Thursday, February 28, 2008

38/365: Mrs. A

She believed girls should be girls, in the 1940s sort of sense. She approached fun like an army sergeant. With her it was nonstop choreographed marching and flag etiquette. She sang the national anthem at a pace so fast it was barely legal, and in a bizarre falsetto.

She used to tell us that we had it easy, that when she was in Girl Guides they had to embroider their own merit badges, camp in farmers' fields and that all girls were required to kill chickens with their bare hands and then roast them by themselves and then feed the Guide group. We used to tell her that it was the 90's.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Free lunch


I never pass up the chance at swiping some of the catered food at school, and I think I'd be hard pressed to find anyone else that doesn't. The way I justify it is that

a) the food has already been paid for, so it's not stealing
b) they're only going to throw the leftovers out anyways

Now, some people are pretty brazen about the way they do it. They'll just walk into the middle of a crowd and take stuff in the most inconspicuous way they can think of. Because I consider myself to be a fairly honest person, I wait for whoever is supposed to be eating the food to get first crack at it before I pick over the leftovers.

The caterers were uncharacteristically friendly to students today. Part of that had to do with the fact that the people who were supposed to be eating were no longer anywhere around and the fact that there was a shitload of food left over. Really good food. Really good food paid for by my tax dollars because it was for some sort of federal government event.

As a friend and I started picking over the leftovers, we were approached by a Japanese exchange student that asked if what we were doing was alright. How do you answer such a question? Well, technically it's not but we do it anyways, and I always make sure that any new students I know get a proper education.

But today without threat of being told to go away, and with such a large quantity of food, students collected like pigeons around the table. The exchange student was ecstatic that she didn't have to buy lunch and that she was meeting people because it can be super hard to do. She told me it was her lucky day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008



There's a couple making out in a car just outside my window, but they're not in my parking spot so they don't warrant much attention from me. But I couldn't help but notice as I walked by, returning from the park, that they've got a rather large kleenex box sitting up on their dashboard and that reminds me of something.

Sometime before they demolished our old house Dad borrowed a projector screen from school and pulled out all the old family slides. There were a few photos of my grandparents' house on Clarke Road in Coquitlam, their garden, which was quite unique and my Dad scubadiving.

The bulk of them though were of family road trips across the US and Canada, mostly of my grandfather, dad and his sister, and the rare shot of grandma because she was usually the one behind the camera.

The real star of the show, though? Nearly all the landscape shots were taken from the passenger seat of the car, and on the dashboard in almost all of them was a turquoise plastic kleenex box. In fact, there were more pictures of the kleenex box than there were of any of my relatives.

By the end of the night it had become a bit of a joke.

Gerberas from the people in my office because I'm appreciated. :)


Monday, February 25, 2008

Letter to elevator number three


Dear elevator number three,

I know that sometimes I leave you for other elevators, but you know that I love you, don't you?

You are by far the best in the building. You're faster than elevator one, take less sick days than elevator two, go to more floors than elevator four. Elevator five is delinquent. It likes to get stuck between floors and trap people. Elevator six? Well, elevator six and I had a fight in August and we're not on speaking terms yet.

You're the only elevator without a mirror. No need to reflect me back at myself. No, you have a personality of your own. You have your quirks, like how I always have to punch the button for the tenth floor twice for you to go there.

Day after day I count out the floors with you, listening to the beeps and watching the numbers flash, but at number four you're always mute, and there's never a reason why. You're complex like that.

You got a facelift last month. Before you were a little outdated, but not completely unattractive with some sort of plasticy, dark coloured wood grain veneer on your walls. Midway through your transformation they had stripped this to leave your interior bare - black painted metal. Elevator rides were dark, not unlike being swallowed up in the maw of a giant beast.

Then they laid a new floor and new paneling on the walls. And for a day, or possibly two, it was the talk of the office. All nineteen floors of us shared a moment of unity when we recoiled in horror at what they did to you. I wish I could say I was happy with the result but I'm just not sure what they were thinking. The floor is now a pistachio pudding green speckled linoleum and the walls are now arborite in a taupey beigey almost silvery... something pattern. I'm sorry, but it's hideous, and if they added a pink or peach coloured curtain, you could almost be mistaken for a hospital room.

