Bees, Dragons and Friends

June 19, 2007

Busier? A little. Fun? Some of the time? What was it all? The following:

First off, I had my final term hand-in the past Sunday for Animation Mentor, so I was busting a hump getting that looking good enough. Claire has also decided to take on a little more challenging work which she will hopefully love. Aside from work, we’ve also been trying to get out and about and see some of what Vancouver has to offer. Sunday was Dragon-Boat-Racing-Day. It was also Meet-Richard-Andrea-And-Gavin-Day. Also Half-Price-Pizza-And-Japanese-Beer-Day. Thankfully, we could do all those things together.

We set off down to the false river bay thingie for what is the largest Dragon Boat festival outside of China. Exciting, hey? Well, what they didn’t tell us was that it wasn’t necessarily the most CHINESE of dragon boat festivals in the world. Now, when we got there, I kinda felt like the guy at the work team-building-day who isn’t too good at sports. You know, the one who goes along, but doesn’t really take part. Apparently, dragon boating is something almost anyone can do.



I imagine it’s pretty nice to watch you mum or gran “churning the water into a frothing frenzy”, but watching someone else’s gran do that is a little less fun. (Please note: I took a little artistic license with that description of the paddling). Now, one or two races is interesting in that its different and new and a race. So you can pick a colour (I’m supporting the pretty yellow boat-thingie) and feel good/bad when they win/lose.


But I guess I just don’t get the intricacies of competitive Dragon Boating, because I got bored after 2 races. And there were well over a hundred of them. Also, you couldn’t spend your own money. you had to buy their money (Dragon-Dollars. Very clever) and then use that money to buy stuff. The catch was that you couldn’t buy real money with your Dragon-Change. Dragon-Weird.


So we headed out to look at some flat’s that Richard and Andrea had found in the paper. Just to fill you in, they are friends of Jo’s (Claire’s sister) and moved to Van-Van from New Zealand to be architects. Fortunately they have Architecture degrees, because I think its hard otherwise. (Note: I will be refering to Vancouver as either “Van-Van” or “The Couver”. Please try to keep up, as I won’t be explaining this again). Their friend, Gavin, is putting them up until this hunt of theirs is over. It was quite interesting seeing what flat’s and shared houses cost down-town. It was also interesting finding out that many people share BATHROOMS! With people they don’t know?! And they don’t even save much money by doing that. I think that’s very odd. Maybe I’m lame.



After bonding over a few Japanese beers and Pizza we had to head back to Abby (I’ll point out that I’m using the same convention I spoke about before to refer to Abbotsford). You can be pretty sure you’ll be seeing their faces in more of our photos. Exploring is a lot more fun with more people, afterall.

And just to keep up to date, “The Ford” offers some pretty interesting photo ops. Here are some of the local accommodations:



Flora and Fauna



Little bits and pieces I found interesting.



Other random eye-candy. I need SOMEWHERE to put these things.



That is all.



June 13, 2007
grousegrind-7.jpg . We love a good grind.
Now, usually its a rich french roast, or a lighter, more perky Brazilian.
This weekend, however, we went for a Mountain Blend.

When I say blend, I mean a mix of terraced steps and rocky scrambling that made up the Grouse Grind. Okay, so the “blend” thing was a stretch, but I needed to make the whole “coffee” metaphor work somehow.

What is it?
Well, its another example of the fantastic outdoor variety that can be had on your doorstep when you live in BC.
. grousegrind-6.jpg

I handed in my assignment at 12pm, and by 1:30 we were Grinding.
What a pleasure.

Before we left, we hopped on their website to get an idea of what was coming. What we learned, about 10 minutes into the walk, is that we have no idea how to interpret gradient when its written out. For the benefit of those who do, its 2.9km, and climbs 2800 feet. Let me just tell you, thats even steeper than it sounds. An hour after starting, I thought I was going to bump my head on Mir if I wasn’t watching. . grousegrind-7.jpg

Okay, I exaggerate.

There was snow though. Amost froze my… fingers off.


Just a note to the rangers or officials or whoever controls the Grind. Don’t let small children climb it. Not because they won’t make it, but because they WILL bloody make it and make people like me feel damn lame! STOP IT!
Cute, no?


