may 2002

click here for permalink May 31, 2002

Yesterday I took a trip to the new IKEA in Coquitlam, a suburb of Vancouver that's been totally overtaken by Swedish Fever since the grand opening earlier this year.

Signs on local service stations and greasy-spoon diners are doing everything to court IKEA shoppers, fresh from a long wait in line, before they head home to "nest" (which, I think, is Swedish for spending eight hours on the living room floor surrounded by particle board and wood screws with an Alan Wrench in one hand and a page full of hyroglyphs in the other, screaming at your spouse and wondering if the fine lacquer finish on your new entertainment unit makes it unsafe to use as kindling).

The new Coquitlam store is supposed to be the largest in Canada — which doesn't sound like much of a statement since Canada boasts maybe five cities large enough to warrant an IKEA — but apparently there are at least a dozen, and this one certainly looks like it should be the biggest.

The showrooms are full of newly added knick-knacks that defy definition until you read the descriptions and go, "oh yeah... I can see that." It occurred to me later that these items could easily have been a product of some late-night brainstorming sessions where giddy, exhausted New Product Marketing employees sat around trying to come up with ways to sell the oddly-shaped scraps found on the factory floor after real household items are manufactured.

"Heh heh, okay, okay... what about this one?" [holding up a one-foot-by-one-foot scrap of corrugated plastic]
"Lawn chair!" [shrieks an excited voice and the rooms explodes in drunken laughter]
"Done!" [the new BIKYARD chair is tossed into a box in the corner of the room marked "done." A length of polished steel tubing is produced from the dwindling contents of box with a big red question mark on the side] "...anyone..?"

On the way home, we passed a Land Rover dealership and saw what I think was the newest model in their "Discovery" line. It was school bus yellow and outfitted with a profusion of rugged, black, "outdoorsy" accessories. Maybe I just don't understand the "sport ute" culture, but I couldn't help thinking how weird it is that someone is going to spend around $70,000 on that particular SUV, thinking that they're going to do this in it, when in actuality, they'll probably spend most of their time fending off groups of learning disabled children who line up at the passenger side door every time they stop at a red light.

And here we have a quiz that really gets — heh, I didn't even start this sentence with a pun in mind — under your skin! It's certainly got me nailed... in a symbolic sort of sense, anyway...

I'm David!
Which Anne Rice Vampire are you?
by Tera

click here for permalink May 29, 2002

The 2002 Miss Universe Pageant is tonight and that means... it's Tiara Time! Sadly, my Toys 'R' Us tiara is in storage all the way across town, in a suitcase full of crap that used to adorn the walls of my hip, wacky, exposed-brick, cliché, cliché, web geek office...

After ten days, don't think I don't feel like a complete loser updating with this little gem of info, because I do... but I'm also kicking ass on some furniture projects and can't seem to concentrate on anything else while there's still sawdust in the air and footstools left to upholster...

Who knew that doubling the square footage of your couch could somehow leave you with a more spacious-seeming living room? Certainly not me! A week ago, I was on the floor with graph paper in one hand and a tape measure in the other, surrounded by wadded-up, unworkable floor plans, in a panic about the prospect of retiring a favorite chair when it failed to fit into our scale model...

After finally adopting the "let's just move it and see" method, our new (slightly used, crazy-comfortable) sectional fits in rather well after all... it's made friends with our two giant work stations, oversized coffee table, armchair and many, many components of home theater/computing/electronica and there's even still room for two of the hardiest, scrappiest survivors the plant kingdom has to offer, Tex and Ruby. Can you tell we're not allowed to have pets here?

What I'm wondering is if the Miss Universe Pageant winner will somehow be a reflection of recent events in the world? Well, I think we can safely count Miss Afghanistan out, if you know what I'm sayin'. The American contestant is always a top five shoe-in and I can't see them making an exception now that we're in the most patriotic era since WWII. I guess the question is, in the end, will the judges choose on the basis of politics? ...Or plastics?

click here for permalink May 19, 2002

[Note: Due to a surprising number of requests for the name of the salon where I got (almost all the way through) a Brazilian bikini wax last year, I've added a link to that entry and this note. Beauty Club, 170-840 Howe St, Vancouver, BC. (604) 669-2582]

Two years ago, the local cable-company-turned-ISP made our lives a living hell by underestimating the drawing power of their ads and overestimating their ability to handle the drastic increase in business...

For about three months, we were subject to excruciatingly slow Internet service, interminable waits to talk to their untrained, beleaguered customer service staff and unpredictable blackouts which, according to a recording on their customer service line, often affected half the Internet-lovin' lower mainland.

Those days are long gone and we have since switched to the cable company's arguably faster, certainly more reliable competition in high-speed Internet service... predictably, owned by the local phone company.

Ah, the phone company... it must be nice knowing that you can, as a company, do whatever the hell you want to your customers without fear of reproach for unethical practices by any regulatory branches of government or fear of lost revenue from unhappy customers... even the ones who you strand without long distance service for over a month without explanation, then blatantly ignore after several calls to repair fail to produce results.

It's almost like they're saying, Go on... try not paying your bill and see what happens... go on, we dare you! AhahahahahaHAAAAAAAAA!!!

Can anyone figure out the incredibly annoying discovery I made on Mother's Day? Mmm. Yeah, that's okay... my mother just LOVED chatting on good ol' MSN Messenger with me instead of getting the customary Mother's Day phone call (when you live 3,000 miles away, breakfast at her place and a bouquet of roses just ain't practical, okay?).

You know what else I discovered last week? As I was walking home, I noticed that the belly dancing costume supplier who used to be located right across from Radio Shack on Davie street has been replaced by a retailer of floral-patterned, cotton sleepwear. I couldn't help but feel a pang of disappointment.

I mean, I probably would never have actually acted on my desire go in and try on that blood-red chain-mail bikini top with the gold-braid fringe trim and matching waist belt that used to adorn the mannequin in the window — the one now sporting a t-shirt and pajama pant set covered with little pink flowers and pink lace at the neck.

No, I'm sure I never would have... but it's kind of sad that it's no longer an option.

click here for permalink May 7, 2002

I went shopping recently and, for the first time in five years, bought pants that actually fit me. For five years, I've been living in (sometimes cutely) oversized, second-hand jeans and best-fit-available vintage store finds.

Only a few pairs of pants in my sizable, eclectic (read: almost unwearable) vintage-slash-scavenged collection are actually my size... the rest I somehow manage to pull off only because they are so eclectic as to distract from anything as banal as fit.

Sadly, as much as I love my road flare orange pants made of towel material and my aqua vinyl pants, rescued from a suburban Salvation Army, I can never seem to make "outfits" out of all these mismatched conversation pieces. Enter the uniform: oversized jeans, little t-shirt and — my new trademark — one of an endless supply of cardigans; striped, knitted, zippered, hooded, you name it, I've got it.

My favorite amateur wardrobe consultant — always practical when it really matters — pronounced that "basics" were desperately needed. No more screaming colors, plaids or muppet fur-trimmed items until I had, at the very least, one pair of black pants.

Well, I now have two pairs of black pants and a whole pile of similarly soft-spoken garments with which to mate my poor endangered favorites. And there's no "Back to School" looming over my head to ruin my "new clothes buzz," so I'm pretty happy. This issue of my clothes "fitting," however, I can already tell will take some getting used to... I need to rediscover the art of good posture, for one, and (ugh) doing a crunch or two would probably be a good idea.