quicktax file from this year, i can easily transfer over the depreciation from my cost capital allowance on assets that i purchased last year for my taxes next year. yay! i've saved myself several hundred dollars in accountant fees.

illustrator meg hunt has some other practical tax tips for the self-employed.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

i could go on and on about why i love juno, but i find the soundtrack for the film is even more endearing than the film! you'll have to ignore the really ugly CD jacket illustrations, though. here are excerpts from some of the awesome songs:

so nice so smart - by: kimya dawson
i like boys with strong convictions
and convicts with perfect diction
underdogs with good intentions
amputees with stamp collections
plywood skinboards ride the ocean
salty noses suntan lotion
always seriously joking
and rambunctiously soft-spoken
i like boys that like their mothers
and i have a thing for brothers
but they always wait til we're under the covers
to say i'm sure glad we're not lovers

you're so nice and you're so smart
you're such a good friend i hafta break your heart
i'll tell you that i love you then i'll tear your world apart
just pretend i didn't tear your world apart

treehugger - by: kimya dawson & antsy pants
And in the sea there is a fish,
A fish that has a secret wish,
A wish to be a big cactus
With a pink flower on it.
And in the sea there is a fish,
A fish that has a secret wish,
A wish to be a big cactus
With a pink flower on it.

And the flower
Would be its offering
Of love to the desert.
And the desert,
So dry and lonely,
That the creatures all
Appreciate the effort.

And the rattlesnake said,
"I wish I had hands so
I could hug you like a man."
And then the cactus said,
"Don't you understand,
My skin is covered with sharp spikes
That'll stab you like a thousand knives.
A hug would be nice,
But hug my flower with your eyes."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

happy first day of spring!

edmonton field 2003

with all this bad and sad news that has been dominating the media (the US recession's impact on the canadian economy, gold/oil/stock prices tumbling, 5 year anniversary of the iraqi invasion, our PM wanting to sue the opposition party - that's our tax money!), i was so happy to read that percy schmeiser was able to settle his law suit with evil GMO producing monsanto (although surprisingly this victory was not reported on the cbc today).

for the past 8 years, percy schmeiser has been fighting monsanto's patent infringement accusations, where monsanto accused schmeiser of stealing their genetically modified roundup ready canola seeds by not paying the company for the special seeds nor paying them the annual licensing fee required to harvest canola with this special gene.

the fact that a company patented a life form is scary enough, but what's scarier is that monsanto has agents that go and test farms to ensure that their GMO is not being used by unlicensed farmers. a total cash grab, when cross pollination of crops happens naturally. wind, bees, birds and other creatures don't care about human created boundaries.

shockingly, schmeiser lost the first court case where the supreme court ruled in monsanto's favour. so, schmeiser fought back, appealed and sued monsanto for contaminating his crops - his canola seeds have been carefully developed by his family for the past 50 years. go percy!

more indepth info:
percy schmeiser's battle
the future of food (a movie)
svalbard seed vault (via sameer's blog)

photo: a hopefully non-GMO canola field in edmonton

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

tea pots

i'm still looking for that perfect travel mug. i want it to be either porcelain or stainless with an easy to hold handle. i love the look of my current mug, but the small handle makes it hard to walk with it when it's filled with a hot drink.

does anyone have any suggestions?

Monday, March 17, 2008

top pot

top pot - seattle

top pot!

i took a day trip down to seattle with my mummy during my time in vancouver. in addition to checking out some outlet stores, i met up with the wonderfully lovely janice, who runs the cutest online boutique copacetique (the exclusive retailer of happy d cards). we have been emailing each for about 2 years now, so it was nice to finally meet her in person.

janice was just getting off work and was able to give my mum and i a quick tour of the public radio station that she works part time at. then she whisked away to a super yummy donut shop called top pot. the donuts were so thick, dense and sweet! i loved them!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

why i'm addicted to the internet

here's a small sampling of blogs that i visit almost daily to look for new content:

camilla engman's blog

potatomato - cute pics and SF restaurant reviews
nordljus - food porn

hello - my design hero
shorpy - amazing scans of old, old photos

karl's blog
dave's blog
sameer's blog

... and sadly, there's a tonne more that i could add to this list! i need net-junkie's anonymous!

the tortoise and the hare

scrabble scores

my third ever game of scrabble and i was so proud for putting down the letter 'Q' on a triple letter score box and an 'E' on a double word score box to attain 66 points early on in the game (my word was quiet).

sadly, i got too comfortable with my lead and let things slide a bit and lost by a mere 2 points to a person who consistently scored double digit words.


Friday, March 14, 2008

yvr food

the oroshi

mmmm food. as bianca mentions in her ten observations about vancouver, food is sooooo yummy in vancouver especially of the asian persuasion.

a really cool hotdog vendor has been getting a lot of attention in vancouver these days. this vendor uses traditional japanese ingredients to create a whole new hotdog eating experience! enter, japadog.

in addition to the regular hotdog cart fare of cheese smokies and veggie dogs, japadog sells 3 types of japanese fusion hotdogs. and along with the mustard, ketchup and relish is a bottle of wasabi-mayo!

the terimayo: beef hotdog topped with japanese mayo, teriyaki sauce, fried onions and seaweed. (yummy teriyaki sauce made this hotdog taste gourmet)

the oroshi: a bratwurst wiener with grated daikon (radish), special soysauce and green onions. (a very light and refreshing combo - i'll try a different wiener next time though)

the misomayo: we didn't try this one, but looks equally delish!

thanks for the rec jonny!

more photos.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

yvr friends

me and bee

old friends

vancouver report - part iii:
i was so lucky to be able to spend such a long time in vancouver. this allowed me to see many of my friends on numerous occasions. ... and a big 'sorry' to my friends where our schedules just didn't mesh together.

