Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Headley demonstrates how to keep warm in sub-zero temperatures: a photoessay

People who don't know any better tend to make fun of coxswains because they kind of look like they don't do anything at all. They just sit there, talking into microphones. Dead weight. No effort. Anyone can do it. But there's a little more to it, and in the winter, a big part of that is staying warm. Dead weight isn't all that helpful when it actually is dead.
So, we've dressed headley in a pretty standard blue unisuit. Maybe in the summer he'd wear it alone, but today there's ice on the water so it's too damn cold.
Next comes a bit of spandex: some leggings and a tank top. Got to protect your core, you know.
(hidden) a dryfit short-sleeved top. More spandex: a longsleeve and yoga pants. Add a pair of polar fleece socks for good measure.
Spandex: another longsleeve, another pair of yoga pants. Kneehigh wool socks. That's it for spandex. If you go beyond four layers the results aren't pretty. However, four layers of spandex is the best and easiest way to getting a really tight ass that I know of. I apologise if that image disturbs you.
Next we've got polar fleece pants, and a really nice hand-me-down sweater that was half-devoured by moths by the time I got it.
Fleece jacket. Waterproof pants.
Poggies for Headley's hands, and a touque for his head.
Waterproof jacket.
Warm enough, Headley? Toasty.

That is, until we go outside...

Monday, October 30, 2006


sunrise on the way to Sointula, BCSoooo, that magazine thingie that I keep periodically complaining about? Done. That sort of euphoric feeling of weight lifting off your shoulders when you finish a big project? Um, well, delayed.

For the past month or so, the whole thing's been nothing but headaches for me. Most recently, it's been problems with the printers. I laid out the pages in a really standard size and then pdf'd them to give to the printers. Pdfs, I thought, are good because a) everybody and their dog uses them and b) you can't edit the layout once it's done and c) that's the way we've always done it.

So imagine my surprise when someone phoned me explaining that they had changed the pdfs into jpegs which had resulted in images that are of considerably less quality and asked me to come in and look at some proofs.

A day later I was in their shop, agreeing that the switch to jpeg had definitely hurt the quality. I went home and switched the original files into jpegs and didn't have much luck, so finally I ended up uploading the originals onto the net for download and hoping to Qath that things turned out alright.

So, today, when it was supposed to be printed and done, I arrived to find just one done, and the formatting changed for some of the pages. Nothing major, but big enough to irritate me.

But luckily I had the one, because the damn thing is so overdue.

So at our meeting, I said something unintelligable like "It'sdoneit'sdoneit'sdone!" and nearly dumped my computer on the floor while I tried to grab it out of my bag. And as I pulled it out, people saw the cover and gasped, saying something to the effect of "that's awesome!" and we passed it around for everyone to look through. And in spite of the printing problems, it looks pretty snazzy. A couple people mentioned after the meeting was over that it is our best looking issue ever.

I have a habit of saying things are beautiful in conversation. When I got home I was talking to myself about something or other and I accidentally said "I'm" when I meant to say "It's beautiful."

Freudian slip.


sunrise on the way to Sointula, BCI've finally gotten around to moving a substantial amount of things off of my computer so now I can finally look at the rest of the pictures from Thanksgiving weekend. So, here we have sunrise from the ferry on the way to Sointula, BC.

Sointula was originally founded by a group of Finnish settlers over a hundred years ago and is home to Canada's oldest co-op store. The Finns had come to Canada to escape a rather repressive government under the Russian Czars only to be further opressed by the forces of market capitalism as workers in the coal mines in Nanaimo.

A group moved north and founded the town on Malcolm Island, where they intended to create a utopian society based upon socialism, prohibition of alcohol and women's rights. It never quite worked out the way they had planned, but the town remains, and though it's lost a lot of its Finnish flavour over the years, the bakery still serves Finnish style bread, and you'll run into the occasional person there who speaks that strange language that seems to have far too many vowels.

The nicest thing about the place though, is that it's not touristy at all. It's surrounded by lovely scenery, and yet unlike so many other places around northern Vancouver Island, it doesn't have a Starbucks or a huge resort lodge or stores that sell all that tacky souvenir crap. It's just a little fishing village and people live there.

If I wanted Starbucks coffee and dinner at Moxies or Swiss Chalet or Ricky's or what have you, I could just stay home. But the sad thing is that every time I travel somewhere else, it seems that places just keep getting more and more similar.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Second verse, same as the first

VI Trip 024_1

I go through the entire week putting things off for the weekend, when I know I'll have more time, and then when I finally get there, circumstances combine to prevent me from getting anything done and I go into Monday feeling like I'm no further ahead. Every week is like this.

My brain is mush.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Vechnaya Bor'ba

So, I was looking for some inspiration for pumpkin carving and somehow or other I managed to find this photoset on flickr of all sorts of Soviet posters. I absolutely love the composition of some of them, like this one:

But it was this one that I was wondering about:

How does a Canadian national symbol make it into a Soviet poster?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Je suis un pizza avec extra fromage

beaucoup fromage

I really miss those commercials where they made cheese look really sexy. They'd be shot in high contrast black and white and they'd show a couple embracing or exchanging suggestive glances and then at the end they'd say something like "cheddar, pour homme."

