For them

Dec. 1st, 2011 03:24 pm
jawnbc: (mourn)
I am a cuspie: a bit too young to be a boomer and not quite young enough to be Gen X. I graduated high school in 1982; uni in 1986.  AIDS hit the radar of North America in 1981, in a big way a few years later. I was living 18 miles from Manhattan. I did not go to Manhattan, to meet men. I was afraid to. Not of AIDS, of the men. The life. That life.

But the men I met in Nanuet did--some of them often. "Someday I'm gonna take you to the tubs" one sexy, pipe-smoking bearded fellow once said to me, après. It sounded intriguing. But what was ringin in my head was I'd probably run into Dad and he'd kill me. He didn't and neither did's that for irony?

I didn't socialize with these men. I was friendly, even affectionate sometimes, but I kept most of me back, hidden, safe. We connected, we shared pleasure, we hung out. Many talked about me "coming out" when I didn't even consider myself gay. Or bi. I just was getting lots of awesome sex and, hey, what 17 year old guy wouldn't? Call of nature, blah blah blah. These men were, with few exceptions, exceedingly kind, patient and accepting.

To a significant extent, I like to think, despite my hawtness rather than because of it.... ;)

I remember one guy who had "a lover", which didn't make any sense to me (boyfriend would've; husband would've made me smirk), and we'd go to his their place. B was hawt: a butch blond, solidly masculine, thick 'stache, lovely blue eyes, and an interior designer at the mall. His lover was, based on the photo, a bodybuilder, equally handsome, but a brunette. His lover was a "bottom", and when I understood what that meant I explained to B that I wasn't. And wasn't interested.

We still had fun.

I sometimes look back in amazement at the bravery of B.and his lover. Living openly in suburban New York rather than exiling themselves to the City. Keeping photos of each other just like any married couple. Loving each other. Fucking other men, I know now, is the easy part. Loving other men--being loved by other men--without shame is the part that takes balls.

By the time I finished uni, B was gone--transferred perhaps, or fired for being queer, or perhaps AIDS. In the mid 80s lots of gay men were re-ordering their lives due to care and illness. Maybe he and his lover are OK? They'd be in their early 60s now. Maybe. But some no doubt are gone.

B and those men taught me a lot. Not then, not overtly. But somehow they managed to get into my closed, homophobic, fear-ridden mind that loving men was OK.

Thank you, wherever you are.


Nov. 28th, 2011 11:10 pm
jawnbc: (baby)
On Friday I had a root canal done. It's my second; the first was a nightmare. This one was much better. It took 2 whole days before I felt the stabbing feeling behind my eye.

Which is why I'm still awake: codeine's taken the edge off; now I'm waiting for a sleeping pill to kick in.


Nov. 16th, 2011 12:26 am
jawnbc: (Default)

I awoke today the freshest so far: darn near bright eyed and bushy tailed, as Mom used to say. After a mediocre buffet breakfast, I set out for my first sightseeing destination:

Lieutuvos Radio Television (TV) Tower

It's honking' big and there's an observation deck (and obligatory rotating resto), but it was foggy again. Besides I wasn't there for the view: it was the Lithuanians who first took on the Soviets in 1990--for which they paid dearly. Estonia had. "bloodless" singing revolution because blood was spilled in Vilnius.

Why a TV Tower? Well, s/he who controlled the state broadcaster could rally their side--or demoralize And disinform the other. Unlike the other Baltic SSRs less than 10% of the Lithuanian population was Russian: over 80% were ethnic Lithuanians. In Latvia and Estonia a third or more of the population were Russophones trucked in during the Soviet occupation to "Russify" each republic.

So the Soviet Army went in. Almost 20 Lithuanians were killed; upwards of 200 injured. Moscow won the battle, only to lose the war a few months later when the independence of all three Baltic republics was recognized by Moscow.

Suffice to say this impresses me more than any view or buffet ever could. Pretty awesome I say.

