Exit stage left

Well I’ve started my exit procedure for the Arab games… So far I’m a little freaked, not that I’m leaving, but that they’ve taken all forms of identification that I can use to be recognized as a US citizen… I have no ID card and no passport in hand; since rule #1 when traveling internationally is no never relinquish your passport for any reason I’m a little paranoid. Also given my luck with legal system in Qatar I’m freaked even more than usual.

How do I deal with this freak out? I go to the one pub that doesn’t require a form of ID to get in and have a few pints.

My bags are replaced and mostly packed, I have a weeks worth of clothes laid out and ready, I’m planning on getting rid of some more things before I do my final pack. Right now I’m looking at to checked bags and a single carry in. I’m hopefully going to learn from my last trip to Doha and pack my gifts into my carry on so they don’t get lost at sea like they did the last time I traveled from the sandbox.

March 1st I should be home enjoying the company of good friends and a special someone at I can’t wait to see!

An epic story

IMG_0557 There’s something about this season that feels a little more epic than last.  I started snowboarding last season and after an epic first season of riding at Cypress, Grouse and Whistler I hung up the board at the end of the season thinking I wasn’t going to get the time this year.  So far I’ve been twice, both times in Whistler.  Last weekend was opening day of ski season in Whistler, Mount Baker and Cypress.  I even think grouse may have opened for the weekend only, but I have a soft spot for Whistler.

Last weekend was fixing to be en epic weekend and it didn’t disappoint.  At the last minute Friday afternoon I decided to book a hotel room in Whistler for Saturday night, it seemed like a good idea since I had planned on riding all day and then going to dinner with friends, which could almost guarantee my drinking and I decided that staying in a hotel was better then being the DD for the evening.

I got up at 4:30 AM and met some friends at 5:00 AM to start the drive up to Whistler.  We got up in time to check into the hotel just a bit early, the clerk was nice enough to let me check in 7 hours early without paying for the extra day.

After checking in I got into my kit and headed for the lift lines, which looked like an hour wait just to get to the lifts…  I still had to buy my ticket and that line was about 45 minutes long, but I was ready to wait.  While I got myself situated into the line and had been waiting for a good 30 minutes, I heard a voice that was saying they had an extra ticket.  I thought it was a familiar voice so I turned and saw my friend and co-worker NC standing there.  My reaction was “Hey N, I’ll take the ticket!”  After taking another look at the lift line it was quickly decided that breakfast was going to be the better choice than waiting in the line.

After a nice breakfast with some old and new friends we hit the slopes.  A good mix of boarders and skiers were part of our group.  I’m not one to ride with others, I’m a loner on the slopes.  I plug myself into some music and go as fast as I safely can without loosing control.  Saturday was no different, except I hit all my turns, caught some air and managed to ride the entire day without hurting myself.  Well I hurt a little bit, but it had more to do with a historical injury and not anything I did during the day.

At the end of the day we all met up at the GLC and had a few beers.   By 5 o’clock it was time to go get cleaned up, which involved taking advantage of the hot tub at the hotel and a nice long shower.  After which we headed to Sushi Village, and that’s where the night started to go a bit sideways.  I’m not sure what possessed us to order the “Dumbo” size of sake (6 liters) but we did, along with quite a few pitchers of sake margaritas but we did.  With the great company, the good food and the metric ton of drinks we consumed we decided it would be a good idea to head out to the bottle shop and pick up some more drinks and head to a friends hotel room to spend the rest of the evening, all 12 of us thought this was a good idea.  To the bottle shop and then to the friends hotel room took us close to an hour.  Anyone who knows the village knows that it shouldn’t take an hour to get to any hotel from the bottle shop, but we’re a special bunch.

Getting to the room was an exercise in futility, we managed to get there, but once there we managed to break almost all the glasses in the place.  Not intentionally, it’s just we’re a bunch of klutzes when we’ve drank that much.  So after a few games, we heard a knock at the door.  Turns out someone had called hotel security on us and we were asked nicely to leave the room and if we didn’t leave the room right away the people whose room we were partying in were going to get kicked out.  So in light of that we decided to take the party on the road.  We ended up at closing the bar we went to (2 am) and then finally got back to hotel room at 4:30 AM. Between the weather (snowing) and the company it was good times!