They were the absolute pinnacle of television, as far as I'm concerned. Nothing that has ever come since can really compare to their brilliance.


Before I saw those commercials, it never occured to me just to what extent blatant sexploitation can be used to sell things. Sure, I'd seen sexy toothpaste and sexy windshield wiper blades and sexy spark plugs, but cheese was always that gawky teenager, too obsessed with dungeons and dragons to get in on the action. No longer.

They still haven't found a way to make winter tires and potting soil sexy though. They're kind of like lepers, I guess. Oh, and income tax accountants. Anyone care to be seduced with RRSP contributions and charitable donations?

Well, actually, when I think about it, tuition exemptions are kind of hot.

I want some cheese now.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Some days are just like that

Alert Bay fishing docksI stayed up until 2am knowing full well that I didn't need to go to practice this morning.

Imagine my lack of surprise when sometime around 5:45 this morning I heard Alex's unmistakeable voice calling my name through my mailslot. I lay around for a little while, weighing possibilities, and then decided that I would go.

My first reaction was that I should go open the door and talk to him, but I realized that I've taken up not wearing pyjamas to bed so I turned on the lights to find something appropriate to put on. No point in giving him the wrong impression.

I came up empty, however, so I wrapped myself up in a blanket and then shouted at him out the window. Needless to say, I was in a boat with wonky steering in under fifteen minutes. It's funny how these things happen. It's by no means the first time.

My coach smiled smugly, "I would have gone over myself, but I thought the guys were so much more charming. They would have a better chance," she said.

I came home and almost immediately stubbed my toe. The pain has long since subsided but it is quite purple, which I've never seen my toes do before.

When my prof suggested that we have an in-class debate, people assumed that that would involve splitting the class down the middle and having us argue against each other on a topic. No, it was formal debating rules which meant three on three while the rest of the class watched.

The rebuttals in our debate were pretty crappy because our two teams were on completely different pages. While the other group was obviously better prepared, we won because our position had something to do with the resolution, which was BIRT: Fair trade is a prerequisite for remedying global economic inequalities caused by colonialism and free trade. They argued that free trade is bad because it promotes inequality and we argued that fair trade works on a micro level, but does nothing to change structural inequalities in the global economy. As a result, their rebuttals were non-existent because they just decided not to address our argument at all, and ours ran along the line of "um, they aren't adressing the debate topic with that point so I fail to see how it is relevant to this debate," and "yeah, we agree that free trade is bad, but that's not what we're supposed to be arguing about."

Sometimes things are just like that.

Monday, October 23, 2006

What kind of fool doesn't think about it?

thunderbirdA friend of mine has started tacking on the fact that she only has four more semesters on to the end of her msn name and it's starting to bug me. Not because of the fact that she's obviously going to finish ahead of me, but because it's got me thinking prematurely about what the hell I'm supposed to do with the rest of my life.

This past summer was a bit of a wakeup call for me. In previous summers I'd gone and done something like lifeguarding and coaching, things that young people do while they're in school, and the stuff that you get nostalgic about when you're older. But this past summer I worked for the government.

It wasn't like it was a summer internship/coop position for students, either. The person who I was sitting in for was only going to be away for a few months. He was done school and that was his full-time job. The job was for the most part tedious and unnecessarily complicated, and had alternating days of incredible overworkedness and sitting on my ass doing absolutely nothing. Regardless of which one I experienced on any given day, I'd come home mentally exhausted every night.

And sitting there, checking my email for the umpteenth time in the hopes of more work to distract myself with, I was hit with a cheery thought: millions of adults are all sitting in ergonomically correct chairs like me, doing more or less the same thing as me, with more or less the same or greater education than me. I could be doing this for ever and ever and ever and ever

andever andever andever andever
anever anever anever anever
never never never never


And thinking about that got me really scared. I get bored of things. I get disillusioned so easily that the thought of sticking with anything, a job, a lifestyle, a place, a person, for any lengthy period of time is unfathomable to me. Absolutely unfathomable.

So, what does that leave me? Fuck, I don't know.

I'll finish my degree in communications and my certificate in community economic development. Then maybe I'll move to Argentina.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I'm drawing blanks here

IMG_4623_1On Friday night I had the chance to catch up on all the gossip and stuff that I never seem to be privy to. I'm not entirely sure if that's a good thing or not.

On the one hand, it's good to know what's going on with some of the friends you haven't seen in a while. A lot of times it's not through lack of interest that you don't know, but lack of time and crappy logistics. Somehow or other, it's nice to keep in touch with people.

But depending on who you're with, it can also be a bad thing too. If, say, you're sitting in a room with two ex-boyfriends of the same friend, who happens to not be present, they start comparing notes and you end up hearing all sorts of information that you really didn't need to hear.

I'm never quite sure what kind of a conversation it's going to turn into whenever Gina invites me over to her place, but Friday ended up the former, and somehow or other I ended up waking up under a pile of people on her couch the next morning.

Contrary to what some may believe, there was no alcohol involved in all this. There was, however, cake. Cake a la Betty Crocker.

