Wednesday, June 29, 2005


After all these years of blogging, it appears I've finally figured out how to create a comments section. I've tried a few times before, but have always failed. Anyway, let's see how it goes. Send me your comments, nasty or nice.

I enjoy reading short stories by gay authors, and fortunately there are a few quarterly literary magazines online that provide me with such. I was looking through Lode Star Quarterly, and Blithe, when I came across a story by someone named Patrick Roscoe. It’s called “Compromise."

I thought to myself, “I recognize that name!”

I tried to read the story, but it seemed so esoteric and poetic, that it irritated me, so I just scanned through it, and I didn’t get the point of it.

So I looked under “contributors” and found this bio on him:

“Patrick Roscoe is the author of seven internationally acclaimed books of fiction which have been translated into nine languages. His widely published and anthologized work has appeared in Christopher Street, The James White Review, Blithe House Quarterly, and Harrington Gay Men's Fiction Quarterly. Patrick Roscoe's short fiction has won two CBC Canadian Literary Awards, a Pushcart Prize, and a Lorian Hemingway Short Story Award; it has received a pair of Distinguished Story citations from Best American Stories, and is frequently selected for Best Canadian Stories.”

“Hmm, that still sounds familiar,” but I couldn’t quite place him yet.

It wasn’t until that I saw his picture that it clicked for me. Even though it’s a poor representation, I remembered how I knew him. Many years ago…8? 10? I had met him for a coffee date. This was still when the internet was in its infancy, and we had met through an online dating web site for gay men. We wrote back and forth a few times, and seemed to have enough in common to meet for a coffee.

It’s said that writers love visual artists, but the reverse is also true. Visual artists are fascinated by writers’ ability with words. So we met for coffee at a small café in the West End.

He was older than me, as I recall. Maybe 5-10 years older? I can’t remember for sure, although he looked older. He was handsome, in a craggy way. A little rough around the edges. My knowledge of culture is very poor, but isn’t “Roscoe” either Irish or Scottish? He had that Irish look, of having lived a lot, and probably drank too much. Still handsome, but in a nearly brutish, boxer-kind of way.

I guess you could also say he appeared to typify the suffering artist look. A little dark, a little angsty, but charismatic, intelligent and rough at the same time.

Patrick had just finished writing another book, to awards and acclaim, and was doing his publicity tour, reading his book and doing signings. I can’t remember if he gave me a copy of his book, or if I went out to buy it, and neither can I remember the name of the book. I probably have it in storage somewhere. Anyway, I tried reading it, and was totally lost. I couldn’t get through the first chapter. It was so dense, and so artistically composed, it was lost on me, even though I’m quite educated. To be honest, his writing irritated me. It was obviously the kind of writing that other academics with too much education love to analyze, pick apart, and try to figure out.

In person, he was a lot like his writing. He spoke in circles, never making a concrete statement. Everything he said was couched in some deep metaphor that I didn’t comprehend. But he also exuded a strong and nearly uncontrollable sexuality.

He was living the life of Somerset Maughan. With the grants, awards and book contracts he received, he would move to some obscure country, live in some hot and humid place, take on a local lover, or live entirely alone. I got the impression he drank a lot. But he would write. Meet locals. Soak up the culture. Notice weird details about the place he lived, which he’d poetically put into his novels. He was always on sabbatical, living off of grants and awards, which he’d eventually use all his experience to create another obscure award-winning fiction novel.

I decided early in our coffee meeting that I’d be interested in being friends, but nothing more. I don’t mind intensity…but his intensity was tsunami-like. I felt like I’d be caught up in a dysfunctional web of charisma and intensity if I got sexually involved with him. I bet he’s a hot sexual partner. But I’m too “white bread” for that. (Also, I prefer guys who can fix a car.)

Anyway, I did a google search, and found another story called “Mutilation,” published by the Danforth Review. A very dark story. I actually read it very carefully, and did understand it. But at the end of reading it I found this short bio:

“Patrick Roscoe is a Vancouver sex worker whose seven internationally acclaimed books of fiction have been translated into nine languages.”

