Nikki Nikki 9Dorz

A Vancouver dwelling, Fluevog wearing, zombie loving, happiness advocate, sharing her tips, tricks and life hacks for having a fun-filled, age-appropriate night out in this amazing city!


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Re-Boot: Nikki 9Dorz + Vancity = True Love 4-Ever!

Sooooo, hog jowls….what can I tell you? Basically, they are pretty gross. You can place them on top of a fancy cracker comprised solely of rare seeds harvested from the depths of an ancient, untouched rainforest, cover them with a finishing sauce made from the finest red wine that money can buy, and serve them in a room that costs more to rent for one evening than many people spend on housing for an entire year. None of these things change the fact that when all is said and done hog jowls have the same texture and aroma as the fat that clung to the edges of the shrivelled up, Super Value brand pork chops that my grandma used to serve at Sunday dinners, circa 1978.

Anyone who follows my Instagram and Twitter feeds knows that I am very privileged in that I have a very active social life, and I am extremely fortunate to have found someone to share my life with who has the same drive and desire to eat, drink and celebrate their way through the rest of their lives as I do. As a result of our many food, beverage, and travel centered adventures I have found myself, at the ripe “old” age of 40, involved in a mad, passionate love affair with the fair city of Vancouver, and for the first time in my life I am getting out there and really getting a piece of all of the amazing people, places and events that this city has to offer. This, as you may have guessed, includes events that serve hog jowls. Mlech!

In addition to this, anyone who knows me personally knows that  despite having settled into a life over the past several years that is everything that I could ever want it to be, things for me, as is the same with countless others, have not always been so joyful. My life course has seen me navigate a large number of abrupt twists and turns, some that seemed to have come out of nowhere, and if this taught me anything it is that you can set out on a path expecting your journey to deliver a very specific experience, but that does not mean that in the end that is how the Universe intends things to play out.

And you know what? I have learned that in situations such as this, the best thing to do is simply hang on, and roll with it, because in the end, that is where you are supposed to be.

When I first created Nikki Nikki 9Dorz I did so with the intention that it would serve as a space for me to share and explore my love of both storytelling, and the power of the written word (for more on this, check out this post here), however as I have progressed through the process of learning how to optimize the power and reach of my voice on the magical interwebs I discovered that in addition to telling stories about the crazy things that happen to me, I also have the opportunity to share with people the philosophy that just because you are over the age of 25 it does not mean that banned from being within the downtown city limits after 6:00pm.

While some may maintain that painting the town red is a young(er) woman’s game, I  wholeheartedly disagree, and going forward here at Nikki Nikki 9Dorz, through sharing with you the awkward tales of my not-so-everyday life I hope to pass along some of my own tips, tricks and life hacks for having an amazing, age-appropriate night out in the city!

True Love, 4-Ever!

True Love, 4-Ever!

Are you excited to learn about fun, age-appropriate things do to in the city of Vancouver for the 40-something crowd? Do you have a favorite haunt that you would like to share with the Nikki Nikki 9Dorz community? Please let me know in the comments below!

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Does the YBC Accept Canadian Tire Money?

When I was a little kid growing up in the 70’s I used to have an obsession with stationery stores.

Even before I could write a proper sentence I remember begging to spend any birthday money received from relatives not on toys, but on all kinds of ruled notebooks, colorful folders, and smooth writing, medium tip, ball point pens. I recall returning home from many a summer shopping trip with my grandparents, pulling out the dusty old Singer sewing machine from its corner of exile in the kitchen, and setting up a small ersatz desk with all of my purchases laid out carefully in front of me, ready to “work”.

The adults in my family, although used to my eccentricities (ok, I will say it, I was a little weird) were initially confused, they eventually came to the conclusion that I was playing “office”, or perhaps even “store”. The latter theory was added when I reached the age of 7 or 8, and started getting really ambitious. It was at that time that I began taking the large stack of Canadian Tire money that my grandpa always kept on a special shelf by the kitchen sink, carefully counting it, and then adding it to the top drawer of my sewing machine/desk before I began my day’s “work”.

As a creative only child I was quite used to having my intentions misunderstood by the grown-ups, so I decided early on not to waste my time with correcting their misinterpretation…and truth be told, I really dug having control over my own little secret.