We had to buy some eggs and milk at the Safeway, and as we were going through the checkout, one lady seemed to feel that she had to shout out that she had found a pair of nosehair tweezers. She certainly knows how to party it up on a Friday night.

So do we. Apparently there's a photoessay in the works, but I don't know, really. She hasn't uploaded the pictures from her birthday yet, though maybe that's a good thing.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


IMG_4610_1Grandma: You're such beautiful girls. You've got such a lovely mother.

See this book here? I'm reading these now. This man wants to marry this woman, but he doesn't really want to marry her. She's not too sure about him, but she likes that he has lots of money. I haven't gotten very far into it but I really like it. I have a brand new comb!

Dad: That's nice mother.

Grandma: I can comb my hair with it. (makes puffer-fish face while combing hair) They do my hair once a week and the girl always puts so much goo in there that the comb catches on my hair.

Dad: It's a wonder you still have any hair, mother.

Grandma: You do. You've got nice curly hair.

Dad: I'm the only one.

Grandma: Good gall, your brothers don't have any hair left. I've been a mother since you were born!

Dad: Since Lloyd was born, mother.

Grandma: Oh, yes. When Lloyd was born I was pregnant for 52 days.

Dad: I don't know, mother. Somehow I doubt that.

Grandma: And he was such a tweenie little thing.

Dad: He has a tweenie little thing?

Grandma: Well, of course!

Dad: I think we're going to have fun with that...

Grandma: I'm reading these things now. Have you seen this book? He wants to marry her-

Dad: But he doesn't really want to marry her.

Grandma: Exactly!

Dad: And neither does she, but she knows that he has lots of money so she figures she'll try it out.

Grandma: That's exactly it! Look at my finger...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The obligatory daily post

gogglesNow that I've sent in my budget and grant proposal, I'm crossing my fingers. The question tonight is how fast can I lay out a magazine?

The other question is what the hell am I doing posting here if I have so much work to do? The answer is that things don't need to be completely 100% perfect, even though I think they do, and they do.

My stats prof has suddenly realized that we're almost three weeks behind, three weeks in a twelve week semester, and he's started to race through all sorts of concepts at a ridiculous pace. So much so, that we finished today's lecture about half an hour early.

Instead of letting us go, though, he prolonged our collective pain by asking for questions and giving long, drawn out answers that didn't clarify much. 20 minutes from the end of the class, Alison's phone buzzed.

skype 20mins? :)

To which she replied that they'd have to make it an hour. It buzzed again shortly after but I didn't see the message. She began to pack up her things and then sat and fixed an evil glare upon our prof, all the while fidgetting and fidgetting. She breathed a sigh of relief as he finished answering a question, only to growl something under her breath when he then asked for another question and went overtime in answering it.

Yep, I definitely know what that's like. I still haven't completely made up my mind as to whether it's a good thing or not.

She was out of that class like a shot.

But somehow or other, all that fidgetting about clandestine conversations with European males got me thinking about cheese. Oka cheese. From Quebec. Unpasteurized, smelly and oh so delicious...

I went home and ate a wedge of it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I've been away

IMG_4466_1In the class supply list they always said 2B and 4B but I've always had a thing about arbitrary authority so I always had B and 3B instead. I'm drawing again. Haven't done that in a while. Sometimes I wonder at the things that come out of my head when I do that. Most things I don't show anybody because no matter how hard I try, I can't answer their questions.

I've always had a thing about austerity as well. Don't ever let me tell you I'm broke, because that's a lie. I just tie up everything I have in investments and such so I can't touch it. I wouldn't spend it even if I let myself. Don't get me wrong, I always pay my fair share of things, which reminds me that I owe Kathy $5.50. She doesn't bug me about it because she knows she'll definitely get it eventually, but she probably should.

But in spite of the austerity-as-ideal, I can't seem to live up to it. It doesn't matter how bare I make my apartment, people still exclaim over how cool it is and it's still better, somehow, than where all my friends are living. I mean, what else can I do? Get rid of my tv? I wouldn't exactly miss it much...

I could replace my bed with one of those dog mats that are filled with cedar shavings. That way I'd always wake up smelling really nice, like a sawmill. I could get rid of my bedroom dresser because I use the floor anyways and it's ugly.

The floorlamps stay, though. They're antiques and I like them. I have a bad habit of walking into other peoples' houses and appraising their antiques, but I only collect lamps. I can compromise there by taking the lampshades off.

And somehow or other I can't seem to bring myself to take the chill off the edges of this place, not even when heat is free.

It's kind of hard to dumb myself down and fit in with everyone else when my ta seems to feel compelled to mention to the class that they should be clamouring to have me in their study groups because I got a lousy 97% my first midterm. Not when he does it twice. I'm not good at math, honest. I just study.

I found a really old playlist on my computer the other day that was simply titled "stuff I don't listen to enough." It's got Broken Social Scene, Jefferson Airplane, Scissor Sisters, Afghan Whigs, Belle and Sebastian, The Pixies, Dandy Warhols, Neil Young and other goodness. I'm liking it a lot. At some point or other, this song got stuck on repeat for about two hours and I've been singing it ever since.