I next wanted to head back to the Old Town, since a couple of sites closed in the morning were scheduled to be opened. But stoopid me wanted to try a different route. Somehow I ended up at Akropolis, Vilnius' mega mall. Found Japanese for lunch: here's the view from my table:

Hockey lines and curling sheets, all in one. How economical

At this point I betrayed my gender and asked for directions to a bus back to my hotel. Then I headed back out to catch the twilight (at 16h30). Visited the mega cathedral ( where the 18 killed in 1991 were given a mass funeral in the square out front). And then I found the Holy Mother:

From the street; I went up too

After Krakow this apparently the most sacred shrine in Polish Catholicism. The end. ;)

Posted via

jawnbc: (Default)

After relaxing yesterday morning at my Warsaw hotel I decided, as much to shake myself out of lingering jet lag torpor, to head to the airport a bit early. Upon my arrival I do as I always do: I checked to see if that elusive bulkhead aisle forward seat had become free. Because being stuck precisely one row back was a human rights violation.

I then got in the queue to drop my bag, which wasn't moving very quickly. No...make that not moving. At all. Several passengers were,in fact, sitting on scales blathering into mobiles. The check-in agents were all doing nothing. Eventually a wandering LOT agent trundled by: their entire airport management system had crashed.

No check-ins. No gate controls. no airport operations, in other words.

I did discern, however, some slight movement on the right periphery of my vision--aha! One queue was moving, albeit rather languidly doing so. It was, as it turns out, the online check-in podium (I was in the Star Alliance hawt poo line up, 'cause Air Canada see I'm hot poo), so I jumped into that queue.

The computer processed a person every 10 minutes. Thus in 40 minutes it was my turn. Ten minutes later I was at security: ten after that in the lounge. eventually enough passengers for the Vilnius flight trickled through and we boarded. And left an hour late.

Oh yeah: while we were waiting to board an air ambulance crew and some military personnel came out of the gate. 15 mites later they returned with a blonde fairly strapped onto the gurney shouting "nooooo!". Very disturbing.

Vilnius has an adorable little airport, where the bags come out quickly, the tourist info folks are charming, warm, and multilingual, and the woman in the kiosk is too. Because of my large bag I needed 2 tickets into town. The citybus was waiting and jumped on just as the doors closed.

TheComfort Hotel was about 100m away. After twice trying to stiff me with a dumpy room, Mrs Egan's withering glare appeared--at which point they transferred my booking to the much nicer Panorama Hotel hotel. A large studio suite in fact. With a jacuzzi bathtub.

My wanderings around Vilnius at night led to pizza and salad. And a sound night's sleep. Today's been MUCH better.

Posted via


Nov. 14th, 2011 09:39 am
jawnbc: (passeporte)
As I wandered through the Castle in Warsaw's Stare Miasto (Old Town) I thought to myself "a culture must value itself that goes to such great efforts to ensure its legacy is maintained.

And then I remember 95% of what I'm experiencing was recreated after WW II. Almost entirely financed by the Polish people themselves, despite the privations of communism.  That's pride folks.

panoramic view of main plaza in Stare Miasto in Warsaw

The Castle itself was razed by the Nazis as punishment for the Warsaw Uprising. This is a remarkable recreation then, a monument as much to collected memory as to the history embodied here. Tenacious seems an understatement. 

I'm not exactly a photographer, so I tend to snap a lot and often at random things.  Here's some randocity, inspired by texture, colour and light:

After the Castle I meandered down through Nowy Miasto (also rebuilt after the war) and visiting the Marie Curie Museum. Which is in the apartment where her parents lived when she was born. Curie was the 5th child and youngest of 4 daughters born to two educated parents. Curie was the first person to win Nobel prizes in TWO disciplines (physics and chemistry) and the only to do so in two science disciplines. She was also the first woman professor at the Sorbonne, having taken over the lab run by her husband after his death (about 2 years after they jointly won her first Nobel).