You see, despite what the adults thought, I did not love visiting those stores because they sold office supplies that would allow me to practice becoming the best secretary that the world had ever seen. I loved those stores because they were filled with the tools I needed in order to WRITE! The smell of crisp, bleached paper and thick, black ink made me swoon as only a little kid can because I knew that with these things I could create my own stories, just like the ones that I read in any of the books that I could get my hands on.

Even at a very young age I knew that with these simple tools came the power to create worlds for myself that existed far beyond my small, sometimes frightening reality, and as a scared, lonely and bullied little kid the stories and plays that I wrote in those piles of notebooks were worth more to me than any of the dozens of Barbie dolls and tea sets that I ever owned.

Fast forward 30 years and I now find myself in a very different place. First of all, against all odds, I am very, very happy. Secondly, as I once again find myself setting up a makeshift desk in a small, dusty corner in preparation to write, the stories that I wish to tell now are not the tales of fantasy which I used to escape into as a child, but instead they are the real stories from my not-so-everyday life…because if growing up has taught me anything, it is that the truth can be stranger, and sometimes much more awesome, than fiction.

Oh, but wait…what was I using the Canadian Tire money for, you ask?

Well, once again I was a child of the 70’s, and while I did spend a lot of time reading I also had a second love, and that was the television. TV taught me many things over the years, but primarily I learned that if I ever wanted to have a glass of Chardonnay with Jack and Chrissy down at The Regal Beagle a modern woman was going to have to pay her own way…so my writing gig had to pay me something, didn’t it?

 

YBC blog photo

 

Uhmmmm, now that I am “back in business” do you think that the YBC accepts Canadian Tire money?

 

 


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Know Your Limit, Checkout Within It

So, here’s the thing.

As I see it, the option to use the self-checkout line at any grocery or big box store should be seen as a privilege, not a right. If you have a handful of pre-packaged, SKU bearing items, your debit card is liberated from your wallet, positioned to insert, chip end first, with a quick and accurate pointer finger at the ready then I say Godspeed my friend, and encourage you to proceed with that “Can Do” attitude to the nearest self-serve terminal.

If, on the other hand, you have a basket filled to the brim with bushels of leafy green produce and numerous bulk bags containing several different kinds of organically grown and ethically harvested grains (all of which you have neglected to write down the correct product codes for), then I implore with you to remain steadfast in your socially responsible life choices by showing some respect for your fellow shoppers and piling that vast hoard of hippy snacks onto the nearest automated conveyor belt where it all can be dealt with by a trained professional!

Those who know me personally are aware that I am generally a really kind and friendly person, but the one thing that never fails to make me really grouchy is wasted time. As a result, when my hopeless sense of whimsy has been allowed to prevail on occasions where I have been significantly delayed by people fumbling and flailing through the self-check-out process, that time has been spent developing an elaborate punitive system for those who use and abuse their right to access the self-service line.

On my happy days, the ones that are filled with magical unicorns and colorful rainbows, my system simply requires the shoppers in the wonderful land of 9Dorz to pass a basic, practical skills test which awards one a license to use the self-check-out service. Reasonable, yes? Under this system if one repeatedly fails to quickly and accurately navigate their way through the process then this license would be revoked, and whilst there would most likely be some level of public shaming involved (these details have yet to be finalized), justice would indeed be swift, yet fair.

On bad days (when it is rainy, cold, or I am feeling hangry) then a Mr. Burns style trap door is added to the equation, where again, if one fails to navigate the system, error free, and within a pre-determined length of time, this door would swing open beneath the offender delivering them to a medieval style moat where they would have ample time to reflect upon their grave misdeeds while swimming their way to safety.

On REALLY bad days (when it is rainy, cold, I am feeling hangry AND I have slipped in one of the magical unicorn’s poop) well, that moat also contains a small family of peckish crocodiles.

 

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In the magical world of 9Dorz a Mr. Burns style “Trap Door” app would be a government funded project.

With this knowledge in place one can imagine the panic, nay, disbelief that I experienced last week when I was quickly and efficiently scanning my way through a small basket of packaged goods at a well-known local retailer and quite unexpectedly heard that stern and rebuking robotic voice utter the phrase “please remove the last item from the bag”.

What the what?!?!

I had followed my regular, pre-check out routine to the letter and had not deviated one iota from the tried and true, iron- clad, 9Dorz self-checkout system! Prior to approaching the terminal I had mentally noted the order that I would scan my purchases based on size, shape and weight, I had listened carefully for the telltale beep which indicates that an item has been successfully scanned before depositing it in the pre-arranged plastic bag to my right (getting caught with a static charged, unopened bag and no place to put your items is a total rookie manoeuvre), and to top it all off my debit card was tucked halfway into my jeans pocket, chip side up, and ready for action!

