Tuesday, August 30, 2005


It's a pity I don't have the time or money to go into currency trading. Sometimes I think I would be better off as a stock broker, trading commodities, buying and selling peoples' futures without much regard as to the possible consequenses of my actions. It's all about profits for shareholders, and the rest will sort itself out eventually. No, instead I'm taking arts. What can I say? I'm a bleeding heart.

The money is a flurry of green and black as she counts it out. I have no idea what she is saying; all the bills look the same to me.

I have often wondered why the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world right now insists on making all denominations of its currency look as identical as possible. Someone once told me that I should pay more attention to the different presidents. Like I'm going to notice that there's a difference between Washington and Hamilton when I'm trying to pay for something, until someone hands me back more bills than I was expecting to recieve. I'm always pleasantly surprised when that happens. Most of the time they could have just kept the difference and I wouldn't have noticed.

And now come the questions:

"Can I interest you in the somethingorother visa card?"

"Not today, thank you." The interest rate is criminal.

"Are you aware that you can get a better return with a term deposit, instead of keeping a large balance in your savings account?"

"Are you aware that I'm cleaning out my account next week to pay for tuition and I can't get a term deposit for terms of less than a month?"

"You could pay for school with a visa."

"Why? I already pay online through my bank account."

"Yes, but you need a credit card."

"No. Schools don't take credit cards. I set it up like an online bill payment, just like I would pay for gas or hydro."

"But my kids always use my visa to pay for school."

"I suggest you check your bill when it comes in."

The beauty of American money is that regardless of how much you actually have, you always look like you have a lot. I reflect on this as I shove the wad of bills into my wallet and walk out. 1.225. I wonder what the exchange rate will be tomorrow. I can't get my hands to stop shaking all the way home.

At work today we were given some inventory work that was supposed to take 30 hours. After 7 we were finished. We're too damn efficient. Partially out of compassion and partly to kill time we rescued an injured duck and took it to a vet. It took an hour that we both will get paid for. I don't know what we'll do tomorrow to justify our paycheques.

My head is full of random thoughts.

Monday, August 29, 2005


[sometimes I can tell who's out on the water by looking at the shoes left on the dock. sometimes I can't.]

Sure, it's the end of August but it feels like May to me. I always feel so burned out in May. I'm so tired, and yet I can't sleep at night. It's weird. I keep looking forward to school as a holiday from work.

A number of people have visited my blog recently, searching for "pistachio pudding". I can only assume that they are looking for the infamous pistachio pudding video.

Instead, they are confronted with a post about how getting lost in a grocery store reminded me of my strange obsession with pistachio pudding because I used to think that it was made out of ground up turtles.

My apologies for the confusion that I may have caused, even though when I type 'pistachio pudding' it is the film and not this blog that comes up first. Whatever. The fact is that I really should have placed a link to the movie in the post, so that people wouldn't have to spend more time than what was absolutely necessary on my gay blog.

So, here it is. Happy now?

Sunday, August 28, 2005


I had nothing to do at work, so I just sat there for three hours, doing nothing. The alarm system kept beeping, and I couldn't figure out why. It has never done that before. It was driving me insane, especially since I was sitting alone, in a room, with nothing to do but listen to the thing beep once every thirty to fifty seconds.

We began to have a conversation:

"Beep.... Beep...."

"Jesus Christ, it's not going to beep again is it?"

"Beep.... Beep.... Beep...."

(a period of silence that lasts about 5 minutes)

"Thank God."


"If I ignore it, it will go away. It will go away, right?"


"Let me guess, you're going to beep again."




"Okay, I'm getting tired of this."


"It's not funny anymore."


"What is wrong with you?"


"Can't you just shut up?"


"Shut up you bastard!"




The sad thing is that I actually got paid to sit there and scream at the alarm system. What is wrong with the world? The phone rang twice and I didn't answer it in spite of the fact that I wasn't really doing anything. I felt kind of bad about that, until I learned that it was my mother checking up on me. At least it was her and not something really important.

I feel really irresponsible today.

I was ready to crash at 4:30 in the afternoon, even though I slept in until 8:00, later than I usually do on Sundays. I'm kind of glad that summer's almost over.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The circles man

I took a long walk through my old neighbourhood the other day, and apart from the obvious things, it hasn't changed much. Regardless, it just doesn't feel like it's mine anymore. It's like I've been away for too long for anything there to remember me, even though it's only been 8 months. I've changed too much to belong there again, and yet I can't wait to move back there in a month. I've been looking forward to going back since before I left. I can't explain it.

I ran into the circles man on the street, and he had me explain the book that I was carrying. Yes, it was for school, and yes, I'm studying very hard. It was a custom courseware (read: overpriced book of photocopies that have no resale value whatsoever) about advertising as social communication. Very interesting stuff. He made a face and then smiled. "You've got to stop going to school," he said, clapping me on the back, "cause you're getting so smart that you won't want to talk to me anymore."