  • reminiscing of our beatle crazed, skipping-class-to-try-to-learn-guitar high school days while watching 'across the universe'
  • laughing about pretentious art school profs and crazy classmates
  • late night munching at a poutine specialty shop
  • candlelight yoga instructed by my friend
  • meeting andy and jen's baby
  • whistler - both b and i buying brownies to share with each other at the same time
  • getting to know dom a bit more
  • overall laughing, hooting and giggling
more proof that i'm getting old. i really, really enjoy laughing and reminiscing about old times. eeek!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


in exactly 30 days, i'm turning the big three-oh. which is kind of a scary thought. 30 is such an adult age!

so as a lead up to this kind-of big day, i'm going to blog everyday for the next 30 days until my birthday! (sorry for pushing your lovely post down so quickly, miz b.)

i did this 2 years ago for my 28th birthday, where i blogged everyday until my 28th l'anniversaire.

can i do it again? wish me luck! good-bye fleeting 20s~

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

ten observations

there is definitely a special language to life in vancouver that you can only “get” if you were brought up there or have lived there for a significant period of time... something untranslatable (like a phrase of cantonese slang) that most visitors and tourists i imagine would completely miss or ignore. having said that, i bet the average tourist would be able to see and appreciate things that i've taken for granted my entire young life, and am only realizing now with absence. things like:

1. people are so laid back
like, sooooooooo laid back. well, i’ve always known that the pace in vancouver was slow relative to other cities -- but it wasn’t until, returning to london, someone said to me that they had visited toronto and found it such a quiet and slow city that i realized vancouver must seem practically comatose in comparison.

2. people are so friendly
i was constantly stopped in the street and in the shops by complete strangers dispensing well-meaning advice or short conversations. i probably noticed this less when i lived in vancouver as i used to drive everywhere (i walked and took the bus a lot this time back), and never really lingered in shops that long.

i was slowly making my way through an art gallery on granville street, and in my entire twenty minutes there the gallery assistants chatted to a couple of tourists, giving them suggestions on where to go to eat, what to do in vancouver, drawing them maps, and pulling out a georgia straight for reference. crazy.

3. shopping is so civilized
once, i took a friend visiting london shopping at topshop on oxford street on a saturday afternoon (she said she really wanted to go -- “how bad could it be?”). i don’t go to topshop on a tuesday, let alone a saturday. she lasted about 15 minutes.

so it’s so NICE to go street shopping (i was never one for the mall) on a sunny saturday afternoon in vancouver -- down main street with a coffee in hand, or along 4th with a jaunt to the beach afterwards, or even on robson. nobody blocking your way to the cute shirt because they’re changing in the aisle, no waiting 20 minutes for a dressing room (hence why everyone changes in the aisles), someone gets you another size if the one you have doesn’t fit... and service with a smile! i always took that for granted.

4. the mountains
they took me by surprise while i was walking to the neighborhood park my first day back. i turned my head and suddenly they loomed on the horizon. it was like meeting an old friend i had known all my life but in the hustle and bustle of being “so busy” had completely forgotten.

5. big trees
i felt like hugging one outside the airport.

6. soft water
so good for the skin!!!

7. fresh air
even at the airport! so clean and crisp -- smelling of pine on good days, of skunk on bad ones. but always so lovely.

8. it’s oh so quiet
even in richmond. i live in west london now, along the flight path to heathrow airport, which just opened terminal 5.

all kinds, cheap, and free tea.

10. asian population
it’s nice to be somewhere where locals don’t assume you’re a japanese tourist and young groups of punks don’t yell “konichiwa!” after you (this used to happen to me at least once every other week, when i worked in a more touristy area of central london). it’s nice not to have to explain the genesis of your last name (“ng”) with every person over the phone or at the bank. it’s nice to be taken as just canadian.


with all the hassles in london, there are a lot of great fantastic wonderful things, too. maybe i’ll write that list when i move back to vancouver.

photo: a sunny day on cambie street bridge, with the glorious mountains in the background. but where are all the people and cars?? so quiet!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

yvr family

mummy at top pot

yvr report - part ii:
i guess it doesn't matter how old you get or how long it has been since you last see your family, things always remain the same. parents want to take care of you and siblings want to steal your clothes. although for the first time ever, it was me wanting to steal my sisters' clothes this time!

i forgot how much my family is always willing to help me and do things for me. even small considerate acts like, taking away a used mug, offering to give me a ride or having a quiet, quick chat before bedtime really touched me.

living away from my family, i only have one person to really rely on, but in vancouver i have 4 (if andre's in town 5)! it amazes me to think that being immigrants and not having any family in canada, my parents really had to tough it out.

oooooh. i miss my family too much. always i was a bawling mess at the airport.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

yvr flora

signs of spring

urban rainforest

signs of spring II

alas my time in my hometown is coming to a close. i feel like i did quite a lot of things, however, despite being here for a month, i didn't get to see everybody i wanted to see or go to all the places that i wanted to.

i can't bear the thought of leaving vancouver, but i also miss my life in toronto. how do people who leave their hometowns deal with good-byes?

.... so i guess i will have to feel guilty for polluting the air by flying trans-canada, so that i don't have to deal with good-byes. thanks to freelancing i hope to be back really soon.

vancouver report - part i:
it was so nice to be whisked away to spring time while i was here. i'm really glad i explored the side streets to discover urban plant life. so. beautiful.