A Nice Foreign Invasion

FEBRUARY 5, 2010

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I went downtown today to have a lunch with Simon & his brother. His brother backed out at the last minute, so Sim and I decided to try out Nuba, a lebanese restaurant I have been hearing about on Twitter. Oh my my my, it was so good. The baclava finale at the end of lunch wasn't exactly fitting with my new diet, but I am sure I burned most of those extra calories off.

After that, Sim and I parted ways as he had to get back to work. But I came downtown to go do some shopping. See, it's February 5 and I still haven't finished my Christmas shopping. Awful, yes I know. Everything was originally backed up because I made calendars and they took forever to be delivered. And then when I got the calendars, I got sick (I'll blog about that another time) and it kept me from doing much til recently. Today it was a gloriously beautiful day, and I was determined to finish it finally, damnit. 

So I got a bunch of Olympics swag for the family. Spent way too much money with my proud Olympic sponsored VISA card. But I think I finished the shopping. Tomorrow I get to pull out the wrapping paper and wrap everything. And perhaps I'll watch Rudolph while I do that.

After I fumbled out of the respective stores with large bags, I decided it would be a good time to take a few photos around Granville Street, which is currently shut down to road traffic and used as a pedestrian street. Lo and behold, I encountered some special tourists.

The Russian Olympiads

Oooooooooo! Actual Russian Olympiads! I zoomed way in on their badges after I got back home, and found out that they are Galina Likhacheva and Yekaterina Abramova, two of the women speed skaters for Team Russia!

Spotted some Russian Olympiads walking down Granville doing a bit of sightseeing

Immediately upon being spotted in their notable (and, might I say gorgeous) sports costumes, they were immediately thrust upon the Canadian masses, who treated them like superstars. I'm proud to say I was one of them. But I'm the photographer! And it's not like I stood between them and said cheese. This guy didn't hesitate, however. ;)

The poor girls were being bombarded with photo ops.

I'm sure it's pretty surreal for them. I stayed on the sidelines, though, because I can imagine it can be a bit much for them... especially as they seemed to speak only a little English. Oh, and the Coca-Cola (proud official sponsor!) people whisked them into their little circle for their own photo ops. Corporate whores... ;)

I know the popular thing to do these days is to crap all over the Olympics. Boo the commercialism of it all, boo the heightened security, boo the pricetag attached to hosting such an event. And I concur whole-heartedly. But when it comes down to it, it's all about the athletes. They've been training hard their whole lives for the chance to compete against the world's best in the Olympics. I'm sure it's a whole worldwind dream for them. And for them, I'm excited. And I'm pleased to also be a part of it. And I hope these next weeks will yield a couple gold medals for Team Canada, particularly in hockey.  (Sorry, Mom, but I must cheer on Canada in this case. They want it so bad.)  I hope these next weeks will be peaceful and not riotous, because although it's everyone's right and ability to protest, it's the right of everyone else to not be exposed to riots and oppressive police force using tear gas. And I hope these next weeks will yield me with some great photos, of which I plan to make a book from to remember.

You can view my whole pre-Olympics set here.

filed in Current Events | by Christine at 12:52 AM on 2010-02-05 | permalink | comment

1.20.09 is for 44

JANUARY 20, 2009
It's official, Barack Obama is now the President of the United States. It's a time of opportunity and, yes, hope. And hope is what we desperately need after these dark years. And for me, even more notable than Obama's inauguration is the goodbye to the 43rd president. The long and hard years with Bush at the controls has been damaging to our nation. Very damaging. With Bush, we've found ourselves accepting torture, pre-emptive war with another nation, destruction of our right to speak freely and our civil liberties, the shrouding and coverup of presidential matters, and the list continues on.