My first reaction was shock. My second reaction was, “I thought so.” There was something about his smouldering sexuality and darkness of spirit that made me sense there was a “sex worker” behind his rough, though fine academic yet rebellious façade. One that I could relate to (read past posts on my own history this way).

After getting over my shock, and gratefulness that I didn’t get involved, I re-read his story called, “Compromise.” After trying to appreciate his poetic prose, like a painting, I realized his story was really about love. And learning how to be with another person. With a whole bunch of fancy language!

Being an artist is never an easy calling. But it appears that Patrick is learning to temper it, with the art of compromise.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Canadian Idol: Very Canadian

I watched Canadian Idol for the second week in a row. While it’s based on American Idol, it’s entirely different. The show appears to try to imitate American Idol, but can’t, because there’s a Canadian spin and attitude to it. I’m embarrassed by it – if other people from other countries watched it, what would they think of us!

Canadian Idol has a four person team of judges. Most of whom I’ve never heard of before. I’m sorry I don’t remember their names, partly because most of the hosts are so lame and so unknown. Standing in for:

Simon: A guy named Jake takes his place, who is outright nasty and rude. He has none of Simon’s wit or sexiness. He’s just plain ugly and unlikable. And he yells at 16 year olds. He’s an aging rocker. There’s nothing worse than a 40 year old man wearing earrings, with dyed black hair, and wearing rocker t-shirts.

Paula Abdul: Her position in Canada is imitated by Sass Jordan. But Sass Jordan isn’t as nice, although she tries hard (you can see her artifice), but will suddenly deliver an acid comment. All I remember about her is seeing her in one video and hearing one song (that was excellent, by the way). But then she seemed to disappear. She may be a “one hit wonder.” In contrast, I remember all of Paula Abdul’s songs and videos.

Randy: He’s replaced by a token black man on Canadian Idol. I can’t even remember his name, but fortunately he doesn’t say, “Dawgs” or wag his fingers at people.

Ryan: Ryan is imitated by Ben Mulroney. He’s the child of one of our ex-prime ministers. He’s actually quite sweet, and does an excellent job as a host. For some odd reason, many Canadian people don’t like him. They tend to feel that he’s famous because his father was our prime minister. But I think he’s an excellent and naturally talented host.

Extra: For some reason, Canadian Idol adds a side-kick to Ben Mulroney (aka Ryan). Again, I don’t remember his name, but he’s a total goof. I like him though. He epitomizes Canadian humour. It’s very offbeat, and not quite funny. It’s not witty. He uses a lot of physical comedy. Think “Doug and Bob MacKenzie” type Canadian humour. In last night’s show he dressed up as a Canada Post worker, delivering mail, and meets the Sasquatch (Big Foot) and gives him a Canadian cap. Canadian humour tends to make you think, “Huh? I can’t believe that just happened, and what was it about, and should we smoke another joint?”

The other major difference is in the contestants: Canadian Idol (and Canadians in general) tend to love the offbeat, extremely original and creative singers. They would never make the cut in the U.S. But they always do on Canadian Idol. Most of them will have careers on Broadway, or on the stage at least. They’re way too full of personality and originality. Think Liza Minelli, but with more creativity.

So watching Canadian Idol is an exercise in being Canadian. You’re always comparing it to American Idol, and thinking it isn’t as good. You listen to the judges comments and are shocked and embarrassed for being Canadian. You watch the contestants and think, “This isn’t a pop star competition, it’s competition for artist-singers.” You watch the sidekick and smoke another joint.

Then…the people who are chosen are just plain weird! For instance, last night, Canadians chose an obviously gay femme boy, with big ears and who looks extremely vulnerable, with a falsetto voice. He acts like he’s been called a “fag” every day of his life. His voice is pretty good, but somehow he got the highest number of votes. I can’t see this happening in the U.S.

Yet, I love being Canadian. Although I prefer watching American Idol.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

My dog story

The cutest dog I’ve ever seen was when I was eating breakfast outside, at a tiny restaurant across the street. The owner didn’t even have to chain this dog – he was so well trained and had the sweetest temperment. He wandered up to me when I got my breakfast. He was quite large, and mostly white, except for a fancy decoration and pattern around his neck. It made him look like he was wearing a Parisian scarf around his neck.