The second woman to win a Nobel in Science was her daughter and her husband. Curie and her daughter shared another aspect of life: both died from radiation exposure (Curie from anaemia, her daughter from leukaemia). Remarkable family; charming wee museum (no photos; I just grooved on the nerdy feminist vibes).

Jet lagged and disoriented, I decided to try and find the Warsaw Uprising Museum--and failed. But I did find the Memorial. Which fairly took my breath away:


And then I went back to my hotel and not sleeped.  Full set of photos to be found here
jawnbc: (irish passport)
Do to:
  • Bags packed? Check
  • Documents organized? Check
  • Abluted? Check
  • Manscaping? Check
  • Reading material? Check
  • Sleeping pills for 10 hour flight? Hell fuckin' yeah check

Sadly I cannot squeeze my beloved [ profile] querelle into my carry-on.  :(

So in a few hours I fly Vancouver-Amsterdam at 415PM today, arrive late morning tomorrow, have a 4 hour connection (Schipol's great for that sort of thing though), then arrive in Warsaw around 3PM local time (6AM Vancouver time). So that's 14 hours gate-to-gate, more like 17 door-to-door. 

Warsaw is the land of the cheap €65/night 5 star hotel. Sunday will be a full-on touristy day, since most venue have free admission on Sundays anyway. Monday arvo I fly to Vilinius. 

I booked this so long ago it still doesn't feel real. Once I get through airport security it will though!
jawnbc: (2010)
 Dude posts "We should be determined to say that we stand on the ground for GOD. I wonder how life would look like without Godly people."

So I sez... )
jawnbc: (ubc)
Pour ceux qui ne croient pas qu'il y a note sur l'examen allemand: 82.  Le miracle recommence....

jawnbc: (poutine)
Machines that go "ping" are kewl. Every pharmacy-cum-electronics-cum-grocery store in the hood has a blood pressure machine.  So when I remember and it's empty I check my BP.  A few months back I noticed my systolic (the second number) was high. Too high. The pressure is too damn high.  Although after I exercise it's fine.

One of my best friends is a heart physiologist and he splained that to me once. Why making your heart pump lowers your BP. He's smart and he loves me so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

So I had some bloodwork done a few weeks ago. The nurse left a voicemail with the results:

HDL (bad) cholesterol: 4.74  High
Total cholesterol: 7.13 High
Triglycerides: 2.65 Elevated but OK
Fasting blood sugar: 5.4 normal

So I have high cholesterol, right? Well except there's a missing number: LDL (good) cholesterol. I have a genetic disposition to producing lots of LDL and so I rang back.

LDL (good) cholesterol: 4.99 Amazingly good

Bottom line: cholesterol isn't a problem for me. At all.  Despite binding on up to 4 large bags of Lays Low Salt Chips per week more than rarely.

[srsly: I'm trying to drop the chips]
jawnbc: (chiara!)

I have become one of the undoctored: 6 months ago I had the best Dr. evar, but he's retired. The guy who's bought is practice is only working 2x/week until January. Earliest appointment? Late November.

I've had a proctological problem for several weeks now. I went to the STI clinic to check for an immaculate infection (none) and  'rhoids were excluded. Went to the nearest public health clinic...only to find it's no longer a drop-in clinic. So I was forced to hit one of the chain clinics that's popped up all over BC. One where even when the waiting room is empty you're told "come back in 30 minutes."  No, I'll wait, thanks. And it was more like 15...

I heard the doctor lecturing speaking to another patient in the sort of stentorian, marginally condescending tone that no one better ever use with any of my mother's children. When he tried to diagnose me without: a) an exam or b) taking any history I gave him The Stare and he reset. "Put this gown on and I'll be back in 2 minutes." "Gown" as in a paper sheet--nothing to put on so much as lie under. 

I assumed the position and he said "yeah, you're right, definitely not hemarhoids. It's fungal. Looks really uncomfortable." 

Uh, yeah, do you know any man who will cheerfully submit to a rectal exam to point out a problem down there? Even a big gay like me? Exact. it's been more than uncomfortable, dude.

