Thursday, July 31, 2008

One of those days when I wish I had relevant photos

IMG_7377_1I've fallen in love with the illustration on stock certificates, especially the more old fashioned ones that mix woodcut-style line drawings with borders made of geometric designs. I've been looking for some pictures of what I mean but this is the best I can find so far. The Exxon and Playboy certificates are closest to what I'm talking about. There are some pictures on flickr too.

I wish I could scan some from work but I'm pretty sure that that would compromise peoples' privacy and get me fired, so we'll just have to wait until someone puts together a flickr photoset or a book that I can actually get my hands on.

The other thing I learned today was that in the Bahamas passports are handwritten. The number and background pattern are printed, but the vital information like name, place of birth and eye colour are all written out by hand. It's not professional calligraphy either. Someone writes in this stuff with a ballpoint pen in middle-school cursive.

I saw a couple today that were obviously processed by the same passport agent. I lack the terminology to describe what the writing looked like but I loved it. It had been written out along the top of a ruler so it kept returning to a straight line along the bottom. I want to make a font out of it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

84/365: Mr. McCracken

He was a rockhounder, one of many grandparently elderly people I knew growing up. He was the chair of the 'sunshine committee' in the rock and gem club, and had the special task of checking up on all members and making sure that cards were sent to everyone who suffered from any sort of illness or death. It kept him busy because the majority of the members were over 70. He was tall and lanky, and would shuffle around field trip sites with a hammer and chisel. He carried a small box of stones he had cut in his pocket and was always quick to produce it and show you his work.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hi, fly.


Dear fruit fly on my monitor,

I should swat you but you're busy there cleaning yourself. If cleanliness is next to godliness then that would be kind of sacriligious, eh? No doubt you'll get whacked eventually, because that's what happens to flies.

Sounds pretty shitty that we who have the ultimate power of life and death for pretty much everything have decided that your entire species is not valuable or beautiful or useful enough to be allowed to live. It's all about us and whether we can make use of you. If we can't then you're ugly and we hate you and you shouldn't exist. I can't claim that I haven't been in on it.

Then again, some of you have been involved in an awful lot of food spoilage and disease spreading so maybe you should piss off before I kill you.

But since you're still here you may as well hear about my day.

I don't know if it's lack of sleep or my diet or the water in Maple Ridge but I've had the feeling over the past couple weeks like I'm getting progressively dumber. I don't tell anyone about most of it. It's mostly little stuff like managing to forget that my sister is left-handed. It doesn't disrupt my life but it sure makes me feel stupid.

That's why I missed my bus stop today on my way to the specialist. I knew in my mind and from double checking on the map that the bus route ran parallel to the street that I needed to be on and yet I kept watching for its name on the signs at the intersections we crossed. I got off three stops later than I should have knowing that I had definitely gone too far.

Three stops can be as little as two or three short blocks in Vancouver but in the suburbs it's more like two kilometres. I ran two kilometres to the dental surgeon in the rain. Yay me.

The verdict? I'm getting five teeth removed in September. Three are impacted and one will involve cutting open the roof of my mouth. That will be a barrel of laughs, I'm sure.

All of a sudden I'm getting phone calls about job offers. It's weird because I haven't applied for anything at all in a few weeks and now that I'm occupied for the rest of the summer I don't need them. It seems like I'm everyone's second choice or afterthought.

I need to come up with some sort of script that I can say on the phone, something cheerful and polite that says too little too late you twits but please keep me in mind for the future.

And in all of this, fly, you've flown away. You inattentive little bastard.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Early mornings on the train


The last time I bothered to wake up at 5am was when I rowed competitively. The only other way you can get me out of bed at that time of day is to pay me. Turns out there are people willing to do that.

I've had a really dismal summer workwise but finally I have something to do for August. Yay for temp work. The only problem with it is that it's in the financial sector, tied to the TSE and the NYSE, which means that on the west coast work starts at 7am. Add to that the fact that because I moved earlier this summer it now takes me an hour and a half to get downtown rather than 20 minutes like it used to and I'm up pretty early. But they are paying for me to get up early so it's good.

So I'm finally able to justify paying two hundred dollars per month for my tranist pass and that means instant freedom for me.

It also means lots more reading time on the train, or rather, falling asleep in my reading. It's weird. One moment I'll be completely lucid and the next I'll be completely out.