What made me love him was his gentle nature, and he had the sweetest “hang-dog” eyes I’ve ever seen. When I was served breakfast, he just sat there, staring at me, with those puppy eyes. Then, he began drooling, huge amounts of saliva. It literally ran like a tap of water. Meanwhile, he’s looking me in the eyes, and appeared both sad and hopeful. Like I would give him a bite to eat.

I’m against giving dogs food from my own plate. I’ve never done it before. But there was something about his sad and hopeful eyes, and his persistent drooling, that made me want to serve him some of my breakfast. I know that some dog owners are entirely against this practice, so I actually walked through the restaurant (with my plate in hand, I wasn’t going to leave my Eggs Benedict alone with that dog outside) asking people if they owned this dog, and if it was okay if I fed him some of my food. No one claimed to own this dog.

So, I go back outside and sit down, and begin eating. With each bite I take, this silly dog drools uncontrollably. He almost looks apologetically at me. He realizes he shouldn’t be doing this, but he can’t help himself. It also looks like he has a silly and friendly grin on his face. So I give in. I cut him a nice portion of Eggs Benedict. I pick it up, and this dog already knows I’m about to give it to him. So before it’s even off the plate, he’s by my side, and I feed it to him. I feel his warm, wet tongue all over my fingers, and he gobbles up the portion in seconds. I was hoping this would fulfill him.

But it doesn’t, of course. He sits down in front of me, staring at me, drooling even more, looking ever more sad and hopeful. But now he’s smiling at me in a friendly manner, he’s panting and his tongue is wagging, and I just can’t help myself! I even see him take a nose breath, smelling my breakfast, and then he swallows as if imagining that he’s eating it.

I give him another huge bite of my Eggs Benedict. I know this dog isn’t underfed – he’s huge and healthy looking.

By the time we’re done, I’ve just fed over half of my expensive, $10 Eggs Benedict breakfast to an anonymous dog! But I loved every moment of it. No regrets.

After we’re done eating, the dog’s owner comes out, and he goes running and flopping all over to her. That dog is so cute! She heard that I was trying to find her earlier, and immediately apologies. She said, “I’m so sorry, I heard that you were trying to find me earlier. Has he been bothering for you food?”

Update: I've learned that the dog is probably a Labrador Retriever. With another mix. A bit of a mutt.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Book Meme

Tokio Bleu tagged me for the Book Meme. I don’t really want to do it, because I’m so embarrassed by my reading list. But here it goes:

How many books do I own?
I’ve owned hundreds of books in my life, but because I’ve moved so frequently, I also get rid of them frequently. At the moment I’ve got about 35 in the house, and about 100 in boxes in the garage. I recently gave away about 100 books to an art school for their annual spring fundraising sale. I've mostly bought books about art theory and art, and extremely boring books like Foucault.

The last book I bought?
For my birthday in January I was given a gift card to “Chapters” – a large bookstore chain in Canada, but still haven’t used it. I’m afraid the last book I purchased was “Train of Thoughts: Designing the Effective Web Experience” John C. Kenker, Jr. It’s an excellent book on web design theory. And I bought it over a year ago. Books are so expensive here in Canada, and so bulky, that I avoid buying them.

The last book I read?
My father just wrote a book, an autobiography, called “The Rev.” I got it two weeks ago, and I’ve only read a third of it. It’s fascinating. And huge – 8.5 x 11 in size, and over 300 pages, with lots of pictures. He used “Publishing on Demand.” Surprisingly, it’s very beautifully designed. He’s written two other books on religious things.

Books that mean a lot to me?

This is the most difficult question. And I’m afraid I’m a serious new-age reader, which may turn many people off. Also, I rarely read fiction.

1. Living in the Light, by Shakti Gawain.

This book transformed my life when I was 22. And many other lives, because I kept buying this book and sending it to friends. I’ve read all of her books, and all of them are excellent. This has been the most important book to me.

2. Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda
This book is mind-blowing. I can’t even begin to describe it. It’s magical and affirms that life is mysterious and spiritual.