We had a chat, I left with a 'script, and later tonight I'll begin operation defungistation. He says I should feel better in about a week.


Oct. 23rd, 2011 02:29 pm
jawnbc: (EBU)
It seems that the Eurovision national final/selection season starts earlier and earlier each year. Slovenian's had a few shows already, the Albanian selection artists are now known, and Latvia's published all the songs that met the eligibility requirements on their website.

Punters can vote for their favourite by registering for the site (I've not tried, so dunno if folks outside the country can participate), and they've not published artist names. Clever idea, since often established (or at least known) artists appear again and again, year after year, regardless of song quality. Yes, including that stoopid banjo song last year. Sentimentality be damned!

Of course a studio allows singers to do multiple takes until they get it right--or splice together bits from several takes to make it sound like they had a good one. So going by studio versions is a bit of a crap shoot. But hey, that's what most countries do to pick songs for the live final. Or semifinals. Or quarterfinals. Etc.

I think you get the idea.

There's a lot songs in the Latvian selection. I was downloading some stuff at work last week and decided to listen to the songs for myself. Only the following stood out to me (in a positive way, at least):
  • Beautiful Song
  • Think About
  • Only One
  • Heaven
Which probably means nothing. So there. 
jawnbc: (chador)

A few weeks ago I found myself caught in a trap. An underwear trap.

I was at work, had to go to the toilet, did my bidness and then had to tuck my shirt in, zip up and get back in the saddle. As it were. However when I went to tuck in the back I discovered my tighty whiteys had ridden up--waaaay--above my waist. Ouch. Then I recalled having to roll my waistband down so it didn't stick waaaay above my jeans' beltline. Yeah, no dignity in that.

I did the math and my options seemed to be a thong (anal floss, nuh uh) or bikinis. OK now we had a style--just had fo find something not stoopidly fucking expensive. I can't pay $20 for a pair of knickers...not for 5 pair of 'em. I found something at Winners (did I just lose my gay card...yes I shop at Winners!!!!), brought 'em home, liked 'em, and went back and bought a couple more packages.

Waddya thinK?
jawnbc: (esc eire)

Caught the first (ever!) debate amongst the candidates for President of Ireland. There are 7 candidates, a record slate, for the election in 4 weeks time.  Here are my thoughts:

Séan Gallagher (IND): Apparently Ireland has caught the "rich businessman tries to queue jump directly to executive office" illness. Granted Gallagher also has a strong community background--but he also has strong ties to Fianna Fáil, the "natural ruling party" recently bounced out of office for bankrupting Ireland. He said few interesting things, though his stance that he didn't know enough to judge whether gay couples should be able to adopt is, methinks, telling. No hoper...I hope. He also equivocated on whether the confessional should be broken when child abuse is confessed--that should kill his candidacy.

Dana Rosemary Scallon (IND): Yes, Dana of the Eurovision is running. Again. She came off surprisingly well and her eurosceptic (EU, not Eurovision) stance will get a surprising amount of traction. She proferred the pocket version of the Irish Constitution on a number of occasions.  I suspect there's a hunger right now for someone who challenges the idea of a federal EU. And I suspect Dana's locked that vote up.

Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael): with their curent leader as Taioséach (Prime Minister)--a very popular one, in fact--you'd think this guy would be in a strong position to win. But tonight he displayed perhaps why he probably won't: he comes across as a nice, earnest man. One you might not disagree with on much, but also not one that inspires you to let them lead you.

Mary Davis (IND): Mary's building her campaign on her career with Special Olympics. Comes across well in many respects; but her passion doesn't come across very much. Strange.  She has high name recognition though, thanks to Ireland hosting the Special Summer Olympics a few years back. If Ireland gets its third woman President this time, she's more likely than Dana. More likely isn't very likely though. 

