Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Does this bike make my butt look big?

Math has never been my strong suit. In high school, I failed math twice and had to suffer the indignity of going to night school in order to make it up. I swore I would never touch another calculator again.

And while geometry, trigonometry and figuring out the tip are still way over my head, I at least thought I had the basics down.

But I now find myself stumped by a simple case of addition and subtraction.

The problem starts with the following real-world equation:

cookies + inactivity = big butt

I'm no scientist but I've read enough women's magazines to know that this formula is bulletproof.

Using deductive reasoning, the inverse conclusion must also be true:

carrots + cycling = tight ass

Taking it one step further, you might hypothesize that the amount of kilometres ridden would be in indirect proportion to the circumference of the booty. The more kilometers ridden, the smaller the butt area, right?

Well, something's not adding up. The more kilometers I put on my bike, the bigger my behind gets. And not in a good way.

Remember when I had the third biggest butt on the internet? Well, this time it's no joke.

Here's where the math gets confusing.

I have put 9,236 km on my commuter bike.

I have put 4,632 km on my racing bike.

9,236 km + 4,632 km = 13,868 km (thank you, built-in computer calculator)

I have ridden a whopping 13, 868 km over a four-year period. This is the equivalent of cycling clear across Canada -- two times over. It's farther than riding the entire length of Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town. It's five times the distance between Vancouver and Whitehorse. And yet, my bubble butt is as jiggly as jello.

After all I do for Mother Nature the least that ungrateful bitch could do is reward me with some buns of steel.

- - -

Speaking of tight asses, my friend Don took it upon himself to post an unsolicited personal ad for me on his blog. The response has been underwhelming.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rude people suck

There are few people I hate more than rude people. Rude people suck.

I witnessed a disgusting display of rudeness at London Drugs the other day. The woman in line ahead of me was being unnecessarily obnoxious toward the girl behind the photo counter.

It wasn't hard to overhear what she was saying since the woman was practically yelling at the poor girl. From what I could tell, the woman was dropping off a bunch of film but didn't seem to understand that she could choose a time to come back and pick her photos up.

The London Drugs girl was trying to explain that the store normally develops photos in under an hour but they were a bit backed up so if the woman picked a time later in the afternoon, they'd be sure to have her photos ready and waiting for her by then.

The woman wasn't following so the girl explained it to her over and over again in a calm, cool and collected manner.

The woman still wasn't getting it and her agitation was increasing. Trying to be helpful, the London Drugs girl asked, "So what time would you like me to put down?"


"Okay, then, three o'clock," the girl said. "And how many rolls of film are you dropping off?"

To me, this seemed like a reasonable question.

But to Ms. Rude Bitch, this was the stupidest question anyone had ever asked another human being anywhere on the planet.

"I don't know," she said in a voice dripping with irritation. "I HAVE TO COUNT THEM FIRST."

She then hauled her faux-glamorous handbag with rhinestone detailing onto the counter and dumped out 20 rolls of film.

"I want every single negative developed," she demanded. "Every. Single. Negative. I don't want you people deciding for me. I want every single negative developed. Do you understand? Every. Single. Negative."

The girl behind the counter remained unruffled. I, on the other hand, was boiling with rage. My eyes were shooting daggers into the back of the woman's thick skull.

I don't care what kind of shit you're going through, nothing gives you the right to treat another human being that way. I'm not saying people should walk around with big Pollyanna smiles plastered to their faces. That would be idiotic. But there's no reason you can't treat people with a little respect.

What happened to "please" and "thank you?" (Wow. Did I really just write that? I am such an old lady. I like cats, coupons and good manners.)

And while we're on the topic of rudeness, can I just say how irritating it is when people go through the line-up at the grocery store blabbing away on their cell phones without even pausing to acknowledge the cashier?

I've seen this happen so many times. They don't say "hello." They don't say "thank you." They just keep talking away on their cell phones while the cashier bags their groceries and rings up the final total. They even fish out their wallet and pay without a break in the conversation.

If I was a cashier, I wouldn't even start swiping the customer's groceries until they got off the phone. Seriously. I would stand there with my arms folded across my chest, staring them down until they hung up the phone. Perhaps this is why I do not work in customer service.

One more example of rude behaviour that drives me crazy? Celebrities who wear sunglasses during interviews. What the hell is that all about?

If I was a TV journalist sitting down to interview P. Diddy or Bono or pretty much anyone out there, I would ask them to remove their sunglasses first. If you're not willing to make eye contact with me or the audience, I'm not interested in interviewing you. Only assholes wear sunglasses indoors (obviously, blind people or migraine sufferers or people with eye infections are exempt from this generalization).

