Sunday, July 31, 2005

Swedish incendiary bombs

I went to see the fireworks last night with some friends and it was a lot of fun. I took my sister along because I figured that after spending a week in a car with my parents, she would appreciate some time apart from them. She got along with them surprisingly well.

Not surprisingly, I was asked how I knew her and I got several shocked looks when I said she was my sister. I don't mind that. I am actually very surprised when people look at the both of us and say that they see some resemblance between us. Those people must be blind.

The last night's show was courtesy of Sweden and was really good, though not as good as their offering last year. A little too much Abba and not enough booming explosions in my personal opinion. I had a good time regardless and I'm a little upset that I can't see the rest of the fireworks because of work.

It looks like my sister might be going with my friends to see them again next Saturday. I have to work that day.

We live in such a wonderful time and place that we can detonate bombs for fun.

You can pick your friends...

I had thought that my so called "hell week" at work was over. Apparently not.

My aunt phoned me at work Friday morning asking if I could take care of her kids for the day because my sister was on vacation and not available. In spite of my misgivings, I said that I would be over after work because she sounded really stressed.

I could see why when I got there. The whole house was in boxes, and my aunt and uncle were bickering with each other while they rushed frantically, trying to complete some last minute odd jobs that they had promised the new owners they would do. Just as I arrived, the baby woke up and started screaming.

My other cousin, Garrett, was nowhere to be found. I was somewhat glad to see that because she is a handful to say the least, and I still wasn't looking forward to spending several hours with her. My aunt and uncle left to get the truck they had rented for their move. Just then, there was a knock on the door. I took Kendall with me and opened it to find Garrett on the porch, and standing behind her was my mother's aunt Sharon.

There is no other way to describe my relationship with Sharon than dysfunctional. For reasons that I will probably never understand, she does not like me. For my part, I neither like nor dislike her, because I don't know her enough to be anything more than indifferent.

We sat together in the livingroom until Auntie Paula came back, and in that time, Sharon talked incessantly to Garrett. Once again, she didn't bother to aknowledge my presence. I considered telling her about how I need to pay for tuition and books and my membership at the rowing club and dance because she is a widowed millionaire with no children of her own, but then I decided against it. She doesn't like me and I don't need her money.

I keep trying to tell myself that I can't be loved by everyone, but I would be lying if I said that it didn't hurt. I'm glad that my cousins have such a caring aunt, because I never did, and I doubt I ever will.

After she left, I spent a hellish six hours with Garrett.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Laundry wars

I got home yesterday after a hellish day at work. It was incredibly hot out and in spite of drinking lots of water, by the end of the day I was beginning to feel more than a little dehydrated. I stopped in at Starbucks for a frapuccino on my way home, because I needed something cold and it’s been a long time since I’ve spent any money on myself.

My cat, as always was laying out on the ashphalt in the heat. I poked her with my foot and she came inside with me to get a drink of water. I worry about her. She has been slowing down a lot over the past four or five months, so every day I expect to find her dead in the driveway when I come home. I have a funny feeling that that time will come sooner rather than later.

After I had dealt with feeding the cat and putting away my stuff from work, I grabbed the mountain of laundry that was sitting in the middle of my floor, only to find that Moriah had beaten me to it. Twit. She must have special surveillance equipment to let her know exactly when I want to do my laundry. She spent all night doing laundry for the people upstairs, so needless to say, I came to work today wearing some things that I would rather have washed first.

At the beginning of the week I had a million and a half things that I wanted to do around the house, but because my boss decided it was hell week, everything is just piling up. By the time I get home in the late evening, I’m really not interested in necessary things like eating, let alone doing yardwork or cleaning. Maybe I’ll get around to them next week.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Translink sucks

I have a problem. My family has left for a vacation, and taken the car with them.

Apparently Translink does not service my area after 9:30 pm. That means that if I were to theoretically go to see the fireworks tomorrow night, I would either have to ride my bike 30 km in the dark, or spend the night at a bus shelter and arrive home at an ungodly hour of the morning, only to have a shower and then leave for work.

Neither is a particularly attractive choice. I guess I will have to amuse myself at home.