I also got a nice idea for security back home:


Then there were the men dressed in suspenders (and I can only imagine bras too… Come on… I wish I was a girlie?? No? Nevermind)






Now, I’m not sure if it’s clear, but there is a crazy person at the top of this massive pole. He’s holding on using a rope slung around his waist, and some fancy soccer boots. Not if you paid me a million dollars!


The view on the way back down was also not too shabby. Thats Stanley Park on the right, incase anyone is wondering.


That is all.

Out and about in greater Vancouver

June 10, 2007

So last night we decided to go to the only night club in the “lower main land” (I’m still not entirely sure what that is). It’s called “The Vanilla Room” and its in Langley, about 30km away. Anyway as we should have learned by now, all clubs/bars/dodgey small town places in Canada ask for ID before they let you in. We have been bounced for being foreign for being dodgey looking, and my favorite – for looking so young:) All in Moose Jaw, all by the same short memory having bouncer. Anyway, so this being a “proper” club, they were even stricter, dress code etc. So they check your ID, scan it and take your photo before they let you in. I only realised once we were there that I had no ID, and for the first time since we’ve been here(Canada) I thought – hey I sound like a tourist, I can pretend I’m just visiting. So after the bouncers frisked Andrew and Chris and scanned their driver’s licences and took their photos, I just said, “I’m just here on holiday from South Africa, I’m sorry I have no ID with me.” The huge bouncer smiled and told me to have a good time. Hee hee.

Not such an amusing story now that I write it down, but it really is. I have been bounced so often since being here – drinking age is 19 and obviously I look 17 (I know I don’t, but I can dream, they probably just ask to irritate me) – and until last night I’d never thought of playing the tourist card. I’ll do it more.

Other. Please don’t go to your doctor to say you don’t like the look of the veins in your feet, that you had a spot on your arm last week but its gone now but you want to know what it was, or to ask what my feelings are about pharmaceutical advertising on TV. Please.

Photos will hopefully follow. It was a very nice club, could have been Jo’burg, it made me feel like we were in a real place again. Oh, and apparently shorts are okay to wear out again, as long as you wear heels. News to me.

Unrelated photo of me at the Tate in December ’06

Claire at the Tate thumbnail

Catching you all up

June 7, 2007

Hello, faithful reader.  I hope you’ve all found your way over to this new blog site.  I’m sorry for changing locations like this, but you will soon see the reason.

So, what’s been happening with us?  Well, I’ve been hard at work making virtual puppets live.  It’s a tough job, sure, but someone has to do it.  But seriously, it’s been a super tough term.  Brett, my mentor, works at pixar, and there is noone I would rather impress.   All this is supposed to form the basis for a “sorry for the lack of news”, but I know noone is buying it.  “You sit around in your jocks all day!  That’s not hard!  BLOG ALREADY!”, you all say.  It’s true.  I should.  I feel bad.  So, onward.

Right.  We’ve been looking for somewhere to live.  Somewhere new and shiny.  Now, we really quite like Abbotsford, for what it is.  As I’ve said before, it’s very “east rand”, which is completely cool, EXCEPT we aren’t such east-randers.  Now, I believe it’s possible to live outside your box, but we all want a glove that fits, right?  Okay, so my metaphores got a little mixed there, but I think you know what I mean.  We want a young box.  A box with slightly fewer chrome spinners and more alfa romeos.

To that end, we’ve been investigating the surroundings.  Our first stop was Port Moody.  It’s “thing” is that it’s the “City of the Arts”.  Now, we haven’t really been through this, but every town/village/hamlet has a “thing”.  I guess it’s a motto or something, but I don’t really see what it’s for.  In Saskatchewan I think they do it to try fool the people who live there into staying.  I mean, we’ve seen “Best place on earth to live”, “Best city by a dam site” (you guessed it, it’s got a dam.  Genius), “Where good things happen”, “We’ll pay you money if you buy a donut”.  Okay, I made up the last one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes up eventually.

Okay, so back to Port Moody.  Being the “City of the Arts” is quite a claim.  I was really hoping for polka-dot streets and performing arts in the parks, but alas, nothing.  Perhaps we were just there between shows.  We’ll have to go back.  See, the mottos work.  I’m so convinced by it, I’m going back.  I wonder if you started a little village and said “only people named Dave live here” if it would eventually be true.  I bet it would.

