Saturday, April 26, 2008

PART I: Cheers to Staff Parties, First Dates, and Kickin' it with The New Deal!

Mr. Bamboo is always like, "When are you ever going to write about me in your blog?"

To which I usually reply, "Whenever I feel like it."

Well, I suppose the time has come...

Back in 2001, I landed a summer job as a hostess at a local Mexican restaurant. I know, it wasn't very glamourous but it did have its perks: As a starving university student, you could make just enough to pay your bills and then use your tip money to support your ridiculously booming social life. Talk about priorities, eh? An added bonus was the fact that all of my co-workers actually made my job enjoyable so it wasn't a surprise that we would often tear-up the town together outside of work.

So on one such occasion...

My employer threw a killer staff party. And by killer, I almost mean this literally. The restaurant also owned a popular club in town so they reserved a section of the bar for staff and guests only. Oh yeah, and it was an open bar event which had the potential of turning the night into quite a sh*t show considering they were dealing with a bunch of rowdy 18-24 year-olds (FYI: the legal drinking age is 18 in my hometown).

So after my co-workers and I did some mandatory schmoozing over a couple of complimentary cocktails, we soon hit the dance floor where we remained for the duration of the evening, only taking 5 every ten songs or so when the DJ decided to play a slow jam. And when "No Woman No Cry" came on, we all simultaneously made a bee-line towards the bar to grab another high ball when someone...mind you, a tall strapping young man...intercepted our current mission.

TSYM: Hey, you wanna dance?


CO-WORKER: Um...I think he's talking to you BB [as she not-so-subtly elbowed me right smack in the chest while "whispering" this into my ear].

ME: Uh...yeah...sure. [I figured he was easy on the eyes so why not?]

So we danced. But don't worry, it wasn't one of those cheesy slow dance moments reminiscent of high school in which you awkwardly clutch onto your partner for dear life and rock back and forth like a pendulum as "Stairway to Heaven" blasts from the gymnasium speakers. Instead, we danced in mock-ballroom style, complete with exaggerated impromptu twirls which left us both in a fit of giggles by the end of Bob's song. And while I'm the sure that the open bar had a lot to do with our silly state, I was genuinely enjoying this guy's company. But my good sense reminded me that this was a crazy staff party and he was some random dude I had just met, so several of these one-night connections had probably been made throughout the evening.

By the time last call rolled around shortly after, TSYM and I went our separate ways to re-group and find our obnoxiously hammered friends. I was definitely ready for a gallon of water and my fluffy duvet so I quickly said my good-byes and booked it out of there so I could hail a cab before other taxi vultures even had a chance. Right as I had one foot firmly planted into my eagerly awaiting cab, I noticed TSYM walking right towards me...

TSYM: Wow, someone's in a hurry!

ME: Yup, I'm pretty wiped-out so I'm trying to beat that crazy post-bar rush...

TSYM: No it was nice to meet you...and we really should hang out sometime. Can I have your number?

ME: [Right, I haven't heard that one before, but I still scribbled my damn number on the back an old receipt I had fished out of my bulging wallet.] Yeah, OK.

TSYM: Cool. Thanks! I'll definitely give you a ring sometime...

ME: Sounds good, bye! [It's been real, dude.]


Thankfully, I had booked the next day off work so I could pathetically mope around the house and rehydrate myself from the night before. When a girlfriend had phoned to re-hash staff party shenanigans, my little slow dance incident unfortunately did not go unmentioned:

GIRLFRIEND: So who was that guy you were making googly eyes with on the dance floor?

ME: Googly eyes?? Do people even say that anymore? OK, so his name is G and it wasn't a big deal. We were just dancing.

GIRLFRIEND: Oh c'mon! He was totally into you! It was the way he was looking at you!

ME: Honey, the way he was looking at me probably had something to do with all of the free booze that was being shoved down our throats last night!

GIRLFRIEND: You're such a cynic! Besides, he was damn cute.

BEEP. [Sweet, my other line. Saved by the bell.] BEEP.

ME: Just a sec--my other line...Hello?

CLICK. Damn, they hung up.

ME: Hello?

GIRLFRIEND: So who was it?

ME: I'm not sure, I just missed the call.

GIRLFRIEND: Hey wait a minute, did you give what's-his-name your number?

ME: Yeah but--

GIRLFRIEND: Oh man, it was probably HIM!!