David Norris (IND): There are two "gays" in this campaign; this is the homosexual one. David Norris's lectureship in Joyce's literature gives him a stentorian gravitas that suits a high profile ceremonial office. He's also got pluck, which is very Irish. But he's been the face of gay rights in Ireland for 30 years, has an Anglo-Irish accent (and the only non-Catholic in the race), either of which might make him something of a reach for your average Tipperary farmer to support. But he's a character and an eloquent one.  No one's polled higher than him to-date, but that means nothing in an actual Presidential election in Ireland: the front runner often fades. He came across very well tonight though.

Michael D Higgins (Labour): After tonight I would say Higgins is the front runner though. Gravitas, a subtly and wry sense of humour, eloquent, the only person to use Irish in the debate, and something of your local's favourite storyteller in his countenance. Came across well as "your man's defender."

Martin McGuiness (Sinn Féin): Having refused to attended the state dinner when the British monarch came to Ireland this year sinked McGuiness. His answers were evasive--an IRA man needs to be evasive--and his "I represent the working people" shtick was trumped by Higgins.  Not a chance, thank Gawd.

Summing up
Best answer of the night goes to Norris: when candidates were asked what the most important legislation of the last 30 years was he offered the bank bailout. Both he and Higgins voted against it, which positions both well. Dana's only been in public office once (MEP a decade ago) and isn't seen as having achieved much. She rightly called out Ryan Tubridy for positioning her as "the Church's mouthpiece."  

Speaking of Turbridy, he went from interviewer to twat frequently: one good question, one tabloid one. No one took the bait, even as he fairly bashed them over the head with it. Why he got the Late Late Show escapes me: he's certainly no Gay Byrne, not even a Pat Kenny. Too coarse: either of them could charm answers to tough questions out of people.

McGuiness, Mitchell, Gallagher and Dana all have too narrow constituencies and some sort of baggage to keep them from going very far--unless several candidates drop out before the actual election. I think this election will come down to Higgins and Norris, both of whom came across much more statesmanlike than any of the other candidates.

End Game
The Irish Presidential election will be held on 27 October. It's an alternate vote poll, with voters ranking candidates in order of preference. This means there's a lot of scope for swings as candidates drop off the bottom on each count. In 1990 Mary Robinson was second after the first count, but still won. In the only other election with more than 4 candidates Dana polled 14%, Mary Banottie of Fine Gael 29% and Mary McAleese (Fianna Fáil) 45%--the other two candidates got 5 and 7% on the first ballot.  Expect this one to be much more spread out. Norris' polling number in the mid-30s has scrubbed down to the low 20s as more candidates enter the field.  
jawnbc: (Default)
Let us die young or let us live forever

I am a person of faith—a deep, profound, inspiring faith. In the creator who, if s/he/it (aw shiiiit) has a personality has better things to do than cultivate a personal relationship with me. Or to pull the puppet strings of life. Life unfolds; there’s an element of the random and I don’t believe in divine interanythings.
As a Catholic child I was introduced to the idea of a (spiritual) vocation, quite literally a calling, to “serve” god. I felt I had a calling; I know now that I do. But it wasn’t to serve some vastness, some omnipotent entity. It was to serve man. Largely as a teacher. The opportunities for leaving the world a bit better than you found abound if you’re a teacher. With a good heart. And big balls. We have, to my mind, entirely too many doormat teachers. And worse.
Shortly after I got my vocation I also started to put a few things together. The first was about the sacraments. Confession, once explained to me, made no sense: I didn’t see how telling a man anything secret could end up well. I knew what “it’s OK, you can tell me the truth” meant…if you told the truth. I went twice: before first communion and then before confirmation.   
When the sacrament of holy communion was explained to me it scared me. Eating Jesus seemed…wrong. Cannibalism is always wrong, right? I was assured that this was a beautiful thing. I couldn’t buy it. With time it only horrifies me more. And when I try to explain to observant family members that I don’t believe in the “the mysteries” I usually have to explain what they are. And then they look at me like “WTF—you think about this shit?”
I do. Or, more precisely, these things move me to thought and reflection. I went through the motions for confirmation and then dropped religious instruction. I sporadically attended Mass until my early 20s. Then Big Gay Me™ brought in the “fuck you” phase of my spiritual development. No joke: moving from “I’m horrible, evil and worthless” to “fuck you, I am not” was progress—spiritual progress. If I did go to Mass (weddings and baptisms, usually) I didn’t take communion. I couldn’t; the thought nauseated me. Then I moved to Canada. Then I became estranged from my parents.
And then Pop died, Da’s Da. I didn’t regain my faith, but I did plug in to the rituals and found comfort in them. As a pallbearer (all his grandsons and sons were) I took communion: suddenly it wasn’t important to me, but I knew it’d be important to Nanny and Da and many others in the family. Since then I’ve taken communion at everyone’s funeral where it seemed to matter. I don’t believe in transubstantiation, so it’s meaningless for me. But means the world to them.
But anyway: faith. Today. Canada’s a pretty easy place to be an atheist or agnostic—or believer. But there don’t seem to be many GDIs (gawd damned independents, as the non-frat guys called themselves in college) who believe but not in anyone or any faith. Maybe because we don’t congregate around an ideal or narrative or shared values. I miss the community aspect sometimes, but I’m no longer capable of acquiescing and being silent when I don’t believe what is espoused. I can’t be a winky-winky Christian. Don’t won’t to be. I don’t feel the need to scaffold my faith onto any narrative: allegorical or fictive.
Feels lonely sometimes. But it felt lonely within a faith a lot of the time too. So I’m moving back into a phase where I seek and explore the silence. I’m looking forward to it.
jawnbc: (Default)
Dear [ profile] jawnbc,

