Thursday, December 30, 2004

Islands and Alpacas

Sorry it's been a while since I last posted. I went to Vancouver Island with my parents for four days. Greg was supposed to come, but at the last minute was scheduled to work (he'd taken time off due to the liver damage). So it was just me and my parents, although Claire and her parents were already in Victoria, so we met up with them for dinners and other activities.

The trip had a few highlights, including the ridiculously good food had at the Sooke Harbour House, makers of amazing hot chocolate and incredible minted strawberry ice cream. The set menu format, with four courses, did mean the meal was somewhat lengthy. I think we were at the restaurant for four hours, in the end.

Also, Claire's mom, Marie, drove us to see Claire's cousins' new puppy, and labrador-poodle (labradoodle?) named chester, who was adorable. Then Claire and I went shopping a little. I found a pair of pants that I loooved, but they didn't have them in my size (argh!). Claire found some cute pyjamas at La Senza, with polar bears (so cute).

My mom taught me how to knit on the ferry ride to the island. I can't say that I'm as proficient as Tessa (I'm leaving the whole bead thing up to you), and certainly not as good as my mom, who knits at a rate comparable to machines, but I'm not too bad, and I seem to have mastered the whole "even knit" thing, so after making a sizable block, which I'm told is called a "sampler", we went in search of a wool store. We first went to a needlework store, the Button and Needlework Boutique, and they pointed us in the right direction, to the Beehive Wool Shop, which was HUGE. Apparently, it's the biggest wool store in BC. It has so many different kinds of wool I never knew existed, and was quite the adventure for me. There was this gorgeously-soft "rowan" wool (I haven't the slightest idea what that means, but it was beautiful). It was also, however, $17 for 140m. I ended up with some pure Alpaca wool, at $7.50 for 180m. Not cheap, but super soft, and a pretty colour, so I can make a scarf (I enjoy straight lines, as they're far simpler). I'm pretty happy with it, if only because saying "Alpaca" is a lot of fun.

Today we basically just made our way back home. Picked up some sushi for the ferry ride, and drove to Schwartz Bay. On the ferry, I found a book of logic problems (yes, I'm a dork. Get over it), as well as the new Martha Stewart Weddings (woo!). So the ferry ride ended up being quite nice.

All in all, a good trip. Although I'm glad to be home. I was starting to go crazy, what with only my prents to socialize with (Claire and her parents left on the 29th), and Victoria being somewhat small.

And in a few days, school starts again! Yikes.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas at Casa Jan

Christmas's Past;

5:00 am
(us running downstairs to the living room)
(we go back to bed, so as not to wake the Ghost of Christmas Grouchiness (my mom) or the Ghost of Laborious Christmas Chart-Making (my dad))

7:00 am
Greg and J-Bird: Wakeupwakeupwakeup! It's time for PRESENTS!
Parents: Nngh.
(Greg and I run down stairs and hyperventilate with anticipation)
Greg and J-Bird: Dad, hurry up!
Dad: Just wait, I have to have glass of orange juice first!
(10 minute pause. Seems like 3 years)
Dad: Okay, I'm finished my orange juice. Now just let me find the ruler...
Greg and J-Bird: Noooooo! Why do you have to make the gift chart every yeeeeaar? Why can't you make it yesterday? Why can't we just open our presents!?
Mom: (crossly) Oh, just let him make the chart.
(20 minute pause, while Ghost of Laborious Christmas Chart-Making finds a ruler, pen, and clipboard, draws up a chart worthy of a draftsman's certificate, and then settles himself with pen, chart, and ruler, should there be any unanticipated gifts. Us kids annoy the hell out of my mom, until she makes her annual proclamation of Christmas being a Waste of Time)
Dad: Okay, now, let's see, Greg first, this one's from Aunty Paula, so that's...square B4. Okay, go ahead, I'm ready.

5:00 am
Greg: J-Bird! Get up! It's Christmas!
J-Bird: Nngh.

8:00 am
see 1989-1999, 7:00 am

Christmas Present

5:00 am
(everyone is sleeping. I awaken, to smell Christmas baking. My mother has gotten up at 5 am on Christmas morning to bake. I go back to sleep)

9:00 am
Greg and J-Bird: Okay, we're up! Let's open presents!
Dad: Well, you slept in long enough for me to start a grapefruit, so you're going to have to wait until I'm done.
Greg: Oh god, we'll be here forever. Where's mom?
J-Bird: She's been baking since at least 5. I wonder if dad's made the chart.
Greg: Oh God.
Dad: I thought I wouldn't make the chart this year.
Greg and J-Bird: YAY! It's a Christmas Miracle!
Dad: Okay, I'm almost halfway through the grapefruit...