You never know what you'll find in transcripts

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.

Mr. LEAHY. Thank you, Madam President. If I require further time beyond 10 minutes I will take time from that reserved to the Senator from Vermont.

Let’s understand exactly what we are talking about here. There are approximately 12 million lawful permanent residents in the United States today. Some came here initially the way my grandparents did or my wife’s parents did. These are people who work for American firms, they raise American kids, they pay American taxes. Section 7 of the bill before us represents a choice about how to treat them.

This bill could have been restricted to traditional notions of enemy combatants—foreign fighters captured on the battlefield—but the drafters of this bill chose not to do so. Let’s be very clear. Once we get past all of the sloganeering, all the fund-raising letters, all the sound bites, all the short headlines in the paper, let’s be clear about the choice the bill makes. Let’s be absolutely clear about what it says to lawful permanent residents of the United States. Then let’s decide if it is the right message to send them and if it is really the face of America that we want to show.

Take an example. Imagine you are a law-abiding, lawful, permanent resident, and in your spare time you do charitable fundraising for international relief agencies to lend a helping hand in disasters. You send money abroad to those in need. You are selective in the charities you support, but you do not discriminate on the grounds of religion. Then one day there is a knock on your door. The Government thinks that the Muslim charity you sent money to may be funneling money to terrorists and thinks you may be involved. And perhaps an overzealous neighbor who saw a group of Muslims come to your House has reported ‘‘suspicious behavior.’’

You are brought in for questioning. Initially, you are not very worried. After all, this is America. You are innocent, and you have faith in American justice. You know your rights, and you say: I would like to talk to a lawyer. But no lawyer comes. Once again, since you know your rights, you refuse to answerany further questions. Then the interrogators get angry. Then comes solitary confinement, then fierce dogs, then freezing cold that induces hypothermia, then waterboarding, then threats of being sent to a country where you know you will be tortured, then Guantanamo. And then nothing, for years, for decades, for the rest of your life.

That may sound like an experience from some oppressive and authoritarian regime, something that may have happened under the Taliban, something that Saddam Hussein might have ordered or something out of Kafka. There is a reason why that does not and cannot happen in America. It is because we have a protection called habeas corpus, or if you do not like the Latin phrase by which it has been known throughout our history, call it access to the independent Federal courts to review the authority and the legality by which the Government has taken and is holding someone in custody. It is a fundamental protection. It is woven into the fabric of our Nation...

...The bill before the Senate would not merely suspend the great writ, the great writ of habeas corpus, it would eliminate it permanently. We do not have to worry about nuances, such as how long it will be suspended. It is gone. Gone.

Over 200 years of jurisprudence in this country, and following an hour of debate, we get rid of it. My God, have any Members of this Senate gone back and read their oath of office upholding the Constitution? This cuts off all habeas petitions, not just those founded on relatively technical claims but those founded on claims of complete innocence.

We hundred Members in the Senate, we privileged men and women, are supposed to be the conscience of the Nation. We are about to put the darkest blot possible on this Nation’s conscience. It would not be limited to enemy combatants in the traditional sense of foreign fighters captured in the battlefield, but it would apply to any alien picked up anywhere in the world and suspected of possibly supporting enemies of the United States...

...By its plain language, it would deny all access to the courts to any alien awaiting— what a bureaucratic term, to determine your basic human rights, ‘‘any alien awaiting’’—a Government determination as to whether the alien is an enemy combatant. The Government would be free to delay as long as it liked—for years, for decades, for the length of the conflict which is so undefined and may last for generations.

One need only look at Guantanamo. Even our own Government says a number of people are in there by mistake, but we will not get around to making that determination. Maybe in 5 years, maybe 10, maybe 20, maybe 30. And we wonder why some of our closest allies ask us, what in heaven’s name has happened to the conscience and moral compass of this great Nation? Are we so terrified of some terrorists around this country that we will run scared and hide? Is that what we will do, tear down all the structures of liberty in this country because we are so frightened?...

...What has changed in the past 5 years that justifies not merely suspending but abolishing the writ of habeas corpus for a broad category of people who have not been found guilty, who have not even been charged with any crime? What has turned us? What has made us so frightened as a nation that now the United States will say, we can pick up somebody on suspicion, hold them forever, they have no right to even ask why they are being held, and besides that, we will not even charge them with anything, we will just hold them? What has changed in the last 5 years?

Is our Government is so weak or so inept and our people so terrified that we have to do what no bomb or attack could ever do, and that is take away the very freedoms that define America? We fought two world wars, we fought a civil war, we fought a revolutionary war, all these wars to protect those rights. And now, think of those people who have given their lives, who fought so hard to protect those rights. What do we do? We sit here, privileged people of the Senate, and we turn our backs on that. We throw away those rights.

from here starts on p. S10356. Looks like it passed. I honestly wish I could say I was surprised.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My life's story

IMG_4468_1Hello, and welcome to the five-hundred-and-first post.

As you can see, it has a spacious interior with plenty of legroom, not that I need it because I'm so damn short.