When you exercise you feel better. Your spirits are better. You crave crap less. Everything's better. 

Kind regards,

[ profile] jawnbc
jawnbc: (harpee)
Generally, if you're horribly depressed, struggling with your sexuality, and you have a tendency to drink a wee too much...probably not a good idea to try mushrooms. On the night before St. Patrick's Day.

It was 1984, I had transferred up to Oswego after melting down at Rutgers. For the most part I felt like I landed back on my fieet during Fall term: I made it to more classes, didn't fail any, and the best of my Egan self meant I was the life of the party. At a time when most of my peers felt compelled to avoid the pejorative "dorm bunny" label (all the kewl kids moved off-campus), I donned my ears with pride. I connected with girls more easly than guys (nothing new there), but was also bonding with some of the guys on my quad too.  

But for some reason, after Christmas break I quickly tumbled into bleakness. My usual ways of coping--drinking more, finding a scapegoat (though that wasn't conscious: I was only aware of the pattern years later, and I'm not proud of myself)--were helping me keep my head above water, but only just. Not having any money, save the minimum wage I earned being "the Sunday morning janitor", didn't help either. Nothing new, but didn't help. Even my usual pressure-releasing sluttiness--for which ther was plenty of action when I could muster the energy to go git some--fell by the wayside after the holidays.

Da did an excellent job with his drugs are whack™ education: I avoided drugs. Well, except for alcohol. Or if someone offered me a hit of a joint. Or a line or 10. But only because it made sex hawter (weed), helped me sleep (weed), or allowed me to stay up longer to drink more (coke). So when the lads next door would encourage me to join them when they "tripped" I just said no. 

Until the night I said "fuck it." So off we went to these guys' pals who lived off-campus. We had started with beers back in the dorm, so I was lubricated enough to get in the car with 'em. I had met one of their friends earlier; turns out the other guy was someone I'd been fucking on a NSA basis in the fall. AWKWARD! We look at each other and I'm sure he too was thinking "maybe hallucinogens aren't such a good idea with this guy." My next thought? Fuck it.  So we gobbled down our shares of tthe 'shrooms" and headed downtown.

After an hour at our regular haunt on Water Street, the drugs started to work. That much I remember. Oh and hte laughing. And then a suggestion that we go to a "theatre party" up the street. Oswego State in the 1980s wasn't exactly a hotbed of social progress. Most folks I socailized with were, like me, little Republican fucktards. For us, going to a theatre party was a big fucking deal.

