In Living Color

Went to Santana Row today. Saw Shawn Wayans walking around. He’s as good looking in person and super tall, but it could have been amplified by the fact that there was a shorter than average sized guy walking beside him. Maybe they were doing research for the Wayans’ film studio/theme park/mall in Oakland. I wonder how that will work out.
I really need to get a camera phone.  They also had the Italian festival going on today. Lots of funny picture opportunities,  especially since the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest accordionist”, Dick Contino, was there playing your stereotypical Italian songs. Here’s this old guy with a mullet of white curly hair up there on the stage singing his heart out like Tony Bennett wearing a blousey tank top that has a v-neck that goes down to his belly button. You can get a glimpse of it on his website. Then he pulled out the accordion. Looking at his website it seems like he has a successful career in Las Vegas. Why is Vegas a magnet for these types of performers?


Remembrance of Things Past

It’s a little strange when someone from your past gets in contact with you out of nowhere. It’s happened a few times with me. These were people that I knew either since I was about seven or since high school. First, all these things that I had long forgot come floating to the top of my memory. Then emails go back and forth, but it’s not until you talk to someone on the phone that you get a sense of who they are now. 10-15 years is a huge chunk of time. People change, but in some ways they don’t. So the conversations can feel like I’m talking to a friend of a friend. I feel like I know them because I’ve heard all the stories about them through my friend (in this case my 15-year old self). But once I start talking to them they’re different from who I thought they’d be. In some ways my impressions were correct, but then they say something that makes me think, “Who are you?!” And in the next breath they say something that sounds just like the person you knew, and it’s “Oh okay, it is you.”


Wal-Mart to Offer Generic Drugs for $4

So I’m reading my morning news and see that Wal-Mart is piloting a program in Florida where they’ll sell 291 generic prescription drugs for $4 for a 30-day supply. According to the article, those drugs typically cost $10-$30. But I love how their PR is spinning it as “we care for our customers” – they quote Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott, Jr.

Each day in our pharmacies we see customers struggle with the cost of prescription drugs. By cutting the cost of many generics to $4, we are helping to ensure that our customers and associates get the medicines they need at a price they can afford.

Yeah right, I’m sure that they really care about the health of their customers. They definitley have one of the worst health insurance coverages for their employees.
If this flies in Florida it will probably help increase Wal-Mart’s sales revenue. Think about it – If your average senior is paying $30 for a month one prescription, and they probably have about five that they’re on, then they’re paying about $150 a month or $1800 a year. But if they’re paying just $4 for that same prescription, it’s only $240 a year! So that frees up a lot of money to spend at Wal-Mart while you’re picking up your meds. And you’re probably buying products that have a higher mark-up translating into more money for the company.

Yes it’s good that grandma and grandpa won’t have to break the bank to eat, but Wal-Mart isn’t kidding anyone that they’re doing it from the goodness of their heart.



Brendon and I usually take our vacation in the fall, after all the kids go back to school. 5 years ago we got stuck up on the top of a mountain with no way to get choppered down since North American airspace was shut down (and I thought I was an only child for a few hours-still phone or message my sisters every 11 Sept). This year went off without a hitch.

We got back from our touristy trip to SoCal last night: L.A. (Getty, Hollywood, Beverly Hills), Disneyland, San Diego (Zoo, Wild Animal Park, and SeaWorld). Felt like we’d been gone for a few weeks rather than just 9 days.

L.A. feels much newer than San Francisco. It’s smaller than I remember. I guess it’s just the traffic that makes it seem big. And maybe the big egos that drive around in it. The Getty is huge. Hollywood Blvd cleaned up – feels like Granville St. And Santa Monica’s Third Street is what Granville Street should be. L.A. and Vancouver are sister cities – one’s the sunny blonde, the other the brooding brunette.

If you go to Disneyland you have to go on the Hollywood Tower of Terror – i won’t tell you want it does, you won’t expect it, and you will scream. Pirates of the Carribean was still good – they didn’t mess it up by altering scenes to fit the movies. Astro Blasters was like being in a video game – a children’s game, but still. And I’m making a note that I will be pulling children out of school when the time comes to go to Disneyland, so we don’t have to deal with insanely long lines and heat. We didn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes – and that was without the FastPass.

San Diego feels like Vancouver, but warmer and with military. (S.D. is probably the one place I’ve been with the most bases in the area. Northern Ireland was the most fortified.) The Gaslamp Quarter is like Gastown, except more restaurants (steak, mexican and italian mainly). And the new buildings downtown look like the new buildings in Downtown Vancouver. I wonder how much that has to do with Bosa building in both places. And there’s way too much walking uphills and in heat at the San Diego Zoo, but worth it to see all the cute animals. The Wild Animal Park was better in my opinion – do that first so you learn all about the animals and follow-me marks. Passed Camp Pendleton where my dad was stationed before Vietnam. And saw the rather sad/weird/scary illegal immigrant crossing caution sign on the highway.

Coming back we barrelled up the I-5, past the Day Fire and into the desert with artificial rivers. It was very strange to see dust devils and lush farmland side by side. I now know where all my food comes from – garlic trucks smell nice, cattle farms (forests as Brendon called them since it was wall-to-wall cows) smell bad.

Pictures will come…just have to get them off the camera and the iPod and up on to Flickr.

Next planned trip – back to Canada for a white Christmas.


Gettin’ Drunk at Disneyland

So I’m putting together various playlists for our trip down to SoCal. After searching for “Disneyland” on iTunes, I stumbled across the funniest song I’ve heard yet about the place, Gettin Drunk at Disneyland sung by some guy called Fig to the tune of Enter Sandman by Metallica. You can read the lyrics here.

I think my favorite line before the song starts:

I hope you kids realize we’re spending all your college money on this trip to Disneyland.