With any luck I fall asleep hunched over with my head down. I find my neck gets less sore that way than if I lean into the window or put my head back. More importantly, leaning forward lessens the chance that my jaw will spontaneously drop open. This phenomenon and its effects can easily be summed up in the following equation:

Erin sleeping + open mouth = fountains of drool

The last thing I need in my workday is to wake up at Waterfront Station in a puddle of my own creation.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

83/365: Grandad

Grandad had no education and took a lot of shit for it, but he believed in it strongly and made sure his kids were pointed in that direction. He used to read a lot, and had a stack of Readers' Digest type factbooks that I inherited after he died. He had written comments in the margins. In a chapter about the solar system he had underlined the distance in miles to Pluto and scrawled out "that's farther than to Hell and back!" I wasn't all that interested in the book but I kept it for that. His autobiography is in the National Archives of Canada.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


IMG_7385_1When I was 8 or 9 I drew a picture of this crab in oil pastels at summer art camp. I never had the time to finish it but my mom had it framed and put it up in her room, where it stayed until we moved. I don't know where it is now. I still think it's a cool sculpture.

I'm in another funk bloggingwise. My head's just not been with it lately. It doesn't help that a lot of my favourite commenters and bloggers are currently m.i.a. due to a combination of babies, breakups, work and all manner of other things. I could say that that doesn't affect me at all but I would be lying.

Sometimes I wish I could do exit interviews with people and ask all those anonymous IP addresses where they went and why. Do they switch computers and lose their bookmarks? Has something horrible happened in their lives? Did I bore them to death?

I haven't gotten to the point where I email commenters who haven't visited in a while. That's borderline creepy.

But no, I don't spend all day staring at my blog's stats. I do however spend a lot of time looking at my stats, which fascinate me to no end. Graphed out they look like this:

Wave Graph (a more detailed version)

Red is music that I started listening to in 2005 or earlier and other colours are things I've listened to since then. Pretty much. As you can see, I listened to a lot of the same stuff until about this time last year when I introduced myself to all manner of awesomeness, like Wilco, Air and Magnolia Electric Co., which make up the majority of the green. redesigned their site a couple days ago which irritated me at first because I hate it whenever anyone does anything major to change their site. I've gotten over that now because in a lot of ways it's more functional than the last version. If you visit the site a lot you probably already know, and if you don't chances are you don't care so there's no point in me mentioning them all.

For whatever reason, I'm more obsessed with the site than I usually am so it's taken stolen a lot of my time and attention away from blogging. Oh well, things will return to normal soon enough. They usually do.

82/365: Murray

Reasons why I love Murray:
- He is the sort of guy who learns how to knit so he can knit his girlfriend a scarf.
- He knits her another one when she loses it.
- He owns his geekiness.
- He's super friendly and fun to be around.
- I don't know. He just oozes awesomeness out of every pore, that's all.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Logdriver's walz


The cat's getting old. She's still spastic as can be but she's mellowed out a little. Gone are the days when the smallest thing would make her bolt.

She'd be sitting on your lap and someone would walk in the room or you'd experience the sudden urge to scratch your butt and then she'd turn your legs into mincemeat because she couldn't get off fast enough. If she was sleeping somewhere all you had to do was touch her gently and she'd be off like a shot.

Now she's a brick. If she wants to stay somewhere there's nothing you can do to make her move. This is a problem when I want to go to sleep and she's taking up the prime real estate just below my pillow. Last night I tried to get her to move completely and that didn't work so I tried just shoving her over to the side so that I could carve out a little space for myself.

I spent all night contorted around the cat, occasionally waking up because my arm had fallen asleep or because I was accidentally elbowing her in the eye. My neck's still sore.

The other day I had to wake up early to get to an appointment and she was sleeping on top of me. I thought I would lean in towards the centre of the bed and dump her off there so she could go on sleeping. But apparently she didn't like that idea and repositioned so that she was still on top.

I rolled some more and she repositioned. The more I rolled over, the more she tried to stay on top of me so I kept rolling. It was like the logdriver's walz.

I can't believe I just wrote an entire post about sleeping with my cat.

Thursday, July 24, 2008



I'm waiting for grapes and picking blueberries.


Everything is verdant.


I am not very verbose.

This post brought to you by the letter V and the number 3.