I was going to do something really special for my 500th post, but I forgot about it at the time. I could tell you my life story, I guess. It's not all that interesting, to be honest. It pretty much ammounts to a couple indesputable facts:

I was born Tuesday, August 5th 1986, at sometime around 8:23am. It was sunny.

My name at birth was Benjamin Fergus, because my parents didn't want to go all traditional-like and name me Victor instead.

I was raised under a park bench by marxists who used to beat me with sociology texts: Emile Durkheim, Thomas Carlyle, Michel Foucault etc.

The rest have been alternating periods of interest and boredom, wherein I've made regular contributions to my RRSP and eaten all my vegetables.

You should wait for it to be televised. Everything's better on television.

I think my family would provide the basis for an excellent reality tv show, like the Osbornes, only interesting in a really weird way.

Ever since I got back from Alert Bay I've been itching to do some silversmithing. I found a piece of beach glass that looks like it came from a really old green Coke bottle and I want to turn it into a pin for my turquoise jacket. Andy says the colour makes me look creative. I honestly don't see it, at least, I don't see the connection there. But that doesn't change the fact that I love the sounds of torches and the smell of hydraulic oil and evaporating flux and slowly burning away the feeling in my fingertips. Makes me feel like an alchemist.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The APA style guide doesn't have an entry for I don't know

St. Michael's Indian Residential School, Alert BayThe question on my mind is were all exams as easy during my first year as my sociology exam was today? Sheisse. First year's supposed to be hard and yet that's where I got my best marks. Go figure that.

With my takehome exam, I was faced with the problem of knowing all the material and being able to answer the question, but not knowing where the information came from and therefore being unable to cite it. At which point does information become common knowledge and cease to be the property of one particular person? That's the major reason I hate paraphrasing and summarizing things.

Lindsay says she wants to have a party in November, which seems like the perfect time for it to me. It's the only month of the year that doesn't have a decent upbeat drinking holiday.

January: New Years
February: Valentines Day (for those of us who are unencumbered by relationships and couldn't care less about the lovey dovey crap)
March: Spring Break or Reading Week (or at my school, Reading day)
April: sometimes has the Easter Long Weekend
May: Victoria Day Long Weekend
June: School's been over for a month, so you can make up your own excuse to have a party.
July: July 1st long weekend
August: BC Day long weekend, aka: they turned my birthday into a stat holiday
September: Labour Day long weekend
October: Thanksgiving and Haloween
December: Whichever winter holiday you celebrate that involves lights, gifting, food and fighting with relatives. They're all fundimentally the same.

November? Sure, November's got a long weekend, but no one ever seems to want to party on it. Instead, you have to listen to the old poppy/no poppy debate and watch American tv if you don't want to listen to people extoling the virtues of dead soldiers and listening to military planes overhead. It's an issue that I think I'll leave until closer to the date.

I don't know where I'm going with this, or even if I was going somewhere in the first place. Better to end it now.

The truth is that when I started out this blog, I thought that I was going to write absolutely everything here but in practice I don't bother. A lot of the really random things I post are there purely to distract myself from things.

In spite of what you may have read here, the combined events of the past few weeks served to turn me into a quivering mass of irrational flesh by about Fridayish. I then spent the entire weekend rearranging my brain to make it work properly again. I have two good friends to thank for helping with that. Two friends and a random stranger.

Random strangers and chance occurrences seem to be playing an increasing role in my life this year. I don't understand it at all. Maybe one day I'll explain, but I can't bring myself to talk about some of these things yet, at least, not tonight.

I have to be up at 5am tomorrow.


eagleFor those who missed this week's This Hour Has 22 Minutes, click the link here and then click the sketch that says "Another Heritage Moment".

I think that by far, the funniest part of that sketch is that I am exactly like those people. It would be impossible to count the number of times I have been in a situation like that and have apologised. In public, I will always say sorry to people who step on my foot. I mean, they will apologise to me too, but as a Canadian, I'll always jump at the chance to say I'm sorry. Most of the time it takes a foreigner to point that out for me to notice.

I'm beginning to think we're weird.

Over the past three days I've developed an unusual stiffness in my left middle finger, and it's starting to bother me. It won't straighten out completely, nor will it bend without difficulty. When I force it to straighten out with my other hand the joints creak and then it aches a bit. Makes it a tad difficult to type. I like to think I'm too young for these sorts of things to happen but I guess I'm not.

Maybe I'll have to get it checked out, though knowing me, my whole arm would have to be paralyzed first before I set foot in the doctor's office. I'm not sure why. It's not like seeing the doctor costs anything at all. I don't always make sense.

Sorry I can't write more. I have two exams and a paper due tomorrow.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


totem poleI ended up getting abducted by some friends last night. The seatbelt buckles in the backseat of Curt's Mustang are half embedded in the seat, so that they protrude quite a bit, making it pretty uncomfortable to be back there. My question is that in such a car as that, why would they work so hard to make the backseat uncomfortable? Shouldn't it be the opposite?

It must be a puritan conspiracy...

We went to Denny's, honestly. It's not what you think.

