Thursday, May 31, 2007

Yet Another Reason I'm a Vegan....

Hey there, I found this interesting little story about the country I was just in that I thought I would share.

Apparently the Chinese Government wants to end a 14 year ban on Tiger Farming. Various parts of the Tiger are used in traditional Chinese medicines. For example, if the bones are ground up sufficiently and drank in a tea they can offer a huge boost in energy. Also, the penis is said to have aphrodisiac properties. Of course, there is a huge market for the fur as well.

And of course, we all know the power of the Eye of the Tiger.

I have been looking for an excuse to include that one in here for a while...

All kidding aside, I find this absolutely repulsive.

One of China's main arguments is that it would be easier to keep this endangered species alive in farms than trying to protect them in the wild. So logically, if we just farm them for all that they are worth and leave none in the wild, then we don't have to worry about the environmental consequences of our actions.

If this works, how far away will we be from eating California condor eggs or black rhino steaks?

We really don't have the right to dictate how another species should get to live, and it is reprehensible to think that a living, feeling, intelligent creature's life should be at the whim of our traditions, fashion, or any other superficial whims.

I don't have a ton of new stuff to add, you all know exactly how I feel on the issue. But I do have one question to ask, to anyone out there who finds the thought of farming tigers to be disgusting, cruel and unnecessary.

Why is it ok to do it to a cow, chicken or pig?

Until next time,


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Culture Shock

Hey all, I returned to Onterrible just a few days, and man oh man, things have been pretty weird for me. Things back in Canada are so different than what I have gotten used to in China. I know that I wasn't gone for that long, but I still have a few questions to ask...

Has everything always been so expensive?
Has the air always been so clean?
Have people always spoken English so freaking fast?
Have Canadians always apologized so bloody much?
Has tap water always been drinkable?
Has outside always smelled so good? (as opposed to pollution and urine)
Has it always been so easy to walk around without a pack on your bag?
Have I always been so glad to be home?

Anyway, I don't know the answers to all of these questions but I look forward to finding them out in the coming months...

Until next time,


Friday, May 25, 2007

Glen and Troy Playoff Predictacular -- FINAL ROUND

So I climbed the Great Wall yesterday, I just arrived in Vancouver and am in the middle of a 39 hour day, but I need to talk about hockey.

Even though I have been on a different continent and watched none of the games, these may be the greatest playoffs ever. Why you ask? Because my favourite team the Ottawa Senators are still playing at the end of May. This has never happened before and has gotten me so incredibly pumped to start watching hockey again.

Anywho, since there is only one series left, we have included a bit of a recap, plus our predictions for Conn Smythe.

As for our little contest, the unthinkable has happened...Troy has moved ahead of me.

Troy: 12 (The 10 from last round, plus 2 for calling Anaheim in the correct number of games)
Glen: 11 (The 10 from last round, plus 1 for calling Anaheim over Detroit)

Due to the higher stakes of the finals, I am going to make all scores double, including 2 points for calling the Conn Smythe. Yeah I am effectively changing the rules so that I can still win...


Glen says:

Every round I seem to get more and more surprised at how well Ottawa plays. They really had no business being in there with the Sabres, let alone beating them so handily. I know that Buffalo was playing really week all playoffs, but still, they are the Sabres, a team that cruised to the Presidents Trophy.

Anyway, I predicted that they would win the cup all season (unlike Troy, who has been spending all playoffs saying that he did, but in actual fact, if you look back at all three mid-season predictaculars, he never even predicted Buffalo to make the Cup finals...what a lying jerk) so I'm in a wee bit of shock. Anyway, Ottawa has cruised through the first three rounds but now faces a huge challenge, can they be up for it?

Troy says:

Three has been my pick all season and for them to go out the way they did was amazing. But did Buffalo just pooch it, or was it the play of Ottawa that caused the pooching. It's a tough call, and most likely a bit of both but it must be remembered that Ottawa has won it's first 3 series in 5 games each and that is pretty impressive but the sad part is that until Ottawa breaks through and wins the Stanley Cup, the choker label will never be lifted.

