Monthly Archives: March 2011

My Review of West is West

Thursday night I enjoyed my second win of the year and went to see an advanced screening of West is West, courtesy of The Vancouver Sun.  West is West is the sequel to the 1999 film, East is East.  In the first film, we meet George Khan and his large family.  Khan is a Pakistani Muslim who came to England, married Ella, and had seven children with her.  That film deals with the culture clash between George and his children who rebel against his traditional values and attempts to arrange their marriages.

In West is West, we see the Khans four years later.  Their youngest son, Sajid, is being taunted and bullied at school for being Pakistani.  He responds by denying his heritage and hurling insults at his father, who still wants to instil traditional values into the last of his children.  George Khan takes his son to Pakistan in an attempt to teach him what it means to be Pakistani.  However, Sajid is not the only one who ends up struggling with questions about cultural identity.


I must admit I liked West is West better than the original film.  I found the darker elements of East is East difficult to watch and thought of George Khan as truly unlikeable character.  Yet, in the sequel, he is portrayed in a much more complex way and it is easy to feel sympathy for him, rather than just dislike.  The film is also very funny at times and that makes up for some cliche moments that occur.   I would recommend all of you check it out, especially on a grey day that needs some brightening.


Official movie site:

I Won $100 Worth of Cheese!

Today, as I was working diligently on curriculum development, I received a phone call from the Holland Shopping Center.”Hello, you have won $100 worth of cheese,” a friendly voice said. The grey day outside suddenly seemed brighter and the month of March a little less dreary. I remembered lamenting to my mother only a couple of days ago that I guess I hadn’t won the draw prize from one of our favourite shops. Both of us were very delighted and surprised to find out I was wrong.


The Holland Shopping Center is an oasis for those of us with Dutch heritage who yearn for the kind of products we only tend to see on the rare occasions when we get back to The Netherlands. They have products that go far beyond wooden shoes: high quality dish clothes, blue and white tiles, liquorice both salty and sweet varieties, stroop waffles, and, of course, cheese!


After getting over my initial excitement, I realized that I must have a Dutch cheese party and include my competitor. I will be happy to watch her enjoy some cheese, even if she is tempted to pair it with whine. Just kidding, M.


So, watch this space for cheese photos in the weeks to come and my review of West is West later this week.





2nd Win for Rsaloust!

I am very pleased to have won two tickets to an advance screening of West is West at Tinseltown, courtesy of The Vancouver Sun! I really wanted to see this movie because I enjoyed East is East, so much. West is West is its sequel. I will be attending the screening with my husband on March 24th, so I promise all of you a detailed movie review soon after.

The approximate retail value of the prize is $25.00. My current total winnings is now: $89.50. This win has definitely made my month!

My Second Prize Result and Some March Contests

Having had bad luck with my first contest, I was not going to let my second prize winning go to waste.  To make sure I made it to the Georgia Straight office (everything about them is geared for Vancouverites – they are only open Monday to Friday during office hours), I changed my work schedule to arrive at 8 am and leave at 4 pm, then I drove across town to make it to their office a mere 15 minutes before they closed.  (Lest you think I polluted the air with needless driving, I made sure to be at least somewhat environmentally responsible and combined my trip wtih a couple of errands.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any more contests.)

Not wanting to squander my winnings, I also made plans to see Unknown the next day.  My husband and I made it just in time…to take our pick of seats.  I don’t know how movie theatres survive today.  I like going out and I like seeing movies on the big screen.  Probably most people now have large TVs so they have no desire to go out anymore.

The movie turned out to be pretty fun.  After a car accident, Liam Neeson’s character comes out of a coma to find out his wife no longer recognizes him and some other guy is pretending to be him.  Anyhow, you most likely know this – I don’t have cable or read entertainment news anymore, so I have no idea what movies are playing.  If not, let me tell you the best part. 

The movie is set in Berlin.

There you go.  You’ll enjoy the movie, too, if you like car chases.


My contest contest winnings now amount to:

RV Show tickets $16


Unknown movie tickets $25

= $41

So I am behind R, but gaining!  I am sure with my next few contests I should catch up:

March 7:

  • Entered for a copy of the Factory Girl DVD.
  • Entered to win a Bambi DVD because I haven’t seen it yet and, furthermore, I am soon to have a lot of neices- and nephews-in-law.
  • Entered to win tickets to the musical Yippies in Love.
  • A Boardgame Geek contest.

March 12:

  • Completed a survey at the Hotel Vancouver for an entry into a monthly draw for dinner.
  • Entered a business card draw at the Smart Mouth coffee shop in Gastown.