Rude people suck.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Romantically challenged

I have been single for a very long time. I would rather not be single but I'm having a tough time overcoming the following barriers:

1. I am attracted to gay men. I don't intentionally seek them out. It just happens that most of the guys I like turn out to be gay. It's gotten so bad that my gay friends use me as a human gayometer. Whenever a cute new guy joins the swim team, everyone comes running to me to find out if he's gay or straight: "If Sarah likes him, then you know he's gay." Seriously. Whatever the opposite of gaydar is, that's what I have. Perhaps I'd be better off presuming all men are gay until proven straight.

2. I am picky. I'm like a female Jerry Seinfeld. You know, the way Jerry finds something wrong with every woman he dates in order to break up with them: man hands, low talker, bad laugher. I have the same problem. I recently went out with someone who was textbook perfect. Gorgeous, smart and sexy as hell. His downfall? He agreed with everything I said. And I mean everything. It was like he had no opinions of his own. I would make stuff up just to test him ("Man, I love that new Nickelback song, don't you?"). I tried so hard to like him but I just couldn't get past how much of a wet noodle he was. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm picky or just completely neurotic.

3. I don't like dating. I don't want to go out on lots of dates with lots of guys. It's like an endless stream of job interviews. The whole thing is totally unnatural and unbearably painful. You have to sell yourself. You have to be all charming and clever and perky and interesting. And while you're trying to dazzle your date with all of your wonderfulness, you also have to size him up at the same time. Is he boyfriend material? Is he the one? Is he seriously trying to pass himself off as 30 when he is clearly a decade older? Bleh. Who needs all that nonsense? After a long, stressful day at work, the last thing I want to do is go on a date with some random stranger. Besides, I like spending time alone (which is a whole other problem).

4. I live in Vancouver. My love life has disappeared ever since I moved to Vancouver. Coincidence? I think not. Let's review the evidence, shall we? In Toronto, I got hit on all the time (okay, so I was a teenager in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform but that's not the point). In Ottawa, I had more boyfriends than I knew what to do with. In Saint John, I was in a serious relationship a few months after moving there. In Vancouver, I may as well be dead for all the male attention I get here. Sorry, Vancouver. It's not me. It's you. Every time I leave this city, I have no problem meeting men (well, except for when I went to Japan. Now that was a dry spell).

5. I get all shy and awkward when I meet a guy I like. However, this is not such a big hurdle because: a) I don't meet guys I like very often (see barrier #2) and, b) they usually turn out to be gay anyway (see barrier #1).

It's frustrating because I truly believe I’m a great catch. If I were I guy, I would totally date me.

I hate making the first move but if the guys in Vancouver aren't going to come to me, well then I'm going to come to them. That's my bold new approach. Well, for now anyway.

I got a chance to try out my take-charge attitude at a press conference two weeks ago. I had my eye on the cute guy working the audio feed. I had met him at a press conference in the past but was too chicken to give him my number.

This time I wasn't going to waste the opportunity. So I walked over to where he was standing and chatted him up for a bit. He was just as funny and charming as he was the first time I met him.

But what really sealed the deal was when he started talking about his cat. There is nothing sexier than a man who likes cats.

I was completely charmed by the way he was going on and on about his cat.

And so I did something totally out of character. Something so bold and brazen I can hardly believe I actually went through with it . . . I gave him my business card.

[Interesting fact: The last time I gave a cute guy my business card, he turned out to be gay.]

Unfortunately, I wasn't very smooth about it. I had to screw up the courage to make the first move for a good 20 minutes. I was distracted the entire press conference thinking about how I would go about giving him my business card. The longer I thought about it, the more nervous I got. By the time the press conference was over, my heart was pounding and my hands were shaking.

I waited until he was packing up his equipment and was about to leave. I walked over to where he was standing, thrust my card in his hand and said:

"Here's my business card. For . . . whatever."

And then I ran away.

I know, I know. It was totally lame and ambiguous but that's not the point. I rarely do this sort of thing and I felt so proud of myself for taking a risk and putting myself out there.

Of course, he never did call or email me. With my track record, he’s probably gay anyway.

What am I doing wrong?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Painfully beautiful

It's not hyperbole to say that cherry blossoms are painfully beautiful. Looking at them makes my head hurt.

I don't think my brain is wired to process this much beauty. It's not enough that Vancouver put snow-capped mountains, forest-filtered air and sandy beaches at my doorstep. They just had to throw cherry blossoms into the mix too. Ouch. My eyes.

Unfortunately, there's no way to avoid a beauty-induced headache these days. Cherry blossoms are everywhere. You can't walk more than 50 feet without passing a cherry tree in full bloom.

I can't even walk out my front door without being bombarded by cherry blossoms. I took these pictures in the park across the street from my apartment. I lasted only 20 minutes before I had to retreat back inside. Any longer and my head would have exploded.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Something tells me it's going to be a long time before this couch finds a new home

Someone dumped this couch in the alley behind my apartment more than two weeks ago.