81/365: Carmen

Carmen has always had a bit of a self-destructive streak that I can't for the life of me understand. She's not a bad person, but she makes a lot of bad choices, and sadly the majority of them are deliberate. I think she thinks it makes her cool, even though even her peers disapprove. She's been carted off to all sorts of correctional programs, which haven't worked because she doesn't want them to.

And in all this, she seems to think I'm cool, which is another thing I can't wrap my head around because I'm such a square.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

80/365: Annie

I won't say that I didn't like her because that isn't true, but she was never the sort of person that I've been particularly drawn to. She'd probably say the same thing of me. I found her kind of rude and brutish. But then she got chicken pox and I was told that if I had chicken pox at an early age that I would never ever get it again. I made the conscious decision to go play with her until I got sick. Yes, I used her so I could get chicken pox. I'm a horrible person.

Monday, July 21, 2008

He can pull my wagon any time.


I saw this thing at the fair and I thought holy cow that's one big cow! The thing was huge and it was just standing there in its pen, all 2200 pounds of it.


Then I saw that the thing most definitely had testicles so I corrected myself and thought that is one big bull. I wouldn't want to get in its way if it was pissed off.

Then I read the sign on his pen and it said that he was actually an ox. An ox. To think that I saw an ox and couldn't identify it by looking at it.


How many times have I played Oregon Trail? To think my sister's died of cholera so many times and I have nothing to show for it. Shame.

I can see why they pull wagons in computer games though. Those things must be strong.



I had one dentist from birth until the age of 16. She was alright. I never had any problems with her, though my parents thought her methods were kind of outdated. Maybe that was why when she moved her office, we suddenly stopped receiving the postcards telling us to all come for appointments. Either way, I suddenly had no dentist.

Through some trial and error I eventually ended up at a dentist that my dad seemed to like. He seemed nice enough, and compared to the other dentists I'd been to, his office was fancy, new and clean, with TVs in the ceiling and headphones to drown out the grinding. Sure, he had a habit of substituting expensive procedures that weren't covered by my dental plan without bothering to consult me and I had to tear up a couple of his bills in his face but otherwise we got along. Eventually my mom lost patience with his hygenists and forbade us all to ever go back.

Then after a string of different places, I ended up at another dentist, who seemed alright at first. Nice guy, nice staff, clean office... But to clean my teeth his staff liked to use the grindy drill thing rather than just the polish thing, and that thing makes me kind of nervous. The grindy drill thing is also really hard on your gums, and there wasn't a single appointment where I didn't come home with swollen, bleeding gums. I had never had cleaning hurt that much before.

For whatever reason I kept going back to this same dentist, even though he drilled into a tooth without anasthetic and hit a nerve. I guess it's understandable that I became increasingly more reluctant to visit the dentist. We had an argument about my wisdom teeth and I stopped going.

So, since I seem to blog so much about dentists, it may come as a surprise that I've been to three dental appointments within the past week and there has been nary a whisper of it on my blog.

I haven't written anything because there's nothing to complain about. My mom tried out a new dentist and liked her, and started bugging me about making an appointment about a year ago. I was skeptical and put it off but I got tired of popping pills and called the office. The receptionist asked me if I wanted to see the other dentist instead and I said "um... okay?"

But I was pleasantly surprised. She's young and pleasant, and seems to be fairly capable and thorough. Best of all, she agrees with me, or at least she recommends stuff that I've been thinking of doing, or have wanted done for some time.

So yeah, my mouth is frozen. Yay.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dinner conversation after seeing Titus Andronicus


"How is your pie?"

"It's good, but it's not Shakespeare's pie."


"No, because the Brits don't put spices in their apple pie. They're weird. How do you eat apple pie without spices?"

"No, if it was Shakespeare's pie it would have the Goth queen's dead sons in it."

"No, that's a pastie."

"Aren't they kind of the same thing? It doesn't really matter. The Romans wouldn't have had either. Pie is a very British thing."

"Yeah, well..."

"But writing for a British audience in the Renaissance you've got to make it something that they'll recognize."

"A pastie?"

"It's dumb though. In the play today they were eating pie instead."

"Well, there are Cornish pasties and they kind of look like pie, meat pie."

"Pasties... isn't that what strippers wear?"

"No, you're thinking of pasties."

"But isn't that what you do? Wrap yourself up with food? Don't some guys like that?"

"I wouldn't know. I'm not well versed on food fetishes. It's not my area of expertise."

