Inside Voice, Nerdery, Vancouvering

2 New Year’s Resolutions: Gymnastics and Drawing

Welcome, 2012.

I have 2 new things I’d like to do with you: gymnastics and drawing.

Gymnastics? Yes. I’d like to try out gymnastics, again.

Last time I was taking any gymnastics I was in the 5 to 7-year-old range, so it’s  return to youth, to recess, to trying to do something new with the body.

I’ve done a little searching and the options in adult gymnastics are scarce. Most are geared towards high-level gymnasts who want to keep training and stay in shape. I am not one of those.

I am an amateur looking to try gymnastics for 1 to 3 months. I have taught myself handstands with low consistency but can’t master the cartwheel. I’d like to be able to do a handspring and to feel comfortable with my body upside down and flipping.

Best option thus far seems to be Phoenix Gymnastics.

And drawing?

Yes. I am a terrible drawer. I have some difficulty with stick figures. Flowcharts I can must in a tortured fashion but I need some basic skills: shape, perspective, composition, scale. The fundamentals.

The search is on for a class. If you have anything to suggest, please let fly.

And all the best in 2012.

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Inside Voice, Nerdery, Vancouvering

An Inventory of the Most Dangerous Cars and Drivers in Vancouver

For the past decade I’ve been driving in Vancouver. During that time I’ve accumulated a goodly amount of knowledge about the drivers and cars on our city’s streets, and which ones that you need to watch the fuck out for.

As a public service, I now present my personal observations in a collection available for peer review and scrutiny: an inventory of the most dangerous cars and drivers in Vancouver.

The Most Dangerous Cars

It goes without saying that a few types of cars are dangerous. Cabs, of course, have no karma. Avoid them because you know they will screw you six ways to Sunday.

Models and Colours

  • Toyota Corolla — champagne is worst, followed by white.
  • Toyota Camry — like Jim Morrison’s lyrics: wandering, wandering. Again, light colours are worst.
  • Minivans — the zepplins of the road these cocoons of distractions and cup holders make side and rear visibility difficult. Their blind spot is everywhere not directly in front of them. Stay back or pass quickly.
  • Honda Civic — sometimes dangerous, sometimes not. Look for additional telltale signs, listed below.

The Most Dangerous Drivers

  • Cell phone users
  • Parents with babies and / or pets in the car
  • Those who rely on back-window mirrors or rear-view cameras
  • Those with beepers that signal when they back up (nanny sirens)
  • Hat wearers of a certain vintage
  • Those who refuse to use the indicators
  • Lazy turners who cut corners short
  • Anyone looking for a parking spot

Additional Signs of Danger

Sometimes cars that don’t match the make or colour of the ones above or without the driver attributes above can still be a hazard to your health on the road.

But like poisonous snakes and berries, telltale signs reveal their danger.

I’ve collected a list of some of the most obvious signs to watch for below, from roughly most dangerous and most obvious, to less dangerous and less obvious. If you have additions, please add them. This is public service in action.

  • Student Driver cars — need I say more?
  • Learner and New driver stickers — as above but slightly less deadly.
  • The rear-window tissue box — always foretells erratic turns.
  • Dash-mounted cartoon characters — the distraction of all that cuteness bobbing on springs must be why they’re wandering lanes.
  • Out-of-province license plates — particularly from Alberta. They’re gawking, lost and looking for parking for the steam clock or the sign to Stanley Park.
  • Car co-op and car share programs like Zipcar — these folks don’t drive much and don’t own that car they’re driving.
  • Rental cars — see both items above. Rental cars combine at least one of those elements.
  • Loaner cars from auto body shops — proof they’ve already cracked up a car.

Now please, add your findings so we can make the world a better place.

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Findings, Food, Travels, Vancouvering

Sexy Beast: the Giant Pacific Octopus

Loved this long story from Seattle’s The Stranger on the giant Pacific octopus:

Sexy Beast — The Mysteries of the Giant Pacific Octopus

Brendan Kiley captures the octopus in such a wonderful way it’s hard to not want to see one soon in my Pacific freedives.

When we snorkeled in the Mediterranean we often saw octopuses. I pointed one out to Monique one time and as soon as I pointed it saw us and turned a bright red colour. Zounds!

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