March 13:

  • The Miss 604 Dining Out for Life Listel Jazz Package: Accommodation for two in an art-infused Gallery Floor room at the Listel, a $100 CDN gift certificate for dinner in the award-winning O’Doul’s Restaurant & Bar (with live jazz 7 nights a week), and the O’Doul’s Jazz CD “Take Time”, featuring Vancouver’s top jazz performers for your personal collection (2 entries).
  • Two tickets to the opening night and Vancouver premiere of Wonderland on March 24 at 8 p.m. at the Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts, on the Georgia Straight website.
  • Also on the Georgia Straight website, A pair of tickets to see Wild Honey at the UBC Frederic Wood theatre.
  • A Whole Foods – Intrepid Travel Peru Trip 9-night/10-day adventure for 2 including airfare, accommodations, local transportation and select meals.
  • The Discover Mussels trip to San Francisco (good name!).  This prize includes airfare to San Francisco, four nights accommodation, a day trip to the world renowned vineyards of nearby Napa Valley and dinner at one of San Francisco’s top seafood restaurants.
  • A ten-day cruise on Holland America (entered on the Frontgate website).
  • Entered to win a trip to Oahu on the Traditional Home magazine website.
  • A pair of tickets ($84 value) to the March 26, 8 p.m. performance of 1984 at The Cultch, also entered on the Georgia Straight website.
  • The A Touch of the Irish Evening including 4 tickets to opening night of Riverdance on April 5th, dinner for 4 at the Irish Heather GastroPub  and a night’s stay at the Westin Grand Vancouver on the CTV website.
  • A Banana Republic gift card on this site.
  • A contest for one of 10 The King’s Speech DVDs on this other site; apparently lots of people love this movie and they keep recommending it to me.
  • The same website for a copy of the Food Inc. and Sharkwater DVD.  I far prefer documentaries and nonfiction books, so this is finally a contest I am really excited about.
  • Another DVD contest, this time for The Fighter, which I also have heard about.
  • A 9-day trip to England.
  • A large round 15″ Pizza with three toppings and a 12″ Garlic Cheese Fingers every month for a year from Pizza Delight.  I’m sure I could find a use for this.

      Working Hard for a Win

      I have been busy since my last post and have entered many contests. Unfortunately, I have already lost some of them. However, I have highlighted a few that I’m still in the running for and are somewhat unusual. I’ve done this because I think it is obvious why I’d like to go to Paris or win beauty products, but not so obvious why I’d like to win the highlighted items below:

      March 4, 2011

      -Pamper Yourself at Capilano Mall

      -Grouse Mountain Snowshoe Fondue

      -BIG St. Pat’s Night Out!

      -Win tickets to CelticFest Vancouver’s BIG St. Pat’s Night Out

      -Win 1 Of 2 Shiseido Prize Packs Valued At $131 Each!

      -Win 1 Of 5 Pairs Of Levi’s Curve ID Jeans Valued At $100!

      -Win A Trip For 2 To Paris, France Valued At $5,000!

      -Win 1 Of 5 Olay Prize Packs Valued At $50 Each!

      -Win A $500 Tommy Hilfiger Gift Card!

      -Win a Whimsical Night in Wonderland

      -Win a $7500 Shopping Spree at Lane Home Furnishings with Colin and Justin

      March 5th, 2011

      Win $100 worth of cheese at the Holland Shopping Centre – Dutch cheese is incredibly delicious and I will host a wine and cheese party if I win.

      -Win 1 Of 5 $500 Gift Cards At Winners!

      -Win A $1,000 Spa Gift Certificate!

      -Win A Trip For 2 To See Lady Gaga In Vegas Valued At $2,500!

      -Win A Trip For 2 To Holland, To Attend The Flower Parade!

      -Win 1 Of 10 Signed Copies Of Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table Cookbook!

      -Win 1 Of 10 AVENE Gift Baskets Valued At $400 Each!

      -Win 30 Full Size Cake Beauty Products, Valued At Up To $1,000!

      -Win A 5-night Trip For 2 To A Sandals Resort Of Your Choice Valued At $5,000!

      -Win 1 Of 158 Prizes Of 2 VIP Passes To The Bachelor Season Finale Party!

      March 6, 2011

      -Don Cherry DVD prize pack

      -Ben Sherman Spring wardrobe

      -A Trip for two to the NYC Design district

      -Win tickets to Flamenco Vivo

      -Win a handcrafted pendant by Quench Designs from the Bloom Market in Fort Langley

      -Win Bambi on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack (a Georgia Straight contest) – this was the first movie I ever saw in a theatre and I strangely don’t have the same traumatic memories of this that haunt others

      -Win Factory Girl on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack

      -WIN tickets to see Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s WONDERLAND!