3. The Bible
My favourite passage is “1 Corinthians 13. Most of the rest of the book I could do without.

1 Corinthains 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or aclanging cymbal. (I think this is about “speaking in tongues” and “cacophony.”
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

This remains one of the most profound and fabulous pieces of writing I have ever read.

5. Hands of Light and Light Emerging, by Barbara Ann Brennan
The best books I’ve read that describe the ephemeral aspects of healing and interpersonal communication. She manages to describe these in easily understandable and practical ways. These books will transform your life.

A side note to Tokio Bleu, I’ve heard that “Le Petite Prince” is terrific. I was assigned reading this book in university, while taking my 11th year of French, and it was too difficult for my proficiency, so I dropped the course. I’ll have to find an English translation.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A blast from the past
I was running around, doing errands this afternoon, when I saw someone from the past. I haven't seen him in about 12 years. Partly this may be because I intentionally moved out of the gay areas of Vancouver about 7 years ago, and rarely go to the West end, and I've avoided going to gay clubs. But 12-14 years ago I went quite often, and used to hang out with a couple of friends who loved getting to know everyone. We'd cruise everywhere. By cruising, I mean we'd walk around the West end, going for coffee, walking the seawalk around English Bay and Stanley park, looking at hot men and fantasizing about meeting one of them. In the evenings we'd visit a night club, doing the same. If I may say so, the three of us together were fairly good looking ourselves.

We all had similar upbringings - good parents, nice middle class lives, excellent educations. We also came from smaller cities, so Vancouver was quite new and exciting to us, because we were learning about the gay culture. We were fairly naive, but during the course of our friendship - it lasted about three years - we all changed quite a bit. Jerod was from a small town in Saskatchewan, who moved to Vancouver because the older man he was obsessively in love with moved here. But the guy was a prick, who manipulated Jerod and while he liked having him around for sex, but definitely wasn't in love with him, nor wanted commitment. So poor Jerod was always going through huge emotional distress and jealousy. It began to change Jerod. He became a popular step-class instructor, and in order to avoid feeling all his pain and wanting to feel attractive, he became quite a slut. As if to prove he was desirable.

The strange thing that happened with Jerod and I...whenever I saw someone I found very attractive, Jerod would hone in on him. He'd find out about him, what he was into, and then end up having sex with him. This, of course, would really piss me off. It happened several times. And it was usually very sleazy sex. He started having sex with guys in their cars, or at a certain video shop on Granville Street, that had those coin operated porno booths. I think he'd even jerk off with guys in the gym's shower room after he was done teaching. I was trying not to be judgemental, but it was so opposite of the Jerod I had originally met, and I was quite concerned...and turned off. At that time I hadn't yet explored my own slutty side (It would be a few more years).

There was one guy we were interested in, just because he seemed so...good looking, but remarkably superficial and dumb. At the same time friendly and shy. He looked like one of those guys you see on the covers of Men's Fitness. We ran into him everywhere - at the gym, on the street, in the clubs. We talked with him eventually, and while I found him interesting, in a scientific way, I didn't find him sexually attractive.

One night, the three of us showed up for coffee, and Jerod had this story to tell about Mr. Men's Fitness. Jerod had met him at a nightclub the night before, then went home with him. Another conquest for Jerod! He had this perfect Calvin Klein apartment - all white sheets, white sheer floor length curtains, everything obsessively in place and perfect. When Jerod finally found himself in his bed, and they both took off their clothes, Jerod said he felt like he was about to have sex with a Men's Fitness model. He felt so intimidated.

Mr. Men's Fitness is unusually good looking, in that high-fashion model way. Long limbs, no fat, all definition, perfect abs, longish dark brown hair, a long, classically handsome face, etc. But there’s nothing natural about him – it’s all hard work and artifice. It’s all about how you look.

Mr. Men's Fitness tried to say something politely to Jerod. He said he didn't like hairy chests (Jerod's chest wasn't that hairy) and then offered to get out his clippers and trim his chest hair. The thing about this guy is that he is obsessively perfect, and doesn't tolerate anything less than perfect than him.

