Saturday, February 25, 2006


[I wrote this last week, but I was hesitating to post it...I'll let Jonathan deal with the aftermath :) ]

I'm taking a break from watching back-to-back-to-back (repeat that a couple times) episodes of Lost, to write this post while Jonathan puts together some buffalo chicken strips in the kitchen. CBC Radio is uncharacteristically obnoxious tonight. Think amateur rendition of a barn-yard hoe down...

Anyways, this is my preferred outlet tonight. Neil - your comment to our last post was interesting and the article you linked to a bit scary even. Without getting into a debate between evolution/creationism, I gotta say, I just don't understand why there's a debate to begin with. After all, since when are the two theories mutually exclusive any way? Since when does evolution threaten the existence of a god? I'd like to know why the theory that "god" created "man" instantaneously rather than through some complex evolutionary process adheres any closer to the Christian faith or why the latter threatens it?

That is, of course if you set aside biblical-literalists. Frankly, I think its impressive that anyone can take so seriously word-for-word an inherently contradictory text that lacks the voices of key groups, oh say half the population also known as women for example. George Bush has a degree from Yale, so maybe he's seeing something that my Carleton crafted mind can't.

But here's what I think: I think it's one thing to have faith in the idea that there is purpose and meaning to our lives beyond that which science can resolve for us. This even strikes me as a natural and intuitive tendency for humans. However it is an entirely other thing to ignore the social context of a "religious message" and the voices that have passed it on.

So, risking offense to those who read this (mostly because I don't know anyone who actually adheres to the following even though I know alas that they are out there), I am inclined to discount the intelligence and the credibility of any individual who wholeheartedly and unquestioningly embraces a religious dogma and denies that it in any way is motivated by a personal agenda on the part of its believers, past or present. I don't think "faith" should mean blindly following a doctrine. If so, maybe faith isn't a desirable quality given that quite a handful of the world's most "faithful" have committed quite a handful of the world's most intolerable crimes against humanity. And while this may seem offensive and an attack on the religious, what's more offensive is religious doctrine used to promote intolerance, ethnic cleansing, racial prejudice, the oppression of women/homosexuals/[insert your favorite minority group here - Republicans do not count].

This has got me to thinking why religious people differentiate themselves by their gods (Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jews, etc.) when in fact fundamentalist Christians have a lot more in common with fundamentalist Muslims than their fellow (but open and tolerant) Jesus-lovers. After all, take me - as a "Christian", I have waaaaaaaaay waaaaaay (one more time here) waaaaaaaaaaay more in common with a non-religious homeless woman that collects tin cans for recycling, than a Jesus-loves-everyone-except-for-people-I-don't-like-such-as
and-without-an-accent Christian man from Alberta, who by the way thinks rape-is-wrong-but-abortion-is-the-devil-and-no-you-can't

Which gets me thinking, if that's the case - if I really don't "fit" with other people who happen to ascribe to the same omnipotent figure, maybe it's best I identify as a "tolerant person of spiritual beliefs", and scrap the whole my god/your god system of identification and let the crazy fundamentalists on all sides have the fancy religious titles (after all, in the eyes of the public they've appropriated them anyways).

Just a thought.

You know, I was going to rant about something else this post - but I think I'll leave that for another day. I have managed to get completely off track by writing a post on religion. Thanks Neil.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Evening folks. I know this seems a bit abnormal - another post just after I earlier confessed that my bloggage (see Nov 14, 2005) has been having a dismal effect on my end-of-day mood. Quite frankly, ranting about "real issues" (or fake ones, which is equally relevant) gets me in a bit of a verbal fit, which I often take out on my poor husband. I partially blame CBC Radio 2 for this. If only Anna Maria Tremonte would stop discussing issues like Dafur, Uganda's civil war, abortion banning in the U.S., Rwanda, Congo, and Deep Integration, I wouldn't have as much to be enraged over. Without all those things to rant about, I can imagine how our dinner table conversation would transpire:

Jonathan: The salad is delicious, dear.
Sima: I'm glad you like it honey.
Jonathan: Is the chicken too spicy for you, sweetie?
Sima: Not at all darling, it's wonderful.
Jonathan: Perfect. I was worried it would be too hot for you.
Sima: Nope, not at all, love.
Jonathan: You look nice this evening.
Sima: So do you.
Jonathan: Another glass of water, hon?
Sima: Yes please, dear.

