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Since the conference that I’ve been at this week is in Vancouver, I’ve been taking Skytrain. And I have to tell you, I so much prefer taking Skytrain to work instead of driving! I can read and drink my coffee and not have to worry about terrible drivers like I do when I’m driving!
Granted, it’s been beautiful and sunny these past two days, so it’s been great to walk between the Skytrain Station and the conference hotel – a little bit of exercise that fits nicely into my day! – and it wouldn’t be quite the same if it were cold and rainy. But still – better than driving. Also, the trip home this afternoon was in peak rush hour so I was sardined into the train so tightly I couldn’t even get my textbook out of my bag to read. But still – beats driving!
Tomorrow is the last day of the conference and since I have to go out to UBC afterwards, I’m driving instead of Skytraining it1. Driving into Vancouver during morning rush hour is craptacular, so I’ll probably go in extra early to avoid the traffic and work at a coffee shop until the conference starts. Because if I have to be sitting around, I’d rather sit around a coffee shop and get work done than sit in traffic!
But never fear, I have to go to Vancouver both on Thursday night and on Saturday, so my transit pass will continue to get a workout
- As getting home from UBC afterwards would take one million years if I were taking transit. [↩]
As you know from my constant yammering about it, I’m training to run the Victoria Half Marathon and my IT band is not happy about it. I had to run 18 km today – my second last long run before the actual race – and since the hilliness of New Westminster seems to be what’s being kicking my ITB’s ass, I decided that I should trek out to my old non-hilly stomping grounds to do this one. So I headed off to Vancouver to do a nice seaside run along the seawall that runs along the south side of False Creek, starting a bit east of the Cambie Bridge and going all the way to Jericho beach – and back! My knee definitely wasn’t 100%, but it was better than it has been the last few weeks1.
What wasn’t as successful, though, was my Runkeeper app. As I’ve mentioned before, I use the Runkeeper app on my iPhone which uses GPS/cell phone towers to track my runs; it periodically notifies you of things like how far you’ve run and how fast you’ve run while you are running by having a voice come over your headphones with said information. I usually set mine to notify me ever 2 km, but since this run was an 18 km one where I wanted to run 9 km (i.e., an odd number of kilometers) out and then turn around and do 9 km back, I set mine to notify me every 1 km instead. And it worked just fine until about 12 km, after which it went totally insane and told me every minute or so that I’d just done another kilometer. Now, as much as I’d like to, I really don’t run a kilometer in a minute. And its really super annoying to be trying to listen to your music and enjoy your run when a voice pops up every minute and a half telling you such lies. It also *completely* defeats the purpose of helping you set your pace when you have no idea how far you’ve run or what your pace is.
Essentially what’s happening is that the GPS/cell phone tower tracking is getting confused and thinks that I’m somewhere that I’m not and then finds where I actually am and thinks that I’ve run that distance in a split second. Here’s a section of the map it produced with its idea of where I’d run:
I can assure you that I did not, in fact, go for a swim through False Creek at breakneck speeds.
Notice that my pace is completely reasonable and consistent until about kilometer 12, at which point it goes apeshit.
I’ve had this issue on a few runs recently, but I thought it was because I was out in remote – and presumably cell phone tower-less -areas of Vancouver Island or because I was running under the Skytrain and my iPhone couldn’t “see” the satellites/cell phone towers properly. But this is a route that I’ve run many, many times in the past without incident2. What I also don’t get is why it was able to track my run along this route just fine on the way out, but on the way back along *the exact same route*, it suddenly can’t see the satellites/cell phone towers properly. Can any tech nerds explain this to me – or, even better, tell me how to make it work?
For the record, here is the section of that route as I actually ran it:
After a long day of class today1, I rewarded myself by buying a foam roller2 and then dinner at La Bell Patate, a Québécois restaurant on Davie Street. I had bought a Social Shopper (i.e., fake Groupon) deal for 2 poutine and 2 hotdogs at L.B.P., a place that I had only heard of when I’d Googled around to try to find if you can buy spruce beer anywhere in Vancouver.