His accent seems to wander all over Eastern Europe and after years of trying I still can't place it. He never talks about his past. He shuffled away as I stood there, waiting for the light to change. Halfway down the block he stopped, turned around in a tight circle and then continued on his way. I haven't determined if it is just something he does, or mental illness. I don't ask.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Every junkie's like a setting sun...

Some people wonder why I like winter. One possible answer presents itself as a man with a compulsive twitch decides to help me off the bus. "There you go, miss," he says politely, guiding my hand unnecessarily toward the door. He seems like a perfectly nice, normal guy, but the needle tracks dotting his arms and legs beg to differ. If it was winter he would have been wearing long sleeves and long pants, and I would have been none the wiser.

He had sat across from me for the whole trip. I paused once in a while from my book (which ironically enough was Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh) to watch him twitch and fidget before falling into a nervous sleep. He woke up only once, when he fell over onto the man sitting beside him. A little boy standing in the aisle asked him if the sores all over his arms and legs were chicken pox. Some adults on the bus exchanged knowing glances. The junkie didn't answer. It's better that way.

The saddest thing about drug users is that I'm sure the majority of them are good people, but you can't exactly trust them. Drugs tend to turn people that you know and love into lying, cheating bastards, even if they don't want to be. It occured to me that we as a society wouldn't have problems with substance abuse if we didn't have brains. There are some people I know that would probably benefit from labotomies, but I don't suppose that will be possible in the near future.

I saw Devon on the previous bus that I had taken. "Why don't you sit down?" he said, referring to the last available courtesy seat at the front of the bus.

"I don't like to sit at the front of the bus," I said, "Just about the time that I sit down, I fall asleep or zone out and I don't notice that someone needs the seat. Then I look like an asshole for not offering it to them."

"No one needs it right now," he replied, and I was forced to agree. I sat down. After he had left the bus I cracked open my book again, and within two stops I had a lady with a walker tapping my knee asking me to move. Once again I am an insensitive asshole. Next time I remain standing.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

English lessons

"You are professional student," he said with admiration, sitting down beside me at the bus stop and gesturing toward the textbook I was reading.

"And why is that, uncle?" I asked. I went out on a limb calling him that, but he seemed dually impressed that I had afforded him the respect.

He stopped to think for a while. The lights changed at the intersection, causing the traffic to back up and a couple of guys in a souped up Honda stopped right in front of us. Their music pulsed through the ground to where we were sitting and he turned to me with a knowing smile. "They are bad students," he said, "but you are professional student and you come out success."

We talked for a while, and I helped him with his English while I tried hard to ignore the fact that his four front teeth were veneered in a white that was substantially brighter than the rest of his teeth. It was kind of like a game: he gave me some jumbled up words and I put them in the correct order, and conjugated everything properly.

Then his bus arrived and I went back to my text.

This summer I have spent an average of 24 hours on the bus each week. That is 14 days of wasted time. I try not to think about it any more. I tried out my new upass yesterday and discovered that the fare machines won't accept them yet and I had to pay the regular adult fare. Bastards. Regardless, it is burning a hole in my pocket, and I can't wait to use and abuse my newfound freedom, all $98 of it. If only I didn't have to work...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Parkhouse iii: the kitchen

The kitchen is never as clean as it should be. Stepping in from the livingroom, there are things piled all over the dinner table: bills, bank statements, notices and homework from school. All attempts at organizing the mess have up until this point failed.

Beside the table is a huge, six-panelled window, filled with the same blown glass balls as in the livingroom. It hangs on hinges, so we just push it out in the summer to take advantage of the nice breeze coming off the ocean, and then latch it closed in the winter, when it would be draughty, regardless. The cats use it to escape in the middle of the night when it's open.

Dad's chair is the closest one to the kitchen counter. It was the one that I was sitting at when my mother accidently spilled an entire caraffe of coffee down my back, giving me an itchy burn that I proudly showed off to others for weeks.

About four or five years ago, all the appliances in the house began to die. At first it was only the hair dryer, but soon the washing machine, the dryer, an electric drill, the dishwasher and the main element on the stove followed suit. We became very alarmed as every electrical device that my mother touched finally gave up after 15-20 years of abuse: the coffee maker, an electric shaver, an electric mixer and the microwave. All this happened during a four month period.

It was a while before we got the epidemic under control, but for a while my parents thought they would have to resort to desperate measures: getting a divorce and then remarrying, so that people would give us new appliances. The problem, they said, was that they had simply been married for too long for everything electrical in the house to handle.

