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 Main | Arlington | Vancouver : JAN.08 | Eclectic


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JANUARY 2008

01.01
We take a hike around the Acadia Beach are of Spanish Banks, along English Bay. We don't quite make it to the nude beach...but well, its too cold anyway. :)








E snaps this photo of rocks jammed inside a mammoth boulder by the force of wind and water.

While we're beachcombing, America arrives. A bald eagle flies up from the water, drops its kill on the bach and perches in a tree just dozens of meters from it. With unsteady digital zoom, T captures its poise for a few moments on film. Go bald eagle, Take over Canada!









As we drive back to Kitsilano, we climb up a hill and snap one view of the downtown city in the first twilight of the New Year. Can you tell that we love this place?
 
 
02.01

First day back at the office for T. Welcome to 2008! Its pretty quiet and all goes well. For some reason, it's easier to start writing "2008" than it ever was to start writing past new years. Is that a sign of growing too old?

We top the day off with a GREAT holiday gift from MomH. We attend a "Fit for the New Year" cooking class as a threesome, E, T, and MomM. We find street parking out front of the City Center mall and then wander down to the CookShop. Jessa Mawjery is our chef for the evening and we get front-row seats. For the next three hours, she shows us how to prepare guiltless mac'n'cheese, poached salmon with lemon-vegetable couscous and basil vinagrette, shrimp tacos with mango salsa, chicken parmigian, and poached pears with dark-chocolate drizzle. WOW, amazing food! Of course, she makes everything look easy but her running narrative builds our confidence and convinces us that we, too, can prepare food that is simple and delicious. The great thing was that her recipes were composed of ordinary ingredients and prepared in a straightforward manner. TASTY TASTY THANK YOU!
03.01

MomM heads back to the USA and the great homeland today. We coach her on the process of percolating through U.S. customs & immigration. Since there are so many flights to the USA from Vancouver, the U.S. actually "owns" a small part of the Canadian airport. You "enter the United States" right inside the airport, and then take a "domestic" flight from Vancouver to your U.S.-destination. Kinda weird!
04.01

T has his first Day of the Landmark Forum. Its 8am to 10pm with a few interstitial breaks for food and walking about. T resists the entire process with a stubborn intellectual will. How can they call their little storyline "technology?" How can "balance" be a distinction? I can see how the ability to ride a bicycle can be a distinction (you can or you cannot), but how can the property "balance" be a distinction? What the hell is going on? T does some ruminating on the notion of integrity, though, which yields some results.
05.01

The second day of the Forum is more insightful for T. In his own words, "I looked back at some of the patterns in my life and thought about where some of them came from. I realized that the dinner table growing up had some more profound impacts on my outlook than I'd first realized."
06.01

The third day of the Forum is less powerful for T, but a welcoem refresher on all the basics in reality-based spiritualism. The ultimate distinction is that 100% detachment and 100% commitment to a purpose is the most stable, reliable, fulfilling, and honest recipe for moving forward. T chooses to take initiative in being vigorous, unconstrained, and a nexus. In terms of the latter, why do groups of human fall along two trajectories? Some groups fall into lowest-common denominator behavior and other groups achieve a higher form of wisdom, synergy, and the "whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
07.01


08.01

09.01

More Landmark. T and E attend an informational session on LE's Communications Program. The presenter is good but somehoe off-putting. E gets a lot more out of the session than T; in fact, T gets discouraged and worked-up about the whole affair. It seems to him that the whole enterprise is really just as arbitrary as scientology and includes the same gamut of tricks, self-preservation efforts, and followers of varying levels of commitment and understanding. The moral of the communication-program seems to be that you cannot listen without removing yourself from all filters and you cannot speak unless it is from your position of true purpose. Fine, that makes great enlightened sense, but what about cheering at a sports game or asking someone to pass the ketchup? E's great patience calms T down and we enjoy a nice Mexican dinner.
10.01

With his team, T pays a visit to the Indian Consulate in downtown Vancouver. Behind a bullet-prood door, we are greeted by the senior attache. In true East-Indian style, we take seats on a set of white-fabric-covedred couchs, sip great Indian tea with milk and sweetness, and eat some small sweets passed around on a Correlle dinner plate. We discuss the prospects for enhanced cooperation between Canada and India and specifically the province and Calcutta through the local laboratory and the remote lab VECC.
11.01

T and E explore the downtown corridor of Davie Street. We poke around a bookstore and see a great collection of Canadian fiction. We have dinner at Takis Taverna, a great Greek restaurant. We order a mezza plate for two, though, that ends up being mostly fried food. Sadness. But the section of town is very fun and we have a nice evening.
12.01

T heads over to the lab to hear two high-school physics lectures. Director Nigel gives a good, solid talk about particle physics and the Higgs bosons. Belying his rigorous upbringing as an experimentalist, he talks about the intellectual motivations. He has invented his own demonstration of the Higgs EWSB, which is pretty profound. His delivery at the lecture isn't well-enough organized to capture everyone, but it is brilliant. One can make the analogy between magnetic ordering in a ferromagnet and the symmetry of the Hiuggs field. Attach a steel nail to a magnet; apply blow torch until the nail crosses the Curie temperature. Poof! At a high-enough temperature, the nail resumes ubroken symmetry. It falls off the magnet. Then, watch as the nail cools...as it crosses the Curie temperature, its magnetic symmetry is spontaneously broken and the nail sticks again to the magnet. A magnetic field from the nail is spontaneously established that pervades all space. Just as in analogy with the Higgs condensation that that W, Z bosons mass. The second lecture on philosophy of science is extremely good. Byron explains the nature of science, model-building, the fallacy but utility of falsification, the creative art of model building, and the successive improvement of appropriate approximation thereof. See more at his online papers. // We set up our budget and financial outlook for 2008. Gosh darn...if we plan to spend money, then its spent! Who woulda thunk? We make a trek to IKEA Richmond in the evening to make an exchange. To top the day off, we watch Adam Sandler's "Chuck and Larry" movie on DVD. Its not as offensive as some had told us, and its got a sweet ending. Not as powerful as "Click" and the always-forgets-the-last-date movie, but good fun.
13.01

We take our first of "50 City Walks" around Vancouver, courtesy the little book from MomH. We check out QE Park. WOW. The park is near the top of a hill and includes beautiful views of English Bay and all around the city. We see over to Burnaby! The two quarry gardens are really cool, too, like Japanese gardens. At the top of the hill is the Seasons restaurant.
14.01

15.01

Cold, clear, beautiful weather.
16.01

17.01

T has dinner with a visiting group of international dignitaries. He manages to dimly avoid insulting the Korean and Japanese participants. // Visiting squad Nyar and Assenav are thrilled to to be here in Vancouver and are looking for housing for their actual March move.
18.01

19.01


20.01

T, Nyar, and Assenav head out into a perfect morning to get some exercise. We park at Spanish Banks then go for a light jog out along the beach, reaching the rocky shores of Acadia. We pick our way along at a slower pace, marvel at some watch towers, and then walk up a muddy slope to find ourselves at the base UBC campus. What a great way to spend the morning! Back at the house, T preps and then heads out to the airport with boss NL. We're off to Odd-a-wa for business.
21.01

T visits the great town of Ottawa for work. I travel with my boss NL and we stayed at the Brookstreet Hotel out in Kanata, a far-flung suburb in the plains surrounding Odd-a-wa. Its cold, clear, snow-covered, and eerie. Much of Canada is vast and silent. The hotel was AWESOME. We arrived at midnight after a long taxi ride, and although the bar and restaurant were closed, they agreed to bring us room service at some of the lounge tables! // Today, we tour some kick-ass facilities for a company that manufactures medical isotopes (ooh, cerenkov radiation!!) and then meet with some sincere, genuine folks that work in public service. We meet with the chairman of our Board for peanuts and appetizers at a downtown hotel and then we're off to the airport to fly back to Vancouver.
22.01

E's photgraphics seize her for several moment while headed downtown at nightfall. She wakes up to find the car pulled over and the camera in her hands with these photos on the roll. Great work! Not only was the jet contrail so clear and distinct, but the blue light of sunset was striking.
 
23.01


We discover a kick-ass restaurant near our apartment, just one block away. Brown's Social House not only is open late (midnight on weeknights and 1am on weekends), but the food is quite good. We have some pan-sauteed mushrooms with garlic and soy sauce that blow the roofs of our mouths and taste awesome. The beer of the evening is awesome; Brown's special lager. It has not bitterness but finishes with a root vegetable twang that makes you reach for more. Sweet!
24.01

25.01


26.01

We take a trip to the USA! Dear friend Ayirp from high school is visiting Seattle for a conference and some job interviews in pediatric/fetal cardiology. We drive the 150 miles south to visit her for the evening. Along the way, we encounter brief snow, zero line at the border crossing, and a short stop at Costco to make an exchange. What multi-national shoppers we are! We even buy gasoline in the USA to save $1 per gallon. We meet Ayirp's cousins and talk about good restaurants in Vancouver with them. Lots more to check out in our new adopted home! We have a great time catching up with Ayirp and we talk about the past as well as some glimpses of the future. It easy to feel boxed in and constrained if you think too hard about all the "reasons" that you must do things a certain way... // We depart her place around midnight and make the long trek back to Vancouver without incident. Awesome!
27.01

T is delighted to receive a note from LizP at U.S. NRC asking for some thoughts about the upcoming annual meeting of the Committee of Judges, or as it is more locally called, the Report Review Committee. Flattered to still be part of that family, if perhaps now in the extended part. E continues studying for the GMAT in earnest and T does a lot of reading and writing of strategic position papers about the lab.
28.01

T wakes up early to do some extra work by e-mail. Its chilly at 4:30am but very quiet. All workdays should be this peaceful! We miss the State of the Union speech for our dear friend U.S. President Bush, but we cope. T attends the first session of his Landmark Education "seminar." T derives some insights from the evening. It looks like a key component of the Landmark method is a weird analogue to Pascal's Wager. Landmark insists that we often limit our possibilities, our future, by imagining a lot of constraints and complications. In a sense they encourage spiritual/pyschological risk taking. Why not try saying something big and impossible about who we want to be or contribute? Because the "odds are" that our perception of impossibility is clouded by ignorance, the odds are that the universe will align more with a stated intention that we realize, and the odds are that psychological confirmation bias will let us only remember when things DID work out. So like Pascal's Wager, why not aim for something extra large and big? Odds are it will work out! Now wasn't that an intellectual argument!
29.01

Snowfall! Starting last night, snow has fallen for almost 12 hours! Its just around the freezing point, so the snow is wet and heavy. It accumulates to at least 2.54 cm and coats everything with a white fluffy softness. Noble steed Penelope surmounts the slushy, icy challenge without incident; so much so that T is able to snap some photographs from the car. (still to be uploaded!)
30.01

T's supervisor has a nice car and he protects it like a baby. As a result, he doesn't want to drive his car in the snow and ice. Have you given your boss a ride to work today? :)
31.01


In anticipation of of our trip to the USA this weekend, T runs arouns town retrieving U.S. $$. Rushing into the bank just as it gets locked us, I withdraws Canadian dollars and then heads to the late-late currency-exchange shop on Robson. I get a good conversion rate and then head back to the office, a bit beaten down by traffic and grey skies. Later in the evening, I head over to my first seminar-group meeting. Our host has a great pad on Pacific that overlooks English Bay. After some tea and a refreshed on the current astrological signage (weird! but fun to listen to), we discuss our lives and our objectives. A good space to stop in and catch one's breath.

 

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