This ended up ruining the mood for Jerod, and he ended up leaving. I thought the whole story was so funny, because it exemplified for me everything that I thought Mr. Men’s Fitness was like. And it was funny because the only reason why Jerod bothered to go home with him was to have another conquest that he could brag about.

So this afternoon, 12 – 14 years later, I’m waiting for the bus (because I can’t afford my car right now). It’s pouring rain, and chilly. Everyone is wearing a jacket, pants and holding an umbrella. Out of nowhere comes Mr. Men’s Fitness. He’s wearing a very tight t-shirt with the short sleeves looking ripped off, shorts that are nearly see-through in the rain, and is dripping wet. No jacket. His perfect dark brown, longish hair is stylishly out of place, his biceps, triceps and leg muscles are artfully ripped. He looks gorgeous, but shockingly so. I think he was out for a 10 km jog along Jericho beach. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t live in Kits.

He sees me, and recognizes me. I consider for a moment saying hello. But I really don’t want to. I don’t even remember his name. Partly, because, I’m so over that type of gay culture...the one of perfection based on looks. Sure, it’s great to look at in pictures, but in real life – no thank you. There are thousands of handsome, intelligent, gorgeous men, who are also real. But I’ve always sensed no depth to this guy.

I had on my business wear – a black jacket, black pants and gray shirt, carrying my laptop briefcase. My longish dark hair was also wet, but probably not looking perfect.

He kept trying to catch my gaze, and I kept avoiding it. He even went so far as to stand next to me, two inches away, while at the bus stop. And there was tons of room. We were almost touching. And he continued to stand there. It was intimidating. Like I said, he is friendly, and probably somewhat nice. But I just turned away, looking expectantly for the bus.

At one point, a beautiful 30-something, blond woman walked passed us, looking him up and down, inside and out, and smiled at him, in a very sexual way. I mean, he’s a Harlequin Romance man. I don’t think she thought he was gay.

I think he lives the fantasy of looking like an extraordinary man. But I know he’s lived his life in pursuit of physical and outward perfection. I also know that he never smokes, drinks, does drugs, and his diet is probably vegetarian. This is worth emulating. But his pursuit of perfection hasn’t involved his inner self, unless it is the Tony Robbins kind of perfection. More money, more self-actualization. More superficial “spirituality.” I could be wrong. I hope so.

It could be that I’m the true stuck-up fag here.

We ended up getting off at the same bus stop, which disturbs me. I hope I don’t run into him again.

One other thing…I’ve always sensed he wanted to get to know me. Opposites attract. I really don’t mean this in a self-serving way. But there have been many extraordinarily good-looking guys, without depth, but who desire depth, that have wanted to get to know me. I’ve tried it, but it doesn’t work out. I’ve done the same thing – I’ve always been fascinated by extraordinarily good looking men, who are dumb, but in the end, it doesn’t work out.

I feel guilty for not saying hello.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Messenger me
I just downloaded the most recent Messenger! It's not the most up to date, since I am on a Mac, but at least I can "chat" with people. My chat is "" Chat with me!
Legal problems over?

I'm not sure where to start with this. I also have to be very vague. But in the last month and a half, I've been in conflict with a client, and I've been doing contract negotiations. Fortunately I have a sister who has acted as a legal representative for me, otherwise I'd have to pay thousands of dollars for such legal advise. It's been very stressful for me, since I haven't received any payment for thousands of dollars of work in over two months. Nevertheless, it seems like it's being worked out, although I'm taking a huge cut. It's very unpleasant, and not something I enjoy going through. But it seems like it may be resolved today. Thank goodness. Once this whole situation is over, I'll blog some more about it. It was surreal.

I’ve decided to grow my hair longer. It’s been two and a half months since I got it cut. Normally I have fairly short hair, buzzed with a number 2 on the sides, keeping the top longer, the back shaved short with a natural hairline. I’ve done a couple different looks over the years, but normally come back to my traditional haircut.

But I’ve noticed lately, in Vancouver, that there is a new look. It’s sort of 70s, I think. There are all these young, hot guys, going to the University of BC (I live near there, so I see them all the time on the bus or walking around Kitsilano) with longer hair, bangs, and a non military looking cut. Surprisingly, it’s kind of hot. Several years ago I decided to grow my hair out, and it looked good on me. I got my driver’s license taken with this haircut, and it’s a great picture. I was into bisexual guys from Port Coquitlam at the time, and this was their style. So I decided to emulate it.