Sitting around, we got to remembering things from high school, and most of all, the fries in the cafeteria. To the best of my knowledge, I never once bought from the cafeteria in the four years that I went there. Though she often complained about it, my mom absolutely insisted that she make me a lunch every day of school until my second year of university. Except for the unfortunate month when I had Kraft dinner every day, I always had the absolute best lunches. I digress.

I was talking about fries. To be more exact, we were talking about fries. We used to sit around on the floor and block the hallways under those nauseating rainbow coloured lockers, and Devon would buy fries and then drown them in vinegar. Unsuspecting people would take fries and then their faces would provide cheap entertainment for us. As you sat and ate his sour fries, Devon would slowly untie your shoes, or do something similarly irritating like unpack the contents of your purse and organize it all on the floor.

Long before they decided that cafeteria food had to be healthy, they used to have a poutine combo. That is, poutine with a side order of fries. Now, some may wonder what the point of having fries on the side of poutine is when poutine itself is always at least 80% fries. Angus, however defended the unusual meal choice. God knows why.

At the beginning of grade 10 somebody placed a fry on that tiny ledge at the top of one of the bulletin boards on the wall. At the end of grade 12 it was still there, in pristine condition...

My sister and I are watching the first season of Red Dwarf. Call me a geek, but it's one of the best television shows ever. Sure, I complain about the British a lot, but they do do a good job of humour. That almost makes up for the fact that they don't put cinnamon in with their apple pie. I mean, how on earth can you eat apple pie without spices? How can you eat anything without spices? It just boggles the mind.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I've learned some things today. First is that there seems to be a definite lack of Moist videos on youtube and whoever is hoarding Tangerine and Push and Leave it Alone and Resurrection had better upload them pronto. The second is that the music video for Breathe more than kind of sucked, and by that I mean that though I thought that it wasn't all that good when I first saw it, it looks even worse now. The song's still good, though I did like their first two albums better.

The next thing I learned is that there seems to be quite an active little subculture that enjoys setting David Usher songs to various manga and anime shorts. I'm not sure what to think about this.

Apparently on September 3rd of 1995, Metallica played a concert in Tuktoyuktuk. If that was common knowledge then I apologise because I'm just really slow.

Canada is home to 21 different species of carniverous plants. Or maybe it was 19. Either way, it's a hell of a lot more than you would have expected from a tame place like Canada.

Also, the toonie, everyone's favourite two dollar coin is ten years old finally, and in other news, my grandmother only just ran out of her stockpile of two dollar bills to give to me at Christmas. It feels like yesterday.

I'm going to start losing track of all these gmail accounts

St. Michael's Indian Residential School, Alert Bay

St. Michael's Indian Residential School, Alert Bay

St. Michael's Indian Residential School, Alert Bay

St. Michael's Indian Residential School. Pretty monolithic, considering its surroundings. Native children used to be taken away from their homes to live there, where they were abused by church and staff. I've heard far, far too many ugly stories about the place that do not belong here.

The building is still used by some people for offices these days, though I'm not sure how much longer they'll be doing that. Some parts of it aren't in particularly good shape. It's a pity that they don't fix it up and use it for something useful.

I just got a brilliant idea. My computer has crashed twice this week due to lack of memory and I'm finding myself with neither the time nor the money to go out and buy disks to burn things to.

Then I got myself thinking. I have a gmail account that I keep a bcc'd paper trail of all my student union related emails. I have a gmail account where I keep all my blog entries. I have a separate gmail account where I keep all my music. Why not have one dedicated entirely to photos?

I don't mind if I do...

Thursday, October 12, 2006


IMG_4583_1I mentioned my game to Lauren and she said that since we're in communications it should actually be:

McLuhan, McLuhan, McLuhan.... INNIS!

But then I thought, maybe since we were doing political economics of communication, it could be more like:

Herman, Herman, Herman....CHOMSKY!

or even

Adams, Adams, Adams..... INVISIBLE HAND!

or if you're feeling mathematical

sine, sine, sine.... COSINE!

or statistical

mean, mean, mean.... NULL HYPOTHESIS!

Okay, that one doesn't really work. Stats is no fun. Lauren says I should go back to kindergarten. I don't think so.

I didn't like kindergarten because all the kids were stupid. They used to sit around in a circle and suck all of the ink out of those smelly felt markers, and then pass them on down the line until everyone had had a suck. It was kind of like a felt marker circle jerk and I was absolutely disgusted, even at the tender age of 5. I was clearly their intellectual superior.

I have never ever encountered one of those so called paste-eating kids. Since seeing is believing, they do not exist. Neither do brown cats. There's absolutely no such thing as a brown cat.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

They don't call him Sexy Rexy for nothing

My favourite Canucks from tv:

Paul Gross: hot.

Fab Filippo: hot.

Ian Hanomansing: hot.

Roy Dupuis: hot

Rex Murphy: damn hot.

I have so many better things to be doing right now but fuck it.

No wonder no one ever comes to my parties

IMG_4567_1I want to make up my own game.

People would sit around in a circle and one person would walk around behind people's backs, tapping people's heads and saying "biohazard, biohazard, biohazard..." etc until they tap someone's head and shout "compressed gas!" Then that person has to get up from the floor and race the other person around the circle.