As I attempted to quickly shake off the red hot shame of being caught making an error so grievous that under the laws of my own kingdom I could potentially be tarred and feathered with a large stack of on-shelf, in-store coupons (one of the public shaming options I tabled in my head the last time I spent ten minutes in line behind a lady who thought it acceptable to bring a whole cart load of groceries to the self-checkout terminal ), I blindly grabbed the last item I placed in the bag and scanned it, only to immediately realize that the Vitamin Water I held in my hand now appeared twice! As I frantically searched for an onscreen option that would allow me to delete the duplicate scan, the terminal began to loudly and repeatedly prompt me to “please place the item in the bag”.

Nooooooooooooo!!!!!

Flustered, mortified, and exhibiting a code red level of anxiety that was slowly drawing the attention of my fellow shoppers I knew that the only way to extricate myself from this daymare was to draw upon the tenets of my own belief system, fall on my sword, and call in professional help. With that decision made, I hung my head in shame, pushed the “Call Attendant” button, and waited for the trap door beneath me to swing open.

Only, it didn’t…and no one came.

As I slowly came to the realization that I had not been ushered to a cold, watery grave, and that it was sweat running down my forehead, not hot, sticky tar being released from above, I lifted my head to bravely prepare for the retribution the real world had in store for me that was obviously so horrific that it was causing THIS long of a delay to prepare. Yet as my panic clouded vision slowly began to clear, I quickly realized that there was an attendant, sporting a jaunty tie and an apathetic stare, standing not three feet away from me.

Waaaaa?!?!?!

Could this individual not see the self-checkout shit storm that that was currently going down on his watch? Was he not alerted by his high-tech, hand-held, remote device that a tornado of chaos worth $1.98 (plus tax) was getting ready to tear apart the universe at terminal three?

With my wits now about me I leapt into action, approached the young man and humbly asked for his help. Yet, again, surprisingly, no reaction! After what seemed like an eternity of dead air I repeated my request, pointed to the terminal, and despite the fact that this second request actually prompted him to move towards the area, he still refused to speak to me.

As I followed in silence I began to wonder if this was a new style of retribution being doled out by this retailer in response to an increase in incidences involving self-checkout deadbeats. My mind flashed back to an episode of The Twilight Zone (the 80’s reboot, not the original) where a man accused of the crime of “coldness” was imprinted with a mark on his forehead that indicated to the rest of society that he was to appear as if invisible to them, and that under no circumstances were they permitted to acknowledge his presence. I began to contemplate the possibility that this was the type of futuristic justice now being doled out by one of western Canada’s most beloved retailers when I was brought back to reality by a series of loud beeps, and saw the young attendant return, in silence, to his post.

Still in shock, I turned back to the screen and saw that not only had he deleted the extra bottled beverage from the bill, but the terminal had stopped its incessant squawking and I apparently was ready to return to my “iron-clad” self-checkout system.

Embarrassment, shock and self-preservation make for strange bedfellows, so I scanned my last item, a box of my beloved Crest brand teeth whitening strips, listened for the beep, placed it in the bag, paid for my order, and exited, stage left, as quickly as possible.

When I arrived home I dropped my bag at the front door and it was not until about a half hour later when I went to retrieve something from it that I thought to go over the receipt to ensure that everything was in order. This is something that I normally do before leaving the store, but in light of my futuristic shunning experience this time I had chose to get the hell out of Dodge as soon as was practicable.

As I began scanning the receipt I noticed that the list seemed really short, and when I arrived at the total I realized that something was drastically wrong. That amount charged was WAY too low to accurately reflect the value of the items that I purchased. As I mentally checked off each line in my head, praying that one or more of the items I had purchased had been subject to a significant reduction in price due to a sale that I was not aware of, the reality of the situation began to sink in. Despite the terminal having emitted that telltale beep of approval, and it allowing me to put the item in the bag without losing its ever-loving robotic mind, the teeth whitening strips did not appear as part of the total!!!!

As I trudged down the hill back towards the store to pay for the unaccounted for item (there was never any question in my head that I would not make the error right), all I could see ahead of me was that family crocodiles, circling…and they all had REALLY white teeth!

Have you ever had any self-checkout mishaps? Have you been behind someone in line who you would deem worthy of trap door justice? Please share your self-checkout experiences in the comment section below.