Doesn't that make you want to gag yourself? In retrospect, I think we'll keep listening to the CBC, evening if it means lively, political dinner debates.

But I digress from the entire purpose of this blog. Since I am trying to refrain from getting too chatty, I'll let Julien, my brother-in-law, a very special person might I add, take it away. But first, you should visit his self-acclaimed fan siteto get the bigger picture. Then come back here. And don't bring any small children with you. Unfortunately, Jule-dogg has quite a diverse and colourful vocabulary...

This is from HIS blog (gizooled, of course), dated Feb 5, 2006.
"Yesterday I was at tha mall, n I happened ta be in tha music store (instruments, not CDs). There was this group of kids, tweens, hang'n out around tha piano cuz its a G thang. Now these kids were cool, coz tizzle were saggin' out at tha mizzay on a Saturday nizzight where the sun be shinin and I be rhymin'. Anyway, they wizzle mess'n around, play'n "Heart n Soul", messin' on tha piano, basically think'n they were tha coolest thing since sliced bread. The homey runn'n tha place pipes up, n this is how tha conversizzles went:

Guy: Hizzy could you guys kizzle it down pleaze?
Tweens: Why? We're jizzy frontin'.
Guy: You're bang'n on $30,000 worth of lumba
Tweens: You should have some respect. She's an off tha hook piano motherfucka (not pianist, mind you). She's gonna be famous some day fo shizzle.
Guy: That's great. Just keep it down.
Tweens: You bitch git her autograph while you stiznill can.
Guy: Oh I already have it.

And so on.

Needless ta say, those kids had no respect. Here's a list of adjectives tizzy describe them wizzle fo' real: inconsidizzles mean, disrespizzle loud, n sassy. Boy do I hizzle sass . Bounce wit me. I was `bout ready ta go backhand a few of them, jizzust coz tha clerk couldn't do it (hav'n a job ta keep n all that) upside yo head. I left tha store ho-slappin' angry n sorry fo` tha salespeople who have ta deal wit kids like thizzat . Snoop dogg is in this bitch."


What's going on?!!
Call me the biggest TV junkie who doesn't actually own a TV, but where are all the episodes this week? The O.C., The Office? The Mercer Report? Where are you guys? You too, One Tree Hill.

I am not impressed - Here I am, with a week off from class and copious amounts of readings and papers to accomplish, and my one outlet from academic stupor just decided it was going to - oh I don't know - collectively take a week long hiatus. Well let me tell you, it's only spring break if you're a pimply teenager or a poor college student. So what then, are Rick Mercer, Mischa Barton, and Steve Carell doing gallivanting off-camera instead of on the silver (computer) screen? This is very sad stuff in my world.

On a positive note, today I got my hair cut. Which has me averaging a top-chop once every eight months. I swear my split ends resembled a pile of dust bunnies as they lay decapitated on the hair studio floor. And I know that when Jonathan reads this part, he's going to pause, laugh, shake his head and say "You're crazy Sima; I can't believe you write stuff like that". But continuing on the positive note, my hair feels soft, light and pretty and my shoulders and neck very relaxed from the free massage that came with the cut); my hair cut turned out to be half price (thanks Nat!); aaaand, Jonathan and I discovered a little hole in the wall lunch place in Yaletown (so hence, not so holeish) where we spent the sunny afternoon devouring delicious sandwiches and wraps. Our massive salads were not bad either with their tasty dressings - Jonathan had a vanilla-bean vinaigrette, and I opted for the cinnamon variety. We definitely fork shared, it was that good.

So that's it. Disappointed? You should take that up with my hubby. Jonathan thinks I should go on a diet - cut back he means - on my weekly postings. It's not good for me, he says, to have such high blood pressure after writing them. So I'll work on writing nice, instead of negative things, in less words and without all the post-blog rage.