"Well, this is a wonderful dinner conversation."

"We go to see a play that is like the pinacle of English literature and this is what we talk about?"

"They're your daughters!"

"Well, it's good pie."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Yay fair.

I got 8 ribbons at the fair, including:

I grow good rhubarb.
Best in Show, Vegetables, Fruits and Nuts

I knit nice stuff for my mom.
Best in Show, Textiles

That was fun. I think I'll do it again next year.

Friday, July 18, 2008

79/365: Margaret

Margaret had suffered from a major stroke and was imprisoned in her own body, unable to move or communicate. Her daughter and some of the staff spoke to her as if she was a small child as they watched her choke on the pureed crap they spoonfed her. But underneath everything she was alert, and sometimes when someone told a joke she would laugh in a choking groan that came from somewhere inside her. I hope euthanasia is legal by the time I'm that age.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My eyes are bigger than my... stomach?


I think when I last mentioned my super awesome herringbone gloves I forgot to say that they were purple and grey. I chose those colours because I kind of inherited a large amount of purple alpaca wool and though purple isn't usually my colour, it's super soft and I need to do something with it.

The grey is sock wool because I'm told that 100% alpaca makes for really crappy baggy (though soft and warm) gloves.

I've been throwing around lots of ideas and sketching some stuff out today.

I've also fallen in love with a Ukranian magazine called Duplet because it has crazy gorgeous crochet patterns like

Do they make me want to polish up my Russian? Yes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm a good candidate for West Nile


My sister and I went up to SFU today so I could give her a bit of a tour and then we did a little hiking around the trails.

We had a little lunchtime incident involving gusts of wind and flying soy sauce. Because of our lack of adequate napkins, Abby ended up with kind of streaky legs, kind of like a bad spray on tan.

Yesterday as I was dropping off my entries at the fair I got a mosquito bite on my right hand. I haven't touched it at all but it's in a spot that gets scraped and brushed against things all the time. Right now my hand looks really swollen and deformed because of it. And it itches! It itches sooo much! You have no idea how much I want to scratch it.

Not only that but somehow I got a mosquito bite on my left butt cheek, and that must have happened sometime yesterday as well. Somehow I didn't notice it until today. Or rather, I noticed it but somehow the persistent itch did not register as a bite in my brain until after I'd scratched it a lot. It's turned into an itchy, burning goose egg the size of a crabapple and I'm sitting on it right now. I'm not impressed.

78/365: K.A.

The teachers probably would have called it bullying and maybe it was. Had we had the vocabulary we would have called it something else like "active avoidance." She was just hard to be nice to, and whether she knew it or not, she worked really hard to make us not like her.

She had an odour that was a mixture of old, unwashed clothes and body oil and tobacco smoke. It followed her around everywhere and you could often smell her before you saw her. A lot of us would probably have overlooked this if she had been a nice person, but everything that came out of her mouth from the moment she transfered to our school was either a whine or a complaint. She was too absorbed in her own self pity to bother to get to know anyone or play or be fun.

About a month after she came to our school she developed a new inflection to her voice: the accusation. We were awful and mean to her. No one liked her. She confronted some of us about it, wanting to know why we hated her. We told her that we didn't hate her but that she wasn't fun to be around because she whined all the time and smelled bad.

She told us that her dream was to go to private school because she believed that people were nicer there. I don't know if she ever got there but she left our school within a week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bikes and dikes and tupperware, oh my!


I've finally decided to get a gym membership, but I think I'll put it off as long as the weather's still good. Why pay to do stuff inside when you can go outside for free? So in the spirit of going outside I took a nice tour of the dikes today because it was sunny and I had nothing better to do.

The world must be ending because four hours of bike riding never used to make me this saddlesore. I think this probably means that I don't ride my bike enough.

I spent some time down by the river too, getting myself scratched up in thorns, covered in burrs and surprisingly enough, not eaten by mosquitoes.

Sometimes I forget about the noise canons that they shoot near the blueberry fields to scare the birds. They are something that I'm used to hearing once or twice as I drive by, but not over and over in random intervals. You'd think I'd get used to it after a few minutes but I found it kind of jarring after a while.

I think I need to build some sort of bracket to hold my gpsr to the handlebars on my bike because holding it in my hand works alright on a dike, but it doesn't work all that well on hills in traffic. Either that or I need to fine tune my spidey senses so that I can find tupperware without it.

