When waiting for the bus is fabulous

Back in April I was downtown for a date and arrived a bit early, so I roamed the West End, an area I had lived in when I first moved to Vancouver back in 1986. Much was unchanged but as with other areas of the city, there has been an effort here to provide a little local flavor to the neighborhood by using a specific color theme for the neighborhood’s light standards, bus shelters and garbage cans.

Some bus shelters are the regular gray, others are blue or black.

The ones on Davie Street are pink.

fabulous pink bench

This is not an inappropriate color scheme for Davie. I have to admit to feeling a bit awkward with people belting out showtunes while waiting for the #8 to show up.

No, I do not shop at The Source, Part 2

You know how often the sequel is worse than the original? Keep reading!

In my previous entry I noted the swift action of my credit union on spotting fraudulent charges on my credit card. At the time I had just assumed someone had absconded with my credit card info using digital trickery. It was not until the following day that I went to pay for some groceries that I discovered that my wallet was no longer comfortably nestled in my left rear pocket as it always was. Uh oh. I put the grocery order on hold then returned home, searching for my wallet but knowing it would be futile. It had probably been 24 hours since it went missing.

I don’t know if it actually fell out of my pocket (seems unlikely) or was stealthily plucked away but suddenly I had no wallet, no credit card, no ATM card, no birth certificate, so SIN card, no ID, nothing. I was persona non grata.

I phoned Sue and bless ‘er heart, she volunteered to drive me to the credit union to get a new ATM card. We arrived 15 minutes before they closed, the next day being a Sunday. I explain my situation but the teller says that to get a new ATM card, I will need ID. All of which has been stolen. Well. But not to worry, I could still withdraw a small daily stipend by standing in line and getting good old-fashioned cash, just like people did back in the 1890s. How quaint.

What followed over the next few days was a series of circular checks where each piece of ID I needed to recover required some other piece of ID I needed to recover. But all was not lost–literally! I still had my paper birth certificate (the plastic-coated wallet-size version was in my, uh, wallet), so I had a starting point in recovering my identity. Monday morning and I headed bright ‘n early to Service Canada and presented my certificate, waiting to hear how long it would take to get a new Social Insurance card. “This birth certificate is invalid,” the woman behind the counter said, her lips twitching mysteriously. She explained that there was no registration number on the certificate and thus it was not valid. Little did I know that 44 years ago someone was screwing me over. I wasn’t even a month old. No wonder I’m so cynical. The woman behind the counter told me I could get a replacement certificate at Vital Statistics. She looked up the location and assured me it would be “fun” to go there. Government services and fun together? Cats and dogs, I say.

But I go.

Vital Statistics is in an office on ultra-trendy Robson Street downtown, hence the “fun” or so I assume. But you know, it’s just a street downtown on a Monday morning. It’s not like there’s a Mardi Gras parade with people flashing their bits and showering everyone with candy. So I go in and I’m told I can get a legit birth certificate in five business days and for free! But only if I hand over the invalid one. I reluctantly do so, giving up the only piece of paper that states who I am.

It turned out to only take four days for the replacement to arrive by mail. The newly-redesigned birth certificate (made over in 2008) came with a sheet listing its many improvements, one of which was a size designed to be inconvenient to fit in wallets and purses, to reduce loss or theft. I expected to see “Looking at you, dumbass” after that bullet point.

The tale of ID recovery took an unexpected twist midweek when I got a lumpy envelope in the mail. It was encased in a plastic Canada Post bag with a boilerplate apology for the condition of the envelope therein, saying it was being delivered in the state in which I found. I opened it up and there was my wallet, with my BC ID card taped on the side of it. Apparently the thief took the Visa card and tossed the rest on the ground and some sympathetic person dropped it into a mailbox. Yay! Thank you, mystery person who did this.

I went to the credit union, got my ATM card re-activated and today received my new Visa card, one day earlier than their estimate. I checked to make sure everything looked kosher and discovered I have enough Visa points to buy an iron. Woo! I already have an iron. I can also buy a Cineplex gift certificate that includes a pair of movie tickets, two regular drinks and a regular popcorn. i think that combo normally costs $300. It’s like buying six irons.

But for now I rest content that I no longer have to meticulously replace all of my ID. My wallet is now kept in a front pocket and any non-vital ID is kept safely tucked away here at home. I also will amend my previous judgment that “people suck” to “some people don’t suck.”

No, I do not shop at The Source and bag my groceries, lazybutt

Two random gripes:

#1: I get a call from my credit union. The woman speaks with an accent so it’s somewhat hard to follow at times but she asks me about these weird charges on the card to fashion stores and The Source. I am confused, as I’ve never made these. She verifies a few legit ones but it becomes apparent the card has, in her words “been compromised”. She nukes it, tells me I’ll get a new one in 7-10 business days and in the meantime no credit! Woo. People suck.