Yep, you heard me right. No chart. The Ghost of Labourious Christmas Chart-Making has retired. And my mom was relatively un-grouchy this year, baking and all. Merry Christmas, everyone.

He Sprang To His Sleigh, To His Team Gave A Whistle,

And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he flew out of sight,

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Friday, December 24, 2004

And On Christmas Eve...My Brother Is A Moron

So, I was just sitting in the TV room, reading a book, while my brother was watching Sportsnet, and they replayed that clip of Artest losing his mind, and I said "ugh". My brother's response? "What? I think the fan (expletive) deserved it." This was the opening of a dispute between the two of us, which basically comes down to the fact that he believes that if someone calls him a name, he now has full right to beat the crap out of him. I, I'd like to make very clear, do not. I happen to be one of those people that doesn't think violence should ever be the answer, although I understand that sometimes it's the only response available (say, as in self-defense). His rebuttal? "If a guy's pointing a gun at your face, the law says it's okay to kill him." Um, there are conditions to that, and it's only because it's assumed that the guy is trying to kill you. Also? While I don't believe in breaking the law when it comes to violence, I don't think the laws as they are writ are necessarily the best definitions of morality.

His arguments got more infuriating as the discussion went on. And when I told him that no, when someone calls you names, the law does NOT accord you the right to punch them, his response was "Well, I don't agree with the law most of the time. The law is wrong." Then don't use it as part of your supporting argument, idiot. Ugh, I was so angry. That kind of world-view is exactly what modern laws are trying to prevent, and is apparently even more prevalent in our world than I'd previously believed.

So for Christmas, I'm wishing for peace, and happiness for all, as well as for the remaining countries to sign the Kyoto Accord. I'm looking at you, States.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Good Food

So today, I went with Amanda, Evi, Geoff, Sean, Joan and Marijka to The Roc, an establishment serving that most delightful of brunches, dim sum. Quite frankly, I would guess that dim sum is the most frequently mentioned food on this blog. That is because it is Incredibly Tasty. Anyhow, we had a lovely lunch, made all the more exciting by the erroneous address listing of the phone book, and the novel 'self serve' policy they seem to have regarding tea and cups. However, the entire meal came to $4.50 a person, and we were all stuffed. Afterwards, we headed to La Casa Gelato, Land of Ice Cream Goodness, where I had one scoop of Chestnut, and one scoop of Peach Plum Jasmine gelato. Needless to say, I've been having some pretty impressive food today.

Also, I went Christmas shopping (again. I refuse to do more, I'm going mad. And broke), and read some of Sophie's World, which I've never read, but am quite enjoying.

And that's just today! In the past few days, I have: gone to the new Park Royal Village, where I had a lovely hot chocolate at Cafe D'Artigiano (seriously, best hot chocolate ever), and went into Kiss and Makeup, a new makeup store (fell in LOVE with Fresh products). I met my friend's puppy (beyond cute), saw Spanglish (really liked it, but it's far more drama than romantic comedy), attended a tacky gift exchange party where I received a pair of cow slippers in return for the beeswax tree ornament depicting a nativity scene that I donated (clearly I came out on top there), went to the seniors' residence to volunteer, AND visited the Festival of Lights with my lovely sorority girls. Phew. That was a long list.

PS It's Hil's birthday today. So happy birthday Hil! You're awesome!

Monday, December 20, 2004

What Christmas Is All About: Mexican Food

I spent all afternoon, and good part of the evening, shopping yesterday. It was somewhat productive, but not nearly enough. I still have seven presents to get. Seven! Ugh, far too many.

On the bright side, after the shopping, I went to a Christmas Party at Girly's house. There were many fine guests, Amanda, Evi, and Tessa among them. It was good times, and included such wonderful foodstuffs as 5 layer dip, and mini Jamaican Patties. I don't have the slightest inkling as to the recipe for the patties, but for the dip (which is a hit at any party) I do in fact know the recipe, and so, you will be treated to your very first Never Reason Recipe;

5 layer dip

Refried beans
Guacamole (ie. avocados, lemon juicce, diced tomatos, maybe some sour cream)
Sour Cream
Grated Cheddar

1. Get a large serving platter. Something with some depth. Kind of like a big plate with a wall around it. Or a bowl with a flat bottom. Hell, just use a casserole with a large surface area.

2. Spread the ingredients all over the bottom in this order (like in layers): refried beans, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, cheddar.

3. Grab some tortilla chips, cause you're done!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Events Are Once Again Occuring!

I have stuff to tell again! Yay!