All I remember is: 1.) we had to climb a steep flight of stairs to get to the apartment, and 2.) shoving my tongue down the throat of the guy who'd just played the lead in "Hedda Gabler". And no, not Hedda. Next thing it was morning, and dude wanted another round. So I do remember the second time we had sex, sort of. Then I panicked, started gathering my clothes, and headed out. 

As I did, I realized that I had started yesterday at Broadwell's for morning beers for St Patrick's Day. And was dressed the part: green corduroy chinos, green turtleneck, and large Irish sweater. Oh and my tam. Suffice to say I stood out on the streets of Oswego that morning. At least it was early Sunday morning and the bus came quickly. Unfortunately one of the girls for the dorm was on her way back to campus after an early shopping trip. 

The guys never said anything, but they must've seen me sucking face with the other dude. We did drift apart by the time junior year started--probably not because I was queer. Over the next 2 years I slowly came out more. I had my first boyfriend, and got my heart broken. I started to speak to other queers in public. And I stopped fucking up girls' heads by dating them when I was really only capable of falling in love with a man.

I still dress like an eejit for St Pat's. And I still love boys (one in particular). The rest I've ditched though.
jawnbc: (smirk)
[ profile] bitterlawngnome moves to Vancouver and we have a 6.7 earthquake? Coincidence? Methinks not! Wreaking havoc already, sweet!


Sep. 4th, 2011 05:07 pm
jawnbc: (hockey skates)
I took Friday off, turning this into a 4 day weekend. And today, for the first time in months, I'm a bit of a loss about what to do with myself. No marking, no teaching, no heinous project succubus, no mountain of laundry. Spent a couple of hours by the pool yesterday so I decided to give that a miss. Himself paddled to kingdom come and back this morning and is prostate on the chesterfield. I am hidden in the bedroom, having caught up on some PVRing whilst scarfing down a bowl of buttered popcorn. 

in short, my life does not suck. 't all.

Dunno if I mentioned that our storage cubicle got robbed about a month ago. I thought I'd twigged on everything missing, but a couple of days ago another thing crossed my mind. And yes, turns out my ice skates were pinched. Now despite my commodity fetishist inclinations I am not terribly materialistic. Things do not make me happy. So losing a thing usually doesn't make me unhappy. But the skates, o the skates. These were men's recreational ice hockey skates: soft rollerblade-like boots with hockey blades. Hard to find in Vancouver--or online in Canada. Maudit Christ de tabarnak de cave! A few days' research and replacements were found and ordered. Life goes on.

This time last week NYC was getting whacked by Hurricane Irene. Many seem to think the storm was overhyped. And yes, if you went by the footage of Andersoon Cooper in his damp Crocs on the Battery, sure. pas grand chose. But this is what
my old 'hood (Rockaway Beach, or Belle Harbor to be more specific) looked like last Sunday morning:

That's B 131st St. My aunt lives on B 129th; my parents lived on B 127th. I suspect the folks who bought their place are now dealing with pumps, insurance brokers, and rotting drywall. Could've been much worse: the surge was "only" 4 feet at high tide. Had it been 6 or 8 feet the neighbourhood would've been fucked. Last time Rockaway flooded like this was 1960 and Hurricane Donna.  Life goes on.

A new (non-teaching) term starts on Wednesday; I'm starting German 101 on Thursday afternoon. Figured it's time to take a crack at another language besides French. Teacher's supposed to be great and the schedule is perfect: 15h30-1700 Tuesdays and Thursdays. No night class, sweet. With the class comes a U Pass, which is an insanely cheap all zone transit pass ($30/month rather than $110). And I've now got parking for the new vehicle on campus. I'm gonna give driving a go every day this week and see how it feels. Seems strange not to be us it, but a 19 minute commute is awesome. And I've started back at the gym; so far so good. Need to be in better shape for the mountains this winter. Life goes on.