#2: I buy cat food at a local pet food store called Tisol. Being the environmentally-friendly guy I am, I bring my own bag. Last week I put the four large cans on the counter. There are two women behind the counter, one at the register and another beside her. Register woman rings up the order while the other asks me if I need a bag. I say no, I have my own here. I pay for the cat food (using my still-working debit card) and the other woman just stands there. She doesn’t bag the cat food, she just stands there and watches me until I do it. So the lesson is obviously screw the environment and make them cough up one of their own plastic bags, because they always bag it that way. Great service, there.

Did I mention people suck?

Yet another weight post

Some random thoughts on the weightlifting:

  • the 3-times-per-week routine is working out fine so far, I don’t feel like I’m overworking myself
  • I am no longer feeling sore between sessions
  • I do not look different nor has my weight changed but it’s still early
  • I have girlie shoulders. Any exercise that involves the shoulders (like the shoulder press) makes me cry.
  • I am probably going to move from 10lb to 15lb weights. For most exercises the 10 pound weights don’t seem to be pushing me enough.
  • Slowing down the reps has helped by requiring a bit more effort
  • the cheapo mat I have curls up and sucks. Not that it curls up and sucks as part of some trick, though that would be neat. It just generally sucks. I’ll probably be getting a rubber-backed replacement.
  • I actually remember to stretch before starting now. Woo.

The real test will come when I am once again gainfully employed and have to sacrifice “fun time” to maintain my routine. I think I’ll be okay there, since I usually work out in the evening.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It

Nothing makes for a light read like an impending apocalypse. For Exercise #16 I wrote a story based on the image below. The tale is a companion piece to Superhero Go Home and is called Armageddon, Part 2. Enjoy!

A-weigh we go

I did my fourth full workout tonight and have now started taking pictures (on a weekly basis) of my upper body to record any possible progress. Looking at pictures of my body is not something I recommend to anyone, really. Not even my cat.

Shoulder presses still make me cry like a little girl. My benchmark is to get through them without tearing up like jackrabbit at the end of Titanic*.

* this is a test to see if anyone — like jackrabbit — reads this thing.

Weighing in

How many weight-related puns can I come up with for post titles? Let’s find out!

After doing my third full weight-lifting workout I’ve decided to go from two workouts per week to three, mixing in jogging as needed. I’ve suddenly become mildly obsessed with shedding the last bit of fat around my gut and it ain’t gonna happen through diet from this point forward, so exercise it shall be.

The bonus side effect is getting into better shape, having more stamina and becoming irresistably sexy. I’m also thinking of going from a full beard to a Vandyke just for a change. And a purple Mohawk. Or something.

Happy Easter and just say no to peeps!

Today was Easter Sunday and as it was a wet and dank day outdoors, I spent my time inside doing exciting things like cleaning, laundry and the dishes. Woo and hoo, as they say.

I did another full workout and I believe I have figured out how to exercise without injuring myself, proof that I can still learn even when I should be having a mid-life crisis or something instead.

Regarding peeps, this Easter-related “confection” is one of those candies that just seems wrong no matter how you look at it. I’m sure it actively destroys cells in your body upon consumption. On the plus side, peeps can probably double as insulating foam on the shuttle if NASA runs out.

These things have a half-life that would make Strontium-90 jealous. Say no to peeps!

Of lifting weights and discovering muscles

A little over a week ago I finally did a full dumbbell exercise workout — 11 different exercises working all major muscle groups. I am using a pair of 10 pound dumbbells and so far they seem to be about the right weight. The workout takes about 40 minutes or so with the breaks between sets eating up a good chunk of that time. I expected to feel sore afterward and I did but whoops, I completely forgot to warm-up beforehand and ended up paying the proverbial big price for it. I pulled a muscle in my right arm hard enough that fully stretching the arm out hurt a fair bit. The pain persisted for about four days before subsiding. On Thursday I finally decided to do another full workout and this time all went well — I was again left sore but avoided self-injury. Hooray for common sense.

I’ll probably do another workout tomorrow (to celebrate Easter, y’ know) then work in my jogging program through the week. I expect to feel sore, tired and cranky but in the best shape of the past 25 years.

Writing exercises #14 and #15

Two more writing exercises to add to ye olde pile:

Three Parts (scenes). I may spin one or two of these scenes into a full-fledged story some day. You get zombies, the search for love and space drama. Variety!

Follow the Tracks. This one is unprecedented for me. I took an unfinished story that was abandoned 17 (!) years ago and finished it.

They can also be found on the Writing exercises page.

New header image, balance and harmony restored to Internet

I finally fixed the header image for the current (Techmania) theme, as the original was not sized correctly for my desired page width. Exciting stuff, to be sure. For now I have chosen a creepy forest road that was included as part of Vista’s sample picture collection. I will probably replace it with a badly tiled picture of my cat at some point. Enjoy!