I hate Translink and I hate this shithole suburb.

But aside from this temporary outburst of angst, I have been ridiculously happy over the past couple of weeks for reasons I have yet to understand. At the moment I have three jobs, and I work seven days a week. I spend an average of 24 hours per week on the bus. When I am not at work, I am usually at school, reading in anticipation of the hellish semester that is looming ominously in my future. Sometimes when I have some time off work, I hop on a bus and take pictures of stuff with my new camera. I haven't seen any of my friends in weeks.

My birthday is coming up and once again, I will probably do nothing to celebrate it. It's just another year, that's all.

Maybe I'm just too tired to feel pissed off and inadequate.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Home alone

So, I am officially home alone for the whole week. My family has left me with an impossible to eat amount of fruit, as well as a fridge full of leftovers that I didn't really want to eat.

The cats are lonely, so they're all over me. Against all odds I managed to get all the courses I wanted at school, except for the ones that aren't being offered this semester. The gods must be smiling on me, at least for the moment.

I visited academic services to plead my case once again. If they don't sign off my papers soon, I won't be getting my scholarship in September. The lady told me once again that she couldn't sign it, so I talked and talked and talked until she was so fed up with me that she got me the necessary stamps and seals. I am so glad.

I don't get homesick easily, but evidently my family does. While I was trying hard to sleep on the bus, they phoned me and proceeded to tell me about their trip, and every possible mundane detail about the dinner they were in the middle of having. I don't mind talking on the phone, but when the majority of the conversation consists of alternating periods of silence and comments like "the waitress is bringing us cutlery," and I am tired and hungry, I get irritated very quickly. I hope that didn't show too much.

The best fair, baaa none

[piling in the Fraser River, near Kanaka Creek]

Every year I get the call for entry for the country fair and every year I eagerly peruse the little booklet, highlighting all the different categories that I could or should enter. Then without fail, every year the entry form gets absorbed into the ever pervasive clutter that surrounds my life and I forget about it until it is too late to do anything.

This year was no exception.

I walked deliberately past the theme park rides, the cheap handicrafts, cotton candy and scientologists offering free stress tests, straight to the barns. When Grandpa MacIntyre was alive that was the only place you'd go. He'd spend his whole visit inspecting and then sitting in the stables with the Clydesdales. I didn't see any Clydesdales though. In fact, I seem to have missed all the horses, cows, chickens and ducks.

The pigs, goats and sheep were pretty cool, though I do find it a little disconcerting when they just happen to hang diagrams of different cuts of meat beside live animals. But by far the coolest animal there was Prince Ali the llama, because he had his very own fan, and spent all his time sitting on the ground facing it.

No trip to the fair would be complete without seeing the bunnies and there were a few bizarre breeds there that I hadn't seen before. There was one there that was easily the size of a beagle. I asked my mom if I could take it home with me and she said no. Mr. Bumpy left us nearly seven years ago, but evidently he is still irreplaceable.

The crafts section of the fair was plastered in blue ribbons, not necessarily proclaiming the quality of entries, but the lack of them. There were some interesting things there, but nothing particularly exciting. Many things I saw there I could have done better, so I picked up next year's entrance form on my way out. Next year will be my year.

That is, if I remember to enter something.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The other side of the story

Jill was putting away her oars this morning when she suddenly recognized me. "Oh my god! I remember you!" she shouted, and began to tell the long and embarassing story about when we first met.

My rowing club was hosting a training camp a couple years ago and being somewhat dismayed that I had not been asked to come, I invited myself over. I ended up in several boats over the course of the weekend, and for my last row, I was placed in a double with a whiney novice.

My coach had set the workout as a long, boring 10 km steady state. About half way out, she began to complain that she was tired. Then she began to complain about how her hip hurt. Then she began to cough and choke, and told me that whenever she exerted herself, her throat began to bleed. By the time we had gone 5 km out, I was thoroughly tired of her whining.

We turned around and I told her that she didn't have to row if she was too tired. She didn't even offer to help me on the way back, and I didn't really mind much. She complained less when she was just sitting there, and my patience can only be stretched so far. I had nothing but soothing words for her as we slowly made our way toward the dock, watching other boats pass us right and left.