      -Win a Starbucks Espresso Center

      -Win a Trip to the Tulip Festival in Ottawa  (We’d have to fly there, so I may give this one to Sandy, too.)


      March 8th, 2011

      -weekend for two in Toronto during JUNO Awards week

      -Win An ACER Liquid Mt, Valued At $399.99!

      Win 1 Of 5 Brinno BirdWatchCam Digital Bird Cameras Valued At $230 Each! – My mother loves watching the birds at her bird feeders, so I thought it might be fun to photograph them for her.

      -Win 1 Of 2 Prizes Of A 2-night Trip For 2 To Quebec City Valued At $5,000!

      -Bon Jovi at Rogers Arena, Win Tickets

      -Win tickets to California Wine Fair 2011

      -enter to win tickets to an advance screening of West is West 

      Oldtimers’ Hockey Challenge Classic (24 Hours contest– This is a father/daughter outing

      -Win Passes to see The Lincoln Lawyer 

      -Win the book, Altar of Bones

      -Win tickets to the ultimate Red Bull Crashed Ice Weekend

      -Win a St Ives Gift Basket

      -Win a Scrubbing Bubbles Accessory Package – I like a clean bathroom!

      March 9th

      -Win an Aluratek Digital Photo Frame

      -Win a Vinturi Wine Aerator & Stand

      -Win a set of ZALTO Wine Glasses

      -Win a Spa Gift Card

      -Win a Jimmy Choo Fragrance

      -Win a Kodak Mini HD Video Camera

      -Win It All from Elle

      – Win a Metrotown gift card

      March 10th

      -Win a copy of Jodi Picoult’s Sing You Home (Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival 2011)

      -Win tickets to Louder Than Love on March 12th at the Shark Club

      -Dining Out for Life 2011

      -Win tickets to 1984 presented by The Cultch

      -Win Hereafter on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack

      March 11th

      -Enter for your chance to win a Wine & Culinary Adventure

      in Chile & Argentina and $1,000 CAD spending money!

      -Go for dinner at one of the The Heather Hospitality Group restaurants (on the house)

      -Win An Amtrak Coast Starlight Trip For 2 Valued At $2,500!

      -Win 1 Of 6 $100 Gift Cards!

      -Win A Pair Of Vancouver Canucks Tickets, One Set Drawn For Each Game!

      -Win A Pack Of 4 Tickets To The Vancouver Canucks Valued At $1,900!

      -Win a $25 gift certificate to La Casa Gelato

      March 12th

      -Win 1 Of 2 Prizes Of Air Canada Tickets For 2 Anywhere In North America!

      -Win A Sony PlayStation 3 And LittleBigPlanet 2 Game, Valued At $360!

      -Win 1 Of 6 Prizes Of A 1 Year Supply Of Hill’s Science Diet Valued At $550!

      -Enter to win 1 of 10 copies of Sing You Home by Jody Picoult

      -Enter to win 1 of 6 pairs of shoes from Hush Puppies

      -Enter for a chance to win a $500 grocery gift card or 1 of 5 Life Made Delicious** gift baskets!

      -Win 1 Of 5 $500 Home Depot Gift Cards!

      -Win Sing You Home from

      -Win All You Can Eat Ribs At Montana’s Valued At $30!

      -Win A Rowenta Beauty Gift Pack!

      -Roll up the rim to win online – $25 Tims card or Free coffee for a year

      Another Win for Maktaaq!

      Another win!  This time it’s two movie tickets for Unknown from the Georgia Straight.  It sounded like a plot-twister of a movie and I rarely even have a chance to read up about movies these days, never mind actually seeing them.  Aside from The King’s Speech, which my coworker saw and recommended, I didn’t recognize any of the nominated movies.  I discover movies these days from the trailers on the DVDs I borrow from the library.  Thus, my wonderful husband and I will be off to see this psychological thriller. 

      I hope. 

      I never did get my winning tickets in the mail from the first contest.

      Meanwhile, the contest entries continue:

      January 31

      • During lunch, I scour Urbanspoon for my favourite local restaurants and add them to my Burnaby Now entry into their $2000 contest – shopping sprees at Lougheed, Brentwood and Metrotown Malls.

      February 4

      • Valentine’s Day dinner at The Teahouse, via Raul’s Hummingbird 604.

      February 8

      • Entered to win an iPad (four entries actually).
      • Entered to win another $500 grocery gift card.
      • An iPod Nano (because I am sure someone in my circle of friends can use it – it’s a music thing I assume).
      • A Tide gift basket because I am into doing laundry a lot.  At $125, that’s like a few years’ supply of laundry detergent.
      • Tickets to the ballet for two orchestra seats to the February 19 performance of Volo.
      • Tickets to the musical Falsettos.