Chipper as ever,

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Go here to understand one of the reasons Honda won truck of the year in 2005, and why Americans should just give up already and stop building vehicles and stick to what they are good at, like, i dunno, Spam, Kraft Dinner, and over priced Pinot Noir.

I don't know how many times Isaac and I had the conversation about the absolute worthlessness of vehicles made by the big three in Detroit, Michigan. Despite these words of wisdom exchanged amongst teenagers, it seems like he had to learn the hard way. Go buy a Kia buddy - at least it will get you around the block!

All kidding aside, Isaac - I hope you get "Darlene" or whatever you call her, fixed up. I don't want her breaking down on me when you go out east for a week.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The usual suspects

Today was interesting.

Our routine began as it always does - sunny, like the past six days, I roll over and announce that I'm sleepy and Jon plays his role by responding with an encouraging yet half-asleep "come on, you can do it. get up!". So I ease out of bed just as Jonathan greedily snatches up the sleeping territory that I have relinquished, sprawling from bed side to bed side for three more seconds of sleep. As I grab the shower curtain for a steamy, groggy shower, Jonathan grabs the milk jug to douse his bowl of granola in skim-milk goodness. Ten minutes later, I'm soppy-haired and robed and preparing our mutual morning pick-me-up by turning on the stove top espresso maker. Jonathan darts to the bathroom to discover whatever hot water remains of my wash-rinse-repeat-condition-wait-rinse-repeat-lather-rinse-exfoliate -rinse-repeat morning ritual. Thankfully we live in a building that is equipped with a rather large hot water tank so Jonathan is spared. We regroup fifteen minutes latter - dressed and all doled up - over our creamy espressos, and listen to CBC radio until it's time to catch our bus to campus.

Somewhere between then and now, the rest of the day comes together. Today Jonathan-the-thrasher played squash with a school buddy after marking student papers on campus while I attended class, and finished some RA work. Shortly before returning to the city in the evening, we stopped off at Superstore to pick up my President's Choice Granola, and the ingredients for our evening quiche.

And that, my friends brings me to today's rant.

As soon as Jonathan and I breached the sliding doors to the grocery emporium, it struck me that no one was standing there waiting to exert their authority by confiscating our backs' possessions. That is, Superstore has a policy that forbids customers from bringing bags into their establishment. Last time that Jonathan and I had an empty pantry, we were stopped by the Superstore Gestapo and told that we weren't allowed to take our bookbags in with us. This prompted me to ponder "why"? which I asked quite vocally. I was relishing the thought that in a second's moment, the grocery clerk would have to tell me to my face that she was afraid that I would steal something. I wanted that moment, but alas it never came, and the response I got I believe is even more telling, which was, to prolong the suspense no longer than this which is already long enough by any standard, including Hollywood's: "because it says so". "Because it says so" was coupled with a gesture towards a sign with a smiley faced stick man wearing a backpack that had a blood-red X crossed through it.

Ah, I see. The reason I'm not allowed a backpack was because there is a sign that says so. It truly shocked me that this women's thought process to my question of "why" was that the legitimacy of her vocal policy can be entirely contingent on there simply being a sign or commend from above stipulating so, not a rational explanation for it, the latter of which I was asking for. Interestingly enough, what the sign didn't say was that mothers with diaperbags and strollers, or a family of four with bookbags were exempt from the policy because well, those kind of people don't steal (and also wouldn't stand to be treated as potential thieves).

Poorish students, like Jonathan and I however... well we're to be suspected and to stand for it. And suspected we were. But stand for it, we didn't, at least not before having a bit of fun. Last time, when Jonathan insisted on bringing his plastic bag of textbooks with him into the store, the clerk allowed him to, but not before taping the handles of his bag shut. To demonstrate the humorousness of Superstore's pathetic anti-theft technique, Jonathan then pointed out to the clerk that he could still fit a couple cans of apple juice down the small opening remaining in the bag that the masking tape hadn't sufficiently covered and advised the clerk to cover the hole in light of this. At that, the clerk promptly proceeded to secure another wad of masking tape over the gap. We were chuckling the whole time and she just didn't get it. This woman takes her job seriously.