 A year ago today I was in this bed crying, with [ profile] querrelle holding me. Mom had died--not a surprise, but still a heartbreak--and our plans to fly back East for the next day were made. It was a tough, sad week. And this past year has been full of the "firsts": Thanksgiving, Xmas, my birthday, Mother's Day, Ma and Da's anniversary, Ma's birthday. But I had to look at last year's calendar to figure out which date she died. Because I'm all about the life, not the death. And I refuse to commemorate this date. It's a transition point, not a landmark. 

Life goes on.


Aug. 20th, 2011 06:12 pm
jawnbc: (euro)
Sometimes I forget how much of a grown-up I am (or, at least, appear to be). Then someone calls me "sir" or has an umabiguous air of deference about them (towards me) and I'm like WTF? Really? Oh shit, I'm 47. 

And then I think about what at 47 year old man looked like to me when I was 15. Or 20. 

But I digress. Being something of a peter pan in my 20s I worked in the travel industry. Mostly corporate travel, mostly in NYC. OK wages for awesome travel benefit (thus the trade-off). Moving to Vancouver meant similar wages with a lower cost of living, and similar travel benefits. Though the wages stagnated and the travel benefits were increasingly clawed back. That was before the internet yanked retail travel right onto its arse.  

I got accustomed to the travelling though. So as I made more of living wage I continued to priortize travelling over responsible things like buying a home. Or RRSPs. In a communist hotbed like Canada you can such sorts of things: making shitty money doesn't mean getting shitty healthcare. However, since I was now paying "retail" prices for travel, I fully exploited the knowledge I acquired as a corporate travel agent when it comes to points. Frequent flyer points. FQTV in the industry, dontcha know.

I continue to exploit this knowledge. One of the ways I do so is subscribing to email lists from discount agencies. 99.8% of the time theres' nothing of note; last wee there was.  KLM put on a seat sale from Canada to Moscow, Warsaw, Copenhagen or Istanbul: approximately $900 return from YVR including taxes and fuel surcharges. I was like, WTF, and the internet was like, 4 realz, yo.

Here's my decision-making rubric, which proves the inherent value of 22 years of formal education:

Flight time from AMS*: 3 hours, 2 hours, 1.4 hours, 2.5 hours
Been there done that: No, No, Yes, Yes
When been there to do that: Never, Never, 1982, 2005
Connecting flight on KLM (rather than codeshare): No, Yes, Yes, Yes
Cheap hotels of a good standard available: Fuck No, Yes, Sort of, Yes
Has hosted the Eurovision: Yes, No, Yes, Yes
Budget carrier to other kewl places: Yes, Yes, Yes, No

*since the flight YVR-AMS was the same regardless of final destination

As you can see, WAW, or Warsaw as its know to the great unwashed, rose to the top--even without ever hosting the Eurovision.

A persual of the calendar narrowed down the dates 11 November - 21 November, inclusive. WAW is served by Air Baltic, a Riga (Latvia) based budget carrier. Air Baltic's second hub is Vilnius Lithuania. And so I worked out the final itinerary:

11 Nov: YVR-AMS (red-eye)
12 Nov: AMS-WAW (2 nights)
14 Nov: WAW-RIX (Riga, 3 nights)
17 Nov: RIX-VNO (Vilnius, 2 nights)
19 Nov: VNO-WAW (1 night)
20 Nov: WAW-AMS (1 night; free stopover on KLM)
21 Nov: AMS-YVR

The most expensive hotel is €55/night: most are €40-45. All include breakfast and free in-room wifi.

The paradox? If I were a member of KLM/NorthWorst's FQTV plan I'd earn about 3000 points on this fare; because I'm on Alaska Air's--which gives 100% of mileage on L or N fares--I'll earn about 11000. So my Alaska account will have enough points for business class to Europe on Icelandair--including a free stop in Reykjavik!

I still nee to book a trip to get the final 500 miles I need to keep my AC/Star Alliance gold card though....


Aug. 4th, 2011 08:17 am
jawnbc: (Default)
 Irony is dead on LJ. Or had it ever been alive here?
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 11:43 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios