Automatica

I have a bit of a beef with automatic units in washrooms. Auto flush urinals are great, you walk up, do your thing, and when you walk, away it flushes, once, this however, is not the case with auto flush toilets. My school, Langara College has a lot of auto-flush toilets and recently, I have tried to become more self conscious about being ecological. I have never really bought bottled water, but that’s mainly out of principle since I just think it’s silly to pay such a premium for a resource that is pumped directly into your house, I have also tried to be aware of what I buy, and what I throw away.

Along my journey to ecological nirvana, I have found the auto-flush toilets at Langara to be extremely wasteful. They flush when you walk into a stall, they flush when you stand up from the toilet, and they’ll give you a goodbye flush as you leave the stall. My friend Alisa informs me that they’re fun when you shake your bum at them, and I understand the sanitary reasoning behind having auto-flush devices, but surely they’re only needed for post-washing devices like the towel dispenser or hand dryer.

Once we’ve finished what we came in to do, we get to the drying issue, this all of course is provided you wash your hands, if not, you may as well stop reading. Paper towels work like a charm, and if you’ve had the privilege to dry your hands in a place where they have actual cotton towels, then you really don’t need to be reading this either, but for the rest of us, we know paper towels really aren’t that great because it just becomes garbage afterwards, and some automatic paper dispenser, like the one at my work is infuriating, it won’t give paper when you wave in front of it, but you’ll be on the other side of the room and it will randomly advance the roll, so if you’re going to have one, please change the settings to automatically advance once one piece has been ripped, I like those the best!

After paper, we have air to help us dry our hands, Dyson Airblades are not only cool, but by far the best hand dryers out there. The old “press button, receive bacon” models are awful and outdated:

bacon

I think we all need to be aware of the choices that we’re making in our lives and to be aware of what’s going on around us, not just go day-to-day through the paces. Maybe there are settings that could be changed so that the toilets wouldn’t flush so frequently, or they can lower their inherent eagerness to flush, I don’t know, I”ll leave it to the people at Dyson, they seem to have it figured out.

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Tweet Tweet

I have been on Twitter for close to two years now, and oddly enough, I have won a boatload of stuff off it, something I never would have expected when I signed up, mainly because I didn’t know that sort of thing went on, and as I rarely win anything, but that’s changed!

Most recently I won a Batavus bicycle from Hot Deals Donovan who runs the Vancouver branch of HotDealsLive.com and from Rain City Bikes (website here).

Here’s a picture of my lovely new cycle:

This was an especially nice prize to win as my bike was stolen a few years ago and I haven’t had one since.

Other prizes I’ve won on twitter have included, a Ukelele from Tim Tamashiro, weekend host of Tonic on CBC Radio 2 (it’s still on its way, but I’ll have a photo up once I get it!), I also won tickets to a Canucks open practice, which I gave to my friend Steph, who is a big Canucks fan, and all-round awesome person. Shortly after the Canucks tickets, I won tickets to see Alice In Chains from Live Nation, which I also subsequently gave to my friend, Klayton, who is a big fan of them and I knew would have loved to seen them.

In the past I had won premiere tickets to Terminator 4 and The Hangover from the Warner Brothers’ Rep in Vancouver, although it seems like they expect you to do more work for tickets nowadays. I also got a prize pack from Granville Island Brewing as mentioned in my previous post.

Those of you reading this likely already have twitter, but if you don’t, it’s worth signing up for, if just for the prizes!

You can follow me here, and you can follow posts from Through My RayBans here.

The Streets

Anyone know what happend to The Streets (Mike Skinner)? They’re/he’s one of my favorite artists and last year was fantastic, he updated his twitter daily and posted free songs weekly but now, he hasn’t tweeted since March 8th and his site hasn’t been updated in close to a year! Where are you Mike?

Stickgolf

I have recently become quite fond (read: addicted) to Noodle Cake Games‘ Stickgolf. I don’t like golf one bit, but I love playing this game, a very straight forward, 2D golf game. There are currently twelve 9-hole courses to choose from, with my favorites being:

Moonbase:

The Cliffs:

I have started a competition with my friend Will to see who can get the better score on Moonbase, with Will having the slight advantage, beating my -29 with a -30 (world high score is -32). The game, which is available for download from the iTunes store goes for a measly 99¢, and although I downloaded it for free from Free App A Day, I’d say the game, for all its entertainment value, could easily go for $5. Really worth downloading.

Thirty-two

My favorite number is thirty-two. I like thirty-two because it’s unique, few people likely have thirty-two as their favorite number and there have been a lot of times when the number has been in my life.

When I was in grade ten, I went on an exchange to Bremen, Germany. Bremen have a profesional soccer team, some of you may know, Werder Bremen. Back in 2003, there was a player named Aílton Gonçalves da Silva, better known as just “Ailton”, who played for Werder. To me, he was a lumbering striker, who looked more likely to be in a buffet line-up than a professional soccer team’s starting line-up. Nevertheless, Ailton was my favorite, and a phenomenal striker too, very prolific, as most Brazilians are.

Ailton’s number was thirty-two.

Thirty-two has appeared in other aspects of my life too.

I attended BCIT Aerospace and graduated from the Aircraft Gas Turbine Technician program; we were class thirty-two. Upon graduation I got a job with Pratt & Whitney Canada in Lethbridge, Alberta, working in their facility that is known as Plant thirty-two. Highway 99 is the nearest highway to my house, and to get home I have to take exit thirty-two. Zombieland Rule thirty-two: Enjoy the Little Things. Oh, and this week is my brother’s birthday, he turns thirty-two, happy birthday, Duncan!

