Monday, 22 February 2010

Clunk, Splutter, Hiss

I was just driving along, minding my own business when all of a sudden, the motor of the SUV didn't sound quite right. Frowning, I wondered how much skill it takes to stall the motor of an automatic. Just as I pulled up past the crosswalk to turn left at the lights, I saw smoke wafting around the front of the vehicle. My keen observation senses told me that there was nothing else nearby from which the smoke was likely to be emanating. And then I smelled something burning.

Not wanting to meet with my demise in an exploding SUV, much less with my little brother and his friend, I immediately turned off the ignition. No longer seeing smoke, I tried to turn the engine over again to see if the problem had fixed itself. Most of the issues in my life just go away if I ignore them long enough. Not a sound from the motor. Perhaps I was just too scared of turning into toast to really put my heart and soul into turning that key. At any rate, realizing that the middle of the left-hand turn lane of a fairly busy road was not the ideal place to be broken down, I switched on the hazards and dug out my cell. A quick jaunt around the vehicle revealed no obvious problems. It could have been worse. I had been about half a second away from actually entering the intersection when I stopped the car.

Soooo... I talked to Mom, assured her we weren't going to blow up sitting in the dead vehicle, and wondered why everybody would pull up right behind me and sit there for five minutes patiently, without honking, before noticing the hazards and steering around. We tried to call the church to get the youth pastor to come pick up my brother and his friend so that they wouldn't be hopelessly late for worship practice. Of course, the church office phone rang once and went to voicemail. So my brother's friend called his sister, decided she was no help, then called his brother to look up the youth pastor's cell number in the church directory.

And so my bro lugged the guitar out of the SUV and they trooped across the street to be picked up while I continued lounging in the middle of the road, waiting for Dad to get out the bath and come see what was wrong. Still nobody seemed to notice the hazard lights but lined up patiently behind me, despite my attempts to wave them by.

Eventually Dad arrived, hopped into the driver's seat, managed to turn on the motor and drive it around the corner. He popped the hood, took a look inside, then scurried back inside to shut it down. Apparently flying sparks are not a good sign.

But I still had to get to the church to lead a Bible study. Luckily, my co-leader drove by just then, wondering why I was standing at the side of the road. She had not received a notice about a change of location for the night's event, so she stopped to see what was going on and I hopped into her car. We drove off, leaving my dad with the problem. Like I said - most of my issues fix themselves if I just stay out of it. And after all, isn't that what dads are for? ;-D

Apparently it had something to do with the air conditioning. I should really find out the rest of the story some time.

“One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop.” G. Weilacher

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Nepali Princess Story

Nanda, a coworker at Timmy's, is from Nepal. She graciously took the time out of her own personal home schedule to write down for me, by hand, a princess story from her own culture. Of course, I had been hassling her for one for several weeks...

But anyhoo, I thought a princess story was appropriate for Valentine's Day, and you probably haven't heard this one before. All the charming spelling and grammatical mistakes are as they originally appeared. Once again, thank you to Nanda for humouring my childlike enthusiasm for princess stories. Now, enjoy: A Real Nepali Princess Story

***

Once upon a time there lived a king named Janak in a country of Indian sub-continent. The king was very popular in his kingdom, and the citizens of the kingdom were very happy. One year, the country had to suffer a drought. The rainy season had passed but there was no sign of rain. The king was very sadened bed the fact that his people would have to suffer from hunger if there was no rain as crops could not be harvested.

One night the king dreamt a god telling him to plough the field to solve the drought problem. Next day, he went to the field and started ploughing. As soon as King Janak started ploughing, heavy downpour started falling from sky. As he was about to return to his palace, he heard a baby cry in the field where he ploughed. He approached to the sound and he saw a baby girl abondoned in the field. He took the baby girl to the palace thinking that she was the gift of the god as the king did not have any of his children. Whole kingdom celebrated the rain and was very happy to see a new member in the palace. The king named his new devine gift as Princess Sita.