Anyway, Port Moody looks like this:

Port Moody Port Moody 2

We stayed for a cup of coffee and a VERY eggy quiche and then moved on. Before we left, we did notice a rather large number of South African’s in town.  A lady in the running shop, a couple in the coffee shop, and 3 people with some locals learning about how stupid canadian cell-phone companies are.  It was quite surprising.

We might move there.  Its halfway between downtown and Abbotsford, so pretty convenient, but it’s not downtown OR Abbotsford,  so … well, you get the idea.  Next time, White Rock.  We already went there, but it’s late, so I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.

That is all.

Hello from our new home

May 22, 2007

We (okay, I) have decided to move our whole blog over to WordPress. I think it has some unique options that will allow for a nice looking, easy to use blog. Not that the old one was rubbish or anything, but I think there will be a noticeable difference and I hope BOTH my readers appreciate it.


That is all.

First of two

May 21, 2007

So, I have plenty to say, but I feel as though perhaps a little update is in order. I am drinking a LOVELY Cab Sav from Pirramima, to celebrate 5 years with a very very stupid woman (in one way, and one way only – she continues to stay with ME?! You’ve all met her? What is she thinking? Don’t tell her!!!). But, as the title suggests, I’ll get to that in a minute.

So, what’s happened since your last update. Let’s backup (dlodlodlodlo {that was flash-back music} dlodlodlo). We moved to Abbotsford. It’s in BC. BC is nice. These are all known facts. We DID have a few hiccups. Lets recap those:

BC wouldn’t license Claire because they took something the lovely Saskatchewan folks said the wrong way (gotta love it when communication fails).
Claire said “But I ROCK!!!”.
They said “Prove it”.
Claire did. (As if there was any doubt).

It was a 3month-no income ordeal with no guarantees and a WHOLE LOT of expenses. “prove it” cost several thousand. No, not Rands, silly deluded folks. AAAAAAaaanyway, I digress. We did it. (My main roll was keeping trouble away from my lovely. She had her head in books, I did floors and dinner and windows. Well, except the windows and dinners (Claire cheffed it up like a mad woman – I put on like 20kg). And roomba did the floors. We love you roomba).

So, we moved. Well, the move happened before the “prove it” exams, and we actually spend the first week in Vancouver to be closer to the exam venue. We’d booked the mover, and found a flat and packed the car. 40 minutes AFTER we were supposed to leave, the mover phoned and said …. oh wait… Hang on, i’ve been through this. What I HAVEN’T said is that they arrived a full 5 days AFTER they said they would. And while hauling the stuff up the stairs, the driver felt it was necessary to tell me he had a testicle the size of a grape-fruit. I kid you not. Nice!

Since then, things have settled a little. We don’t really feel like we live where we live. Its in a bowl of mountains, surrounded by trees and full of pimped out cars. So that last one was a surprise. Abbotsford has a delightful Benoni/Boxburg feel. I bet that if I want some “fly mods” done to the beetle it wouldn’t take a moment. I’m thinking of some flames. It will still take some convincing to get Claire on board.

Right, I think that will do it for the moment. I will update you all on Whistler and it’s awesomeness next time. Until then, some photos.

Yes, those are all South African degrees. How many canadian’s get this one? I laughed like a mad-man!

Where we will live someday!

Me. And a little flower.
Robson Street

That is all.

Hello from Abbotsford

May 8, 2007

Hello! Phew, we are here, I am working, we have a place to live with furniture, the sun shone today. Life is good. I am so happy to finally have things going and to be able to catch my breathe a little. The last few months have not been fun. Abbotsford is a big city to us now, about 160000 people I think. We have to drive 10km to gym (but its a nice one) and work isn’t just around the corner. There are lots more people our age too. Haven’t made any friends yet, but I hope we do soon. I’ll start recruiting patients.

There are so many flowers here and the whole of BC is just crazy beautiful. I know Andrew will be putting up some photos soon.

Oh, I’ve entered to run the Vancouver half marathon in June. My first. I am a small time jogger, but have decided to kick it up a notch, so any tips or advise from people who’ve done one before would be greatly appreciated. For those of you who’ve run comrades etc, I know this little run is lame, but help! Oh, and anyone considering buying that nike+ gadget( for running, do. Super cool.

K. Bye.