Textbooks

I thought I’d share the following list of ideas for acquiring inexpensive textbooks that I was introduced to this time last year, since it was very helpful.

List of resources I used and/or recommend

Facebook Marketplace – great for local searches as it first displays results from your networks. Private message ensures privacy. Lots of haggling room available. Be sure to ask for notes for free.

Save on Book – UBC student’s “secret” tool. Pretty convenient since most people have their cellphone numbers on there. Another local resource and notes are usually thrown in. Lots of texts available!

Craigslist – The somewhat “sketchy” corner of the internet… the search is a bit more difficult as a lot of SFU and BCIT books are mixed in.

Bookfinder – This gives you a rough idea of how much the books are being sold online. Just enter the ISBN numbers and it’ll search the corners of the internet for you

Amazon – A bit pricy than the local alternatives ($2 book, $15 shipping, grr!), but they usually have the right editions here. Used books option also available.

Bookmeat – Very minimalistic and organized website, no search option but browsing through courses is easy. Not TOO comprehensive. People who want to sell it go there and list their asking price, save % (GREAT feature), book condition, and contact info.

UBC AMS Sub – “In the basement there is a massive wall filled with for sale textbooks!”

Bigwords – “Bigwords compares all the best textbook stores at once finding the sweetest, cheapest textbook deals on the planet”

Bookrenter: Students on average save more than $500 a year when they rent their college textbooks from bookrenter.com. Bookrenter.com is easy to use with free shipping both ways and over 3 million books to choose from.

Friends/Family/Coworkers – seriously, ask EVERYONE if they have taken/know someone who have taken the courses you have. Turns out one of my coworkers had a few Econ books to give away from his BCIT days!

The original list is courtesy of Phoebe Yu, and I thank her for this! I’ve personally used Facebook, Save on Book, Craigslist, and Bigwords to great results. I apologise if this post has brought on emotions to the realisation that summer is coming to an end, I too feel the pain.

Major League Soccer

The Vancouver Whitecaps are joining Major League Soccer next season, and I am going to be there. Not only do I have my deposit down for season’s tickets, but I have also joined the Southsiders, who are the Whitecaps’ only supporter’s group.

Although the season doesn’t begin until March, I am very excited for this to get going. I think back to the games I went to see in Bremen, standing in the “Ostkurve” with all the fanatical supporters and how much fun that was. The sort of rush you get, when your team scores and you’re in the stadium with all the hardcore fans around you, is unrivaled.

I’ve found it difficult to follow soccer in Vancouver, especially since the current Whitecaps play in Burnaby. With the lack of media attention for, what is, close to a semi-pro league, travel out to Burnaby and not many friends who want to go out to games, it’s been tough trying to support the Caps’. That’s why I’m so happy that they’re moving into BC Place eventually and Empire Stadium to start with. It’s going to make things a heck of a lot simpler to get to, and having the Caps’ in the top level of soccer in North America is bound to garner them more media attention.

I’m also very excited for road trips to Seattle, for games against the Sounders, and to Portland, for games against the other 2011 MLS entry, the Timbers. Those are going to be a lot of fun.

2010 FIFA World Cup

The 2010 FIFA World Cup starts June 11th, in South Africa, and I couldn’t be more excited. I had so much fun in 2006 during the World Cup and can’t wait to feel that same excitement again. The passion that soccer fans have for a simple game is unrivalled and is hard to explain, I am looking forward to returning to the Alpen Club to watch Germany, hopefully win the whole thing, as I’m getting tired of seeing both Club and Country finishing 2nd or 3rd in tournaments. “Steht auf, wenn Ihr Deutsche seid!!”

Flags

I have a fascination with flags. I have a collection of roughly forty flags consisting of National, Provincial and some regional flags. We’ve gotten flags for just about every country we’ve visited and some that we haven’t. Some of my favorites are Nunavut, Falkland Islands (because of the sheep) and one that I really want to get my hands on is Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

I find the more obscure and crazy looking flags to be the best, I also love being able to know the flag of the tiniest country. I really like finding out the reasons behind the colour schemes and designs used, and the history of said country that makes their flag, theirs.

I wonder if I could find a job working with flags that is more than just being a sales rep at The Flag Shop.

Canada Day!

Yesterday was Canada Day and I celebrated my country’s birthday by starting the day working, not the most traditional of celebrations, but it was only a four hour shift and was soon over. The rest of the day was spent preparing our house for my mom’s birthday party/Canada Day barbecue.

There were a lot of people that came to the party, lots of faces I remember from my childhood of my parents’ dinner parties, and one couple that particularly stood out as I spent an Australia Day at their house many years ago with Land Down Under by Men At Work, basically on repeat.

My two friends, Anna and Sean, also came to the barbecue and invited me to go with them to English Bay to watch the fireworks that were going to be at 10:30pm; I decided to go along and we made our way to a windy Jerico beach. The fireworks were not all that impressive and I’m thinking that’s what Zinedine Zidane was thinking as well since he hurt his back while watching the fireworks and has put his exhibition match on Saturday night into doubt. I think he was likely trying to leave early like we were.

All in all it was a good Canada Day, spent with friends, beer and food, fireworks could have used more pop though.

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