PS. How much is next season going to suck for Buffalo because there seems to be little to no chance that they'll be able to keep Briere and Drury both of whom become unrestricted free agents this summer.


Glen says:

Well Detroit did beter than I expected, but then again, I haven't expected much of them all year. I have had the feeling most of these playoffs that Anaheim has been throwing the odd game to not have too much time in between series. Seriously, they should have swept the Wild and the Canucks. They got outplayed in that 5-0 loss to the Wings, but that really just motivated them to come back harder.

The moral of the story is that the Ducks are playing fantastic and deserve to be here. They proved why they have been the team to beat in the West all year. It's a big question if they are the team to beat in the entire NHL...

Troy says:

What's this?? I'm sorry. But did I call another series perfectly? How about game 4. Anaheim loses Pronger on a stupid suspension and Giguere pulls out the win. That was Detroit's chance to win the series and they couldn't come through. Pronger is just too good. Mix in Giguere and you've got a serious contender. A part of me was hoping to see Detroit take this series because I think Ottawa matches up better against Detroit, but at the same time my hatred of all things Hasek makes me happy that Anaheim won.


Glen says:

For the third year in a row we are having a Canadian team play against a 90s expansion/relocated southern team. I don't think that I need to tell you that both times the Canadian teams came up short. Unlike the last two finals, this is one that should have happened before. Back in 2003 the Ducks swept the Wild in the Western Finals and Ottawa was playing Jersey in the Eastern Finals. With a minute left in Game 7, stupid Jeff Friesen Garbage Face scored to give the Devils the win, a trip to the Finals and an eventual Stanley Cup ring. Since then, the Senators have not even came close to the finals, that is until now.

Do they have what it takes? I really don't know Ottawa has the edge in Forwards, but in terms of Defense and Goaltending, the Ducks are miles ahead. And in reality, those are the things that win championships, even in this post-lockout-new-NHL-heavy-scoring era. But the Senators have this aura of destiny about them this year that I haven't felt about a team in a really, really long time.

Before I make my prediction, I'm going to preface it with one eerie fact. Every round I have predicted that the Senators would go down in 5 and they have won in 5. I would much rather have my favourite team win the Cup than be right.

Ducks in 5.

Troy says:

Alrighty, so here we are. The Stanley Cup will be going to a First time winner (I'm not counting Ottawa's 1927 Stanley Cup win) I like seeing new teams win the cup, (unless of course it's Montreal).

My heart is with Ottawa of course in this final but the matchup favours Anaheim. Giguere has been here before whilst Emery is in uncharted territory so the advantage in net has to be given to Anaheim.

Defensively you simply cannot do better than Pronger and Niedermayer. Ottawa's defense has come up huge in this post-season and is perhaps playing above themselves while Pronger and Niedermayer are stalwarts and we know what they can and will do so the advantage on the blueline has to be given to Anaheim as well.

Offensively is where Ottawa my have the edge. The complaint however has been their lack of depth upfront but I don't think that has been a problem. They have gotten secondary scoring when they needed it but they just haven't needed it much because the big line has been amazing. I will give the advantage in offense to Ottawa although Anaheim can definitely put the puck in the net as well.

This is going to be a close series and the play of Emery and Ottawa's big line will decide just how close but in the end I believe the experience of Giguere and the leadership and strength of Pronger will push Anaheim past Ottawa.

This is the third season in a row with a Canadian team in the finals and the previous two have both gone 7 games and I believe this series will as well. Anaheim in 7.


Glen says:

Alfredsson has played well beyond expectations and previous history. It's really been quite amazing to be honest, I've been wondering if he's been replaced with a robot from IKEA!!! But since I predicted a Ducks win, and the Conn Smythe normally goes to a player on the winning team, I am going to go with the guy who very likely could have won it last year, Mr. Chris Pronger.

Troy says:

Well he won it in a losing cause so I think he'll win it in a winning cause. I give the Conn Smythe to J.S. Giguere.


