Sunday, May 08, 2005

What a long strange week it’s been

I’ve been a very bad blogger lately. But a really, really exciting, scary and crazy opportunity unexpectedly landed in my lap this week and I was way too distracted to blog. I considered writing about it but I think I’d better wait until my dad is less livid with me.

No, I’m not pregnant or anything. It’s just a little too sensitive and premature to discuss right now, especially when my dad refers to it as the "suicide mission."

Besides, I really need to focus my energy on my upcoming trip to Toronto. It’s hard to believe that in only 11 days I will voluntarily board a plane in order to have my ass kicked at Nationals.

The last two weeks before a big race are supposed to be spent resting and recovering in order to absorb all of the hard training during the past few months. Which is great in theory, but not so great in reality when you’ve neglected the "hard training" part of the equation.

I decided the only way to make up for my lack of sufficient training was to drop a small fortune on one of those fancy Speedos the Olympic swimmers wear. Besides, buying a new swimsuit for Nationals is like the finance minister buying new shoes the day before the budget. It’s tradition.

So my friend Gilles and I hopped on our bikes and rode over to North Vancouver yesterday to try on some Fastskins, which are supposed to maximize the flow of water over the swimmer’s body to reduce drag. These Speedos are engineered to fit like a second skin.

Of course, the fact that they fit like a second skin also makes them impossible to get on. You need a pretty healthy self-image, lots of patience and extremely flexible limbs in order to squeeze into these things. It’s not pretty. The fluorescent lighting and large mirrors don’t help either.

Gilles pulled me into his change room to make sure his ass didn’t spill out of his suit when he bent over. Apparently squeezing into his suit was far less traumatic for him. "If I was a straight guy you’d be all over me," he said, admiring his reflection.

After spending enough money for a down payment on a condo, Gilles invited me to lunch, his treat, at Capilano. I immediately agreed, assuming he meant Capilano Park where we could have lunch in the woods, in a café overlooking the river.

So when we left the store and got on our bikes, I was surprised when he turned right, instead of left towards the park.

"Aren’t we going to Capilano Park?" I asked.

Gilles looked puzzled and then laughed. "No, I meant the food court at Capilano Mall."

Sitting inside the mall’s food court watching guys with tattoos and screaming children and tired married couples eating in silence wasn’t exactly the view I was expecting. But who am I to turn down a free lunch?

So we rode over to the mall and ordered up some Japanese noodles. Afterwards, I ducked into a cigar shop to buy the weekend newspapers. There was a long line-up but I thought it would go fast. Wrong! Turns out I was the only person in the store not buying lottery tickets and cigarettes. But it wasn’t just a simple 649 they were after.

The big draw was the scratch and win tickets lined up like paint chips under the glass countertop. People would run back and forth pointing to the exact ticket they wanted. They were throwing toonies down on the counter, demanding "One of these. Two of those." I felt like I was in Las Vegas.

Twenty minutes later, I met up with Gilles who had been standing outside the store waiting.

"What the hell took you so long?" he asked.

"It was weird," I said. "People were buying cigarettes and lottery tickets like crazy. It’s like we’ve crossed into some weird alternate reality in this mall."

We jumped on our bikes and rode over the Lions Gate Bridge, through Stanley Park and accidentally landed smack in the middle of a B.C. Marijuana Party march. We ordered ice cream and watched the rally as it slowly moved down Denman Street.

Actually, I wasn’t watching the march as much as I was watching the reaction of other spectators. Like the little girl who complained to her mom that the weird smell was making her sick to her stomach. Or the senior citizen who turned up his nose and dismissed them as a "rag tag bunch who won’t get any votes."

When I finally got home, I opened up the newspaper only to find my name and my words in a Vancouver Sun story about people who blog about their jobs. Ack! How did I get lumped into that category? The column actually ran part of my post on my five-year anniversary at work. It turns out my boss had read the Sun article too and left me a voice-mail while I was out. Luckily, he thought the whole thing was hilarious. And, to be honest, it was pretty exciting to see my name in print.

It seemed a fitting end to a crazy week. Life has been anything but dull these days.


Lovergirl said...

Wow - I'm lovin' every minute of this blog!! I can't believe your name is in the newspaper - how cool is that?!

Chocolate Girl said...

OMG - I had a similar week - it's like you read my mind, Sarah!! How do you do it??! Tell us more on your blog!!

Brian Lavery said...

That's very exciting about your new opportunity. Just hope you don't leave Vancouver.

Sarah said...

Well, I can't say anything about it...yet. But it's looking less likely this morning.

And, yes, seeing my name in the newspaper was pretty cool.


Anonymous said...

But Sarah, WILL you share this great opportunity you have... your loyal fans are desperate to know!!

Congrats on the name in the paper.. it is funny since you spend so much time getting everyone else in the paper, it is about time you were recognized for something other than being (a) a champion swimmer, (b) a good triatheleve, (c) a total babe!