(Note the first two paragraphs are pretty tedious, and extremely girly. If you're a guy, don't say I didn't warn you)

So, today I woke up in the morning and had a long shower, that involved a lot of shampoo, for two reasons. One, (and sorry, this is kinda gross) what with exams and studying, I hadn't had time to wash my hair in the past week (yes, I showered. I just didn't wash my hair. I have long hair, okay?!), so it took several shampoos to clean it. Approximately four. Two, I realized after I washed my hair that there was no soap in my shower. I'm not entirely sure what happened to it, I think maybe Greg just steals the soap into the other shower. Anyway, by then I was sopping wet, so I ended up washing with shampoo. Which I have to say, is not as nice.

After that, I went to get my eyebrows threaded, and am now thankfully bright-eyed and not-so-bushy browed. I then went on a rampage. I had three hours in which to buy three Christmas presents, all for cousins. With a little help from Claire, I managed to get it done, and even have time for sushi! Also, she introduced me to the wonder that is Purdy's English Toffee. If you like skor bars, this is your dessert.

The paternal side of the Jan Clan had Christmas dinner tonight. I have two little cousins, and I always get them books. Since they've already opened their gifts, and don't read this anyway, I'll list them;

The Reluctant Dragon, by Kenneth Grahame
The Balloon Tree, by Phoebe Gilman
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
Madeline, by Ludwig von...something. It's Madeline, you know the one.

They were well received, which was nice. The dinner was fun, and included a heavenly cranberry-apple sauce. Mmmm, apple sauce.

Friday, December 17, 2004


Well, the finals for this term are finally over. Thank goodness. However, I've now realized that for about three weeks, my main mechanism of distraction is no longer available. What on earth am I going to do with myself? Oh well, I'll figure something out, I'm sure.

The finals went okay. They weren't phenomonal, but I had a pretty good start with my midterms, so I'm not too concerned. And they're over, so I no longer have to list Woodward Library as an alternate mailing address, which is kind of nice.

I'd try to type something interesting here, but let's face it; very little happens to someone when they spend almost every waking hour in a biomedical library. So you're going t have to wait until after tomorrow, when I venture back out into the real world, before I can be expected to produce something interesting. Until then, to tide you over, check out It's pretty good times.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Halfway There, Or Halfway To Go?

I've done half my exams, which is a relief. Unfortunately, I woke up this morning, and could feel a cold seeping its way through my body, and as of now it has definitely taken over. So I'm trying to study with a brain cavity full of fluff. Clearly I'm extremely productive.

In happy news, a friend of mine just got a puppy! I'm excited to see it. Her name is Chloe, and she's a little maltese, and let's face it, all puppies are entirely adorable.

Talked with some friends today. One of them asked if I was seeing anyone (HA! No.), and I realized that instead of finding some new guy to distract myself, I've instead just poured myself into school, studying way more than I would have had the ex and I not broken up, or if we'd never dated at all and I was still single. This isn't a bad thing; my grades have sky-rocketed, and ultimately they'll probably have a bigger effect on my life. Perhaps I should tell him so, next time I see him.

"Thanks for dumping me, my grades have gone up by a lot!"

Monday, December 13, 2004


The crisis mentioned last post has been resolved, so that's good. I had an exam this morning, that I think went well, so that's good. I have an exam tomorrow, and I'm not nearly ready for it, so that's bad. I also have two more exams on Friday, that I am also completely unprepared for, and that's also bad. And, on a more personal note, I was once again reminded of the "one step forward, one step back" principle of my life, so that's bad (because the most recent was a step back).

Saturday, December 11, 2004


So, things have been a little hectic lately. My dad lost his job, which is always stressful. One of my best friends has just broken up with her boyfriend, right in the middle of exam period, and is understandably pretty upset. And now, when my own personal life had just kind of started to settle down, something has happened that I didn't even hear about until way after the fact, and now I'm pretty sure someone thinks I stabbed them in the back, and isn't speaking to me, and I don't know what to do, because I didn't do anything.

This sucks. All this weird, awkward, "not talking often because, well, it's awkward" has now officially resulted in a huge misunderstanding, and I feel totally crappy, and there's nothing I can do about it. I hate feeling totally unable to do anything. Why doesn't the crappiness ever STOP?!