Until next time,


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Home Stretch..

So it's been a while for me, sorry Blogerinos, but I'm a busy man!!!

I'm currently writing from Beijing, after spending the last week or so on the road. Since I left Shanghai I have...

- been to Shaolin Monastery, unfortunately Kungfu Mastery can not be learned by osmosis.
- stayed in Zhengzhou...which we dubbed "The Oshawa of China", any Canadians will know that is not a compliment
- saw thousands of Buddhas carved out of stone
- had many people try to sell me "authentic" pieces of said Buddhas
- biked the city walls of Xi'an
- saw the Terracotta Warriors and almost cried
- went to Pingyao, a super old and small Chinese city
- met more travellers that I can remember
- was jealous of all of their stories
- hoped that I was making some of them jealous with mine
- took a tour of the back alleys of Pingyao where I met this fascinating guy who told us about life in the cultural revolution
- saw some awesome old stone houses
- was exposed to open sewer lines
- somehow kept my breakfast in after that
- spent four hours in Taiyuan waiting for a bus, a runner up for "The Oshawa of China"
- arrived in Beijing to pouring rain, but went to the Forbidden City anyway
- plan on finding a secret part of the Great Wall tomorrow
- bought myself an awesome pair of brown Converse High Tops to match my red ones
- continued to have an amazing time

In all actuality, I've been a little bummed out about leaving these last few days. I love being in transit, I love meeting travellers, I love having new experiences, being home seems so boring. Actually, I considered changing my flight ticket to August sometime, but there were a few things holding me back. First off, I can't really afford this trip as is, so extending it may not be the best of ideas. Secondly, I already have committed to Kodiak and could never let them down. Thirdly, I want to go to my grad ceremony, if only for my parents to be proud of me. And lastly, I don't think that I could go another two weeks away from my girlfriend, that would just be torture.

Anyway, I'm sure that this funk will pass in a bit after I get to Vancouver for a few days and have a fantastic time out there, I can't wait for that!!!!

I'll update more later and tell some more stories/provide some deeper insight into China after I get home, so keep checking back here.

Until next time,


Sunday, May 13, 2007

From Here..

Steve and I are getting ready to leave Shanghai and make our way towards Xi'an. We've been faced with a bit of a travellers dilemma of late, we're not quite sure where to go. This has lead to us spending a bit more time in Shanghai than we probably were expecting to (but we had day trips to Suzhou and Hangzhou, which the Chinese justifiably call paradise on earth).

Anyway we decided that we are going to go to Shaolin Si, home of the most famous monks in the world for a couple of days. It will be nice to get out of the city and into a more chilled out atmosphere. Plus we're hoping to get enrolled in some of the 1 day martial arts classes that they do. I may end up a brutal killing machine by the time that I'm done, so don't cross me.

After Shaolin, we may make a couple of stops along the way to Xi'an (Louyang looks pretty rocking) and from there...well we haven't figure that part out either, but such is the joy of travelling!!!!

I'll post some updates later on and maybe some pictures, if you're good...

Until next time,


Friday, May 11, 2007

More on This Adult Thing

Twice in the last couple of months, I have lamented about growing up and staring eternity right in the face. Now, I find myself even more grown up, but far more at peace with it.

That's right, I am officially employed.

Over the past few weeks I have had a couple of transcontinental phone interviews with a private school back in Canada (that I don't really feel like naming on here, just to keep things private. But if you want to know just drop me an e-mail and I'll be happy to talk about it). And well, they have hired me to be a Residential Don.

I'll be living in the student residences, reliving some of my Acadia time, plus teaching a couple of classes (less than a full load), and running some extra-curricular activities. In short, I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing, something fun, different, and not binding.

Needless to say, I'm pretty pumped about this opportunity I have now.

Alrightie that's really all that I have to say. I would apologize for making this blog post self-indulgent and all about me. But you know what? I think 80% of what has been posted here has been somehow about me and you keep reading, so logically I must be a draw.