Luckily they didn't divorce. Instead, we got every sort of good luck charm that we could possibly find, and built a small shrine on top of the bread box. The crowning glory of it all is a medium sized cat like the ones that you find in Asian businesses. Mom used to stuff it full of coins that she picked up off the ground, and then give them to my sister and I when it got full.

I suppose you can't really see it anymore...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Where are feathers when I need them?

Let's get this straight.

I did not intentionally coat the next door neighbour's kid's feet with coal tar, but I would be lying if I said that it was an accident. It's more like second-degree tarring. I just wish I had feathers.

It is just that he is such a rotten little bastard. He digs up the plants in the garden, he walks uninvited into my house, he tears branches off of my Japanese maple, he asks too many questions and he abuses my cat. Now he has black spots all over his feet. Am I a bad person because I feel no remorse?

My sister and I were the two lucky people that got to seal the driveway with tar today. It quickly got boring, so I got my computer, put it beside the driveway and played music off of it. I also had a rather long msn conversation with Kathy, which Du also took part in, much to Kathy's confusion.

After a while it began to get dark, and a fire truck drove by. It slowed down near our house so that all the firemen could stare at us, still rolling tar all over the ashphalt, and dancing around a laptop. They were kind of cute.

I think the neighbours think we're weird.

Parkhouse ii

You can't see it, but believe me, it's still there.

Now, let's step into the livingroom, shall we? Every couple of years we move all the furniature around, but the bookshelves in the corner have always been the same. They're to your right, between the two windows. They also happen to be directly above where my bed used to be in the basement, and sometimes when I couldn't sleep at night I would fantasize that the big one would finally hit and send those bookshelves through the floor/ceiling and onto my head. They're too small for all the books we have, so we've had to pile a couple hundred in front of them. I haven't read them all, but maybe I will before I die. In the meantime they make me look smart.

On top of the shelves sits a wrought iron sculpture of a tree that my dad made. Beside it is a picture of my grandmother in a flowery porcelain frame that oozes sentimentality. Beside that, a ceramic vase that looks like a wifebeater and is filled with wooden tulips. On top of the other bookshelf is an antique wooden clock. I used to like watching my mother open up the glass door on the front to wind it. We lost the key a long time ago.

Over the years we have accumulated a lot of chairs, most in some form of disrepair, becuase we brought them home for mom to reupholster. I count six right now, in addition to the couch, which also needs to be reupholstered. The window is full of ornamental glass balls. A long time ago we ran out of room on the biggest Christmas tree we could fit in the room, so we hung the extras in the windows. We never bothered to take them down because we liked them. Then we started to buy special balls just for the windows.

I have too many stories to tell about this room, so we will move on.

Turn right, into the hall. The first door is to the office, mom's desk on the left, dad's on the right. The closet is full of old dance costumes and sheets that the cats love to sleep in. It used to be my room, so the walls are a lavender purple that I picked out when I was six. We ran out of paint part way though though, so one wall is decidedly more pink than the others. When I moved out of that room I took the carpet with me and what is left is ugly brown battleship linoleum.

The next door is the bathroom. When we first moved in, my parents had a fight over whether or not it had a window. It did, of course, from the outside of the house, but the people who had lived here before us had covered over it from the inside. Dad soon fixed that. There was a lock on the door that was only ever used once, the time when I locked myself into the bathroom and then couldn't get out for what felt like hours. It was probably only about 20 minutes.

The last door in the hall is my parents' bedroom. I used to go in there to watch TV when I wasn't allowed because it was easier to hear the car coming up the driveway from there than from the livingroom. I also used to jump on their waterbed.

Now, turn around and look down, to your right. Underneath that chest of drawers filled with art supplies is the furnace intake vent where I innocently shoved my invisible friends one day when I was six. I never saw them again.

Tomorrow I do the kitchen.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


This used to be my home.

You can still see it there, can't you?

Out front is the pine tree that was planted too close to the house. I read somewhere that pine trees are a symbol of welcome in Chinese gardens, but I can't remember where. Dad dug it up one year because it was getting too big, and he moved it further from the house. He didn't move it far enough, but by the time anyone realized that, it was too big to move. Every year my mom would take me to the nursery to buy nasturtiums and pansies, which I would plant underneath that tree then neglect until they were dead.

That is on the left side of the house. On the right there is a garden, between the house and the garage. I used to plant things there too. I was very good at planting things, but I've always been bad at followthrough so everything died. Finally we just planted rhubarb, and it grew too well. I've never particularly liked rhubarb, but the side garden made sure we had plenty of it to eat.

Then up the stairs. Dad made the paper box on the railing to look like a little house, and my cat used to like sleeping in it. I'm sure I have a picture of her in it somewhere, but I can't find that right now. Every year except for grade 10 my mother posed my sister and I on these steps in brand new clothing for the obligatory first-day-of-school photo.