I dropped off some of my entries for the fair today, including this, and I'm optimistic about it.


Monday, July 14, 2008

77/365: Mrs. H

Mrs. H was our guide leader. She was British and very much into doing guides the old fashioned way, with the marching, regimented activities, the strict duty rosters while camping and the saying of grace and prayers before everything. Lord Baden Powell would be proud. We weren't though, especially us who had transfered over from a guide company that had been all fun and games all the time. Some girls had a lot of fun saying "oh God!" all over the place because they knew it really offended her, but I wasn't one of those girls.

Sunday, July 13, 2008



No one at our student union likes classroom speaking because it's nervewracking and a bit of a hassle to arrange with profs and always seems to require you to be at school at a really inconvenient time.

We decided that a better idea would be to film a commercial and make the profs play it in class for us, so we spent a few hours filming that today. It didn't take as long as I thought it would because we were really on-task the whole time.

We had a lot of fun doing it so hopefully that will translate into something that's good to watch and not something that's really dumb and embarassing. Right now I'm optimistic.

I came home with a really nasty headache that only got worse and worse. I've slept a lot of the afternoon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

76/365: Heidi

She was half Chinese and half Swiss and wore the title "swink" proudly. She love love loved Jane Austin and wearing dresses over her jeans. One time when she was doing a presentation in front of the class, one of our teachers told her to stop saying "um" all the time, and challenged her to finish the presentation without saying it once. She couldn't, and it was far less painful to see her just talk the way she always did.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The docks


There's a little town on Vancouver Island called Sayward which is comprised of a giftshop, a gas station and the Cable Cookhouse, which gets its name from the steel cables that are wrapped around the outside of it. On one trip we met some German tourists in the giftshop who were looking for authentic Canadian souvenirs.

There were four of them, one man and three women each around retirement age, fifties and sixties. They were puzzled as to what the cables on the cafe were originally for. "Fishing?" they asked, miming the act of casting a line.

"No, logging," the owner of the giftshop replied, but they didn't understand. Each of us attempted to explain the act of tying up logs to pull them down greased skids and the act of tying logs into booms but I don't think they really understood. It wasn't until that moment that I really realized that my German has gone to hell in a handcart from neglect.


The man eventually settled on some deer antlers that were in a display case. He held them up to his head and announced in his broken English that he needed them because he was travelling in a motorhome with three women. He made one of the most comical macho faces I've ever seen and it cracked everyone up.

But that was actually some time ago now. My sister and I went down to the wharf the other day and kind of by accident ran into a man who must have gotten there from the pub across the street because he was very drunk.

Things I know about this man after our conversation:
- he is confused about his nationality, and might be Norwegian, because he's from Norway but might be a Finn because he's from Finland and he's a Finn
- he has lots of lady friends and they know about photography
- he thinks we are fantastic
- he thinks we are [insert unintelligable mumbled possibly foreign word here]
- he wants to hug us

It just so happened that we had somewhere where we had to be at that moment so we said it was nice meeting him and left. My sister thinks that sort of stuff is funny, but I find it really sad.


Thursday, July 10, 2008


frisbee 2

At the Canada Day festivities we ran into the people from the government employment office, who gave us frisbees and told us to come see them. We haven't gone to see them but we still have the frisbees, which is good because we didn't know where our other frisbees got off to.

Thank goodness people pay their taxes because I like playing frisbee.

The question you are probably asking is whether government issue frisbees work as well as regular ones. I'm happy to say they do, though they're a little light and get kind of buffeted in the wind.

Today it was really windy so the frisbee went all over the place, sometimes with hilarious results. It would speed up or slow down or randomly change directions and the unpredictability of it made it fun.

I used to play with my sister in the park because my parents would nag that I should go outside and exercise and take my sister and bond and have fun or something like that. The truth was that much of the time I thought my sister was annoying as shit because we have polar opposite personalities, and that I was one overweight little kid for quite some time there and it was obvious from looking at me that I abhored exercise of every kind.

Frisbee, though. Frisbee I could do. We used to have this little cloth disk frisbee thing that I could throw at least 100 metres and I'd chuck it and wait for my sister to run and retrieve it like a dog. Eventually we lost that thing and it was replaced with some sort of rubbery donut frisbee that I could throw even further.