I had something to prove that day. I've always been too short to be taken seriously, and maybe that is for a good reason. I can safely say that I will never be an olympic rower. Yet, in spite of that, I am still a fighter. I have very little respect for people that don't finish races because they're tired or sore. I never want to be that person, and I wanted to show my coach that. Jill was twice my size and I pulled her back into the dock by myself.

Later that evening, my conversation with the coach was as follows:

"What the hell happened out there?"

"She said she was tired and her throat was bleeding."

"What a baby."

I was forced to agree, and wasn't until much later that evening that I realized with some disappointment that he hadn't said anything about me.

Today I was surprised to hear how similar her version of the story was to mine. She was painfully honest about how pathetic she was that day. "You were so patient and nice to me when you had no reason to be," she said, appreciatively, laughing about how ridiculous she must have looked, being towed by a little girl.

I think that too often I come across as being overtalkative, bitchy, arrogant or strangely aloof. It's nice to hear that sometimes I get remembered for being someone good. Maybe I gained something out of that wasted day after all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

She just doesn't get it

My grandmother phoned and left me four messages while I was at work today. I hate it when she does that.

Her phone messages are always the same, regardless of why she is calling. They begin with a long, low moan, then she whines for me to call her, and then you listen to ten to fifteen seconds of her fumbling with the phone, trying to hang up.

Then in about half an hour, she repeats the whole process. She usually calls back about six times, or until you call her back. She always sounds so miserable, like she's dying or in the throes of some sort of major emergency. I call as soon as I get however many messages she has left for me.

As always, when I call her, she's her regular bitchy self. "Oh," she says, "my TV remote stopped working this morning and the nurses can't fix it." I never know if I should offer to help or scream at her for fooling me again into thinking that she was calling about something important.

"Can you come over right now?" she asks.

"No, grandma. I'm at work and this isn't an emergency."

"But I called you."

"I'm at work grandma. I can't leave."

"But I called you." A couple of months ago, we brought our phones in to explain how they worked. Obviously we didn't do a good job because she still expects to call and find us all at home.

Today I had to hang up on her, because it is pointless to argue with her and I had work to do. She then phoned my mother to tell her that she was an awful person because she allowed me to go out and work. I told mom to tell her that I will quit my job as soon as she starts sending me something better than worthless $2 bills on holidays and staledated cheques that I can't cash for my birthday.

Until then, I'll be keeping my dayjob. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Battle scars

I must confess that old telephone poles fascinate me. They're always covered with battle scars from days long past and I can't help but wonder where they came from. If they were old men they would sit you down on their knees and tell you with much exaggeration about the great war and their unfortunate accidents with pocket knives as kids.

They would show off their reflective badges for merit and bravery with stories of their various posts overseas and the planes they shot down over Germany under cover of darkness. But unfortunately they don't speak and I'm left wondering.

I imagine that many of the staples and nails originally held garage sale signs. There seem to be many garage sales around here in the summer months. Is it just that people have a lot of junk or do they need money? The number of pawnshops and thrift stores invading the neighbourhood cries out for the latter answer.

But what about the others? Some no doubt were signs beckoning to passersby with claims of deceptively easy weight loss. You know the type, the sheet of 8and1/2 by 11 paper with the pulloff tabs at the bottom. Perhaps some of the nails were used to hold up those vague offers of employment that are so common on telephone poles around high schools.

Maybe they held notices of community events, though on that particular corner, in that particular neighbourhood, I am not sure what those would be. It is more likely that there were once posters there calling the faithful to church picnics.

Perhaps some form or other of hastily removed slander?

I will never know.

The balloon puzzles me.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Cold war

[kites at Vanier Park]

At red lights, Ellen scribbles notes to herself on small pieces of paper. Her life is one big to do list. Jen carefully does her makeup in the backseat, complaining about her dumbass fiancee, their abusive relationship, cooking, makeup, and other people's dogs. She is a living example of what can happen to those pretty girls who smoke pot behind the highschool when they grow up.