Quoted words from the late George Carlin

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, yet more problems; more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much , and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.
A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit “delete”…

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember, to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

by George Carlin

Mountain vs. Shoulder, Mountain wins…

I was helping another function deliver some materials to a remote location on the mountain this morning and wouldn’t you know it, I fell and stuff my shoulder.  Naturally it’s the right shoulder, which of course is the one I seem to have an affinity for injuring the most.  Probably because I’m right handed and someone somewhere thinks this is funny.

Of course at this stage I’m getting the usual “Dude that sucks” or my new favorite “Chicks dig gimps”.  Holy crap if I had known this years ago life would be different.

The plank of wood

After doing a bit of snowboarding on Sunday I made the decision to buy my own gear.  I was tired of the smell of rental gear and the quality while good, is not all that great.  I think the best way to describe the rental board (now that I have my own) is like racing around a track in a semi-truck while the new board is like racing up a mountain in a Subaru wrx sti.  I know I have no other experience to draw on and I’m sure someone is going to ask how I can possibly know.  Well after purchasing my own gear and riding it last night I can tell you I’m never going to hire again.

The decision to purchase the kit was one thing, the actual finding the kit was something else entirely.  I did a bit of research and then asked around the office to the other sports minded folks I know, which considering where I work is most of them, and went to a local discount sports shop which was on the way home.  I managed to find someone to help me after a few minutes of just hanging around and went forth and purchased a snowboard, boots, bindings and a helmet (I have to protect my precious good looks) and $500 Canadian later I was ready to go!

The snow wasn’t great, but the experience was fantastic!  I will keep hitting the slopes in an attempt to just get better and try new things.  After all I’m living here for another year and the games are winter in nature I feel like I should do my best to try a few of them while I’m here!

Snowboarding round 2

Not sure about this holiday… It’s feeling a little forced this year, as in I’m forcing myself to be happy, even though I’m not really feeling it.  Oh well, I’ll make nice and go through the motions for everyone else, but it might be difficult.

On the plus side I went snowboarding for the second time in my life yesterday and I didn’t manage to injure myself or anyone else, which in my mind is a pretty good accomplishment.  The day started a little off as two of the three other people in my car had a transit problem and we had to divert to go pick them up, although after everyone was in the car we started making our way to Cypress Mountain.  The roads for the most part were pretty clear, even though it had been snowing all night, it wasn’t that bad to get around in.  There were a few hills that required me to move a little faster than everyone else, but my car made it like a champ.

I had originally thought I was going to hit the snowshoeing area and take some pictures, but once we got up the mountain I didn’t think the weather was going to be very cooperative with that plan, so I said “What the hell, I’ll give snowboarding a go!”.  Course it wasn’t with that much enthusiasm, but I was pretty happy to be heading out with K, B and M and since I wasn’t the only complete beginner I had good company to laugh at my efforts.

The board was a rental and while it wasn’t the greatest on the planet it wouldn’t matter to me as I had no idea what was good or bad.  The whole time I was getting my kit together from the various counters I was constantly hopping someone wouldn’t recognize my complete lack of skills or knowledge of the terminology and kick me off the mountain.   Would it matter that I didn’t know what I was doing?  Would I injure myself or hurt someone else?  All of these thoughts were coursing through my brain as I kitted up and was becoming more and more nervous about getting on the board and in turn getting on the lift then mountain. 

Luckily for me I went with a bunch of Aussies, I’m constantly ribbed by these guys, but in reality they’re dead helpful and made me feel like I could do it with little or no trouble.  Kudos to B and K for helping me get over my fear of flying down the mountain uncontrollably and not being able to stop.  The advice I was given was to stand like a monkey with a beach ball between my legs.  At first I laughed, and the serious look on the face of the person giving the advice made me change my tune.  I listened and paid attention to what the others were doing and did what I always do, figured out the mechanics. 

The first run was a test of agility, strength and humour as I barrelled down the hill.  This was the bunny run, or the smallest shortest run of the mountain.  I managed to stay upright and stop without doing a face plant, which I was told is a great sign since I’ve only been boarding once before and that was more than two years ago.

The following runs became easier and easier to the point at the end of the morning I was doing pretty well without falling too many times.  Of course after lunch and a few beers it went a bit pear shaped, and I wasn’t able to do the same things I was able to do prior to lunch and beer.