Kathryn said...

more to the point, will we get to see a photo of you in your snazzy new swimsuit?? =)

Sarah said...

A photo of me in my new swimsuit? Um...uh...this isn't that kind of blog ;)

And for all of my "fans" (I have fans? Cool!) out there, yes, I will post details of the opportunity once it is finalized or falls through.


Anonymous said...

Bah! Don't you hate it when papers like the NYT demand registration??!!! But this is the Sun, and besides the article you link to and the Saturday Crossword, it's better firestarter than content.

Can you summarise or paste the article?

Sarah said...

Here's the full article from the Vancouver Sun (for free!):

Letting off steam can be harmless, but be discreet about it: The problem is that a lunchtime rant against a supervisor could be read by that selfsame boss

The Vancouver Sun
Sat 07 May 2005
Page: D2
Section: Arts & Life
Byline: Kevin Chong
Column: Blog Report
Source: Special to the Sun

Because work takes up such a significant portion of most people's lives and is crucial to identity and self-worth, it's no wonder that people's jobs get mentioned in their blogs. A blog can be a healthy outlet for some harmless griping.

On the Hollywood North report (, for instance, Sarah Marchildon celebrated her five-year anniversary at her job, but received little notice from her co-workers.

"At lunch, I joined a few work people who were heading across the street to grab some wraps," she wrote. "Since no one stepped up to offer to buy me a wrap, I asked if I could get everyone's stamps on my card (if you collect 10 stamps, your 11th wrap is free). They agreed to that, seeing as how it was my five-year anniversary and all. Cheapskates!"

At The Cubicle Dweller (, Stephen Cavers offers some ideas for a "cubicle survival kit," which include "[a] coffee mug without the corporate logo or cute little cartoon," "[a] masseuse" and "[a] small teleportation device for slipping out to the movie theatre without being noticed."

One of the most appealing aspects of the blogosphere is its message-in-a-bottle randomness. An electronic SOS from a bored office worker in western Canada can wash up on the screen of a web browser in, say, New Zealand, who might then comment on and link to that posting on his or her blog, which then finds itself read from another bored office worker in, say, Japan. The problem is, with many workplaces monitoring their employees' computer usage and conduct, one's lunch-break rant against one's supervisor might get read by that selfsame boss.

Stories of bloggers fired for their blog habits are commonplace. One blogger named Helen B. Armstrong even coined the term to "dooced" to describe being fired for one's website. On her blog, (, Armstrong has compiled the workplace-themed postings that got her "dooced" in 2002: titles for these indiscreet entries include "Comments Heard In, Around, and Consequent to the Company Christmas Party Last Evening" and "Reasons The Asian Database Administrator is So Fucking Annoying." Armstrong offers the following advice to would-be bloggers: "BE YE NOT SO STUPID."

A handy-dandy list of fired bloggers, from a blogger named The Papal Bull, (, has come up with 12 reports of fired bloggers. This includes Ellen Simonetti, "a 6-foot-tall, 29-plus-one-year-old former flight attendant" who was fired from Delta Airlines in Novemeber "posting 'inappropriate' pictures in uniform on her blog." (

For Michael Hanscom, a different sort of inappropriate photo got him canned from Microsoft's copy shop in 2003. On his blog, he posted a photo of Apple G5s outside a Microsoft loading dock. Under the picture, he wrote the caption: "Even Microsoft wants G5s."

Even a place as remote as Iqaluit, Nunavat has a fired-blogger story. Last July, Penny Cholmondeley lost her job from Nunavat Tourism after an anoymous complaint about her personal (now-defunct) blog, which included photos, anecdotes, and restaurant reviews.

A blog need not get you fired. The Electronic Frontier Foundation ( recommends that workplace bloggers take such precautionary measures as posting anonymously and not revealing any identifying e-mails. Bloggers can also protect their postings with passwords or keep them from being listed on search engines.

Last week, The New York Times reported that G. Peter Nanos' job as director of the U.S. federal government's premier nuclear weapons laboratory in Las Alamos was threatened by the thousands of anonymous, highly critical blog postings by disgruntled scientists and engineers ( On this public blog is a petition demanding Dr. Nano's ouster. If this petition were to succeed, it might be the first time a blog got the boss dooced.

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Anonymous said...

that's way too funny!! this blog reminds me of a movie...i can't remember what it's called was about swimming..

Babe Ruthless said...

So Sarah, what's your big news?!?

Sarah said...

Can't share yet...still awaiting a "yes" or "no." Sorry, can't be more specific at this time (ugh...I sound like a politician).


Babe Ruthless said...

No need to share, really. I think I'll pass. Hope it "works out for you".

Robbie said...

Are you going to Iraq?? :)

Sarah said...

Iraq? Holy crap! What do you think I am? Crazy? Nope, not Iraq but close ;)


Robbie said...

That's too bad about Iraq, it would have been a great experience for you - hopefully in the future! I'll make another guess: you joined the ARMY and you're going to Afghanistan!!!