It was oppressively hot today and the dock singed the bottoms of our bare feet. We resisted the urge to put our feet in the water because neither of us had any desire to meet Bernie again. We got into boats and played with the kids. We had lots of fun, but I'm not sure if the kids did. I hate it when that happens.

My father is in a bad mood for reasons that are really unclear to me. I think it may be because my parents disagree upon the definition of holiday. They are supposed to be leaving with my sister for all of next week, but they haven't decided where exactly they are going yet.

My mother believes that in a holiday, one should go somewhere, stay there and check out tourist attractions and maybe do some shopping as well. My father's idea of a good vacation involves driving eight hours a day through dusty logging roads lined with nondescript trees and brush.

Right now my father just sulks around the house while my mother makes faces behind his back. I hope they sort out their differences soon. I would love to have some time alone.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Ear poison

[kite at Vanier Park, Vancouver]

My cat had ear mites again, and so I got my mother to tackle her down and put insecticide in her ear. She's a lot better at wrestling with cats than I am. Sally doesn't like to have things shoved down her ears and I don't blame her. She walked around with her ears flattened for several hours.

We took Synnove to see Hamlet at Bard on the Beach in Vanier Park today. It was good enough to make me cry, though I was somewhat upset that they managed to leave out most of Osric's lines. True, he isn't exactly an important character, but I like him all the same.

Vanier park was as always filled with people from the BC Kitefliers Association doing some pretty amazing things. One man was operating three acrobatic kites at once, using both his hands and feet to operate them. Other people could barely get their kites off the ground.

Unlike Hamlet, Sally had fully recovered from her ear poison by the time I got home.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


Going to school on top of a mountain means there is always a good view on sunny days, even if you're too busy on the internet to see it.

I already regret what I said earlier. A trip to the registrar's office confirmed what I had secretly been dreading all along, that when given the chance, they will always find a way to make me feel abused.

Today I took a form in for them to sign and stamp certifying that I have been and will continue to be a full time student. After I get it signed, I will send it out into the nether regions of the world, to some nice people who will then send me some money for school. These people need me to return the form by August 1st.

They would not sign it, because apparently I am two credits short of where I should be. I asked them what I was to do. They told me to come back with two more credits. I asked them how I should go about getting two credits without money for tuition and they sent me away.

I seem to be caught in the middle of a semantic battle between my school and my bank. Neither can agree on the definitions of full time student and how many credits it takes to complete a year. My school isn't willing to conceed and I feel abused.

Now, I don't expect a red carpet, but I think I deserve a little respect. I pay enough money to be there.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Julie, Carly and I were sitting on the dock, eating lunch when all of a sudden something jumped out of the lake, ate a duck and dove under the water.

Then we screamed and started running around and birds were flying around, squawking.

Then everything was calm.

I don't know what exactly we saw.

I am never swimming in that lake again.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


There was a time once when my sister decided that she would step open the car door while it was still moving. We happened to be turning a corner at the time, and she flew out. We dragged her, still attached to the door, into a parking lot.

This is what I told Ellen this morning, and I was surprised to hear that she had a similar story about her own sister. I tried hard to not focus on how quickly we were weaving in and out of traffic and kept talking, though there are some days when I would be grateful for a car radio that works. “My poor husband,” she said, “I don’t think he’s fully realized that I have a horse.” Her odometer is still stuck on 233023. Her shopping list: ground beef, bread, cat food, raspberries, pectin, sugar, eggs, blueberries, antibiotic ointment and a new saddle. Blueberries, pectin and sugar crossed off.

Talk in the car this morning turned to baby stories. Sometimes it is nice to have Jen there, because she talks constantly, and there are never awkward breaks in conversation. The operative word there is ‘sometimes’. After a while she just starts complaining about her fiancée, her mother-in-law, people that don’t like her dog, coworkers, traffic and housework. Maybe I am an unsympathetic bitch, but I get tired of these things easily.

