Tag Archives: girls

Month in Recap

Lots has been happening in the past few weeks. Emily and I spent a day on Bowen Island. We also found time to check out a play, watch an anti-Olympics movie, go to the ballet, and rock out at the Pipettes concert. We also spent a weekend building Emily a custom bed in her new place. I need Emily’s permission to post most of the pictures, but I’ve put some of the ones of me and nature up on Flickr.

Bowen Island was awesome. It’s a little island about a 10 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay (which took as an hour to get to on transit). We hiked around for a bit, saw tons of snakes and a deer, and then spent a few hour kayaking around the island. We saw a bald eagle swoop down and pick up a fish not that far from our kayak, which was pretty cool.

The play, The One that Got Away, was this crazy unconventional musical and most of it took place in a dimly lit swimming pool. We had front row seats for most of it – which meant we sat on flutter boards on the edge of the pool and got splashed every time something exciting happened.

The ballet was modern performance called La La La Human Steps. It was really good but I’m ashamed to admit I got myself nodding off for most of it. I blame it on the dark lighting and the classical music, which always puts me to sleep, because I really enjoyed the dancing.

The Pipettes concert was weird. I enjoyed the music, but I’ve never seen a crowd pretend to enjoy themselves. Between songs they would cheer loudly, but during the songs everyone stood still even though the Pipettes were trying to to get people to dance. I’ve heard the complaint about Vancouver before that all the hipsters rock out standing still with their hands in their pockets, but it was weird to witness. You know there’s a problem if I’m dancing more than anyone else around me.

Finished ProductWhat else…oh the bed. My father is now the proud parent of one cordless drill wielding, wood cutting, bed building son. Emily’s room in her new place had an awkward ledge that’s part of the foundation. So we designed a bed to fit on top of it. We bought all the wood from Home Depot (who will cut your wood to the right lengths – super handy for us!) and assembled it with my new, fancy cordless drill. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.
Added new pictures:
Emily at Work  Man at work  Something Sexy about Girls with Power Tools  Going Under

Christmas Greetings: A Year in Review

Hello blog readers,

Last year was my first Christmas away from Manitoba and all the family. I had a great time in Edinburgh with my friend from Shad Valley, Steven, and his family who adopted me for a week. But this year, I’m longing for perogies, crokinole tournaments, laughing relatives, giant bonfires, tobogganing, and the comfort of familiar faces.
Read more…

Comings and Goings

Lots new happening here in Vancouver.

I moved desks at work. No longer do I sit in my own little island, isolated from the rest of the team. Now, I’m near my team and near natural light, which is good because once the clocks roll back I probably won’t be going outside much in the daytime.

Pink Sky at NightI saw 3 movies in the past week. Men At Work – a strange Iranian comedy at the Vancouver film fest. Shortbus – which was playing at the VIFF and is now showing at a regular cinema. I really, really enjoyed Shortbus. There’s a lot of sex scenes, but it’s all tastily filmed (mmmm sex). The characters were hilarious. And I loved the cinematography. They sequenced between shots by showing these almost cartoony shots of New York that reminded me a lot of HDR photos. Lastly, I saw Loose Change – the Internet phenomenon and 9/11 conspiracy theory movie. It was a pretty compelling watch. If you haven’t seen it yet, then you can watch all 90 minutes on Google Video. Ben – was this what Coco and Louisa were talking to you about?

Emily left on Wednesday morning and it hasn’t stopped raining here since. It’s like the weather is mourning her loss with me. I’m happy and excited for her, but it’s going to be a tough 6 months while she’s gone. She’s been the best part of my time here and Vancouver won’t be the same without her.

Where has she disappeared to you ask? Well Orford, Quebec of course. But she’s only there for a few days of jedi training. Then more training in London, Ontario. Then she flies to Accra, Ghana were she’ll be working (to save the world) for 5 months. You can read all about her adventures on her blog – Beams Away.

In the meantime, you can find spending 10 hour days at work, watching lots of Grey’s Anatomy and Battlestar Galactica, and cooking with Daniel. We’ve decided to cook together once a week. Last night was vegetarian lasagna and it was the best I’ve ever made. Almost approaching mom-standards. Starting in December I’ll have snowboarding and nursing snowboarding-related injuries to keep me occupied, as I’m getting a seasons pass to Cyprus with some co-workers.

Coding hung over is no fun

It’s a pretty quiet day in the office today with a lot of shattered looking faces. It’s especially striking in contrast to the utter mayhem that went on yesterday. As a summary, I chatted up some gorgeous ladies, made £15, and partied (and drank) for 12 hours. This morning I’m already on my fifth glass of water and I the smell of puke won’t leave my nose.

Why all the festivities? Yesterday was Comp Day and the Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Christmas Party. Compensation Day is a big deal at Morgan Stanley (as it is at most investment banks). It’s the day everyone gets their Christmas bonus, and the bonuses can be huge. Traders who have a good year get bonuses several times larger than their actual salary. “[In London] up to 3,000 bankers and brokers are expected to pocket at least £1m each. And there are reports that two Goldman Sachs bankers will be receive £10m each.” Because IT doesn’t have a direct an impact on profits, the bonuses aren’t that big for the nerds. But bonuses the same size as your salary aren’t uncommon.

So all morning my co-workers were called into meetings and handed their bonus. At noon, bottles of champagne were uncorked, promotions were announced, and the celebrations began. After the champagne we went to a bar and Alex (newly promoted VP in our team) opened a tab. The bars in Canary Wharf were all packed, including the patio areas (luckily it was unseasonably warm). At 4:30 we moved to Julian’s place and played poker. I won one big hand, after going all in with a full House with jacks and aces, and ended up winning £15 – I was down £15 at the time.

