We's in California

Friday, June 30, 2006

Sports Muffins!

Since this will be the first Independance Day we've ever been in the States for, I thought I'd look around online and find out exactly "what it's all about". I dug up the official statements on Independance Day from the US Gvmt and compared them to the statement on Canada Day from the Canadian Gvmt.

The US website states:
"Independence Day honors the birthday of the United States of America and the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It's a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks, and a reason to fly the American flag."

The Canadian website states...well it's a little more verbose:

"..proclamation signed by the Governor General, Lord Monck, called upon all Her Majesty's loving subjects..."

".. government has arranged for an annual observance of Canada's national day with the Secretary of State of Canada in charge of the coordination. The format provided for...."

"...The format changed in 1968 with the addition of multicultural and professional concerts held..."

"..A new formula was developed in 1980 whereby the National Committee (the federal government organization charged with planning Canada's Birthday celebrations) stressed and sponsored the development of..."

"...Canada Day Committees are established in each province and territory to plan, organize and coordinate the Canada Day..."

The differences in definitions between Canada and the States are extremely clear, and these exact differences carry over so perfectly into so many other aspects of society it's laughable. There's the good ol' USA, right to the point, doesn't
want to confuse anybody because, well, people tend to get confused easily down here. Not much room for nuance and sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes it's bad. Note the assertion to "Fly the flag, dammit!" On the 4th of July I want to find a good old fashion parade and paint the Union Jack on my bicep. I mean the American Flag.

The Canadian definition obviously leans more in the, ummmm, other direction. Lots of careful, careful, careful planning. Multiculturalism (tm). Committees and more committees. Although I must say the careful planning results in nothing less heartfelt and endearing. I still remember when I was about 6 years old gathering with the entire town (literally) on the outskirts of McCreary, Manitoba and watching the fireworks get shot over Lake Erwin, the very same lake that my friend Kelly Keharski's dad once rode over with a the summer.

Both days are pretty awesome so in these partisan days of discussion and debate, give some respek to both where respek is due.
And if life gives you lemons, there's only one thing to do. Make SPORTS MUFFINS! We did!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We Be Fronting the VNB.

Last night there were two six foot cops in our living room. This whole process began when I fell asleep without locking the apartment door. I was in the living room on the couch because that's where the AC is and someone came in during the night, stole the change jar by our door, stole my wallet, must have walked into the living room, saw me sleeping on the couch, and then took off. So the two LAPD officers in our livingroom last night, they were classic cops: Nice and tall, shiny boots, absolutely no sideburns at all. These are the types of guys I want patrolling the streets. Apparently someone will be by to take some prints on our door in the next few days. I feel like buying a big sombrero hat and when they come I'll say "I don't know officer, but they did leave this " and then dramatically pull out a 5 foot wide hat from the closet. The cops informed us that Van Nuys "is not the greatest area". We also learned about a gang called the Van Nuys Barrios, some Mexican gang who's headquarters are "over there" as he points out window. What? Anyway, I'm looking forward to months of hassle to get another social security card (Canadian and American), drivers license (Canadian and American), and student card which hasn't been valid for 3 years but I was still using to get discounts at movies (Canadian and American).

I know if you're reading this it's really because you want all the details about Code Camp. Let's just say c:\dos\run. I did meet a guy who was married to one of the ladies in the Danielson Family. So not only was he cool by association, but
also by demeanor. Armed with this knowledge we then proceeded to make fun of the band that was scheduled to play at Code Camp, despite the fact that the Database Administrator at our table told me that last year they were awesome. I left before they started.

I stopped to try and keep my toes on the nose in Del Mar on the way back, which you can see is beautiful. God Bless California.

ps: I updated my blogroll. Check it.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

But I want to take my sweater off. It's HOT!

It's getting really really hot here. So hot you could fry an egg. In the summer apparently all the smog from LA seeps down into the valley and just sits there like a big lid keeping us nice and hot. A few days ago it was over 100 degrees. Celcius. Actually Fahreheit but that's still about 38 in Canada degrees. Oi.
As everyone knows there are two kinds of people in this world: Those who have paid $10 for a vodka and orange juice, and those who think it's insane to do so. Ok, there are 3 types of people because I'm actually both of those people now, after paying $28 for three drinks at a concert venue on Hollywood, plus a two dollar tip because the bartender made me laugh when he said $28. I also didn't want to look thrifty, you know, those those kinds of guys who don't pay $9.33 USD for a drink. Why did I do it? My cheap brother's gonna punch me in the face next time he sees me just for doing so, and I deserve it.

I would like to quickly re-visit why I
don't like the American coverage of the World Cup, because I think I've pinpointed exactly why I don't like it. The announcers don't just call the game, they give advice. And they have new advice every five minutes. I really don't think someone from Topeka, Kansas has any business giving anyone from the slums of Sao Poalo whose name starts with R and ends in O (which is Brazil's whole team and most of the support staff) advice and soccer tips for 90 minutes. In 2002 on TSN in Canada I fondly remember the announcing as concise, classy, and informed. It also happened to be British. I'm actually cheering for the Amerikans this year. The soccer world would collectively soil themselves if they won, let a lone make the finals (which they won't). Here's a screenshot of how I now watch and record the games. Brilliant and still just pennies a glass. Except for the twenty some hundred dollar computer. I realize now that Dayna and I have jumped about 80 years in technology in one fell swoop seeing as our last TV was I about a 3 inch black and white with that plastic brown fake wood siding and rabbit ears. It was the new model that plays "talkies".