I know that I will regret saying this later, but I wish that summer would end right now. I’ve been out of school for nearly two months and I think I’m ready to go back now. I love my job and I come home smiling every night, but I still feel really restless, like I should be doing more. I have an increasingly shorter attention span. I need papers to write.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Goodbye Barney

Stepping off the skytrain, I took the route right through my old neighbourhood, where I realized that the Barney is gone. I was hit suddenly by a wave of nostalgia. Every year a group of stupid grade 9s would venture into the hotel in search of the fabled cheap alcohol and strippers. Every year this expedition party of grade 9s either gets chased out because they're underage and giggling too much or they sneak back out with some sort of proof that they were there.

One year it was a cinnamon stick. It's not like you can't get cinnamon sticks from other places. Regardless, their tales of heroism lived on in the collective consciousness of the school population, to be retold every time a class graduates.

But no longer. The sleezy strip bar is gone and there will be no more stories. Somehow or other, visiting the Starbucks down the street just isn't the same.

"Are you going into Vancouver?" she asked, as I got into the car.

"No, I'm going east. You can just drop me off at the skytrain station," I replied, trying hard to figure out exactly how I knew this woman, something that I probably should have done before getting in.

She said some other things, and then motioned to her gimpy looking son in the backseat. Paul. It was Paul's mother. At least I knew who it was this time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Dumb kids

I had just started my shift when a boy walked up to me and began to tug on my sleeve. "Excuse me, lifeguard," he said, "I lent that inner tube to those kids for six minutes, and it has been six minutes." He was so deadpan serious that I had a hard time trying not to laugh as I told him to ask for it back.

No sooner had that kid left when another replaced him at my side. This time it was "Lifeguard, that boy over there pushed me into the water just now."

I looked carefully at him. "Then why aren't you wet?"

"Well, he was planning to. Ask anybody."

"Innocent until proven guilty. Why don't you go jump in the lake?"

Krista leaned over and growled something angry in my ear. Apparently the kid is a compulsive liar and he just happens to show up everywhere she works. That has to be irritating.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Customer service

Where did summer go? The weather has been terrible. Well, not terrible if you happen to be a slug, but for those of us who work outside all day, it gets kind of miserable.

I was stuck on the 5:30 bus again today. I try to avoid it whenever I can because it's always full of women with screaming babies and angry, disgruntled conspiracy theorists returning from work.

A bicycle courier got on just after the bus loop and proceeded to berate the bus driver because he left the loop moments before the 160 had arrived. The bus had left on time, just as the 160 had arrived at its scheduled time. The schedule is screwy, but that wasn't the fault of the driver. Regardless, the man chose to pick a fight with him.

I honestly don't understand the people who have to make life miserable for the peons who work crappy jobs for minimum wage. They don't get paid enough to take the abuse they get, and often the reason why a customer is frustrated is not really their fault. The bus driver does not make up the schedule. The long lineups at Starbucks are not because the baristas are lazy, they're because the managers did a crappy job scheduling staff. Yelling at your waiter won't help service if the restaurant is understaffed.

At Starbucks I specifically asked for no whip, and that was exactly the opposite of what I got. The barista handed my drink to me and then immediately snatched it from my hands, realizing her mistake. She looked like she was on the verge of tears. I'm trying to lose some weight this summer, but at that moment, it wasn't worth this person having a nervous breakdown. A little bit of whipped cream never hurt anyone, and when I told her this, she looked far too relieved, as if she had escaped certain death.

On the bus the man with the sunken eyes began to sing kumbayah in an attempt to pacify the angry courier. He's always on that bus. I appreciate what he's trying to do, but it's still anoying.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Pistachio pudding

It started as a simple errand: get some sugar and pectin to go with the raspberries that suddenly appeared on the kitchen table. Simple, right? We ended up in one of those disgusting big box stores that plague the suburbs, running pointlessly through a maze of aisles, the composition of which rarely made any sense.

Flour, baby food, garbage bags and salad dressing.
Canned goods, snacks, coffee and greeting cards.
Chocolate, shampoo, feminine hygeine products and cooking oil.
Ice cream toppings, energy drinks, breakfast cereal, and feather dusters.

The sugar took forever to find. So did the pectin. Shopping in those stores isn't supposed to be easy.

