Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So Far So Good - September 2008

The first thing I'll talk about is the Vancouver Zombie Walk. If you've never heard of it, that makes two of us; I'd never heard of it either until I ran into it by accident one Saturday afternoon. I was walking by the Art Museum when I was surprised to see all these people in various grisly costumes congregating on the front lawn. Naturally, I had to stop and look. Apparently, the zombie walk is an event held once a year when people dress up as zombies and march through downtown Vancouver. It seems like a rather gruesome activity, but good fun in its own way. There were all different kinds of costumes - the only common link was that everyone was dead. Some wore tattered clothing and white makeup; others had bits of brain stuck to their faces and were carrying extra limbs around. And, of course, there was fake blood - lots of it. The best part was when a tour bus stopped outside the museum and the zombies all started "attacking" it. Those lucky tourists got more than they bargained for that day! I wish I could have taken pictures, but since I didn't know about it before hand, I didn't bother to bring my camera.

In honour of my new job, I treated myself at the beginning of September to two plays by Shakespeare. I saw them as part of the Bard on the Beach festival, which is run every year in Vancouver. The plays I saw were King Lear and Twelfth Night. They were also doing The Tempest and Titus Andronicus, but I'd seen The Tempest a few years earlier, and I'm not familiar with Titus. Lear was okay, but of the two I enjoyed Twelfth Night more, especially the performance of Viola.

In the middle of the month I celebrated Mid-Autumn Festival. It's a Chinese festival, somewhat similar to Thanksgiving. I was introduced to it for the first time when I was in Hong Kong, and I thought it would be fun to celebrate it again in Vancouver. So I went out and bought some moon cakes, the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival food. I bought one with red bean paste inside and shared it with my class. I also got myself a tin of the so-called "icy moon cakes". I'd tried them only once before, and always wanted to try them again. They were all nice - especially the chocolate one! On Mid-Autumn Festival Day (Sunday, September 14) I went to the Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden, where they were holding celebrations. They had free moon cake samples, a musician playing a Chinese flute, and a storyteller telling traditional Chinese stories. I finally got to hear the story of the Jade Rabbit and of Chang'er, the lady in the moon. The strangest sights at the garden were the guy dressed in a Jade (i.e. green) Rabbit costume, and the Jade (i.e. green) Rabbit balloon animals they were handing out.

In September I attended my first ever AVEN meet-up. I've been a member of AVEN (the Asexual Visibility and Education Network) for a few years now, but this was my first time actually going to a gathering. We went out to dinner at an organic restaurant. The meal was good, and everyone seemed quite nice, so I'm glad I went.
I went to several more churches this month: two Anglican churches, a Baptist church, and another United Church. I still haven't decided on one, though. I've also continued to live at the hostel, although it's beginning to pall. I've spent a lot of time looking for a place, but it's difficult to find rooms in Vancouver that are a) comfortable, b) conveniently located, and c) affordable. I hope to find something soon, though. I miss having my own room.

Plays I've seen this month:

King Lear - A rather peculiar modernisation, but still relatively powerful and interesting.

Twelfth Night - Silly '20's-style screwball comedy. I thought a lot of the humour was way over the top, but the performance of Viola was strong enough to keep me emotionally invested, even though most of the other performances were fairly light.

Books I've read this month:

The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien - The History of Middle Earth. Not great literature, but definitely worth reading if you happen to be a Middle Earth fan. The book explains a lot of the history behind The Lord of the Rings, and provides some background on several of its characters.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - Teen sci-fi of the kind I used to enjoy in late elementary school. I thought it was very good, with interesting ideas, engaging characters, and a strong storyline.