But you've still got the same personality. Keep being yourself, elevator number three, because I like you just the way you are.

Truly yours,


Sunday, February 24, 2008



I very rarely get caught unawares at my apartment. I can always hear when people are coming up the stairs, or at least I thought so. Maybe I just wasn't expecting her but I got caught knitting the above yesterday. She walked in the door before I could hide it but luckily she was distracted by the one pound cone of yarn I was knitting it off of.

A while ago she lost one of her favourite scarves - a large, black silk shawl thing with a fish print that she used to drape it all over her shoulders and look glamorous in. She was pretty upset about it so I started making her this. I'm told it will look better when it's finished and stretched out. I certainly hope so.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I kill computer viruses with my bare hands.

skip, the successor to ink

I've been having nonstop problems with viruses for almost a month now. They're trojan horses that exploit some sort of weakness in Internet Explorer and do all manner of irritatingness like open up popups in Explorer and slow my computer to a crawl.

Now, wait a minute... Didn't I uninstall Internet Explorer from my computer over a year ago? Am I not a religious user of Firefox? Well, of course.

But the thing about viruses is that they're tricky little bastards. The ones in question added themselves to the registry underneath the startup menu, which meant two things: no antivirus program could touch them there, and that they'd automatically start downloading the moment I'd turn on the computer.

So day after day the antivirus program would repair infected files and I would uninstall Internet Explorer. This would in turn cause the virus to say "Oh shit! I'm missing crucial files with which to work my asshattery and drive Erin nuts! I must download them again, but only through Explorer because it's the only program sucky enough to let me through the back door."

To which my computer, the ditz it is, would say "Oh no! A program is trying to open Internet Explorer and it doesn't exist! I have to download and reinstall the program!" Intuition and intelligence are not my computer's strong points.

So first it would reinstall Explorer without my permission, and then through Explorer it would redownload itself and then pop up Explorer windows telling me I'd better slap that sumo wrestler quick or else I'll lose my chance at a free ipod.

This was getting time consuming so I finally took the plunge into the registry and removed the damn thing manually, all 112 entries. It was scary because I knew that I could cause irreperable damage to my computer but after three hours of staring at the gibberish that they name all those system files I was ready to reboot.

Maybe it's a little early to be claiming victory but I'm going to do it anyways. I haven't had a problem in 12 hours. Yay me!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sometimes all they need is a little acknowledgement.

It was beautiful and gorgeous out again so of course I was indoors sans camera all day.

I ran up to the library to get some books on food security. Yay, food security. At one point in time a random guy began to follow me, narrating aloud what I was doing and it seemed kind of like he was mocking me.

After three blocks I turned, looked straight at him and asked very politely if I could give him a kleenex for his runny nose. "I was just talking," he stammered, "People here are so uptight!" He then turned and walked away, silent.

I'm convinced that this sort of stuff only happens to me.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

37/365: Linda

Linda had run the preschool next door since the beginning of time and was kind of like a neighbour to us. Sometimes dad would stop and talk to her and anyone else in the neighbourhood while he was supposed to be taking me to school and then I'd be late and then I'd have to ask the receptionist to make up an excuse for me because "my dad's chatty" is the most pathetic excuse ever.

But Linda had a deep dark secret. She was afraid of animals in all their cute, fuzzy, loveable incarnations. One day we got a phone call with instructions that we were to come running with a box. Mom took a laundry basket over.

It was almost two months to the day past Easter, and someone had abandoned an unwanted bunny to starve to death in the park. A kind soul caught it and brought it to the preschool, which had poor Linda in a panic. She was quite hysterical, apparently.

Mom arrived back with the most pathetic, emaciated bunny I've ever seen, and that's how I got Mr. Bumpy. Within a month he was housetrained, a neighbourhood celebrity and he had almost doubled in size. We're big suckers when it comes to animals.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

36/365: Baby Dave

Dave didn't drink but you wouldn't have known that. He looked like he was in a constant state of hangover: tired, hair unkempt, 5 o'clock shadow. He was kind of like a kid sometimes. He'd drive the coachboat away from us just so that he could race over someone elses' wake and then speed back to tell us how much air he got.