It was good because she got to run a lot and I didn't really have to do anything. We'd go inside when she was tired out.

I ran around a lot today though because I'm sore.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

75/365: T.F.

He was home schooled, and quite a bit younger than me but mature for his age so it was easy to forget that. One of the last times I saw him before we lost touch he turned to me and said "I think Tom Bombadil is God." I disagreed with him at the time but later when I thought it out, it made sense. Six years later, we crossed paths again and for the first time ever he was taller than me. I admire his dedication and conviction about causes, but I think he could also benefit from learning some tact.

Monday, July 07, 2008


Oh internet, I think my blog is starting to look really sad without new pictures. It's not that I haven't been taking them. I have. It's just that I haven't seen my external hard drive since I moved.

The hard drive has about 240 gigs of empty space on it and this computer has about two bytes. I'm a little afraid that putting anything else on my computer will cause it to ESSPLODE!!!!! and then I won't be a happy camper.

I haven't stopped taking them though. The card on my camera is starting to get full and I noticed today that I've subconsciously starting to ration the remaining space on it.

I do that for milk too, if I forget to buy more. I just gradually use less and less until I'm left with a tiny bit in the bottom of the jug that eventually goes bad because I never run out of milk.

I've been bitten by a bug that says I need awesome mittens. Not that I don't already have awesome mittens. I just need more.

Right now I'm working on a pair of these. The pattern's all in Japanese but I'm doing a pretty good job of getting through it thanks to this tutorial. Pictures to follow... whenever.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


scan0013_1I just moved so I can't even begin to know where to look for my photos. I found a few randoms on my computer.

My impressions
In the north people are better dressed - tailored, clean, neat, orderly. As you go south the people begin to change and you're more likely to see things like graffiti and overflowing garbage cans.

Tour guides are heavily regulated in Italy. People have to jump through a lot of bureaucratic hoops and do a lot of studying to become licensed tour guides. They know a lot of information, but oddly enough that doesn't always make them good guides. In some places it was worth having them but in others it just... wasn't. I think it really depends on the person and the place.

Everything seemed insanely expensive. The best way to deal with this is to just stop translating the prices into your home currency. How often do you go to Italy?

Things I did not like
The smog. I barely saw blue sky the whole time I was there.

People smoke in pubs and that was kind of gross.

The overcommercialization of monuments, holy sites and attractions. Everything you're supposed to see is surrounded by people trying to sell you tacky crap. Tourist traps are just not my thing.

I liked the feel of these cities and I really wish we could have stayed there longer. Milan's famous for the painting of the Last Supper and for its fashion. We were instructed to wear sunglasses there at all times but I don't think that made us look less like dumb tourists.

Verona has the Romeo and Juliet Museum at the Capulet house. You can walk into the courtyard and see Juliet's balcony (which is a lot smaller than I imagined it). All over the walls and trees in the courtyard people have left love letters, notes and wishes, so it's kind of neat. You're supposed to give Juliet a rub for good luck. You'll know where to touch her when you get there.


I liked Florence! I would have liked to have spent a couple more days there because there was more to see. Everyone else I knew went out shopping but I went with the teachers to the Uffizi instead. I knew it was a big art gallery but what I didn't know when I walked in was that there are soooo many really famous works in there. It was also relatively cheap. It cost six euros, which was the same amount it cost to see just the statue of David.

There's also a huge cathedral with a big dome that you can climb to the top of if you have time and don't mind stairs or the lineup. All around that area there are some other galleries and museums about the Medicis and the Renaissance to check out.

There's the tower that everyone goes to see but I found the baptistry more interesting. Because of the way the roof is shaped, sounds in there echo several times. You're not supposed to talk in there but our guide convinced the grounds keeper to sing a song. It wasn't very long but the notes hung in the air and began to blend with each other. I'd never heard anything like it.

I thought all of Umbria was really beautiful. Unlike most of the rest of the country they don't put plaster on their buildings so everything was built with warm coloured stone bricks. We stayed in a boarding house for people on their pilgrimage to Assisi. I thought Assisi was very beautiful and that the churches were very distinct, but because I'm not Catholic the St. Francis and St. Claire stuff wasn't all that exciting, and neither was the fact that the only thing the shops sell around there seems to be rosaries.