Honestly, if Jonathan and I were really going to steal a family pack of bone-in chicken thighs, you'd think a bit of masking tape wouldn't stop us. And if we weren't going to steal, you'd think a bag-taping, knapsack-confiscating policy would piss us off to the extent that we'd rather not shop there.

Fortunately for Superstore, I love PC Granola, so I'll put up with a little store frisking to get my morning nutrients.

And unfortunately for the bottom rung of society, financial profiling doesn't stop at Superstore. As Jonathan and I were waiting for our train on the platform following our grocery extravaganza this evening, the ticket-checking Translink rent-a-cop showed up. Because the Skytrain operates on a proof of payment system, the Skytrain attendant is supposed to stroll the platform and verify that its occupants have either a transit pass, bus transfer, or train ticket. However, tonight's events unfolded rather differently than expected. There were about 15 of us on the platform, but the attendant was only interested in checking the ticket of one man, a blatantly homeless man with dirty ripped sweats, unwashed hair, mismatched clothing, a broken backpack, and a plastic bag overflowing with street paraphernalia (blankets, an old hat, recycling containers to be returned for a penny's profit).

The Skytrain attendant demanded to see his proof of payment, which drove the irritated, half-incoherent and softly swearing homeless man to frantically throw his bags to the floor and desperately fish in his pocket for odd change. Upon finding some, he disappeared from the platform in order to purchase a ticket from the lower level before the attendant could write him a fine. All this while the Skytrain attendant remained on the platform yelling "that's a $170 fine, you know". The homeless man didn't come back for a few minutes. His tattered bags were strewn on the platform. The Skytrain attendant just stood there smirking. He was entirely unconcerned with Jonathan and I and he never asked to see our tickets, or the tickets of the 13 other people standing there. After all, we weren't homeless so we had obviously paid our fare. Eventually, the homeless man returned with a ticket, swearing that the machine had ripped him off. The train came, and we all got on.

If I had had the guts, I would have challenged the attendant right then by asking "What about us? Are you going to ask for our tickets or do you only check people who look poor or homeless?". I didn't, which is probably a wise thing. The homeless man looked unstable, and my piping up might have caused a stir amongst others. After all, the passengers around me looked none too sympathetic for the homeless man, and were bound to side with the rent-a-cop anyway. Nobody likes having homeless people around and I'm sure all the other passengers would have rather that the homeless man get fined and prevented from getting on the train, so that they wouldn't have to smell him on their Skytrain journey ride home.

On a less depressing note, Valentine's Day was fun. Jonathan and I made dinner together - for dessert, I made artery-clogging profiteroles, and Jonathan concocted the most amazing mango and goat's cheese appetizer (seen below), with Jambon au madere for our main course. All was accompanied with good wine (fruit juice for me), romantic music, and expensive Swiss chocolate. Simply delectable!

In (random) closing, allow me to quote from Jonathan's desk calendar:

"I think if you know what you believe, it makes it a lot easier to answer questions. I can't answer your question." (In response to a question about whether he wished he could take back any of his answers in the first debate, Oct 4, 2000) - George W. Bush


Monday, February 13, 2006

Night Shooting

Saturday night, after some whole wheat pizza and a rowdy game of settlers, Amish and I, with Sima and Nat in tow went night shooting around Vancouver. It was cold (not as cold as Ottawa), but the results made the trip worthwhile. Having not done any photography in a while, it was nice to "get out there again". I brought our little Canon A520 Digicam, as well as my old school film based Pentax. Thankfully Amish had an awesome tripod, so it was possible to do some nice long exposure shots of Vancouver.

The following are from the Canon - with no PS modification.

This one was shot at ISO 100 for 13secs at f8.

This one was shot at ISO 100, 15 secs, f8.

