The results are in, and it's not pretty. Due to the substantial repairs that would be required to make even some difference in the Jetta's test scores, it will be moving back to the Island. We may one day see the return of this fine car to the mainland, but if not, we certainly had a good run.
I won't be changing the category just yet, though . . . as Brian alluded to, there may be another Jetta soon enough. Stay tuned . . .
I have joined a new soccer team, made up from the guys from the Sunday pickup game I've been attending (well, not for a few weeks I guess, and the snow is putting a damper on things). The Quilchena Park Rangers, named for the place where we play Sundays, had their first showing last night. The indoor arena is somewhere in Richmond. The pitch is a wacky fake grass with rubber dirt bits. The other team has clearly played a lot of indoor soccer before. The score was 16-4. Ouch. But we have nowhere to go but up.
I was late getting to the game, which may surprise my dinner companions from earlier in the evening. As the Jetta is busy in the shop (a less fun update is to some) and I had the wrong number of a possible ride, I opted for the bus. Everything was going swimmingly as I hit Richmond in time for the last bus on the route I thought was going to work out (I had left home in a hurry, and as it turns out, could have spent more time figuring out the bus route).
The 301 Newton Express was on time. You may have heard about the drunk bus driver who got busted in Vancouver a day or two ago. The guy driving this bus was at least that. I asked if the bus would stop at my destination (a big sports complex). "WHAT CITY?" he exclaimed (there was just one rider, a woman, on the bus at the time, so it wasn't exactly noisy). "NEW YORK CITY?!?" he slurred/screeched, as I was answering "Um . . . Richmond?", which is, I might add, where we were. After that, he either decided I was too irritating for asking a question or could not hear me through his drunken haze.
A few more people get on at the next stop. The driver inexplicably refuses to let them pay, making some sort of guttural sound and shooing their hands away from the payment box. One of the guys swaggers on, winks and gives the woman "the guns", and wishes some other dude a nice nap (there are now a total of five people).
Officially one of the creepiest bus rides I've been on.
Despite the thick mud caked on the windows, I was able to make out the sign for No. 4 Road, and knew this was a far walk but we were almost there. Then the city turned to highway, and suddenly we were hurtling along with this wacko at the wheel, and Vancouver started to seem very far away. In fact, even Richmond was getting quite far away.
The next stop was near an overpass where you can go to Annacis Island. There is a warehouse there, a Toyota dealership is in view, and across the highway a clutch of new townhouses, yet to be occupied. And that's about it, apart from the various onramps and offramps. There is no bus to transfer onto. I have no idea why anyone would ever get off at this stop.
The good people at Richmond Cabs were able to track me down, and get me to the game only a little late. I felt like a tool.
I've now spent quite a bit of time with the Jetta. It is the same car from the Randy debacle of years past (no, nothing ever did come of that). I've moved to and from the priries more than once with it carrying my stuff. And if spending is any indicator, I like it more than any of my other hobbies (except maybe drinking, if that is a hobby: discuss). In honour of this, I am renaming the warcode vs. Randy category on the right to Jetta news (besides, Randy has now had more than his share of press).
So I'm going to be a bit forgiving when a little smoke puffs out now and then. Yes, I know this is not all that friendly to the environment, but I'm probably feeling better about it by having a car with fairly low gas consumption, or something. Anyway, that point is moot, as I am now in the process of bringing the Jetta up to the Air Care standards of Bc's Lower Mainland (or, if you like, Greater Vancouver). The first test was quite a failure, but as the car has never seen any kind of emissions control, I have high hopes for the retest.
Also, for those of you in the know, I did finally get that seatbelt repaired this week, so now the driver need no longer buckle into the passenger's belt clasp. Please don't tell anybody how long this was broken.
All three I know of were discussed in the car on the way to Cypress for my first try skiing there (not to mention my first shot at night skiing; not my favourite maybe but it is less crowded): the one we were going to (admittedly more of a mountain), those of Insane in the Membrane fame, and those surprising elevations in Southwest Saskatchewan (there are others, believe it or not). Granted, I'm sure the original Cypress probably has its own hills of some sort.
In any case, it is really something to have a ski hill, in fact, several ski hills, that close to Vancouver, with a really excellent view of the city to boot.
News of my NSERC chances came early this year, as I did not fare well against the stiff competition at UBC. For those of you keeping score, that would be:
NSERC: something like 7
I've posted pictures from the Thanksgiving outing to Seattle. If you are from Saskatoon, you might recognize some people in the pictures.
Well, it's been quite some time. To catch you up since the August activities:
- Moved back to Vancouver, into a lovely condo on campus.
- Started a PhD program in the UBC Department of Mathematics.
- September: settled in, visit from Dave, passed my qualifying exams (phew), more visits including my cousin Joe for the Beastie Boys concert, time flew by.
- October: Seahawks game with some of the Saskatoon boys for Thanksgiving, joined a choir to get back into singing.
- November: finally started to catch up to school, more visitors, second article accepted for publication.
- December: nice end to the term, Christmas concert with the choir, fun holidays on the Island with the family, including a great visit with some of my cousins.
That's the very quick recap. Some of these things you will be hearing more about (like the choir, and of course school) in the coming weeks.
If you haven't looked at my gallery site lately (I have been bumped to the last page in the recent shuffle), I have added some more of the trip pictures, and less than a year late in most cases.
After a siginificant negative reaction on the part of many friends, I have, as of today, my very own ADSL internet service at home. It was not the peer pressure so much as I wanted to try out this voice-over-IP service (Bri's been using it for a while). I'll let you know how that turns out . . .