Blogging, an ego stroke for nerds...hmmmm maybe I should sell that as a slogan to blogger.

Until next time,


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Enemies of the State and Tea House Treachery

Hey friends,

I just wanted to post two of my travelling stories here which will hopefully serve as a warning for some of you planning a trip to the PRC.

First off, on Sunday I was returning to mainland China after a few spectacular nights in Hong Kong and Macau. While those two cities were handed back to China in 1997 and 1999 respectively, they still retain a high amount of autonomy from the central government. So much so that you need to cross official borders and exchange currency when you go from one to the other or to the main land. Yeah, I don't get it either.

Anyway, as I rode the ferry from Macau to Shenzhen on the mainland, Steve and I got talking to this great guy from Germany, Joerg. Anyway, we shared some travelling stories and talked about some of the places that we planned on checking out while we were here. As we arrived in the mainland and began to walk through customs Joerg was stopped and had his bag searched.

For half a second, I wondered what this guy was trying to bring into the mainland, but it turns out they weren't looking for drugs or weapons, oh no, they were looking for books. After looking through his bag they pulled out his copy of Lonely Planet: China, an essential guide for any traveller. They told him that it was forbidden material and took it away from him. How weird is that?

So a word of warning for anyone coming into China, don't bring in the latest edition of Lonely Planet (the one with the Terracotta Warrior on it) it may get taken away. Funny because I was very tempted to through out my Let's Go guide and buy a Lonely Planet because they really are infinitely better.

Next up, was a scam that two girls tried to pull on us in Shanghai that we are really lucky that we didn't fall to. As we got off the metro in down town Shanghai two girls approached us and struck up a conversation. Now this is not a strange thing what so ever in this country, many, many Chinese approach foreigners to practice their English so this was not unusual. These girls told us that they were students travelling from out of town and were in Shanghai on their holidays. They asked us where we had gone and told us some of their favourite sites. They then told us that they were in Shanghai since it was the Tea Festival and asked if we wanted to go with them to a traditional Chinese Tea House. Again, not that out of the ordinary around here.

Thankfully though, our hostess with the mostest Carrie warned us about this in advance. She said that two of her friends had a similar situation happen to them before and the bill at the Tea House ended up being several hundred Yuan (100 Yuan is about $16 Cdn), because they are in with the Tea House.

So if you ever find yourself approached by two girls who claim to be students in Shanghai, think before they take you out for some tea. It really is a shame because since then I have started to second guess all of the kind Chinese strangers. I really shouldn't though, two tricky girls in a country of 1.3 Billion People ain't so bad now is it?

Until next time,


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Glen and Troy Playoff Predictacular Round 3

Well here we are now at the Conference Finals!!!! The second round featured some pretty big shocks, but none more than Troy being able to pull even with me in our epic point scoring game.

After the first round, I was up 8-6, but after last round the contest has taken a different face....

Glen: 10 (The 8 from the first round plus 2 more for correctly predicting Anaheim and Buffalo would advance)

Troy: 10 (His 6 from the first round, plus 3 more for being able to predict Anaheim, Ottawa and Buffalo would advance plus 1 more for being able to call the correct amount of games it would take Buffalo to dispose of the Rangers)

That's more shocking than Detroit over San Jose...


Glen Says:

Wow, Jersey sure did fold now didn't they? I've got to say that I'm pretty darned shocked!!! And good for the Rangers for doing better than most assumed that they would. I'm kicking myself for changing the amount of games it would take Buffalo to beat them at the last minute...ahh well, I've got to give Troy a chance!!!

Troy Says:

Ok...honestly....who saw Ottawa beating New Jersey in 5? I don't even think the Senators saw that coming. Even when Ottawa was up 3-1 in the series I still thought it was going to go to a game 7. NJ either loses in the first round, or goes all the way. But apparently not this year.

In the other series (which not only did I call the winner, but also the number of games) the Rangers made a tougher series of it than I thought. Towards the end I actually started thinking New York may push it to seven.

