A message from my coffee break

It’s mid-morning, the vending machine coffee is stale, and the omnipresent shush of the air conditioning valiantly struggles to keep the fresh air out.

Under these conditions, I’m proving my true geek-ness. I’m spending my coffee break reading up on server-side includes. Others actually exit the building into the world of the real and breathe real air and think real thoughts.

Yet I, a dull and muddy-mettled rascal (thanks Will), remain glued to my chair. I’m as addicted to learning stupid server tricks as I am to coffee. Last week, I learned how to get a custom shortcut icon to appear on my website. This week it’s the server-side includes. And next week?

Maybe next week I’ll get a life.

Joe and Barbie in the 21st century

Admit it. You’ve been to a Toys ‘R’ Us when you weren’t shopping for a kid, haven’t you? If you haven’t, I think you’re really missing out. Even if you don’t buy, go have a look. Toy technology has advanced beyond the reasonable.

When I was a wee lad, an exciting toy was an action figure, like G.I. Joe. The grunts, all in camo, carried M-16s and drove Jeeps. Apparently, now Joe wears robotic battle armour and flies. Well good for him. Maybe his new hi-tech uniform will help him get a date with Barbie in her remote-control VW bug (the new one).

Back then, if my friends and I had a water fight on a hot day, we’d chase each other with squirt-gun pistols. The modern water warrior carries pneumatically powered cannons that could blast the paint off a car if one isn’t careful.

Not even infants are spared technology’s cold touch. Can you call yourself a good parent if you don’t mount an electronic music maker in the crib? Flashing lights and a curiously mechanical version of Mozart will reward a wee one for correctly operating the panel of lighted buttons. I don’t think I saw a good old fashioned mobile — except the motorized, musical ones.

The Toys ‘R’ Us is truly something to behold. It’s the bleeding edge of technology for the young, which could only be topped by their next business venture: Borg Implants ‘R’ Us.

oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy

I am such a geek. I’m geeking out like I’ve never geeked before.

I have a digital camera.

Ok, what I really wanted was one of those funky cell phones that take pictures too. I wanted to be walking down the street, talking on my phone, when alluvasudden… bam… I see some amazing thing that just has to be photographed. Click.

Two things, however, interfere with that little geek-dream:

1. I already own a cell phone.

2. It would likely be ludicrously expensive.

So I paid a visit to London Drugs on the way home from my errands today and picked up a funky little HP 120. No, it’s not the best one there is, but what am I going to use it for? I ain’t no art photog, that’s for sure.

Next time I’ll throw some pix on my blog for the entertainment of all. (Speaking of which, does anyone read this?)


My spider sense was tingling

Something was up. Something terrible.

I’m always on the lookout for conspiracies… we all should be, but as you probably know, THEY would rather have you sit placidly in your stall like penned calves whose only job is to get fattened for the kill.

But I won’t be misled. I saw it when it happened.

On Friday, our usual coffee maker and urns vanished, to be replaced by a machine. A vending machine.

So far the coffee is free, but I have noticed the inconspicuous “Insert coins here” label next to a slot on the side. I’d be willing to bet on my pet gerbil’s grave that within a month or so, we will be paying for coffee. Oh, at first it will be a nominal charge… say 25 cents… but after a while they’ll quietly raise it to thirty. Then to fifty… and so on.

Before long, we will be signing away our paycheques to support our caffeine addiction.

Or is that too obvious? Have you seen Deep Space Nine? In that (unbearably awful) Star Trek spinoff, the Jem Haddar are a race of soldiers, genetically engineered to be vicious, cruel, and have a permanent addiction to a drug called tetracell white, which can only be provided by their masters. Obedience through addiction.

Free caffeine… as long as we’re good employees.

Just give me the whole damn raw fish!

I’m certain that Vancouver is obsessed with sushi. In the West End alone, there must be a couple dozen sushi places, ranging from high-priced Japanese restaurants to tiny hole-in-the-wall takeouts.

And the variety is stunning too: rolls with tuna, salmon (raw, smoked, or barbequed), avocado, tobiko (flying fish roe), crab (usually fake), prawn, sweet potato, chicken, beef, asperagus, cream cheese, uni (sea urchin), barbequed eel, salmon roe, inside-out rolls, regular maki, futomaki (big maki), cones, and the basic sashimi (just a tiny slab of raw fish). And I’m probably leaving out dozens of potential ingredients and variations in that list.

For me, I favour the simplicity of a few pieces of tuna sashimi.

My favourite restaurant is one that is far too conveniently located near my home. I’ve been there so often, I’m sure they’re sick of seeing me walk in the door. It’s the Clubhouse. It’s bizarre. Placed in the middle of a warehouse an industrial zone, you wouldn’t expect a restaurant like this to attract customers. Yet it’s busy virtually every night.


Sushi obsession. Vancouverites will go to lengths to combine their favourite food with a casual atmosphere. No kitchy (or kichi) pseudo-Japanese decor, please. Sofas, draught beer, nachos, and raw fish. Lots of raw fish. Need raw… fish.

I think I’ll take a trip to the fishing boats in Steveston, buy a fresh salmon, and eat it whole right there on the dock. Tourists will stare at me at I rip its belly open with my teeth and devour the innards, with slime and scales caked on my hands and face.

I won’t need to chew, because the flesh will be nice and soft — slithering easily down my throat after I dip it delicately in a bucket of soy sauce and wasabi.

The seagulls will gather around me. I’ll have to fight them for the pleasure of popping the little eyes in my mouth and ripping the tender shreds of bloody pink meat from its head.

F***ing excellent!

Or maybe I’ll just walk down the street to the takeout place.