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Inner Voice 1 – Nikki 0

I have to admit that the whole thing snuck up on me this time around, basically I think because I was dreading it so much. The process is never pleasant, the procedure is always painful, and bad results can have a drastic effect on your life for many years to come…that’s right…last week it was time for me to get my passport picture taken.

The last time that my passport renewal rolled around there had recently been some changes made in regards to what was going to be acceptable elements in photos going forward, so I prepared in advance by diligently reading the official guidelines posted on the Passport Canada website and was confident that I was good to go when I left the house and headed to the photography shop near my house.

I could not have been more wrong….

I paid the fee at the counter, stood in front of the screen as instructed, and that is when the horror began. I am tall (some would say really tall) so I knew that something was wrong when all of a sudden the small, elderly, middle-eastern man in charge of taking my picture was directly in front of me, balancing on his tip toes, attempting to get all up in my grill.

“You can’t have hair on your face” he tells me, clucking his tongue and waddling away towards some nearby shelving.

Hair!!!!…On my face??? Waaaaa???? I am obsessive about that shiz, and was in shock that something like that could have escaped the reflection of the 20x magnification mirror that I torture myself with on a daily basis. While I was in the process of seriously contemplating raiding my savings account to pay for professional laser hair removal I saw him returning from the cupboard with a comb, several bobby pins, and a small plant sprayer in hand.

Oh, nowwwww I get it. He meant no hair in my face. Phew.

I am not sure if it was the overwhelming relief associated with the realization that I did not indeed have rogue whiskers sprouting conspicuously from my soon to be middle-aged chin, or the fact that I was still trying to process why the international community wanted to penalize me for such a thing in the first place that had distracted me from what the man had been doing since his return, but it was not until I felt a thin spray of water hitting my face that I came back to reality and experienced the horror of what had been taking place while I was off day-maring scenarios of my boyfriend and I getting turned away at border crossings around the world because I was deemed to have too much facial hair in my passport photo.

As I peered over the man’s head into a small, plastic cosmetic mirror that had been taped to the wall in front of me I saw that not only had he swept my bangs to the side in classic, old man, comb-over style,  he had also secured them with a large bobby pin that was conspicuously protruding from behind my left ear.  And, to top it all off, he was now proceeding to spray any fly-aways with somewhat questionable water from his plant sprayer.

Holy Crap!!!!

As I began to process the hideous sight that was staring back at me from that small plastic mirror he again waddled away and stepped behind his camera in an attempt to survey the results of his handy work while continuing  to make that clucking noise that I had quickly grown to despise. “Too shiny” he mumbled as he again headed towards his cupboard of fashion derision, and began rummaging.

Waaaa??? Too shiny??? Its called “illuminator” jackass, and I pay a LOT of money for that shimmering liquid they market as “Super Model in a Bottle”.

As I desperately tried to gather my wits about me and decide how I was going to gracefully exit a situation that had quickly gone from bad to absolutely apocalyptic I realized that he was back, and was now standing in front of me covering a large makeup brush in a thick dusting of baby powder!

Now I should point out that during incidents of distress I fully admit that sometimes I begin to distrust my own sense of perception, so while I was allowing this man to cover my face in a thick layer of white powder my inner voice began its bullshit, and began its sly attempt to convince me that since he does this for a living he must know what he is talking about, right? I can’t look that bad?? RIGHT??!?!?!

And that is the story of how my asshole of an inner voice caused me to travel to several international destinations over the past five years carrying identification that made me look like I was an inmate who had just been hosed down by the warden after a rumble in a Kabuki prison.

Now, back to present day….

After 5 years of trauma and the stress of having to hide my passport from many a travel companion, I decided that this time would be different. I now know that my inner voice can be silenced through copious consumption of Pinot Noir. In addition to this, I also have the advantage of knowing that the authorities have a strong anti-bang stance and consider any attempt at projecting a healthy glow to be a shifty maneuver . This time I was going in actually prepared and I was going to be in control. I tied my hair back in a tight bun, made sure my make up was matte, and that I had almost no color on my face in order to mitigate any potential “shadows” that may compromise the image.

The result? I would rather have the picture of me that appears below on my passport than the one that I had taken last week.

Inner Voice 1, Nikki 0

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Have you ever had a really bad passport picture? Have any passport picture photographers ever given you an impromptu makeover to ensure that your photo would measure up?

Please share tales of your own crazy passport photos in the comments section below!