All in all the Eastern Conference Semi-finals were very good.

Buffalo vs Ottawa

Glen Says:

Here we have our second rematch from last year. I fully expect it to go the same way as last season did, high scoring, crazy offense and a Buffalo victory. Before I say the amount of games I exect this to go I'd like to add three asides that I can't think of any logical way to ease in. Aside #1: In the Senators nine previous trips to the playoffs they have only been eliminated by 4 teams (Buffalo (3 times), Washington, Toronto (4 times) and New Jersey), so I see the trend continuing. Aside #2: This marks the fifth season in a row where a Canadian team is in the final 4. Aside #3: The first two rounds I predicted that the Senators would lost in 5, and they won in 5 both times, I would rather have my favourite team win than be right. Sabres in 5.

Troy Says:

I so desperately want Ottawa to win this series but since before the season started I've been picking Buffalo in the final and I am not going to allow myself to change my mind now. This however, is not going to be an easy series for Buffalo. Ottawa has played better this year than they ever have in the playoffs and Emery has been amazing. With Drury and Briere upfront, and Miller in net, I see Buffalo edging Ottawa over the long run. Buffalo in 7.


Glen Says:
Detroit beat San Jose? Well I guess I don't look like a genius anymore...damnit!!!

Troy Says:
Well both Glen and I called Anaheim over Vancouver (although I was closer to the correct number of games and therefore am superior) but I was hoping Vancouver would have made it a better series. This wasn't really Anaheim vs Vancouver, it was Anaheim vs Luongo. If it wasn't for Luongo this series would have been over in 3 games. Atleast now the rest of the hockey world is getting to see what knid of goalie Luongo is.

Detroit vs Anaheim

Glen Says:

Detroit is a stupid team for stupid heads. The Ducks are the team of the future. The future is now. Does anyone else remember the fabbled sweep in 03? Anaheim in 4.

Troy Says:

I am still shocked that Detroit beat San Jose in the last round as I really thought Detroit would falter but they didn't. Their young guns came through and that really helped them. They suffered a big loss however as Schneider is out for the rest of the playoffs with a broken wrist and that could prove costly. Even with Schneider I still would have taken Anaheim in this series. I believe Detroit's experience will drag this series on longer than it should go. Anaheim in 6.

So we both have Buffalo vs. Anaheim in the finals, the final everyone on TSN has predicting since the start of the year...maybe it's because I'm half a world away, but I find that kind of boring.

Ahh well, I'm hoping that I'm wrong on the length of these series', the longer that they take the more likely I will be able to watch them. Ahh well, I hope that some of you are watching them for me.

Until next time,



Wow a week and a half without posting, I'm feeling all twitchy and weird...

Anyway, since I last posted I went to Vietnam (Hanoi and Halong) and then back to Nanning where Steve and I said goodbye to our friends and started on our own way. We went to Hong Kong and then Macau before flying to Shanghai where we are staying with an old pal from Acadia, Carrie. I have way too much to type in here to say the least, so I'll try to summarize as much as I can.

In the last week and a half I have...

- refered to many Vietnamese people as "Charlie"
- swam in the Pacific Ocean for the first time ever
- went to the Vietnamese Military History Museum, surely an educational site
- took an 11 hour bus
- waited for the Hong Kong border to open at 6:30am
- bought a new camera
- threw out my old wallet that I have had since Grade 8, leaving me with one less leather product from my former life
- saw Spider Man 3, the Chinese subtitles really helped me understand the complexities of The Sandman's character
- lost $100HK (about $17Cdn) at a Casino without knowing how
- watched Steve win about $100HK at the same game, also without knowing how
- discovered a new meaning of crowded on the Shanghai Subway
- been asked to purchase sexual favours so many times I have became numb to it
- been offered a job (more on that to follow)
- watched no hoceky or wrestling, yet somehow kept my sanity
- realized that I'm more of a country boy than I like to admit
- had a fantastic time!!!!

Until next time,