Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pride and the Island and Zombies - August 2009

My second summer in Vancouver has been jam-packed with activities. I'm still working, doing basically the same thing as last month, and continuing to enjoy it. Not only has that kept me busy during the week, but my weekends have also been quite full.

First, there were the fireworks. I'd been to see them last August, and this year I went with my roommates to see them again. The same weekend was the Pride celebration. Last year, I went to see my very first Pride Parade; this year, I marched in the parade. I went with my church, which in turn went as part of the Anglican Diocese of Vancouver. Since the parade was on Sunday, we gathered at church for an early-morning service, then had breakfast, and took our places in the parade line-up. It was a hot day, and we spent a good hour or so just standing around before the parade even started! Besides having fun, I got a nifty tan that day – which was good, as I'd somehow managed to go half a summer without getting tanned!

The next weekend I went over to Nanaimo for an AVEN meet-up. It was a pretty short visit; I spent more time just getting to Nanaimo and back than actually being in the city. Still, it gave me an excuse to see more of Vancouver Island, and also to see more of North Vancouver and the Gulf Islands, which I found remarkably lovely.

A buddy of mine from the Netherlands came to visit for a week, and we spent much of the following weekend together. Saturday happened to be the Vancouver Zombie Walk, which I mentioned last year in my September post. Last time I wasn't able to take pictures, so this time I made a point of bringing my camera. Unfortunately, this year's walk wasn't as exciting as last year's; the zombies seemed much less organised, and it came off more like a Zombie Stroll or Zombie Chill. Still, I did get a few good pictures, including zombie pirates, a zombie Dorothy and Scarecrow, and – my favourite – zombie Michael Jackson! After the zombies we went to Granville Island to see a high school production of Macbeth. Obviously, being done by high school students, it wasn't the best Shakespeare production I've seen, but it was still pretty good, and it was free!

I used the next weekend to take my last trip to Victoria. I decided I should take advantage of the opportunity to do a little more sight-seeing, so I spent an afternoon at the Royal B.C. Museum. I'd heard it was really good, and it was, but I found it a bit small, and very expensive. I spent most of my time in the native American art exhibit. I enjoyed learning about native American culture and history, both pre- and post-European contact. I especially appreciated that the exhibit was limited specifically to B.C. native cultures. Too often it seems that Canada's native peoples get discussed in a holistic way that obfuscates the vast diversity among them. The other exhibits were about the local environment and local culture, neither of which I found very exciting. There was also a special exhibit of artefacts from the British Museum, which should have been fascinating – except that I'd seen the same exhibit when I was in Hong Kong two years ago. The best part of the whole day may have been as I was leaving the museum. A guy in a Darth Vader costume was standing on a street corner playing the fiddle. Now, a guy standing on a street corner and playing a fiddle – we've all seen that. But a guy standing on a corner, playing a fiddle, and wearing a Darth Vader costumethat's special!

The last weekend of the month I had a work dinner on Saturday and an AVEN dinner on Sunday. The work dinner was at my boss's house, and it went quite well, although, oddly, my boss was unable to eat anything because she is Muslim and was observing Ramadan! The AVEN dinner was almost a complete disaster when we got to the intended restaurant and found it closed, but fortunately we quickly scouted the restaurant across the street, and were able to move the whole even over there! That weekend, I also saw my sister off. She'd been living and studying in Victoria, but now she's moving back to Ontario. I've enjoyed having her so close by. With her gone, I probably won't stay in Vancouver much longer.

Movies I've seen this month:

The Last King of Scotland – I thought this was quite a good movie over-all, although, as often happens with films about political upheaval in foreign countries, I found myself wondering, "Why are they making it all about the white guy?" (Three and a half stars)

Plays I've seen this month:

Macbeth – This was technically my second time seeing Macbeth in as many years, the first having been in Hong Kong. It wasn't terribly professional, but I thought the young actors did a pretty good job with their parts, especially the lead. I also liked the decision to dress the characters in a neo-Goth style, which I thought suited the material quite well.

Books I've read this month:

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham – Aside from my slight disappointment that this book, despite its title, has comparatively little to do with triffids, I was quite impressed with it. It paints a very interesting picture of humanity struggling to survive in the aftermath of a biological holocaust, and although I don't agree with all its predictions, I still found it a good read.

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain – A sweet children's fable with a completely fantastic premise. I appreciated the mix of historical realism and gentle satire with a sense of whimsy and innocence.

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