So. If you think you know how to have a good time, I've got a little news for you. You don't. Unless you're like me and are going to San Diego next week for a little something called Code Camp. And if you don't think it will rock, check out the Strat on their web site. It's a Fender. I actually love going to these things because I total nerd. It's going to be me and (hopefully) hundreds of older male computer programmers that know how to read binary speak Klingon. I convinced my work to foot the bill. The only problem is if you look at the schedule of seminars you can see an obvious conflict. Do they honestly expect me to choose between "Object Relational Mapping with Nhibernate" and "EJB 3: A Comparison with EJB 2"?! I mean COME ON! Jer knows that if you ever do have any problems with a computer, the first thing you're going to want to do is make sure your SoundBlaster is working.
Anyway I'm going to Code Camp and nobody can stop me.

You know you're in LA when:

You see a car that's painted like a Louis Vuitton handbag.

You know you've been in LA too long when:

You see a car that's painted like a Louis Vuitton handbag, a
nd think it's just fabulous!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Artsy Picture Alert! Artsy Picture Alert!

I call this one: The End of Print Media.

I call this one: The End of Print Media Where I Actually Get Over the Fence and Partly Ruin My New Asics.

These were both taken from the bike path on the Orange Line you've heard so much about here. Being someone who's obsessed with breakfast diner's, I also enjoy reading a good newspaper at a good breakfast diner. Yet being someone who is 25 years old and does computers for a living, I get 95% of my news from the web and can no longer do this for the next month lest I prematurely catch the score of a game I'm taping. But the pickins for papers are slim in LA for someone like me who has a bent for good reporting. The two most widely available newspapers in LA are the LA Times which 9 times out of 10 has a story about a poor Mexican family in the slums of Guadalajara being supported by an illegal immigrant working in LA , or La Opinion, the Mexican version of the LA Times which has the same story, except the La Opinion reporter is the one the LA Times wrote their story about. The NYT is better, but not by much.

Although I've got the recording of the games on our computer down to an artform, American coverage of the World Cup has been as regrettable as expected. As a small consolation there are two announcers for ESPN2 that have British accents, but overuse of British colloquialisms by one of them in an attempt to keep American viewers entertained gets a bit much after 90 minutes. I can only take "puts it in the back of the ol' onion bag" so many times. And this is what
American announcers sound like at times:

Commentator 1: "Here's Viera. He plays for Paris St. Germain in Paris."
Commentator 2: " Paris. Now it says here that's in France."

There's also the obligatory explaining of rules throughout the game. Today on ABC someone actually said "Now he doesn't want to get a second yellow, because that means he will get a red and is kicked out of the game." Ugh. I miss Graham Leggit. I seem to remember TSN in Canada getting the real European coverage, not this tripe.

So how about the overtly PC and truly Canadian handling of those dudes in Toronto. Mmmmm, sharia. The other thing Canada needs to get ready for is the
breakfast diner Dayna and I and an unidentified Korean-Canadian girl are going to open. The special: The Peotry Slam. That's two eggs bacon, and a side of lesbian angst. Yes! But seriously, we want to open a breakfast diner. Peace out.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

So a Muslim, a Christian, and Jew walk into an authentic 50's diner....

That title is just there to grab your attention. So now that I have you, let's dive into how I'm going to watch the World Cup this year.

I have not had a TV for over 4 years up until 2 days ago. This all began in university when I, and I'm not sure exactly how to word this, had no money. After a while a realized that what I had lost in hours a week of watching mostly rubbish, I had actually gained in time to pursue more worthy endeavors like how to move apartments 5 times in 4 years. In addition this afforded me the opportunity to inform 3rd year sociology major girls that "Oh, I don't actually have a TV.". I immediately became one of the coolest dudes in the class. Until I wrote this. Note the subject matter then just skip to my relevant credentials at the end of the article. Beautiful.

For the last 2 years I've been able to tell people we don't have TV when in reality we download many of shows we know we want to watch which makes it slightly better because at least we've deliberately picked our own poison. But then comes the World Cup and this time around I'm without a brother who compulsively tapes every game and snaps if he finds out the score before he watches it. So last week I poked around the web for a while I realized we are not at the point where we can subscribe and watch the games live online. After personally vowing to change this for 2010, I b
it the bullet and called up Adelphia (the local So-Cal TV provider in Van Nuys) and am now plugged into the highway. The information super-highway that is Cable TV. It's running into the back of our computer through a usb "thing" and I will be able to tape every game. And now that we have TV in the apartment you may notice my thoughts become more repetitive and my vocabulary a lot more....worse. After coming back to having cable TV, I've noticed that every show on every channel has worked a gay guy fixing something into the premise.

And what's a blog entry without me talking about the neighborhood. The image on the right is:
A) A Guatemalan farmer scything himself space for homestead on the outskirts of Huehuetenango.
B) A Mexican cowboy in 1425.

C) A guy in the empty lot across the street from us.

My next post may be about computers and how funny it is to Dayna and I that people can refer to any field in which technology is engaged as "computers". For example: "Dayna, what does your husband do?". "He is working for a health care company writing an online medical record system.". "O yeah, my husband is also in computers". What does that mean!? "He's in computers."
Ridiculous. He could work in a Radio Shack or he could be the guy who started Yahoo. Or better yet "He does computers". Again, ridiculous.

"What do you do?" "Computers." "Ok, here's a gun because that answer made no sense."

But what is amazing about living in California is that if we're looking for a product online we never have to wonder if they ship to California because chances are they're from California. And people here actually use Craigslist. It's quite amazing. On Ebay half the items I look at I can pick up in my car as opposed to haggling a $75 shipping fee to Winnipeg, Mb, Kanada.

So a Muslim, a Christian, and Jew walk into a Streets concert at the Henry Fonda Theatre this Saturday. Oh man I've got a Hackney accent already. Or is it Cockney?