At one point in time he disappeared for a while. Rumour had it that he was training for speed orders, and the next time I saw him he was completely different. He had lost all the fat in his face. He was alert, clean shaven and in shape.

From then on the story gets a little less clear. He went to speed orders, missed being selected for the Olympic team by a fraction of a second and then promptly disappeared. The craziest of rumours had it that he joined a cult and moved to Afghanistan, but it's probably more likely that he left to do some missionary work somewhere.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


IMG_6714_1Today it was gorgeous out and I thought that I would go outside but evidently not. I found lots to keep me busy inside, which is just as well because I was feeling kind of achey and bloaty and not at my best and I ate half a batch of cookie dough.

I scrubbed out my bathtub because it was fast approaching neon green, and I happen to know that it's supposed to be white. I also pulled a big lump of matted hair out of the drain because it was plugged. The person who designed the drain was an idiot because the drain plug is built in so there's no possible way you could stick a hair trap in there. I need a hair trap. Preferably an industrial sized one.

I plug drains really quickly. I also plug vacuum cleaner bags. I shed so much hair it rolls across the floor in balls like sage brush.

It's so long that no normal hair towel can contain it. See? I got these towels for Christmas and the hair towel just isn't cutting it. Rumour has it that Jysk has decent sized hair towels but I haven't been there yet, so until then the ends of my har will curl and drip all over my shoulders.

I'll let you in on a secret too. I can see into the future. Nothing will happen for three to four months but then after that this post will begin to get comments to the effect of "i wanna see u take that off" and "mm yr hott plz shew us yr tits." I will quietly delete them as they appear. I know this because that's what has happened every single time I have posted a picture of myself in the bathroom mirror. Either it's magic or the people on the internet are super predictable.

I planted lettuce too, but I have to keep it inside until it warms up. I find one large window box full of miscellaneous greens is enough for me to have salad every day in the summer.


Still too small.

35/365: C.F.

His enthusiasm was strangely endearing, while his lack of confidence was extremely offputting. He was trying to get my attention and he was trying way too hard. His eyes were odd. The irises were pale, barely darker than the whites of his eyes and the eyes themselves were very open and very focused on me at all times and I found it hard to look at his face.

Under the favourite books section on his Facebook profile he had listed the Life of Pi, spelled Pie, with a note saying that he hadn't actually read it but that if he had it would be his favourite book because girls like it when you read stuff.

He wanted to know what I study at school. I told him about my research into mommyblogs, gender and identity. "Isn't blogging just mindless self-indulgence?" he asked.

Indeed. Indeed.

Monday, February 18, 2008

34/365: Julie

Ask any eight year old girl what she wants to be and she'll probably say marine biologist. It goes without saying, and it also goes without saying that the majority won't actually bother to follow through with it. Julie did. She had to, after her other dream career fell through.

After placing bronze and within the top ten at a couple of international competitions for canoe racing, she was not allowed to compete at the Olympics because the IOC doesn't want women to race canoes like men do. We'll never know what she would have achieved.

She brings a huge amount of enthusiasm to pretty much everything she does, which made her a blast to work with.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


It's amazing how the same cat can look so different within a short period of time.


Long Tall Sal.


Long Tall Sal.

So many variations on a theme, each of them blurry, and each of them Sally. Amazing.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Polaroids of the frying pan cat

frick in frying pan2

I was walking down East Pender when a guy turned and looked at me as he was passing and said "Great job, girl! Keep up the good vibes!"

I had just finished taking a group out on a tour. You can tell people lots of stuff they already know as long as you say something that they really haven't heard before. As long as you do that they're happy, especially if they've always lived here and have seen it all before.

I haven't taken you all on a tour before, have I? I'm on it.

I'm at my parents' now so I have some vintage photos for you. Frick's favourite place to sleep used to be a cast iron frying pan that sat on top of the dishwasher. It took us a while to realize that she was sleeping in there because she just blended in with the black. At first it had just a newspaper in it, but after we learned that she was sleeping there we replaced the newspaper with a tea towel.

frick in frying pan

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tomorrow things will be back to normal.