ME: I serioulsy doubt it.

GIRLFRIEND: Star-69 it!

ME: What??

GIRLFRIEND: You know, star-69 the call so you can find out who it was...

ME: All right, Eager Beaver, you are soooo relentless!! haha! So what if it was him? He's just some random guy that I had a brief, 15-minute encounter with--end of story! Besides, how cliche is it to meet someone at a bar, let alone at a drunken gong show of a staff party??

GIRLFRIEND: Seriously, there's no action in my love life right now and frankly, there's not a lot of activity in yours either! So as your friend, I command you to hang up the phone right now and find out if he freakin' called you! What do you honestly have to lose?

OK, she did have a point...

To be continued...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I can't deny my Canadian accent!

What accent do you have?


People from outside North America probably think you're from the States, but over here we wouldn`t make such a mistake.

Personality Test Results

**I promise you all I'll have an actual meaningful post up by the weekend. There just haven't been enough hours in the day lately!

Monday, April 21, 2008

SNOW DAY--An Unbelievable April Blizzard!!

The Canadian Prairies have been hit HARD (understatement of the year) with a relentless snowfall which has dumped more than 30 cm of the cold fluffy stuff in the region. What started off as a light flurry has now turned into a full-blown BLIZZARD!! And just to think, on Thursday, it was +15-degrees Celsius. Dammit!!

So here are a couple photos of this freak of nature. And you even get a one-time only sneak peak of Bamboo Blitz herself--in case you cared at all :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Video Cop-out: Def Poetry Jam Featuring Filipino American poet--Marlon Unas Esguerra

In my search for Filipino poets on YouTube, I found Marlon Unas Esguerra's moving spoken word performance from Def Poetry. His poem really struck a nerve with me...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Health Canada's Medicinal Marijuana Plans Get Smoked Out!

According to the CBC, Health Canada's controversial medicinal marijuana system is leaving the government to pick-up a $500,000 tab of unpaid patient bills. While the agency has sent out 462 arrears notices along with corresponding calls to collection agencies, Health Canada reveals that only $2000 has been recouped in lost revenue. Out of the 739 current registered pot users, stats provided by the Access to Information Act have reveal that a whopping two-thirds are fronting delinquent accounts.

However, many patients are arguing that the government's 1500% mark-up of its supply is ludicrous considering most other medications are covered by Blue Cross or Pharmacare. Jason Wilcox has been HIV-positive since the early 90s, and uses marijuana to ease pain and to help him sleep at night. He currently owes Health Canada $6,770.06. Enraged by the government's enormous profits, Wilcox makes no qualms about sharing his true feelings: "At that point [upon discovering the government mark-up], I refused to pay. Also, not to mention that their product is crap." Read the article here...

So even though I support the government distribution of medicinal herb, I am shocked by what a gong show of a system it is! Are the Feds basically distributing weed on the honour system in which a buy now-pay later scheme allows patients to score their little baggie in the mail?! Doesn't this strike you as...I don't know...completely insane and not to mention--ineffective? Anyway, I've tried to find more info on Health Canada's payment procedure for medicinal marijuana users but I haven't had any luck thus far. So if anyone out there in cyberspace has any of the answers, I do pray thee to share...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Video Cop-Out: Edwin San Juan--A Damn Funny Filipino Comedian!

OK, so I randomly discovered this Filipino American comic, Edwin San Juan, and he almost made me laugh my socks off! He reminds me of a Filipino Russell Peters since he has a knack for poking fun at all races--Filipinos, Latinos, Caucasians--while still being funny. Sound like your thing? Well, this is definitely for your viewing pleasure then...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Only the Mountain and I--A Tale of Tragedy and Triumph in the Canadian Rockies

All the birds have flown up and gone;
A lonely cloud floats leisurely by.
We never tire of looking at each other
-Only the mountain and I.
--Li Po, "Alone Looking at the Mountain"

While I was out suffering through a seemingly endless array of afternoon birthday shots, my friend, Kim, was shredding the slopes of Lake Louise. After high school, she had decided to leave Edmonton behind and live the mountain dream where a life of snowboarding and skiing was interrupted only by the need to make a living. This usually meant following in the footsteps of ski bums before her by earning a meager wage as either a liftee or server at the local ski hill. At this point in time, any crappy job seemed to be worth breathing in the crisp air of the Canadian Rockies every morning.