The front porch used to be completely open to the elements, but we built walls around it one weekend. It has had two windows and a door that only stays closed if you lock it ever since. We took a chip of paint into the store to have it colourmatched and after we had painted it the same yellow as the rest of the house, noone could tell that our renovations were new. It was heated, but it was never very warm and after about six years, it started to smell a little musty when the windows weren't open. It doesn't matter much, because that is where I keep all the shoes that I never wear.

The only problem with keeping things in the front hall is that I can never find anything when I need it. There is some sort of creature living in there that likes to devour everything. Consequently I had to buy a new touque and pair of mittens every year, without fail. On the floor is a rubber mat that my bunny used to use as a litterbox. Across the hall from is a croquet set that my dad bought on a whim one day and to the best of my knowledge, we have never used it. He always does that sort of thing.

The real front door is at the other end of this hall. It is covered with some sort of nondescript wooden veneer. In the middle there is a brass plated peephole that was rendered useless when we closed in the porch. In spite of the fact that the previous people who had lived there were paranoid and had put bars and chains on all the doors in the house, the front door only had one of those locks where you push and twist the door handle. We added a deadbolt that we later had to change after mom lost her purse in a restaurant one day.

The bottom of the door had a few vertical grooves in it where the cats used to scratch to let us know that they wanted in.

You can still see it, can't you?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Fridays is fish

"I always have the same things:

"Fridays is always fish.

"Sundays is always meatloaf.

"Saturdays is always roast beef.

"Mondays is always pork chops.

"Wednesdays is always lasagna." She pronounces it law-zag-na as she pushes a limp wisp of hair behind her ear.

"Tuesdays I usually work late, so I just have salad. Tuesdays is always salad.

"Thursdays is always spaghetti. Every Friday I go to work and people say you've got pasta because it's Friday, and I say yes, because yesterday was Thursday and Thursday is always spaghetti. Just the same old boring food week after week after week. I'm so predictable and boring..."

Yeah, you could say that again.

"And Fridays is always fish."

I resist the urge to tell her from the other end of the bus that she has already mentioned that Friday is fish day.

"I went to the east coast and bought myself thirteen pounds of cod in a box. I took it with me on the plane. There were live lobsters in there too. They were still alive when I got off the plane and people kept asking me about them. But the cod. There was a lot of cod. My husband thought I was crazy but we were eating cod for months. Fridays is always fish and we had cod for months."

And she kept talking and talking and talking.

Christ there are a lot of boring people in the world. What I can't seem to figure out is if she was merely a boring person or whether her strange fixation on religious food taboos was the source of her boringness. I think too much about these things. It is yet another reason to move out of this shithole suburb in September. It's too wasp, and too wonderbread.

I had the chance to visit the new used bookstore down the street and it was surprisingly upscale for the neighbourhood. I noticed that when I walked in and immediately picked up a hefty volume of 15th century wisdom about the symptoms and cures of melancholy in all its wonderful forms. When I turned around, I found as if by magic a book about semiotics that I had tried unsuccessfully to locate at the library a couple of weeks ago. Contrary to my expectation of countless Harlequin romances I was confronted Marx, Engels, Spinoza, Hobbes, Edmund Spencer, Herodotus, Dante, Tolstoy, Sappho, the Beatniks and Cavalier poetry. I will be back.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Two more weeks...

There is a quote that I remember coming across several times:

"Great people speak of ideas.
Average people speak of things.
Small people speak of other people."

It comes to mind whenever I have the occasion to spend a lot of time with Jenn, as I have for the past several days. After both being stranded because Ellen no longer drives us in, she has taken up driving me to work so we can use the carpool lane.

Sometimes she reminds me of my sister in the way that she is able to talk nonstop about people that I don't know and really couldn't care less about. Perhaps this is my mother speaking, but I really don't have much patience for idle gossip, especially when I don't know who it is about.

Luckily she didn't just have gossip today. I also got to hear all about her trials and tribulations as an entrepeneur and small business owner. That interests me greatly. Sometimes I think that I should have gone into business and economics like my mom instead of communications. In spite of everything else that I may think about Jenn, she is a very shrewd businessperson and that is something that I can respect.

She also drives me the 55 km to work, which sure as hell beats waking up at 5:30 to catch the bus.

In spite of that though, I can't wait for school. There is something about the inhumane treatment, financial fucking and my projected course overload next semester that I find oddly appealing. Am I a massochist or am I just tired of working 7 days a week?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I don't really want to say I had a bad day but I kind of did...

My father is still pissed off with me for no particular reason, and consequently he refused to give me a ride (Ellen doesn’t drive on Tuesdays). I woke up at 5:30 yesterday, so I could run to the bus. For some reason or other, I can’t seem to sleep on morning busses while I have the chance. Instead I spent my time quietly willing away the sore throat that I am quickly developing.