The person who loses has to parse verbs in Arabic.

Sounds like a game that I wouldn't be very good at.

Roadtrip dreams

kelpI have the weirdest little dreams in moving vehicles in those periodic moments of sleep that you get when you're so tired that you can't possibly keep your eyes open much longer, but you know you won't be out for long. Unlike the ones I have when I'm in bed, the ones in moving vehicles are generally short, pointless and dangerously close to reality.

So yeah, I was waiting for someone in an airport and all of a sudden I saw Roger Taylor hanging around the baggage carousel. I had nothing better to do, so I asked him what his suitcase looked like so I could help him spot it. He found it first.

He was about to leave and I asked him very nicely that if he wasn't too too busy maybe he could wait with me and say hi to my friend when he arrived because he just happened to be a fan. I was quite sure that it would make his day. So my friend arrived and he went for lunch with Roger Taylor and I went home.

The end. Wake up. Deer on the road near Campbell River. Donovan's playing on the radio.


Then I was in the airport in Oslo. I looked around, said "So, this is Norway. Maybe I should let someone know I'm here," but I didn't and I went home.

Wake up. Fanny Bay, full of oystershuckers. You know you're nowhere near Chemainus.

Kelp in the ocean at Alert Bay. The water is so clear...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Enough talk


The view from where I stayed over the weekend. Pretty much.

Alert Bay

I can't upload pictures right now. The connection I'm leeching off of is the slowest, most unreliable one I think I've ever used, but it's free, so it can't be that bad.

Instead, you're going to have to do a little bit of work yourself. Open another tab (or window if you absolutely insist upon being uncool) and do a google search for "Emily Carr". Take a good look at the paintings that come up.

Trees, rainforest, totem poles. Flowing lines in greys, greens and red-browns. The colours here are the same, the lines, the same. She came a great way in capturing the way it is up here. The one that I always found the most poignant was the one picture of the skinny tree in the middle of the clearcut, stretching towards the sky. It's not all that famous, so the likelihood of you finding it in a google image search is pretty low. It's still my favourite, though. It captures far more than the scene.

Carr had a great respect for the indigenous peoples up here. At one point in her life she devoted a great amount of time to travelling up the coast and painting images of the villages she found there, because she recognized that theirs was a way of life that was quickly disappearing, unrecorded. She apparently approached some people in high places about finding someone to sponsor her documentation of their culture but found no takers. So instead she ended up making native-style trinkets out of clay and selling them as authentic to feed herself, and feeling guilty about the cultural appropriation.

Cultural preservation wasn't exactly at the top of many people's lists of priorities at the time. Government policy stopped barely short of genocide. To improve the lives of the natives, government sent agents to remove children from their homes and parents to put them into boarding schools where they were beaten for speaking in their own languages, neglected and sexually assaulted by preists and nuns. This happened as recently as the 70s in some cases.

The sheer arrogance of it all hits me as I stand out in front of St. Michael's Indian Residential School in Alert Bay. Today it is an ugly, imposing building, crumbling at the edges but still monolithic. As the only brick structure on the entire island, I can only imagine the impression it would have made when it was first built.

Next door is the U'mista Cultural Centre, described as a treasurebox of local history and culture. When white people arrived here they were stunned by how incredibly 'uncivilized' the residents were, and the epitome of their savagery was a cultural practice called the 'potlatch'. A potlatch is a large feast hosted by a very wealthy person. People would arrive in their finest clothes, eat and dance. At the end of it all, the host of the feast would divy up everything he owned and give it away as gifts to everyone who had participated.

As all good Caucasians know, one can not be fully civilized until he is able to hoard everything he possibly can while others starve. Thus, the potlatch came under attack by the government, until the practice was all but wiped out.

The story of U'mista was that the people of Alert Bay continued to have potlatches in secret until the fateful day when one hosted by the Cranmer family was broken up by officials, who stole the dancing masks from the people. After years of fighting, they finally managed to have them given back, and now their permanent homes are inside the cultural centre. U'mista is the word in their language for prisoners of war who had returned home.

Talk to anyone in town and it's clear how proud the people are that unlike so many others in their situation, they were able to have some of what is rightfully theirs returned to them. Others aren't so fortunate. In the Vancouver Sun this weekend, I read that one of these masks sold recently at Southeby's for 1.8 million. To the community it was taken from, I'm sure it was worth far more.

I hope the cultural centre has a very good sprinkler system.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

North Island

Last time I was up here the cheeky mountains hid behind the clouds, leaving only their skirts for view. Clouds gone, today, revealing weathered, rocky peaks, alternating patches of forest and clearcuts, cathedral-topped snags pointing accusing fingers at the sky.

I'm beginning to wonder at my mother's ability to book accomodation for our family trips. Nothing really wrong with the place we are at. It's adequate for what we wanted and the price. But our host is decidedly kooky.