All in all I think I’ve decided if I go again I’ll remain sober for the duration and have as much fun as possible.  Since I had no fear on the slopes I was able to have a pretty good time, and I just might go again sometime soon!

Hangover Scale

1 star hangover *
No pain. No real feeling of illness.. Your sleep last night was a mere disco nap which is giving you a whole lot of misplaced energy. Be glad that you are able to function relatively well. However, you are still parched. You can drink 10 bottles of water and still feel this way. Even vegetarians are craving a cheeseburger and a side of fries.

2 star hangover **
No pain. Something is definitely amiss. You may look okay but you have the attention span and mental capacity of a stapler. The coffee you chug to try and remain focused is only exacerbating your rumbling gut, which is craving a full-on English breakfast. Last night has wreaked havoc on your bowels and even though you have a nice demeanor about the office, you are costing your employer valuable money because all you really can handle is aimlessly surfing the net and writing junk e-mails.

3 star hangover ***
Slight headache. Stomach feels crappy. You are definitely a space cadet and so not productive. Anytime a girl walks by you gag because her perfume reminds you of the random gin shots you did with your alcoholic friends after the bouncer kicked you out at 3:45 a.m. Life would be better right now if you were in your bed with a dozen donuts and a litre of coke watching cartoons. You’ve had 4 cups of coffee, a gallon of water, 2 Sausage Rolls and a litre of diet coke – yet you haven’t pee’d once.

4 star hangover ****
You have lost the will to live. Your head is throbbing and you can’t speak too quickly or else you might honk. Your boss has already lambasted you for being late and has given you a lecture for reeking of booze. You wore nice clothes, but that can’t hide the fact that you missed an oh-so crucial spot shaving, (girls, it looks like you put your make-up on while riding the dodgem cars),your teeth have sweaters, your eyes look like one big vein and your hair style makes you look like a reject from the class picture of a secondary school circa 1976. You would give a weeks pay for one the following –
1. Home time
2. A duvet and somewhere to be alone.
3. a time machine so you could go back and NOT have gone out the night before.

5 star hangover, aka Dante’s 4th Circle of Hell.*****
You have a second heartbeat in your head which is actually annoying the employee who sits next to you. Vodka vapor is seeping out of every pore and making you dizzy. You still have toothpaste crust in the corners of your mouth from brushing your teeth. Your body has lost the ability to generate saliva, so your tongue is suffocating you. You’d cry but that would take the last of the moisture left in your body. Death seems pretty good right now. Your boss doesn’t even get mad at you and your co-workers think that your dog just died because you look so pathetic. You should have called in sick because, let’s face it, all you can manage to do is breathe…very gently.

Protesters?

In a move that doesn’t surprise me, protesters are going after the games. In all honesty there are some valid reasons to protest, and some not so valid reasons.

For instance, the homeless have a good point. The games are going to displace them, but it’s common for a city to do something like that during international games. It’s too bad it happens, but I don’t really think it’s going to change anytime soon. This would be an example of a group protesting something valid.

An example of a group without a valid point would be the hunters that won’t be able to hunt in the mountains near a venue where thousands of bystanders are going to be milling around and a stray bullet or a missed shot could hurt or kill someone. How good is the hunting going to be with thousands of people milling around the mountain? Don’t you think the game you would be hunting would be spooked by the noise of the equipment, people, etc.? Do you honestly think that the games would allow a civilian with a gun anywhere near one of the venues?

If you have something to protest, great! You have every right to protest, but think about it before you go picketing a place. Use common sense and don’t be an ass.

Sir Drinks A Lot with Masked Killer

Halloween!

In epic fashion I celebrated Halloween with a bunch of Aussies and a few Americans. The party was excellent; I went as Sir Drinks A Lot, a costume that H made for me last year. It’s a group costume and didn’t make a whole lot of sense to some people, but it worked and I had a great time. In between doing keg stands over G dressed as one, and unplugging the toilet, it was a good night!

After I left the party I decided it would be a good idea to find some food so I took a bit of a wander down Granvillle Street, which had been closed off for Halloween.  There were more than a few people dressed as a good time and I managed to get some photos with complete strangers as is my nature on a night like Halloween. It was a good time and although I think I might like to have less to drink next time so I can enjoy talking to the strangers more next time :).