I had a fairly boring and uneventful day at work, at least until I went to my other job in the afternoon. I was the only passenger on the bus and the driver started talking to me about how he hated summer road construction. Usually I listen enough to comment politely but yesterday I was just not in the mood. I stared out the window and he stared sullenly at the road for the whole trip.

Near the beginning of my shift, my supervisor let slip that they had put one of the other lifeguards through a drill and he had lost his job as a result. I was paranoid all night.

Coming home, we discovered that the sewer pipe in the basement had plugged and the washing machine had flooded the basement. Zosie, who had been doing her laundry at the time thought it was her fault and got in the way while trying to help clean up. She was so upset that she made us dinner. Tortelini with scallops and shrimp. It smelled delicious, but I wasn’t hungry.

Ellen arrived at my house late last night to tell me that she had been laid off. I felt so bad for her, especially because her car died three days ago too. Now I no longer have a ride to work. Lovely.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Unscheduled network outage...

We took Dad to see As You Like It at Bard on the Beach yesterday, and as per usual, spending time with us in public has sent him into a bad mood for reasons which I cannot understand.

In short, a breif cold waresqe lack of confrontation has left me (and the rest of the house) without internet access. I am at school right now. Consequently, I don't expect to be posting anything tomorrow, but I will be back with a vengeance on Wednesday. Thank you for your patience.


The object of the game today was to see how many people we could fit on one kayak. We managed five, but soon found that that didn't last long. We all ended up in the water and that was extremely gross.

I had a thick layer of pond slime coating my body when I finally got out, which started to dry into a lovely layer of caked dirt. It wasn't so much the dirt that bothered me, but the smell. There's something about that lake water that smells really disgusting while it is slowly drying on your skin. Thankfully I had brought a change of clothes, and ran to take a shower.

It was then that I realized that I had forgotten to bring a towel. And soap. And shampoo. And a hairbrush as well. Whatever. There was a bar of soap near the locker room sink, so I used that. I borrowed a towel that was hanging up there (I don't know who exactly it belongs to, and where exactly it has been.) Not having any shampoo, I rubbed some soap all over my head to try and get rid of the stagnant water smell.

Those hurdles avoided, I brushed my hair with a fork. Not as good as a comb, but it works, and there was noone around to stare.

Now I am somewhat clean, but I think I'll have another shower when I get home, just to be safe.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Ships and history

On the dock near Vanier Park, I stand between two boats, the Sea Lion and the Munin.

The Sea Lion is a hundred years old this year, and was apparently the first tug boat to be equipped with a search light, as well as a ship-to-shore radio. It also has the dubious distinction of having played a major part in the Komagata Maru incident of 1914, when a group of East Indians, believing themselves to be entitiled to full rights as citizens of the British Empire, decided to pay Canada a visit. In doing so, they purposed to challenge the discriminatory immigration laws of the time.

Needless to say, their boat was intercepted, denied permission to land and after a two month long battle both on and off the water, it was eventually sent home to India. It is one of many blots on our country's history that tends to be either glossed over or ignored.

The Munin is a half-sized scale replica of the Gokstad ship found near Tønsberg, in Norway. It was lovingly handcrafted a few years ago by the local Skandinavian community as a celebration of their ancestors and culture.

I believe that the Vikings are probably not completely deserving of the boorish and bloodthirsty image we tend to paint of them, just as we aren't completely deserving of the peaceful and tolerant image we have of ourselves. It can be argued that the Vikings invaded, pillaged and burned out of economic necessity, but the same cannot be said for us. The subjegation of aboriginal peoples and Metis, the Chinese head tax, the internment of Japanese citizens during WWII, the Komagata Maru incident, and the forced sterilization of 'undesireable' people (ie. mentally handicapped and Eastern European) in the praries as few as 40 years ago, as well as other events which I fail to mention were all motivated by racism. There is no other way to describe it, except to add that it was all accomplished in a much shorter and more recent period of time.

I'm struck by the contrast between the two vessels, both representing our different concepts of "ancient history". I guess in the long scheme of things two thousand years is barely more than a moment in time, but think of how much more insignificant it renders our own short history in comparison.

I have a lot to think about today.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Horizontally endowed

A trip to see my grandmother has once again left me in a slightly irritable mood. She sits in her bed, thumbing through a Harlequin romance, the remains of her dinner mashed beyond recognition on the plastic hospital issue tray. She browses through the strawberries we have brought her, while telling about her birthday party yesterday.

She seems to be very happy that my uncle is writing a book. Apparently it is very well written. I wonder what he will call it. Confessions of an Embezzeler maybe, or possibly How to Steal Thousands From Little Old Ladies. All I know is that I won't be buying it. Grandma will though, because she still believes that he walks on water and talks with God.