The google docs interface was pink today. Blech.

Oh! Someone else asked me out today! At the rate we're going, I will need two hands to count them all by the time I'm 30. He was homeless and attracted to me because I was tap dancing alone at a bus stop in the dark. He was very polite but I said no.

Oh well, plan B is still an option. Always good to have a plan B, especially with something as important as relationships.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Talking to myself

My kitchen, office, dining room and living room are all one big room. The kitchen hides behind an island counter. Sometimes when I'm working something out in my head I'll get up from my desk or the table and start walking the circle around the island. I'll start talking about whatever it is that I'm trying to remember or figure out as if I am lecturing someone about something.

Sometimes my train of thought circles around a lot and other times it wanders very far away. Neither is a particularly bad thing. When I repeat myself often it's never exactly the same. The phrasing changes, or the specifics that I bring in are different, as if I'm talking to a completely different imaginary person.

I can spend up to four hours at a time doing this, talking myself hoarse. It's something I've always done, though since I moved out it's gotten worse, due to the lack of genuinely bored people having to listen to me as I explain something completely random that they weren't particularly interested in in the first place. Walls don't interject.

These monologues might make for interesting blog posts but I just can't seem to recreate them in writing. When I got home today it was something to do with the differing levels of comfort people have with different topics and disclosures with reflection on a conversation in the car ride home from school with a classmate of mine that I met five weeks ago who talks in a very open and endearing way about a lot of things that most people you've just met just don't disclose like vibrating tongue attachments for fellatio >> homogenization of ethnic groups in mainstream media >> is the building beside the Dairy Queen an Ismaili mosque? It has no signage. Who do I know who would know? >> the differences in concept of Canadian citizenship between my parents' generation (Expo 67, Centennial, cowichan sweaters, ookpiks etc.) and mine. Something like that.

None of this is particularly exciting. What's more exciting? Today I saw a blind woman walking down the street with one of those special braelle typewriters and at first I thought that was a little out of the ordinary but then I thought why wouldn't a blind woman be carrying a braelle typewriter down the street?

I'm "gifted." How can you tell?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008



The only thing I really use my driver's license for is picking up packages from the post office. People tell me I should do something about it. It has the most hideous picture of me known to humankind, and on top of that it expired almost three years ago and the address is completely wrong.

But there's really no reason to do change anything as long as it still works, and it does. I shuffle down to the corner store that doubles as the post office, hand my door tag and license to the lady behind the counter and it works.

It's always the same lady. She has a Caribbean accent, Haitian, maybe, and really gorgeous dark skin. She'll read out my full name, check the license, and then say "You moved, right?"


And that's that.

Monday, February 11, 2008

33/365: Susanne

My first contact with her was when I decided to sign up for the Italy field trip. She was wearing a bright blue vinyl skirt and a pair of navy stockings with white statues and the names of major European cities written on them. She pointed out the cities on her calves: Rome, Florence, Paris, Marseilles, Cologne, Vienna, saying "I've been there, there, there... Next year I go there..."

She had a heavy French accent. France French, not Quebecois. Both her parents were ballet dancers in France and they could never fathom why she went to Paris to study art instead. But she knew. She wanted to be an art teacher and by the time I met her she was living her dream. Her energy, enthusiasm and love of life is nothing short of inspiring.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Scooby Doo

At one point in time the four of us became extremely disgruntled with the state of affairs. What was the state of affairs? I don't remember. Who were we? I don't remember that either.

We made a little desert island for us. In the sun. With palm trees. Very stereotypical. We sat around a picnic bench and began to talk about how we like dogs.

I turned to the woman beside me. "You don't like small dogs, do you?" In the distance I could see something moving toward us in the grass.

"Actually, I do," she replied.

"But not like the toy kind?"

"They're really good for hunting," she said "they point stuff out and you shoot it."

It was just then that distant object arrived. It was a mechanical Scooby Doo and it bit the head off of the woman I was talking to. It was actually quite comical.