After poker, we jumped on the tube and went down to Piccadilly Circus for our Christmas Party at Trocadero. There were 3000 MS employees there spread over 3 floors. They had cool escalators with neon lights connecting things. It was a pretty good party. Copious amounts of alcohol, a professional dance performance that looked like a mix of Stomp and Flashdance, lots of dancing, a surprising amount of good looking birds, bumper cars (I didn’t go on), chocolate fountains, and reasonable food (the vegetarian options were lacking, but it was filling).

I was buzzed pretty early (after a few glasses of champagne and wine) and had a blast all night. The best part was when Dave, Chris (new grad), and I went out on the pull. It was all very improvised, but we were great wingmen. I used my antlers to start conversations with the ladies, Dave would jump in with his alien like antenae, and then we woudld bring Chris in. It worked surprisingly well (or else I was too drunk to notice any negative reactions). The first girl I saw smiled when she saw my antlers, so I asked her if she liked them. Then as we started chatting we got her friend to take a picture of her with us three. Than we noticed that her 3 friends were even hotter! We chatted for a bit, and then Dave said we should move on. As Dave and I walked away we noticed Chris was still chatting (Man Down!). At that point we really couldn’t go back for him, and had to wait patiently until he got the name of the girl (and he even remembered it today). From that point on we only had limited success. Although at one point Dave started chatting to this girl he knew, and I kept shouting – “Dave, who’s the hottie? Introduce us to your friend!”. Then I later found out she works in HR and is in charge of hiring new grads, and is the person Dave was going to talk to about getting me an interview for full time work. Whoops.

At some point I got split up with my wingmen and had to fly solo for a bit. I ended up on the dance floor dancing with some really young ladies that I have never seen before. The best part of the party was 99% of the people I’ve never seen before, and since I’m leaving in a week, I will probably never see them again (unless I get a full time job here).

At midnight, I left to catch the last tube home. I was pretty buzzed, but had enough sense to figure out what tubes I needed to get on. Warning: Graphic Description of Vomit

UK Whirlwind – A Synopsis

I’m really happy with the way the trip turned out. Even though I was a bit grouchy by the end of it, I really did have a good time. I probably could have spent a bit more time in Cardiff and Bath, but considering we only had 3 days I’m glad we got to see as much as we did.

Ariel was a good travel partner. The trip would have been impossible alone, so I’m glad she agreed to come along. We had a blast playing cribbage, Set, and backgammon on our train rides and trying to solve an impossible Sudoku I found in the Metro (I’ll post it later for those brave enough). Although after 3 days, I did get a bit annoyed with her. I can’t imagine how people on the Amazing Race put up with their partners for so long.

Overall, the trip was a huge success. I managed to buy a few Christmas presents for family members. We had some stormy weather the first day, but it only added to the atmosphere. I did lose my mitts and toque and had bruised hips by the end of the weekend, but that’s a small price to pay. My camera battery died, but not before I got over 300 hundred pictures. And I got to visit some amazing cities with a cute travel companion, so really I have nothing to complain about.

UK Whirlwind Day 2: Cardiff, Wales

Welsh SignSaturday morning we jumped on an early train to Cardiff and ended up in the capital of Wales just before lunch. I was hoping to experience some Welsh culture and experience the local tongue ;-). Unfortunately not many people in Wales speak Welsh (especially to dumb tourists like me), but there were plenty of bilingual signs that had words with 4 f’s, 3 g’s, and no vowels.

The major tourist attraction in Wales is Cardiff Castle and it did not disappoint. When we arrived in Wales it was sunny and warm and a great day for walking outside. Cardiff Castle has an old Norman keep in the center of the courtyard and a newer recently inhabited castle along the west wall. The tour of the west wing of the castle showed some ornate rooms from Medieval and Victorian eras. There were amazing paintings and sculptures everywhere, but I wasn’t allowed to take pictures. My favourite room was the children’s room – it had scenes from fairy tales painted along all four walls. Another cool sight was the devil’s mask carved into the ceiling above the entrance to a male-only smoking room. The carving was really scary and designed to keep the women away. I wonder if I could design a sculpture for the opposite intent.
Draig Cymraeg  Grass Angels  Welsh Flag  Cardiff Castle Explorer  Me and the Norman KeepThere were also animal sculptures all throughout the castle. The wall outside had a series of animal sculptures, and inside the castle there were a lot of parrots, beavers, and a ton of monkeys. One monkey sculpture had a nut in its mouth that could be pressed to ring a bell in a the servant’s chambers.

The old Norman bailey in the center of the courtyard involved a shell of an old tower surrounded by a moat. I managed to get some great pictures from up there and the top of the tower had an amazing view of Cardiff.
Cardiff Castle CompositeThe castle had a little cafe in one of the older rooms in the basement of the west wing. We had a little snack there while we waited for our tour to start. The staff was really disorganized and it took a while to find out that Mince Pie has mince meat, but is completely vegetarian. I tried the mince pie and mulled wine – neither of which were that good, but were cultural experiences.

In the evening tried to find a restaurant that served traditional Welsh delicacies, but the guide book we were using was 5 years old and after walking around Cardiff for 30 minutes in the rain (our nice weather had vanished) we finally found the address but it was now a Chinese restaurant. It’s surprising how difficult it is to get directions when you can’t pronounce the street names (Cryws Road anyone?). Eventually we ended up eating at a Thai restaurant downtown. The restaurant was in the heart of the clubbing district and I was able to watch all the young people walk by. What struck me was how every guy wore a rugby shirt and seemed to be built like a rugby player. And the girls were all scantily clad, disregarding the now cold weather and rain. Cardiff definitely has a lot of night life.

P.S. I just upgraded my Flickr account to Pro, so you can view all my archived photos and now I can upload higher quality images.