Inevitably her end of the conversation moves toward her discontent about being confined to a hospital.

Once again she tells us that her wheelchair bothers her. It is uncomfortable and more importantly, it is too wide for her to be able to reach the wheels. She wants another one that is narrower. The only problem is that if she had a chair that was any smaller, she wouldn't fit into it, but she doesn't seem to realize or appreciate this fact.

She also complains that she can't go anywhere either. That is because she is too heavy for the wheelchair lifts in most busses, and her wheelchair is too big. The administration at the hospital has also said that except for emergencies, she should refrain from using the elevator as well, for fear of overloading it.

The diet that they have put her on is restrictive, and she doesn't like the fact that she is not allowed to buy chocolate bars.

She also doesn't like the fact that she will probably never be able to walk again, because she is overweight, and has no muscle whatsoever in her legs.

I think I can see a reocurring theme here... and it irritates the hell out of me that noone mentions it to her.

Maybe it is just that I've spent too much time talking to my mother.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Thanks for the tip

We hosted a birthday party at work yesterday, with way too many kids and not enough preparation or equipment. Regardless, it went really well and the kids appeared to have a lot of fun. We organized a scavenger hunt on the water, and they had to kayak around looking for the clues. That took a lot more time than I had expected and the two hours went surprisingly fast.

It wasn't until after everyone had left that we realized that the birthday girl had left her bathing suit behind. Her mother returned for it today and handed us each some thank-you cards. After she left we discovered that she had tipped us for our efforts the previous day. Ten dollars each. It wasn't a huge ammount, but a nice gesture, considering the fact that it wasn't at all expected.

In spite of the fact that I have to work tomorrow, I am so glad that it is Friday.

It looks like I will be moving closer to school and my friends between now and September. Now begins the careful negotiations to have the rest of my family not move in with me. It's not that I don't like them, but I'm sure that having four people living in a one bedroom apartment is not a good idea, even if millions of people all around the world do it all the time.

Maybe it's because I live in Canada or maybe it's because I'm just stuck up. Maybe it's because I can live on rice and peas and old clothing that is too big for me and eat out of old mason jars instead of dishes, but I need some space.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Just a dream

There I was, standing in the middle of the parking lot when a well dressed, middle aged woman approached me. She needed information, she said and I could help her. She began to ask questions about all sorts of things, some of which were fairly personal and I told her everything. I have secrets, but at that moment, nothing was sacred.

We got into her car to talk in private. I told her about life, love, my friends and relationships. Then she analyzed what I was wearing. The informant sat behind me and took off my coat. Then she took off the gold locket that I was wearing and slowly unzipped the back of my dress.

With a scalpel she made several large incisions into my back and peeled back my skin and muscles. Then she remarked a lot as to what she saw there. She then told me that she had to give me a brain aneurysm. I consented and she began to cut open the back of my head and dig around in my brain. It felt nice.

Then she drove me to the nearest skytrain station, while holding my head immobile in a vice grip. She asked more questions all the way there. I saw Angus, Dani and Camila meet each other at what may have been Lougheed or New West Station. She asked me about them too, and I told all. The next thing I knew, she was driving away in her lavender hatchback.

I had an equally bizarre ride home on the bus, and when I got there, I found that there were no marks on my back and that the lady had taken both my jewellery and coat.

What does it all mean? Your guess is as good as mine, but I've never worn that locket before.

White noise

To prove a point once in film, Heywood made us all sit down and listen for a moment to all the white noise in the room. A fan hummed slightly above our heads; the lights buzzed; people shuffled down the halls outside. "Aha!" he said, there is no such thing as silence, so why do you leave white noise out of your movies?

Because we didn't really realize that it was there. We learn to tune out the machinery that powers our lives, so that we don't notice it unless it is defective or it is no longer there. The noise is comforting. It's always there.

We go further though. The cars passing outside and birds chirping is not enough for us. We need our televisions and radios, electrical appliances and talk. There is always talk.

Sometimes I find myself talking to myself just to fill space. Sometimes I find myself talking to other people for the same reason. I don't think I am the only one.

I don't like feeling like I'm just talking to make noise, but that's exactly how I've felt on two separate occasions this week. Running into friends that I haven't seen for a while, I don't realize how much meaningless noise we are creating until we run out of things to say. Then we just sit there, trying to find polite ways to get out of the situation.

Silence is too uncomfortable.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Annual checkup

Another year has passed and what have I done?

Well, if I remember correctly, about this time last year I was nearing the end of a relaxing summer of part time work and a tad bit overeager to go to university. Kathy and I made a couple of mainly uneventful forays up to the university in search of textbooks and the locations of all our classes.