There is something very clever about the organization of these stores, something about the combination of fluorescent lighting and a million and a half aisles with all the products pushed neatly to the front. It was that something that reminded me of the real reason I had come. Pistachio pudding.

I hadn't had pistachio pudding for forever. I used to call it turtle pudding, and my mom would use the pudding mix to make chocolate covered Easter eggs that were incredibly delicious, even though they looked like little balls of shit.

You can get all the flavours either cooked or instant. That is, except for pistachio. I never figured out why pistachio only comes in instant. Maybe it's a conspiracy.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about instant pistachio pudding is how the powder comes out of the package blue, and turns green on contact with milk. Long before that Koolaid that changes colour when you mix it, kids like me had pistachio pudding. I whisked it up at a medium speed, just like it said on the box and soon we had way too much pudding, though that may have been intentional.

It wasn't long before my sister sloppily dropped some down her shirt, on her left breast. "Sorry Du, I'm not licking that off for you," I said, and she screamed and dropped to the floor. I can't believe how easy it is to upset her.

Friday, July 08, 2005


Paddlers are very nice people. They are incredibly friendly and as soon as they learn that I am a rower, they've started asking me all sorts of questions that they've never been able to or felt like asking before.

I had taken for granted the ammount of knowledge and specialized vocabulary that rowing has given me and I tend to assume that everyone knows everything that I do. When people ask me questions, I give really simple answers that must sound like complete gibberish to the paddlers. That prompts further questions, which become more and more technical until I can't answer them anymore.

"What are these?"

"They're spacers."

"What are they for?"

"They add height to riggers."

"What are riggers?"

"They are the metal things that stick out of the sides of the boat. You attach the oars to them."

"Oars, like paddles?"


"Why do you need spacers on them?"

"Some people need their oars higher than others do."

"Because they're tall?"

"No, it has more to do with weight. Heavier people sit lower in the water, so they need higher oars."

And it continues from there. After feeling constantly like I'm in over my head at work, it's kind of nice to know what I'm talking about. Well, sort of.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I don't have a watermelon, do you?

“So, you’ve joined the dark side,” Mimi said when she saw me, motioning towards the kayaks. “Not quite,” I said, “I’m going to row a single.”

“Nice!” she replied, giving me a hug. My reasons for returning to the rowing fold are partially addiction and partially appeasement for the people that are pissed off that I left.

Monday was an incredibly busy day. I left early from work so I could be downtown to meet Alison. She’s leaving to teach English in Malaysia for a year, so we went for coffee, because that was all we had time for. We had some of those new matcha flavoured frapuccinos at Starbucks, but they didn’t really taste much like green tea.

I found my parents and sister in a restaurant in Gastown, sitting beside the entire Scottish fiddle orchestra. I have never seen so many Scots in one place before, and hilarity ensued. “Are you the stripper?” their leader asked of the man who delivered their cake. While we sat there, seven homeless looking people walked by with watermelons over the course of an hour. I think it’s a secret code.

I went to Kitsilano Showboat to dance, and by that point in time I was really tired. The audience quite literally sucked all my energy off stage. It was fun, regardless, and my mother used my new camera to take a million and a half pictures, some of which are not exactly flattering. Backstage, older kids are starting to tell stories to younger ones about cool dances and monologues that I have done in the past. I don’t consider myself to be a particularly amazing dancer and I don’t spend much time at the dance school, so I’m at a loss as to where my newfound popularity has sprung from.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

So this is summer...

There are days when I wake up and find myself at 7:10 in the morning in a car with three women eagerly plotting their husbands' deaths. The little car weaves in and out of traffic at a nearly frightening pace; the spedometer needle perpetually at zero, the odometer at 233023. They drop me off at work, where I coach a sport that I know nothing about.

My kayaking kids are pretty good, overall, though I'd rather be lifeguarding. There's something inherently satisfying about being payed union wages to sit on your ass for hours on end doing absolutely nothing, but I have to wait for evenings to do that.

Still, as I come home from work, sometimes as late as 10:00 pm, I can't help but count down the days until school starts again, if only to look forward to having something to read on the bus on my way home. I have eight weeks left.