The sun is shining down in Washington, DC. And at least for today, it's a very good day. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

filed in Current Events | by Christine at 9:52 AM on 2009-01-20 | permalink | comment

Santa Baby

DECEMBER 25, 2008
Rest in peace, Eartha Kitt.

filed in Current Events | by Christine at 5:20 PM on 2008-12-25 | permalink | comment


NOVEMBER 7, 2008
It's well after 3am. I should be asleep. I tried to do just that. But it didn't happen. Normally when I can't sleep, it's due to the stresses of life and anxiety about upcoming trips, tasks that must be taken care of, or disagreements where I regretted what I said. Tonight's not like that, though. Since Tuesday, I can admit to not being able to sleep easily. I've been the insomniac because I feel an excitement growing within me.

Yes, as all the pundits said through all of Wednesday, we are in a historic time. They spent the full day talking about how the future face of America being not quite white. Of course, I give it complete respect. The countless times I saw MLK's 'I have a dream' speech on Wednesday made me tear up and cry along with the rest of you. It's big that America has advanced itself to do what I thought was impossible. Fifty years ago, we were in midst the segregation. And now our blackest president to date is moving into the whitest of houses. But I'm not talking about race here. I'm talking about renewal. Can you feel the electric energy that's pumping into America's veins? I feel it. It's like the last eight years have all been a bad dream (a bad dream that's still happening) and yet, we can see the end to this nightmare. January 20, 2009. I count the days. I never knew I could be so excited by cabinet appointments.

I'd have to admit, this week does feel a bit surreal. I'm not sure what to do now. We did it. We actually did it. As of next year, we have a new Democratic president and a strong majority in the House and Senate. And not just any President. The beautiful orator. The intellectual introvert. The cool-as-a-cucumber candidate. The underdog who was expected to be beaten by Hillary, then John. Barack Obama. And this comes as a surprise to me, but I think I'm more impressed by him now than I had been before November 4. You would think after two grueling years campaigning, the man would put his well-worn feet up and take a little rest. But no, he has already announced his new Chief of Staff, phoned up nine world leaders, and unveiled a transition website where you can submit comments, read platforms and action plans, subscribe to the blog, and even apply for a job. He hasn't even started his first day, and he's at it gung-ho. If he's been faking his servitude to the people and the nation, someone needs to get him that memo telling him that he has already won. Doesn't he have some brush palms to clear somewhere in Texas Hawaii? ;)

Now, don't worry. My head's not in the clouds. After these god-awful eight years, I am realistic. I do not think he's a Messiah annointed by God to save the world and our souls. And I surely hope the rest of you don't, either. He's a man. He's done a few votes that I would have disagreed with. All I expect him to do is to work hard and reverse some of the damage that Bush II has done. I fully expect to review all of what he is doing and put his feet to the fire when I feel it's necessary to do so.

But you know what? Unlike Bush, I'm thinking that's what he expects and even wants. Tonight, I spent a considerable reading through Obama's plans for technology and innovation. I think one of the biggest reasons I wanted Obama to win was because he's a candidate who has his mind on the future and is pushing for greater transparency in our government. He wants to put it all out there for us. He wants to include us. He doesn't want to hide and conceal like Bush/Cheney had done all these years. Instead, he wants to use the power of the Internet in the government to include the people more. He actually wants us to become involved. No more sheeple. We must be people. I really like that. We are not to fear the government, but include ourselves with it. Because that's what true democracy is.

I won't be so bold to say that we've just elected the greatest American President. I have no idea how his presidency will be. Maybe he will have a good start but get bogged down in the politics. Maybe all the personal attacks on him will finally get under his collar and he will crack. Maybe the economy's woes will keep him from the greatness we are hoping he's capable of. I hope not, though. I like to think I have a pretty good instinct in people, and he seems to be the real deal. Not some pussy politician who kisses babies and wears big flag pins. Did you notice that he didn't do too many of those embarrassing photo ops that we normally groan from. And his campaign was tight, a well oiled machine. It's obvious the man knows how to use his resources well.

Whatever the case, these are exciting times. I actually look forward to the future.

filed in Current Events | by Christine at 3:07 AM on 2008-11-07 | permalink | comment

JANUARY 3, 2008
Compelling. Definitive proof that Musharraf's government is lying about Bhutto's assassination.

filed in Current Events | by Christine at 10:01 AM on 2008-01-03 | permalink | comment

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