Then the full brunt of the school year was upon us and we discovered that your first year of university kind of sucks, not only because you are new and don't really know anyone, but because social life on campus revolves around the pub, and you can't get into it. I watched with some surprise as many people who I thought wouldn't survive did, and more surprise as a couple people I knew would make it dropped out. The year was decent to me though. I managed to drag myself out the other end with a gpa of 3.35. Not as good as it should be, but okay.

I became friends with some really great people who subsiquently moved away to Japan, France and Malaysia, though I plan to keep in touch. I dropped practically all the extracurricular activities that I had previously engaged in, except for dance. I began to regret this after a while though, so I joined Oxfam. I intend to do more this coming year.

Near the end of 2004, we were evicted from the house I had lived in for nearly 14 years. Within days of leaving, the house was demolished. It ranks as the second worst Christmas I have ever had. Now I find myself living in a suburb that feels like it is lightyears away from where I had previously lived, physically and socially. It is an unrenovated basement suite, which lacks a proper kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. I can safely say that mentally I do not live here, and I never will, though I suppose it could always be worse.

Even after eight months, I am still living out of boxes. I could not even begin to guess at the locations of many of my posessions, so out of boredom I turned to gardening. At first the neighbours were happy that my front yard didn't look like crap anymore. Now they complain that it makes their yards look bad. I can't please everyone.

Aside from gardening, I spent way too much on a camera last month and I am glad to say that I am not tired of it yet. I must have taken nearly a million pictures since then. I also bought a laptop, and now I can safely say that I won't be buying anything else for a while.

No longer tethered by the popularity crap in the small pond that was my high school, I broadened my musical taste a lot. I discovered a strange Norwegian polka/gypsy/rock band called Kaizers Orchestra, which in turn led toward the discoveries of Skambankt, Cloroform, Zeromancer, and Seigmen, among others. I also discovered some homegrown talent that had previously eluded me: Death From Above 1979, Do Make Say Think, Les Sequelles and Matt Mays and El Torpedo. Then somehow or other, I gained a newfound appreciation for a lot of things I used to listen to.

Somehow or other I had managed to not row for almost an entire year. Withdrawal finally got the better of me a couple of weeks ago and I couldn't be happier about it. In June I had vowed to get myself down to coxswain weight by the end of the summer so I could row competitively again. So far I haven't made much progress, and the prospect of losing 18 lbs in the next three weeks is very unattractive to me. I'll do it by December.

After a rough and depressing start to the summer, I am gainfully employed full time, coaching a sport that I know little about. I don't mind the challenge, but I'm quickly becoming tired of it. I've begun to read all my textbooks for the next semester. I'm sure that in time I will be tired of school again too, but not yet.

Who knows what next year has in store.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I'm not sure how to title this...

I had a good day at work today. The sun was shining, kids were swimming and everyone else down on the dock took it upon themselves to police the swimmers' behaviour. All I had to do was sit and watch. I love my job. It's boring, but that's a good thing.

I came home today to an unexpected surprise. After seven months of painfully slow renovations, I finally have a kitchen counter and sink. I still lack dishwasher, stove and bedroom walls, but any progress is good progress. It reminds me of the fact that I might possibly be able to stop sleeping on the livingroom floor before the time I move out.

My sister made me a pie thing out of blackberries and stracciatella gelato for my birthday and I finished eating it today. It didn't exactly look pretty, but it was delicious and made with lots of love, and that is really all that counts.

Tomorow I will take some time to look for my camera tripod. I haven't seen it since I moved in December, but I need it now that my parents bought me a new lens for my birthday. Apparently I don't need a tripod with that particular lens, but it's a little heavy for me to be holding. More toys to play with. Should be fun.

I have three more weeks until summer ends. I can't wait for more mental and financial abuse at the hands of my school, as strange as that sounds. Three months off is too much.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Psychological bandaids

It was my birthday yesterday. I can now legally drink and have my own credit card. Yay. I think more than anything it means that I should suck it up and go for my driving exam so that when people ID me I don't have to hand them my bright red loser license. Though other than that, there really is no point, because I don't have a car and the fact that I have a really cheap government-subsidized bus pass means I don't really need to drive anyway.

Now that I think of it, I would rather have a motorcycle, one of those little quiet Japanese ones, but I don't have the correct license to drive one and as long as I have my upass, I don't think I'll be spending anything on a vehicle.

Unfortunately I was too tied up with work yesterday, today and tomorrow to celebrate by getting completely hammered this weekend. There's always next week. And the week after. I'm sure I will have much more to say on this topic sometime in the near future.

A kid walked up to me at work today, holding his leg and appearing to be in a lot of distress. "My leg is all scratched up and it really hurts," he said, motioning toward a spot near his left knee, "I really need a bandaid."