Much like the lady that ran the last place we stayed at, this one is one of those people who seems to feel that she has to tell grandiose stories about her past to make herself sound far more cultured and important than someone who works at a bed and breakfast. Whereas the last one used to run huge conferences at the Vancouver convention centre for foreign dignataries and politicians and travelled the world before taking up running a bed and breakfast that barely breaks even because she thought she needed less stress. This one turned down a $150,000 job in Los Angeles to work here in the middle of nowhere. She's sailed far more than my sister and she's qualified to be a skipper. She sailed to Maui and back in a sailboat with three PhDs but they were boring because she only has a master's degree, you know.

And of course, none of this information was anything that we had asked for. She's completely delusional, I tell you.

So yeah, I'm on an island that's kind of remote. I've managed to find some wireless up here. 1 Mbps. I'm less than thrilled.

What's up with you?

Thursday, October 05, 2006


For those who may or may not know, I am leaving to go to Alert Bay this afternoon. I don't know if I will have internet access while I'm there. If I don't have any internet up there I will miss the most holiest of internet holidays: Blogcatmas.

I will also be missing the Shrum Bowl and the Shrum Bowl afterparty, but meh.

However, I know that I will definitely have a takehome exam, paper proposal, layout for the magazine and a stats assignment to keep me company.

If anyone is remotely familiar with Schiller, Matellart, Williams, Fiske, Smythe, Homi Bhabha, Said, Guha etc. etc. and wants to help me come up with a topic I'd be much obliged.

If, like all other family trips, I don't have the chance to get anything done while I'm up there, I will explode.

Until then sincerely yours,


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My mom found this in Whistler

no exit


It's always best to be in the fastest boat. That way you don't have to worry about where everyone else is. If I screw up their courses, I don't care. They can eat my wake.

When people talk to me, I start to sound really old. I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated. Yeah.

When I was a youngun we had to walk fourty miles uphill in sandals and socks through ankle deep mud just to get our boats to the water. We erged on model B's inside the unheated men's changeroom at a public pool and those things were so fucking dangerous. One time Johnny stuck his foot inside the flywheel and it broke a couple toes. Really mangled his shoe too.

We didn't have a coxbox back in the day so we had to yell everything and lose your voice. The steering on the boats never worked and the wake on the water was so big that it would split your entire boat in half.

All our spandex had holes in it and poggies hadn't even been invented yet. You got frostbite in your fingers? Suck it up!

There was none of this choosing which side you wanted to be on thing. The coach told you which side you were on and you sat there. End of story. We were all bisweptuals. Bisweptuals!

Or, at least, I was until the big back injury of '03...

Nah, I don't sound like that, really.

I can't quite promise that I'll snap out of talking this weird language I'm not sure you all understand.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006




Late at night my thoughts go around in circles and it keeps me up far longer than I want to be.


I wish that I could sleep.


I have this crazy sixth sense that allows me to wake up when my alarm clock was set to go off, when I only know subconsciously that I forgot to turn the damn thing on.

Not that I would really need it though. Sure, the ringer on my phone is turned off but my coach seems to be the only person who seems to know the number for my landline. I don't even know the number for my landline. I only have one because my landlord said I had to.

Maybe I should look myself up.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Alright, so you made the coffee kind of weak today, no sweat. Add hot chocolate mix. Instant mocha. Oh, how gourmet of you. Savour the ethicalness as you remember that it's a fair trade blend you're drinking.

From your window you can see the fog slowly lifting off the water. Give it a couple hours and it'll be windy, traffic making wake, bad for rowing.

The natural progression here is 2 cups flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar. Baking soda, but not from the one you've got open in the fridge. 2 tsp or so. Same goes for cinnamon.

Your joy at watching things get ground up in the food processor would make many people nervous if they only knew. Carrots, zuchinni, nuts, it's all the same. You need about 4-4 1/2 cups of any combination of the three, coconut, rasins and chopped apple.

People outside are sitting in traffic while you're inside, setting the oven to 350. Measuring out almost a cup of oil, a liberal splash of vanilla extract and three eggs. Brown, because they're cooler than white ones, though in the long scheme of things, they're pretty much the same.

When pouring the mixed up wet ingredients in on top, you have to remember not to mix too thoroughly. Your middle school home ec teacher used to caution you against this. Batter that is overmixed will give you Madonna boobs. You never understood what that meant, but it doesn't sound like something you'd want to eat.

Bake, eat, rejoyce.

Lick the bowl.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Hello October

I celebrated the first day of October by pickling some beets. That's pretty much what fall means to me.

pickled beets, pickled onions, pickled pickles, cabbage rolls, soup, chutney, relish, squash and homebaked bread, because it's just so much better than storebought.

It's all so delicious and you eat really well and the house fills up with good smells and you start squirreling things away into the freezer and cupboards for later. The prairie immigrant in me rejoices because there's so much food everywhere.

The only problem with all this is that now that I'm living by myself, I can't possibly eat every single thing I make. It's around this time of year that I entertain stupid ideas like starting a collective with good food, good music and art or even something equally as stupid, like having someone come live with me, like a dog or a boyfriend. They're kind of the same, if you think about it, though a dog is easier to get and more likely to clean up the stuff you spill on the floor.

Maybe I'll have to start feeding my team instead. They can be pretty hungry people.