This one was shot at ISO 100, 10secs, f8

I'm curious to see how the film pictures turned out as I am not sure if I had colour or B&W in the camera. Also a few technical difficulties arose....the vagaries of film I guess.

Check out to see what can be done with a sweet DSLR in the same shooting conditions.

That is all.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I don't kill plants

Greetings friends and family in frostier locales,

My oh my does it "kick" to be a Vancourite these days. Since the crack of dawn on Wednesday, squinty-eyed residents of the Left Coast have lowered their umbrellas, and raised their chins to the sky. And upon doing so, radiant glorious warmth kissed their faces, like a mother's everything-will-be-okay hug on one of those tough-fourth-grade days. Behold, the snowcapped mountains have reappeared from their hibernation behind the fog and the bustling city has acquired a little hop-skip in its step. With green grass, blooming flowers, full trees, and coffee-goers sipping tall non-fat no whip half-sweet sugar-free lattes on sunny street patios, this place, my friends, is THE place to be. Word has it that Saturday won't be bucking the trend either, meaning tomorrow it will also be 19 degrees warmer here than it is in Ottawa, like it was today. And that, I suppose is where my bragging rites end.

By the way this (as well as the new intersection pic on our site) was the view from our apartment window yesterday afternoon.

Alright, onto other business. The agenda, if you will. My life (which I fear will soon span a quarter century) is peppered, likely as yours is, with embarrassing moments, less-than-flattering experiences, and down-right unappealing aspects of my character. I admit this openly and freely, but on pondering the stories that have been told about me over my life, I feel now, in my most wisest year yet, that a disturbing number of these stories have been largely fabricated and as such do not match with my recollection of my past. I would like to set one of them straight here. Others I will leave for my wiser years to contest - this includes Coady's claim that I "touch oil to see if the stove pan is ready", and Neil's claim that I "once got my toe stuck in a laundry basket for fun" and Nat's claim that I "developed a permanent and unsightly non-stop runny nose for the greater portion of the 1980s". While I do not recall any of these events, today I aim to debunk this one: I am a plant killer. Long ago, a good friend leveled this accusation at me, pointing at my brown, droopy, wilting botanical pets as if that was supposed to serve as suffice evidence of my debauchery of care-giving.

Now, we can debate the details of the case - namely my defense that 1) my roommates killed them, not I; 2) that scholarly stress temporarily put me in a state of mental instability and that I can not therefore be held responsible for my (in)actions and that 3) contrary to popular (read: media-induced) belief, planticide was the real cause of death, not any particular deed on my part. One could also site the flourishing succulents which were under my care (ok, Emma's care, but nonetheless, my emotional care) at Springland Drive as further testament to my non-plant killing capability. But as we all know (as I combine two cliches in one sentence) talk is cheap and a picture is worth a thousand words. So behold, the plants of Oak and 12th.

So as not to be entirely bias, the fern was given to me three days ago by Nat; the bamboo are immortal; and plant #3 just recently made a come-back from a near-death experience (living on the edge). What a thrill-seeker. But even in light of those facts, plant #4 has thrived under my care. He reports that our apartment is a "a lovely, caring, and intellectually stimulating environment which has greatly improved my quality of life." On another occasion, the plant remarked "...quite frankly, the TLC at Oak and 12th is top notch."

I will leave the final judgment to the jury.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

How to spend a sunny February Tuesday

How do you do such a thing might you ask? Well, you go skiing. And that's exactly what I did.

I have slid down many a slope in my time - from lowly bumps in PEI, to the mighty Alps of France and Switzerland. I have gone skiing in places where it takes 15 minutes to experience all the runs on a mountain and locations where it could take upwards of a week to do so. Needless to say, I've seen my fair share. But I must say, skiing on the North Shore mountains provided me with one of the most spectacular views yet. The mix of urban and remote/wild landscapes, ocean and mountain views, was spectacular. I don't think I have seen anything like it before.

See for yourself..........The pictures are not amazing...But nevertheless

Oh yeah - the skiing.
It was awesome. No line-ups, extremely peaceful, some good pitches, tons of snow, and amazing weather. It was so warm that it felt like spring skiing. The snow softened up nicely and there was no ice to be found. Definitely a nice change from the ice that plagues Eastern Canada.