The hotdogs – or “steamies” as they are called there (all dressed with sauerkraut and onions and mustard) – were nothing to write home about. Then again, I never had steamies when I was in Montreal as a kid like I did Montreal smoked meat or spruce beer, so I don’t have any nostalgia associated with it. But the poutine was divine:
And they did, in fact, have my beloved spruce beer!
It was even better than the stuff I had picked up the last time I was in Montreal. At least 87% more sprucey!
Picture it! Me and Cath are at St. Augustine’s and I can’t decide what beer to have. No matter! I choose “the Paddle” – which is a wooden paddle on which they place 4 small glasses of your beers of choosing. Photographic evidence:
The beers I chose were:
- Unibroue, EPHEMERE APPLE
- Alameda Brewing Co, MAPLE MILD
- Storm Brewing, SCOTTISH HIGHLAND CREAM ALE
- Driftwood Brewery, WHITE BARK ALE
The apple one was quite an interesting taste. I wouldn’t want a whole pint of it, but a small glass was nice. The maple one was good, but I prefer Granville Island’s Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale. The other two were also solid choices, but nothing to write home about. I may or may not have followed up with a Central City Brewing Raspberry Wheat Ale.
So, remember how I mentioned that Devon has some mad bartending skills? Well, he picked up those skills when he lived in the UK, where he just so happened to be a bartender. And while being a bartender in the UK, he also picked up a love of Blavod, a jet black vodka that is made and sold there. Ever since he’s moved back, he’s been trying to find it here, but to no avail1. Until now. Because someone – who I think deserves the Girlfriend of the Year award – managed to track some down. In Port freaking Coquitlam!
I was able to track this little puppy down because I have connections. By which I mean an Internet connection. And I used that Internet connection to email the Blavod people. And, as luck would have it, the Blavod people had quite recently struck a deal with a distributor in Vancouver and had even more recently just shipped some Blavod here! After some waiting for the Blavod to clear customs and then more waiting2 because the BC Liquor Store through which I put my order kept saying that it wasn’t in the distributor’s warehouse (even though the distributor was all “uh, yeah, it is!”), the distributor put me in touch with a little liquor store in PoCo that had the goods!
So tonight after work, I told Devon that we were going on a little drive because I had a surprise for him! Because, did I mention?, Girlfriend of the Year AND I love theatrics! And off we went to the Select Liquor in Port Coquitlam, with Devon having no idea where I was taking him3 where I walked up to the vodka section, and there it was! I’d like to give props to the Select Liquor store, who actually carries this stuff, because wtf BC Liquor Store, who took my order several weeks ago and continues to tell me that their system says that the distributor doesn’t have any Blavod in their warehouse when clearly it does? They only had about 9 bottles in stock though – and we bought 2 of them – so if you want to get some jet black vodka of your own, I suggest you go their posthaste!
Sadly, tonight is a Monday and I have a bucketload of studying to do this week4, so we couldn’t just dive into the bottles and start making drinks of awesomeness. So you’ll have to wait for a future blog posting where you actually get to see the Blavod in all it’s Blavodian goodness!
- Well, other than that apparently you can buy it at some liquor store in Boston. You know, if you felt like driving 5,000+ km for a bottle of booze [↩]
- And all through the waiting I kept saying to my sister “omg, when is the Blavod going to get heeeeerreeee??? Because I was dying to tell Devon that I’d found it, but I didn’t want to ruin the surprise! [↩]
- Though he did not that we weren’t too far from the shooting range we went to on my birthday! [↩]
- As I have two exams this weekend, plus a case memo due on Friday. [↩]
Why do people insist on referring to all of the city of Vancouver as “downtown”? I seem to have this equivalent of this conversation on a regular basis:
Me: Have you ever been to The Naam (or some other location in Vancouver that is not downtown) ?
Other Person: No, I hardly ever go downtown.