      February 9

      • Entered a Surrey Public Library contest for four movie tickets.

      February 10

      • Entered to win two tickets to the Spirit of Africa Festival opening night concert.
      • Another iPad entry.
      • Tickets to a Vancouver Cantata Singers concert later this month.
      • Tickets to the Gnomeo and Juliet movie, which, thanks to the skill-testing question, I remembered I had a nascent crush on James McAvoy.

      February 11

      • Entered the Leonidas Chocolate contest.

      February 13

      • A vacation in Richmond: two nights at a Richmond hotel, dinner at a good Chinese restaurant and more.  I can fit all this into my unusual work schedule!  I really hope I win this one!

      February 20

      • The True Grit novel – apparently it’s now some sort of Oscar-nominated film.  I like books, especially nonfiction ones, but there aren’t many book contests, so this is as close as I can get to entering a book I want contest.
      • Entered for tickets to the Vancouver International Dance Festival.
      • Tickets for Bach’s St. John Passion.
      • Tickets to Hard Times Hit Parade, a play about a dance marathon.
      • Tickets to a string orchestra.
      • A double movie pass to Biutiful.
      • An espresso coffee maker.
      • A Carnival cruise, because I could use a trip anywhere and because cruises basically mean I will be reading a lot and getting ahead on my to-read list. 
      • A holiday at a Mexican resort.
      • A trip for four to Jasper, because I only ever went to Banff when I lived in Alberta.  Heck, it would be nice to go anywhere in the Rockies.  There are some really nice places I have good memories of over there.
      • A trip to Tokyo because I love visiting Japan.  It’s been three years almost since I’ve been to Japan and I think I am past due for my biannual onsen visit.
      • A diamond bracelet, earrings or ring, which I would give to my mom.  Seriously.  She would love this.
      • A contest for a kitchen makeover.
      • A trip for two to London or else a Nintendo gadget, because I could use the trip and I am sure Matt would find some use for another electronic doodad.

      March 1

      • A contest from Pacific Cinematheque for two tickets to a South African music documentary.
      • Tickets to a flamenco performance on Saturday (which I would give to my parents).
      • Tickets to the movie Unknown.  (This is what I won.)

                    Trying for a win in March

                    So, sadly, no wins in February. Hoping to win something, anything in March! I’ve got a case of the winter blues I need to get rid of.

                    These are my latest attempts:

                    Feb. 20th
                    -Win a copy of the novel True Grit  (I really enjoyed the original movie I’m sure the novel will be just as good or better.)


                    -Win tickets to see Angle Dubeau & La Piet in concert (I love classical music and I’m always happy to see female performers.)


                    -Chutzpah! Festival 2011 closing party tickets (Sounds like an awesome evening and would be my first time at the Commodore Ballroom.)


                    -Entered to win a $50 gift card to Waves (I need my morning tea more than ever.)


                    -entered an in-store contest at Ruben’s Chocolates for their monthly prize (Chocolate is so tasty!)


                    Feb. 25th (all online)


                    -Win A Trip For 2 To Amsterdam To Visit The Picasso Exhibit! (One of my favorite places on earth to see one of my favourite artists)
                    -Win A Rough Guides Adventure Library Valued At $150! (This will be great if I win a trip somewhere.)
                    -Win A 4-night trip For 2 To Toronto Valued At $5,000! (Would love to see my friends Sandy and Eddie and the Juno Awards.)
                    -A $1,000 Gift Card From Tom Lee Music! (Would still like to buy my Dad a guitar.)


                    Feb. 26th

                    -Win tickets to see Unknown (I haven’t been to a movie in some time…)


                    -Win tickets to the Red Riding Hood Premiere (Again, it’s movie time.)

                    -Win A Logitech Speaker System Valued At $180! (Would like some speakers for my home office.)

                    -Win An Ultimate PC Prize Pack Of A Computer And More Valued At $2,604.85! (My husband tells me I need my own computer.)


                    -Win 4 Tickets To See Billy Elliot In Toronto! (Sandy, if I win, these are yours!)


                    -Win a Canucks prize pack (I think this is an inflatable chair and beer, but I like the chair.) (in store)


                    March 2nd


                    Two BCAA contests:


                    -a $50 gift certificate to The Best Western (I’m thinking brunch!)
                    -Vancouver Stay n’ Play  This involves a stay at the Vancouver Waterfront Hotel, so I’m definitely up for that.