Here are some more pics.....

That is all.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hypocrisy and Aristocracy (all in one post)

Gosh I'm Tired. Thursdays. Funny how my opinion of them has dramatically changed over a one-week period. Today was exhausting. I woke up, rather early (which, for a student is 8:00am), to do some research for the professor I work for. That lasted three hours until my class at 1:30pm. At 5:45pm, Jonathan safely (and kindly) escorted me from the 99 B-Line to our little apartment. It was a brisk 6 minute walk, and with Jonathan's arm linked in mine, I was sparred the nervous glances I would have otherwise given to strangers (a women was killed in what police suspect was a "stranger attack" on our street, a couple blocks down, three nights ago. Police have told women in the area to "be careful"). Excellent.

I think I'll take the rainy-day-strategy, and just stay inside instead but thanks for the heads-up on that. Let me know when you've caught the bad guys...

Anyways, for some reason, today was overly exhausting. Luckily, Jonathan's chicken was already marinating when we arrived back at the house (poor guy - cooked dinner on his birthday!!!!). I made a "healthy" dessert, which I suppose in retrospect isn't so healthy when you pig out on it (just like it isn't environmentally friendly, when you boost the economic efficiency of your firm while simulaneously increasing output!). I digress. It did however turn out to be a lovely evening. Jonathan was showered with birthday calls; my little sister aced her 12th grade final exams; the chicken turned out extra tender; and in 2 hrs, The Office, episode 15, will officially be on our computer. For the love of torrents, I hope I'm still up.

In other news, Jonathan and I went to see our first condo as a potential-home-buying-newly-married-couple. It was exciting, and oh, was it too small. Gorgeous, but alas, missing a dining room. We could go back to eating on the floor and sleeping on a pull-out couch like we did for a month after we had moved to Ottawa, but it's only romantic once. After that, it's just plain pathetic.

Speaking of which (er, both rather: pathatic AND romantic), we also got around to putting together our wedding photo album. There were 2000 to sift through so suffice to say we made a bit of a mess. But it was fun although I kind of took over (and Jon kind of didn't mind!).

Professional/designer albums aren't cheap, and in keeping with the entire wedding theme, we decided to do it ourselves and adhere to our student-spirited budget. We bought a sleek, but simple scrap book ($79) from Paperhaus, a stylish, - get this - office supply company. Honestly, this company makes binders and CD cases you'd drool over (especially you, Lily). I know, I know, what you are thinking. To transform notebooks and briefcases into haute couture is well - weird. a bit excessive - but what a feat at that!

In fact (cough - rant coming - cough), almost every little inch of Vancouver (uh... aside from that population of 20,000 that we call the homeless people when we are not ignoring them) is a piece of untapped lifestyle fashionability and exuberance. Vancouver, where each square foot of granite/concrete/ceramic living goes for $1000 and where for every Volkswagen Rabbit, there's a Bentley Continental GT. And, let's not forget that Vancouver is where Lululemon first made its name (and now sells butt-cupping apparel with "Kitsilano" - Vancouver's yuppyiest neighbourhood in town's name on it). Now, for all my finger pointing, I will be the first to admit that I've tapped this market. Jonathan too. We love shopping for new cookbooks at Caban, scoping out designer furniture at EQ3 and checking out the new floorplans at Raffels on Robson. But hey, at least we recognize our hypocrisy.

Like this. Yesterday I gave two dollars to a homeless man selling a newspaper that looked quite similar to that brochure project we were assigned back in grade five. He told me that the community centre helped them to put together the newspaper, and for the two dollars he made per copy, they would give him fifty cents and that this was a program to keep him off the street. Well, I bought the newspaper and I even read it, and man, am I a horrible person, because my first thought, as I perused it on the bus-ride home, was "Gosh, this is terrible writing. How unprofessional and improperly cited! Is that a comma-splice I see...?".

With that terrible thought, I bid you good night.