I talked to Dick today about rowing a single and he says he has one boat that will fit short lightweights like me. It's going to cost me $200 per year to touch it. I don't care. It will be the only way I will be able to keep my sanity this summer, so it is a small price to pay. I was so excited to be in a boat again that I skipped all 55 km home.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

In camera

The camera store was the busiest I've ever seen it. The staff was literally jumping to get everyone served. "What can I do for you today?" the salesman asked. "We're looking to purchase some cameras," I said, pointing at my sister. "Twist my arm! What kinds of features are you looking for?" he asked, turning towards the camera case. "Actually, we've already decided what we want." I said.

He dealt with whatever my sister wanted and then turned to me. When I said what he wanted, he paused for a moment. "Oh," he said, "Oh... You've done some research." The black man standing beside me got very excited. The salesman pulled the camera from the box. The black man began to mumble something about how it was a really good model.

Next came a lens. Then a filter, a 1 gig memory card and a camera bag. With each new item the black man became more and more agitated. By the end of the transaction, he was as close to orgasm as one can get when cameras are concerned. It was only slightly disturbing.

"Graduation gift?" the salesman asked.

"I wish," I replied, smiling. Then I left.

I decided a while ago that I needed a new camera, because my old one worked well as a webcam, but was really limited for everything else I wanted to do. About two weeks ago my father said, "go buy yourself a fucking camera," and today that's exactly what I did.

Old habits die hard

In spite of everything I said to the contrary, at the end of high school I had resolved never to row again. For a year I succeeded. But working at a canoe club right beside a rowing club is hard on my resolve, to say the least.

When they opened up the shed and I saw the shells, I nearly peed myself. They were so beautiful. On Monday I'm going to ask the coach on my hands and knees if I can use one.

I went home and dug out the journal that I was supposed to record all my workouts in grades 11 and 12, when I was really competitive. I was kind of surprised at what I found there:

"There follows a time between October 30 and November 25 when there was much rowing and little on land training... Then it was ordained that Erin should be struck upon the shoulder by Tom McGurdy causing much injury that the almighty John decreed two weeks of rest, which having good effect upon said injury, had good effect upon Erin's homework as well, though had no effect whatsoever upon the dishes, the dusting... or the weird smelling shit at the back of the fridge. And so it is entered within the annals of training..."

And then later on:

"26. And it was ordained that between December 30 and April 26 the Annals of Training would be lost from the eyes of man...
27. And Erin found said journal with much glee.
28. And Erin was reminded of erging.
29. And Erin said unto Erin: "Lo! I have found my training journal! Let us rejoyce and praise by erging much.
30. And it was done."

Spandex fetish aside, sometimes I think I really am as weird as people think I am.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Happy Canada Day

It's Canada Day and I'm never quite sure what to say.

Am I supposed to sing the praises of the numerous Canadian inventions and discoveries that changed the world: the paint roller, insulin, international peacekeeping, the telephone, basketball, the metal detector, the Avro Arrow, hockey, to name a few.

Am I supposed to sing an ode to Tim Horton's coffee, honey crullers and sitting around on Saturday nights, drinking two fours watching hockey?

Am I supposed to chant a patriotic monologue that I memorized from a beer commercial?

Am I supposed to apologise that we loosed Celine Dion on the world?

I have no idea. I'm speechless.


I was on the bus today minding my own business when a small Asian lady of the middle-aged fanny pack and oversized sun visor variety decided to sit down beside me. No problem. I moved my backpack off the seat and then as the bus began to move she continued to stand in the aisle.

She fumbled around with her fanny pack and soon produced a small spray bottle and cloth. She then proceeded to wipe down and disinfect the entire seat before sitting. She was very thorough. For a moment I thought she was going to disinfect me too.

What I don't understand is how concerned she was about germs on the seat when she didn't seem to flinch at the thought of touching the handrails while getting into the bus. Seems to me that it would be easier to get sick by touching germs and then rubbing your nose than it would be by sitting on them. Maybe she absorbs bacteria by butt osmosis.