So it was safe to say that all of us back in Edmonton envied Kim’s new zen lifestyle.

But this didn’t stop me from having a grand old time on my 19th birthday. My girlfriends and I pub-hopped down Whyte Avenue like our lives depended on it—gulping down fishbowl margaritas, pounding back tequila shots, and wiping away beads of sweat as we danced the night away. From what I can remember, it was good times all around, which is more than I can say for that throbbing headache and dreadful nausea I was feeling the next morning…

For Kim, my 19th birthday was no different than any other day in her carefree existence. She awoke first thing in the morning and geared-up to ride the first tracks—untouched fresh powder—on the ski hill before heading to work later on that day. Since faster is always better when you’re carving through fresh powder, Kim was racing her friends down each bowl, letting her snowboard seamlessly cut through the snow like a hot blade through butter. Her newly waxed board began kicking things into turbo once she hit the smooth groomer runs, and her adrenalin started peaking as the wind made her pigtail braids sway like oak branches in the breeze.

She was now in the zone—confident and euphoric—so she decided to hit a table top jump once she arrived in the terrain park. This wasn’t that big of a deal considering she had hit this kicker a few times before and Kim figured that attempting a BIG AIR was only a fitting way to end a great day of riding.

So she carved right down until she was about 200 meters from the jump before launching right for it. Kim allowed her board to quickly shift between its front and back edges in order to generate enough speed needed for a successful take-off. Once she was right on the cusp of lip at the top of the incline, Kim's momentum propelled her forward so both her, and her board were now airborne...



Who the hell is calling me at 8 am in the freakin' morning!? Seriously, it's the day after my birthday and I went to extraordinary measures so I wouldn't have to: a) leave the house today, and b) do anything productive. This better be bloody important!!!!


ME: Hel-lo...

CALLER: It's Kim...oh my God! It's Kim! [sobbing]

ME: Jasmine?? Is this you? Are you OK? What happened to--

CALLER: We went snowboarding yesterday...and it was all good. It was a powder day...great conditions...but--

ME: Oh God...what happened, Jasmine?!

CALLER: She went off a jump...and we were cheering her on 'cos she got such big air...but the way she landed...

ME: Is Kim all right?

CALLER: It was awesome 'cos she got like 20 feet of air but--

ME: OK, this doesn't sound good...

CALLER: SHE LANDED FLAT ON HER BACK!!! Oh my God...she landed on her back...


After Kim's accident, ski patrol medics had determined that she had sustained a very serious back injury. They notified S.T.A.R.S. Ambulance and she was then air-lifted back to Edmonton's University of Alberta Hospital. According to her doctors, Kim would have died right then and there had she not been wearing a helmet. But even though she was alive, things were still looking very very grim...

The impact of Kim's fall had crushed her spine and had caused permanent damage to her lower spinal chord. And over the span of a single minute, Kim had become a paraplegic.

It was completely devastating.

Kim had been a star athlete all of her life, playing on both the high school basketball and volleyball teams. She even found the time to play competitively on a club soccer team. Sports were her life. We were all heartbroken for her.

During the next year, Kim had to undergo rigorous physical therapy and by the time she was done, I had moved to another city to attend university. It didn't take long before life happened and we completely lost touch...


Years had gone by and through the grapevine, I had heard that Kim had started training as a competitive sit skiier. But at the time, I still had no idea how far she had actually gone.

So after two years of completely boycotting Facebook, I finally caved after a sudden desire to look-up long lost friends. It didn't take long before my nostalgia led me right to my old friend.

Kim had messaged me out of the blue and I was totally stoked! Not only was she a competitive sit skiier, she had joined the Alberta team just a year after her injury. In a few short years, Kim was already skiing for Team Canada as one of their star athletes. And now, at the pinnacle of her career, she was competing at the international level, even winning GOLD in the slalom at the IPC World Cup in February.

Truly amazing.

I just had to smile to myself. Leave it up to Kim to completely transcend her injury and make the best out of a seemingly tragic situation. The mountains really were her life and nothing was ever going to take that away from her.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Video Cop-out: Awesome Frou Frou Acapella Cover

I stumbled upon this acapella cover of Frou Frou's "Let Go" and I was completely blown away.

"Let Go" Acapella cover

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