Then I woke up.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


Dear Tom,

I had a dream last night that I flew out to see you and we went to some sort of carnival/fair and you were driving the ugliest yellow/cream coloured Volvo I had ever seen. We parked in the middle of a drag racing track and then promptly got separated.

I wandered around for a while, not overly concerned. I had some lunch and considered borrowing someone's phone to call you but I wasn't sure if it would be long distance or not so I didn't. I wandered back to where the car was parked, but it was gone. It was then that I started to worry a bit.

I climbed to the top of a flagpole to see if I could find you that way, and luckily you had a large catepillar thing that jumped up and down on your shoulder and I saw that. To get to you I had to slosh through some knee deep mud and across a set of zig-zagged teak bridges that were over a giant crevasse in the middle of the fairgrounds.

You were angry because I had wasted so much time and screwed up whatever dinner plans you had made. You were also wearing a really nice sweater. Your assignment for today is to find a sweater like the one you were wearing in my dream because it looked really good on you. You told me that I should become acquainted with the person you were standing beside because I had a lot of people to meet and I talked to her for a while, and you promptly disappeared.

I wandered around for a while. I took a tour through an old bus that had been tole painted and took some time to watch the demolition derby/monster truck/elephant show. Somehow in all of this I lost my camera and bag and went looking for those.

I never found my camera but I did find the partial contents of my bag: notebooks and stuff. They were scattered on a pier and some were floating in the water below. I couldn't find my textbooks for school and was pissed off because those things are so damn expensive.

Then I woke up.

Friday, February 08, 2008


I bought a pair of shoes a couple of months ago and I haven't really worn them much. I remember them being fairly comfy when I tried them on in the store, but since then they have become increasingly uncomfortable, especially the left foot, which has also developed a very loud squeak.

Every time I have worn these shoes I have thought to myself that they're so damn uncomfortable and that maybe there's something inside them that I can fix and that when I get home I'll take them off and have a look.

It's just like how I always think to myself that I really should throw out a pair of holey socks just as I'm putting them on. I resolve to get rid of them that night once they are off, but instead I'll throw them in with the laundry, into my dresser and back onto my feet. My short term memory isn't overly good sometimes, unless it's remembering useless information.

Today after wearing them outside for a couple of minutes I returned home because there was something really annoyingly uncomfortable digging into the top of my left foot.

I took off my shoes and began to walk into my apartment when all of a sudden I got a brilliant idea! Why don't I look inside my shoe and see if something in there is the problem? And what do you know? There was a big piece of cardboard in there, the kind that they put inside of shoes while shipping them so that the toes don't get crunched in.

The question is why it took me three months to arrive at that conclusion.

Thursday, February 07, 2008



Damn you, snow. Piss off. What do you think this is? Canada?

I really feel like this semester is sucking the life out of me, and talking to people doesn't really help. I've had enough of work and I want it to stop. I cut down my hours to one day a week, which means that all of a sudden they know I'm available two days per week, so they can ask me to come in on those days. In effect, nothing has changed.

Telling people about these things only prompts them to tell about their own financial woes, their student loans, their rent, their inability to get sufficient hours or whatever. None of those things are my problem. Could I use more money? Yes, but I won't suffer if I don't work for the next couple of months. I don't have student loans and I'm one of the most conservative budgeters on the planet. I run nothing but surplusses because the moment I'm out of university I need to buy a condo to get my parents off my back. The only thing I can complain about is that the interest rate on my bank account is a lousy 3.75%.

I work and I work and I work and I save and I watch all my friends go off and do fun things like volunteering in Ghana and trips to Cuba and exchanges in Europe. I will be finishing my undergraduate degree with far more money than I had before I started and yet I don't have the time or the funds to do anything other than work. I know that no matter what I do I'm never going to be able to afford to live in this city, something that hosting the Olympics is only going to make worse, just as Expo 86 made it worse.

This stuff doesn't really belong on my blog. My real problem is that I haven't had a good night's sleep in at least six weeks.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

32/365: Stu

Stu was not an easy person to like and he had the habit of scaring people away from our team. If anyone could put it in an inappropriate way it was him. A constant stream of negativity and bad words came out of his mouth, but other than that he actually wasn't that bad, if you had a bit of a thick skin.