Princess Sita started to grow up. The king was very happy to find Sita as her loved one. Princess Sita was very beautiful and her glory of grace was famous in the whole world. One day the King Janak decided to find a bridegroom for his daughter. The king thought "Who could be the perfect groom of his daughter?" One day the king saw the princess Sita lifting a very heavy bow in a store room while cleaning the room. This bow was very heavy and there was nobody in the palace who could even move the bow. The bow had been in the store room since the king's ancesstors time and everyone believed that there was some devine power inherited in the bow.

The king was very surprized to see her daughter Sita moving the bow so easily. So, King thought the prince who could lift the bow and shoot a target with an arrow would only be her groom. The king send a message throughout the world about his daughter's groom selection. Kings and princes from all over the world came to Janak's country to face the challenge. Sadly, nobody could even move the bow. The king was very sad since nobody was successful to fullfill the king's desire and become his son-in-law. Months had passed but there was no sign of hope.

One day a prince called "Rama" came to Janak's kingdom to test his fate. Prince Rama di not look that strong physically. As he moved to lift the bow, all the people laughed and made fun of him. But surprizingly, when th attempted to lift the devine bow, the bow shattered in pieces. Everyone was so happy to see this. The king was so happy.

There was a huge celebration in the kingdom. The King Janak arranged a big wedding for her daughter. The Princess Sita was sent to Ram's kingdom after a very big celebration. The Prince Ram and Princess Sita became the king and queen of the kingdom Ayodhya after few years. They lived a very happly lives after that.


****

Now, if only I can get Debbie to tell me the story of the Filipino princess who turned into a durian fruit...

And speaking of beloved princess stories:

Buttercup: That's the fire swamp! We'll never survive!
Westley:
Nonsense! You're only saying that because no one ever has.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Geeks and Gauntlet

Just finished the third of three back-to-back classes at the university, I shuffled down the hall and slung my backpack onto the table where my friend was working on her laptop.

"Hey," I said.

"Hi," she replied.

"Rah rah ah-ah-ah! Ro mah ro-mah-mah!" the hall behind us burst into song. Raising my eyebrows I turned around to see a guy dressed in a panda costume, another guy dressed in blue spandex (he looked kinda like Howard from Big Bang Theory), a guy in a tank top that said "Too sexy for my sleeves" and at least another three oddly dressed companions. "Gaga ooh-la-la!" they belted out a cappella, doing very nicely at projecting their voices.

There's not a lot that goes on in the university that will get people to stop and watch, but this sure did. I have to hand it to those guys (and one girl). They looked strange, had a talented beat-boxer, and all things considered, sounded quite good.

But my favourite part was when two of the strangely dressed guys (one of them was the beat-boxer) branched off from the group and sang directly for me. I'd like to think it was my beauty and charming smile that attracted them, but I suspect it was just the proximity of my chair to their makeshift stage. Though it's probably a good thing that I wasn't listening too hard to the lyrics, and was just enjoying the "Rah rah ah-ah-ah".

They received an enthusiastic round of loud applause at the conclusion of their performance. They wished everyone a happy Valentine's Day (which is kind of odd, seeing as the name of the song is "Bad Romance") and exited to more applause.

Maybe it's just the performer still in me that likes being acknowledged by people on a stage, but it made my day, even if they all looked more like geeks than pop stars. Or maybe because they looked like geeks? Hmmm...

Anyway, speaking of the uni, another couple of articles I wrote have been published in the Gauntlet, at least on the online version. You can check them out if you like. The first one is about the body scanners installed in the airports and the second is about a debate that happened at the the university.

While we're on the topic of bad romances:
Wadsworth: But your first husband also disappeared!
Mrs. White: Well, that was his job. He was an illusionist.
Wadsworth: But he never reappeared!
Mrs. White: He wasn't a very good illusionist.