His leg looked perfectly fine to me, but I grabbed the first aid kit anyways. As I rifled through it, he continued to speak: "It doesn't look really bad, but it is. It's really small but it could bleed a lot. I could bleed out."

Yeah kid, whatever.

By the time I had found a bandaid, I had to ask him a second time where he hurt. I could still see no sign of injury. The kid pointed to a place, I bandaged him up and he left. I'm pretty sure that he had pointed to a completely different part of his leg, but it didn't matter. He was cured.

He went swimming immediately after and his bandaid washed off in a few minutes. He didn't come back for another one.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Split shift

Thursdays I work a really strange split shift and today I am at school, because I work too far away from home and I have nowhere better to go.

Usually I don't like sitting for hours, doing nothing, but today for once I just needed some time to vegetate. The day soon found me sprawled unconscious on the floor in an obscure corner of an almost forgotten hall of the university, with my arms tenderly around my laptop. If the people on the seventh floor of the library can do it, then why can't I?

A few hours later, I was rudely awakened by the alarm clock on my cell phone, which I must have set earlier, knowing exactly how tired I was. My neck was stiff and my back was sore. There really aren't any good places to sleep around here, and everyone is too concerned about paying for tuition to protest the lack of couches on campus. One day we will...

After that, I decided to check out the new sushi place on campus, where the spicy tuna roll was good enough to make me cry. It was fairly cheap too, though because it was cheap, I ate a little too much and now I feel kind of sick.

At the moment, I am sitting here in the courtyard in the AQ, watching the stupid yet amusing antics of some boys in the Science Al!ve summer camp who are throwing waterbottles from heights and betting on which one will hit the ground first. They both land at the same time, and then the boys fight over who won the bet (neither did). Then they get really animated while they argue and then engage in repeated rematches. It's a pity that I am sans camera right now. They would be worth a picture.

It isn't weight but surface area of an object that determines how fast it falls. I'm a communication major and even I knew that. I guess they'll learn eventually, but maybe not today. They fight too much and already their instructors have shut them down.

And now I'm off to work again. Lucky me.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Spreading the love

Mornings are back to normal. Jen cranes her neck to see into the rear view mirror, trying hard to keep still enough through the traffic to put on her mascara. “He’s such a bastard,” she says, referring to her fiancée, “I gave up going to the bar with the other girls in the cul-de-sac to clean the house and then he comes home and says that the house is a mess.

“I should tell him that the garden looks like shit. That’s what I’ll do.”

I think it would be easier for them to break up now before they kill each other, but of course, I can’t say that. I just don’t see the point in marrying someone who you yell at constantly. They aren’t going to change after you marry them, so why bother if you hate them already? The world needs less fighting, not more.

I stumbled across the Complimenting Commenter’s blog quite by accident today. CC is well on the way to completing his/her goal of complimenting 3000 people through their blogs by the end of August. Yay for spreading blogosphere love.

More non fireworks related pictures soon. I promise.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Summer reading

"I just want to remind you that custom courseware is non-refundable," she said, scanning the bar codes.

"Yeah, I know," I said glumly, handing her my card and hoping that she wouldn't say the amount. I didn't want to know. I walked out with the books I need for one class then surveyed the damage: $103.

And what, you ask, do you get for $103?

David Lodge - Nice Work
Irvine Welsh - Trainspotting
Elizabeth Gaskell - North and South
Zoe Druick - CMNS-223 Custom Courseware: Advertising as Social Communication

Not much at all. Not much considering the fact that I still have to buy books for four more courses. Once again, I feel abused. I have a feeling that it's not going to get any better. On a positive note, I have some new things to read for the rest of the summer.

John arrived at work when I wasn't there to say hi. He probably heard that I was working there from Mimi. For some reason or other, I had thought that he had moved far away. At first I thought he was an idiot for not calling, but then I realized that because I moved, he probably doesn't have my phone number or email anymore. I should call him.

Apparently there is going to be a zombie walk downtown on August 27.


Monday, August 01, 2005

But you can't pick your family

Dear Sharon,

I don't understand you.

You told my grandmother that you regret never having the chance to get to know me, and yet in all the times we have met in the past three years, you have chosen to treat me as if I do not exist.

You dance around me as if I might bite. You hold me at arm's length, a child to be seen and not heard. Do you want me to prostrate myself in front of you, begging for your attention?

I suppose I should try talking to you, but I don't know what to say. I don't know you well enough, and you don't have any hobbies or interests that I can talk to you about. What am I supposed to say?

"So, how's widowhood?"

"How did you like working thirty years in a mental institution?"

"I hear you're beginning to regret that hysterectomy you got when you were 22."

"Is there a reason why you're shunning me, or are you just a bitch?"

No, I think it would be a lot easier if you just asked me about how my day was, but you can't seem to do that, can you?

I just don't understand.



PS. Happy birthday.