Me: Oh, it’s not downtown. It’s in Kits.
Other Person: ???
Then today, I saw this in an email from Groupon:
It’s called KITSILANO Laser and Spa Centre. Kitsilano is a neighbourhood in Vancouver that is *not* downtown.
There is a part of Vancouver – a very *small* part of Vanccouver, I might add – that is known as “downtown”. It’s written right on the map!
Here, I have annotated the map for you:
I trust this clears things up for everyone, yes?
The one – and I do mean *one* – good thing about living where I do is that I’m close to my office. Like 5 minutes away1. And it’s awfully nice to finish work at 4 pm and be home at 4:10 pm2. The only problem with my commute happens on days when I have meetings in Vancouver, because living in the ‘burbs means that if I have to get to Vancouver for 9 am, I’m going to be stuck with the eleventy billion suburbanites commuting into Vancouver. And I *hate* sitting in traffic, wasting gas as we inch across the Alex Fraser Bridge at a snail’s pace. So, when I do have meetings in the big city, as I do today3, I leave my house at 6 am to avoid the lion’s share of the traffic and then find myself a nice little coffee shop to sit in and do some work4 until meeting time. I mean, if I’m going to have to just be sitting there, I’d rather be sitting in a comfy chair in a coffee shop than sitting in my car getting stressed out. This does require me to get up extra early in the morning – not my favourite thing to do – but the trade off of not having to sit in traffic makes it totally worth it.
I watched the start of one game and the end of the other, but both Cup games played in Vancouver this weekend ended with a victory for the good guys!
Truth is, I’m not really much of a football fan and haven’t been since many, many years ago when my Dad and I used to play in a football pool run by my Uncle Harry1. But since that pool stopped, I don’t think I’ve watched a single football game, which makes me think I was more of a fan of winning money than of the sport. But I digress.
Friday night, as I mentioned previously, my alma mater played in the Vanier Cup – which my friend and fellow McMaster alumna, Therese, got to go to. I watched most of the first half – if having the TV on the background counts as “watching” – and then Devon and I headed to out for dinner and to meet Rachel & Peter for drinks. The score was 20-0 for McMaster when we left and apparently they had a bit of a meltdown in the second half, but managed to win it in the end! Hooray Marauders!
Tonight, of course, was the Grey Cup2 that (which my friend and hockey teammate got to go to!), and I got home from my hockey game in time to watch most of the second half. There were some really nice plays – even a football neophyte such as myself could tell that – and a few points for Winnipeg to keep us from getting to confident, but the BC Lions managed to take it in the end. Hooray Lions!
So, even though I’m not really a football fan, I’m not above jumping on the bandwagon to cheer these two victories!
- If you’ve ever seen the episode of the Simpsons where Lisa and Homer are in a football pool together – it was like that, except that my Dad and I were both good at choosing teams. [↩]
- I learned from Gillian’s tweet that the Grey Cup was commissioned by the grandson of the Earl after which Earl Grey tea was named. Clearly, my newfound love of Earl Grey has contributed to this BC victory. [↩]
My alma mater is playing in the Vanier Cup tonight. Which just so happens to be taking place in Vancouver. And while I’m not going to be at the game, I will be in Vancouver. And while I’m not really that interested in football (I mean, seriously, there’s no ice, no skates and no pucks. What kind of sport is that?), I *love* McMaster, so I’m hoping that I’ll be seeing lots of maroon-clad fans celebrating a McMaster win!
I got a text message from my friend JB yesterday. All it said was:
“Beth Snow + David Booth = babies?”
David Booth, I thought? Who the hell is David Booth? Turns out that I’ve been a negligent Canucks fan and had missed the news that we’d traded away Samuelsson and Strum for Booth and Reinprecht from the Florida Panthers.
This is David Booth:
My friends know me too well!
The rest of the people in this deal are uggoes, so by my calculations we unloaded two not-hotties and picked up one hottie and one not-hottie. Thus, I approve of this trade!