No one has touched it since then.

I don't know if that's because of the hideous orange and brown floral pattern or because of the helpful note its former owner tucked between the cushions.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Missing Grape-Nuts found

Less than 24 hours after I wrote about the case of the missing Grape-Nuts, a mysterious stranger delivered 10 boxes of the crunchy little nuggets to my door. Thank you anonymous benefactor!

The surprise delivery happened this morning. I was at work, sitting at my desk when the receptionist called.

Receptionist: "Um . . . did you order a shipment of Grape-Nuts?"

Me: "What?!?!"

Receptionist: "I just got a delivery of Grape-Nuts with your name on it."

Me: "Are you kidding me? Is this a joke?"

Receptionist: "No. Did you order these Grape-Nuts?"

Me: "No! Hang on. I’ll be right there."

And there sitting on the receptionist's desk was a huge container full of boxes and boxes and boxes of Grape-Nuts. It was like manna from heaven.

She explained that they had been dropped off by Stong's Market but with no note and no name attached. It was clearly the work of a great humanitarian or a Grape-Nuts PR person.

Either way, I've got enough Grape-Nuts to last the rest of the year. So, thank you (whoever you are).

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The case of the missing Grape-Nuts

I've been jonesing for a Grape-Nuts fix for almost two years now.

I was deprived of my favourite cereal when I was living in Japan (the closest thing to Western-style cereal in my local grocery store was a cardboard-like Corn Flakes knockoff and a vomit-inducing Bran Flakes impostor).

I couldn't wait to dig into a bowl of Grape-Nuts when I returned to Canada. But since I've been back, I can't find them anywhere. Grape-Nuts have mysteriously disappeared from the shelves.

At first I thought that maybe they were just sold out (a logical conclusion because who doesn't love Grape-Nuts?).

And so I waited (and waited and waited) for Safeway to restock the cereal aisle. A month went by. Two months went by. Six months later and still no sign of the crunchy little nuggets.

Something didn't add up. I decided to go deep undercover to crack the case of the missing Grape-Nuts.

The first weapon in every modern detective's arsenal is Google. So I Googled everything I could think of: "Grape-Nuts discontinued," "Grape-nuts grain shortage," "Grape-Nuts fan club," "Grape-Nuts factory infested by mice," "Grape-Nuts Safeway where are they?"

Every link led to a dead end.

Having gotten nowhere on the internet, I decided to take my sleuthing to the scene of the crime. Disguising myself as a shopper, I roamed the aisles of Safeway looking for an appropriate employee to interrogate.

I didn't want to waste my time questioning the teenage stock boys. They were too green to know what was going on. The girls behind the cash probably had the inside scoop but were too rushed to talk about it. I needed someone older. Someone experienced. Someone who'd been around Safeway for a while and knew what was really going on.

I found my informer in the frozen food aisle. He was older and working alone. Judging by his vest, white button-down shirt and nicely pressed slacks, he may have even been a manager.

Now, I'd been casing the joint for the past six months and knew full well that there were no Grape-Nuts to be found. So I had to draw on my Grade 9 drama skills in order to play the part of an innocent customer.

"Excuse me," I said. "Can you tell me where the Grape-Nuts are?"

"We don’t have any," he said.

I asked him if he knew when the next shipment was coming in.

Probably never, was his cryptic reply.

Jackpot! My suspicions were confirmed. I knew I there was more to this case than a simple supply and demand story. (I credit my finely tuned detective skills to a childhood spend reading Nancy Drew mysteries.)

I asked him why I would never be able to buy Grape-Nuts again. He gave me a long, complicated answer about nasty politics and bad blood between Safeway and Kraft.

He explained that big companies like Kraft look at shelf space as prime real estate for advertising. If Grape-Nuts aren't flying out of the store, then Kraft doesn't want to pay the shelf fees for a product that's not bringing in a lot of money. So Safeway decided to pull Grape-Nuts from the store because they were taking up valuable shelf space. Or something like that. (He was speaking really quickly and I wasn't taking notes. I had no idea there was so much drama in the food industry.)

So that part of the mystery is solved. Only one question remains: how am I going to get my Grape-Nuts fix now?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Vancouver cherry blossoms

I stumbled upon these cherry trees on my way back to the office after a meeting this afternoon.

I had decided to do the environmentally responsible thing and take public transit instead of a cab. When I emerged from the grey, concrete bowels of the Burrard SkyTrain station, I could barely believe my eyes. The escalator rose up, up, up toward a fluffy pink sky.

I felt like I was being transported to another world. A soft, fluttery, floating dream world.

Luckily, I had my camera with me. I was only there for a few minutes but it was magical. Sigh.