He loved the Tragically Hip. He took us on lots of trips, which were awesome. Then suddenly, he dropped off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again. Instantly it was as if a huge weight had been lifted off of everyone. In spite of that, some of us missed him, though it was months before we could put our fingers on it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pickle juice

So what do you do when the person sitting across from you on the train starts complaining about how she's really pissed off at her boyfriend for giving her a hard time about drinking the liquid out of the pickle jar?

What do you do when against all odds the person sitting beside you joins the conversation and says that she too is ostracised and marginalized in society for drinking pickle juice, sometimes straight from the jar!

What do you do when they begin to discuss the exact volumes and frequencies of their respective consumption of briny water, and begin to debate the merits of chugging the entire jar as opposed to having a spoonful a day?

And what about when a random guy across the aisle begins to add his thoughts on the possible health benefits of regular pickle brine consumption?

Pretend to be asleep. Pretend to be very asleep.

Monday, February 04, 2008

31/365: L.E.

At one point in time she decided that she wanted to move in with me. Could she move in with me, please? She would help with the rent. She would clean. She would do anything to move out of her parents' house. It would be perfect because I have only one bedroom and no private and convenient place to put a second bed, and no way of sharing my crappy dial-up internet. I tried a lot of really subtle, polite ways of saying that I wasn't too keen on the idea and after three months I put my foot down and said no.

The fact was that she, like many of my friends, is fine in small doses but that in all honesty I would have a lot of trouble living with a compulsive neat-freak uber-Catholic who goes into frequent histrionics over the stress that she feels about her two courses. Just way too high strung for me.

Within a week of my refusal, I was mysteriously dumped off her facebook friends list and we really haven't talked since. Meh.


I spent some time downtown today at a little film studio that I'm doing a bit of grantwriting for. I find it amazing how all at of a sudden over the past three months through a series of complete coincidences the film community seems to have reached out and taken me in again.

It's the technology I like. Seeing all the cables hung up and machines stacked on top of each other makes me miss doing all that stuff, especially in high school where there was no pressure to actually make anything decent. I really miss spending hours and hours of time alone in the editing suite watching the same footage over and over, screwing with it until it flows together just right. It's like a puzzle that I have to solve. It's how I write posts for this blog. It's how I do pretty much everything.

I really want to take my camera out and take some pictures but it seems every day I have plans it gets really nasty outside. Today it was snow and rain again. I miss taking pictures

I've been having some trouble lately with speaking. I open my mouth and sound falls out like marbles and makes no sense, and in the process of botching the delivery, the thought that led to it stops making sense too. I'm very scattered and having trouble thinking straight. It's really embarassing. It's something completely new to me and I don't like it. It scares me.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

How my mom got a degree in economics

"You know Gary, I've talked about him before."

"Which Gary?" mom asked.

"You know, the one that tells the story about the early days of the School of Communication at SFU, back when they were really weird. He's got the this story about how in a lecture one of the profs shut off all the lights in the lecture hall, and came in late wearing a robe or something and carrying a long tapered candle with some poor student he'd found out in the hall carrying a boom box with weird music on it.

He walked slowly down the stairs of the 300 seat lecture hall by the light of the candle, and then, turning to face the students, he began to sway and make odd noises..."

"I was in that class!"

"You were in a class with Gary?"

"That class was what made me switch my major to economics."

Friday, February 01, 2008

30/365: Woman with the Mickey Mouse sweater

"Are you cold? Here, have my sweater," she said. I had been playing out on the pier when she approached me. It was windy and I was a little cold, but it still took a bit of convincing before I accepted it from her.

It was large - it went down to my knees and I had to roll up the sleeves. It had blue and white vertical stripes and a large Mickey Mouse on the front. It was definitely not the sort of thing I would have picked out for myself.

When I wandered back to my parents they were visibly puzzled and perhaps a little disturbed. "Erin, where did you get that?" they asked. I explained, and then led them out to the spot where I had last seen her but she was gone. The fact that I would never be able to return the sweater bothered me in a really profound way and ensured that it was many, many years before I was able to send it off to charity.