Friday, December 10, 2004


Everything goes wrong at once. Just let everyone get out of exams in one piece with decent grades. Also, bad things? You have horrible, horrible timing. And I hate you.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Attack Of The Spores

So T has mold growing in her apartment. It's somewhat localized, in her closet, but it's pretty persistent in chewing through anything it can. And it's gross. She's had a cough for a few weeks now (and hence the broken rib), and we think it's coming from the spores being released by the mold. Her landlords agree with us, and apparently the last tenant "had to leave, because she was allergic to something". ie. SPORES. Naturally, T isn't terribly pleased, especially since she keeps coughing, but there isn't much that can be done. Her and her landlords have been trying to find solutions, but her desperation is clearly growing, as she keeps trying to find something that will work. Crazy-sounding conversation follows:

T: My landlords got me a dehumidifier, to control the spores.
Me: Is it helping?
T: It makes the air too dry to breathe, and then I can't sleep.
T: I think I'm going to stick the dehumidifier in the closet (ostensibly to kill the spores), and then open the window (to let more humid air in), and put the fan next to my bed with a damp cloth over it (again to increase humidity).
Me: ...
T: What?
Me: Them spores is a bitch.
T: Tell me about it. Gahd!

So...spores 1, T 0. Yep, they may be tiny, but they'll teach you good.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Last night I watched The Ladykillers with some friends. I wasn't terribly impressed, but I definitely liked it better than any other Tom Hanks movie I've seen. In general I find him too sickly sweet and "I'm just an average guy" for me. He seems contrived.

Talked to Girly last night. She's been sick, and the doctor says she has either mono or strep throat, so we're clearly all rooting for the strep throat, because I like to steal her food. That and her love interest will be entering stage left (from Montreal) in a couple of weeks, and mono means no kissin' for Girly.

That's pretty much all I have to say. My time has been pretty much all spent in the library. Ah, psychology. How you encourage my literacy.

(Note: It's been a long few days, I'm sorry if I'm loopy)

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Christmas Cookies

Today, I went to Tessa's house, and Anna, Tessa and I made Christmas cookies. They were lemon-y, and really, really good. So good, in fact, that we ate every cookie we made. It was awesome. We also watched Holiday Inn, which was pretty good, except that both of the men in the movie were, honestly, not that appealing. One was a total jerk, a womanizer who used people to his advantage, and the other was a coward, and sneaky. Anyway, the movie had what I assume was meant to be a happy ending, so that was okay. And the costumes were cool. I love old clothes.


Last night, the Order of Omega (a greek honours society) held Songfest, a competition where all chapters that are inclined to do so put on a musical number, with all the singing and dancing normally in such performances. Proceeds go to a different charity every year; this year, they were donated to the BC Burned Children Fund. I, being horribly uncoordinated, was not part of my sorority's performance, so I took part by being on the judging panel. All of the shows were really great. Some groups performed some pretty original selections: Rocky Horror, Willy Wonka. Others picked staples like West Side Story, Cabaret, and Rent. As for my girls, they did a Fosse mix, that included "Sing Sing Sing" and "Hernando's Hideaway". I must profess that I'm not terribly familiar with musicals, but to me it was a good choice, because I'd heard the songs before, but had no preconceptions whatsoever as to how they should be performed (I didn't even know who Fosse was). I'd like to end this paragraph by saying that we WON.

Now, I'm not sure how to say this without bragging, but they were amazing. I tried to make sure I didn't show it too much, but while I was watching from the judges' row, I was physically shaking I was so proud of them. We had at least twice as many people on the stage as anyone else, and the choreography, to me, looked professional. Granted, I can't claim that the girls were at Broadway-caliber level of synchronization, but Dew (who gets major, major props for doing so much ahrdwork, including all the choreography) could have a career in choreography if she wanted.

To warn you, I'm now going to describe some aspects of the performance, in detail, so if you're uninterested, feel free to skip this.

There were two groups of dancers; the "boys", and the "girls". The boys were wearing black pants, black long sleeve shirts, a pink tie, white gloves with pink cuffs, and a black bowler hat with a pink ribbon and a pink feather. The girls wore black dresses (knee length with slits) that had a crossing strap and a pink sash, and a pink, sort of Alice in Wonderland-style hairband, with their hair backcombed a little behind it. The costumes were all the same, because we all made the pink accents together, and Ariko made all the dresses. To measurement. When the first group (the boys) first came on stage, the girls behind me said "they look so good". I'm not going to try to describe the dancing, because really, that never works. I will say, however, that my favourite part was with the canes.

After the show was over, we all went to the Pit to celebrate. I was wearing my new shirt from Express, and actually having a good hair day, and so was feeling pretty good. Plus, I got lots of compliments, which is always nice. I basically just mingled, danced, and danced more. I had a really, really good time, and it was a great way to cap off what has been an unexpectedly good term.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Holiday Dinner!

The sorority had our annual Holiday Dinner tonight. It was really, really good. Not only were there ridiculous amounts of food, but the house was also full of amazing people (of course).

We also got our Holiday gifts; I got a really pretty pair of earrings, made of shell, in the colour I own everything in. I love them, and will definitely wear them soon.

It is, however, 1 am, and I'm pretty tired, so I'm going to go to bed. Definitely time to get some sleep. 'night, all.