(Oh man, I just poured hot wax onto me, accidentally, when picking up my cinnamon candle. Fortunately I wasn’t burned. But it’s all over my shorts and bed sheets. Anyway…)

I always had very dark, super straight hair since I was a young boy. But in the 80s, I decided to get a perm. A neighbour in Saskatoon gave me the perm. It was horrible! I ran back home, washed it with dishwashing detergent and Ajax scouring powder, hoping it would get rid of the perm. It just made my hair fuzzy. Since then, when my hair gets long, it gets curly. It curls up at the back of my neck, and curls all over. I have to use a lot of gel to get it into place and looking decent.

But it’s also kind of fun looking. I’m not this “perfect, military cut” looking guy anymore. Perhaps I seem more natural and free. I don’t know. Maybe I just look like a freak?

But since my hair has become longer, I’ve noticed everyone looking at me. Staring, in fact. It makes me feel very uncomfortable. I’m used to be noticed, but not this noticed! I had someone take my picture, and I think I look okay. So I’m not sure why I’m getting so much more attention lately. Is it because I look like an idiot, or because they like my hair long and curly at the ends?

I can be on my bicycle, and other cyclists (usually female) smile at me and say hello. I’m so uncomfortable – that’s never happened to me before. I walk onto a bus, and people make direct eye contact with me, and smile at me. Since when did Vancouver become this friendly? I keep running into this French Canadian girl, with bleached blond messy hair, who says hello, and wants to have a conversation with me (she lives in the area I think). She looks very alternative.

So, I’m feeling very uncomfortable with this new look. I’m not sure if it’s good on me, or what?! I look horrible when I wake up in the morning. All this long, curling hair becomes major fuzz and …

(ouch, I just burned myself with more candle wax)

I look like I’ve been on a major drinking binge. Maybe this huge mess and mop of hair is attractive to some people?

Possibly, but I’ve never thought of myself this way before. Of course, my friends always say positive things about me, and they like the way I look. In fact, most of them have always asked me to “Mess up your hair!”

I feel like I should buy a hair dryer. Something I haven’t owned in 15 years. Maybe a hairdryer will shock my fuzzy, curling hair into place. But then, I’d probably look extremely 80s.

Believe me, I’ll have fun with this long hair for a while, but the upkeep is too intense. With short buzzed hair, you wake up and look perfect. But with long hair, it takes far too many minutes off my life to try to style it, and make it look presentable. It also takes two hours to dry (without a hairdryer).

Actually, I wish I knew a really great stylist who knew how to work with hair like mine. And teach me how to handle it. Perhaps I’ll do some research.

Isn’t it remarkably superficial that I can spend this much time on a blog about hair? Oh my goodness. I need to get a real life.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

One more Vancouver observation

1. When local Vancouverites ask you to do a hike, most people from other cities imagine a pleasant stroll over gentle, but rolling hills and beautiful moss-covered cedar forests. You stop to admire the fallen log that has sprouted a new cedar tree, or the beautiful field of ferns. You expect to enjoy the silence, broken by a lovely song of birds. (This is what I imagined at first.) Not in Vancouver.

"Let's go for a hike today," in Vancouver, means..."Let's climb a 9,000 metre mountain called Grouse Grind within an hour. Let's not even pause to look at the landscape." The Grouse Grind is a hugely steep trail, that gets worse just as you reach the top. It is the most brutal exercise you can imagine. All you New York gym queens have no idea what a real workout is. You're climbing through mud, boulders and uneven terrain. There's no chance to view the beautiful landscape - all you see is your feet, taking one step after another, and sweat dripping down your brow into your eyes, nose and mouth.

By the time you get to the top of the mountain, every ounce of energy is gone. You're just glad you're alive.

This is just one of the typical "hikes" people do in Vancouver. There are dozens of these. Usually it's worth it because the view from the top of the mountain is amazing. But getting up the mountain is pure hell.