I found Capri absolutely charming, its white cliffs and blue ocean, its giant lemons on backyard trees, one-way streets, tanned people, three-wheeled mini garbage trucks. If you can drag yourself away from the touristy bits where they ply you with free limoncello shots there's lots of hiking and beautiful people. It's worth going on a boat tour.

Rome was just not as magical for me as they say it is and I can't put my finger on why. Not that it isn't worth visiting. There's no shortage of stuff to do once you're there and I think if I went back to Italy I'd give it a second shot.

The Vatican
Bad place to have a guide. The lady doing our tour wouldn't answer any of my questions but talked and talked and talked and would not shut up. We spent an hour and a half in a hot, crowded hallway while she explained what to expect when we entered the Sistine Chapel so by the time we made it in our feet were tired and we were hungry, and it was too crowded with people for any of us to take a good look at the ceiling anyways. No doubt if I was religious I would probably have came away from the place with a different impression, but I found the grandeur of it merely fed my pre-existing dislike of the Catholic Church. Something tells me that holy or no, you don't get that rich without exploiting people. Not that it's not worth seeing by any means.

Venice is beautiful and I think it's worth taking a tour through the Doges Palace and the prison. Even though it's something we can do at home, buying some corn to feed the pigeons is cheap fun. The shopping is pretty monotonous. Venice is a bit of a maze. Major landmarks are relatively easy to find, but that shop you wanted to go back to because you changed your mind? You'd need a GPS to find it because maps won't help you.


Bug guts

I'm wondering whether or not I should make myself another pot of tea. Sure, it's late but I've fallen into my regular old nocturnal schedule. I've always been like this. The only part that's new is that I can no longer survive on four hours of sleep so I lose my mornings. I eat breakfast around noonish, then I eat dinner at the regular time and then I'm hungry sometime around midnight.

The couch in the garage has spawned a cloud of moths that have me paranoid. I don't want them anywhere near my sweaters, my pashmina scarves, my knitting wool, the awesome tweed I splurged and paid an arm and a leg for so that I can make myself a tweed suit of awesomeness. I'm politically, ethically and environmentally opposed to cashmere, but I'll be damned if I let the bastards eat the sweater I got last Christmas.

I kill every one that I see. I lie in wait for them and that's where primitive instinct kicks in. I pounce, whacking them into the wall or plucking them out of mid air with my hands, squishing them between my fingers, until they're nothing but smeared moth dust.

I do the same with mosquitoes too. They've been unusually bad this year and I've been swarmed several times. They leave their signature marks all over me which leave me red, puffy, itchy and incapacitated.

The reason why I have functioned so well during the past week is that I've spent the majority of my time under the influence of heavy doses of antihistamines, which has made for more than a few dopey moments. I blame that for the downward turn this blog has taken recently. It's about as good a reason as any.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

74/365: Danjela

They'd dealt with food shortages and power outages, gunfire and mortars in the streets, and just when they thought it couldn't get worse, they started conscripting young girls. A family friend led her and her sister to a small waterlogged tunnel and told them to run to the other side. That's the beginning of the story of how she left Sarajevo to come to Canada, and I was reminded of it just now because of Christine's pictures today.

Danjela has a really awesome sense of style that I don't think anyone else would be able to pull off.

Friday, July 04, 2008

I love Gev.

Let it be known that this solo gave me a bad case of the giggles because it's so awesome.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

My commute is too long.

Well, internet, what can I tell you? Yesterday I had a meeting downtown. The meeting lasted forty-five minutes and the transit to and from took about five and a half hours. Two there, forever back.

This is a function of the fact that in my recent move I travelled about twenty kilometres east. That doesn't sound like all that much but it makes all the difference because it adds a bridge to my commute.

Not only that, if you take transit (and I do) this means that there are also two sets of train tracks in the way. I happen to know of a route that doesn't involve train tracks and would shave 20 minutes off that bus trip but apparently Translink doesn't like that idea.

I'm not sure why the return trip always takes so long. Nothing ever seems to connect when I'm going that direction. Part of it may be that once whatever I needed to get to is finished I'm really not in much of a hurry to get home. Usually I have a pass so I'm in no danger of being caught without a fare if my trip goes over the one and a half hour limit.

I don't mind spending a lot of time on the bus. I get a lot of reading done and it's only truly miserable when I'm stuck standing and I haven't had anything to eat in twelve or more hours and I have a million things to do when I get home and the guy in front of me won't take his backpack off and it keeps hitting me in the face and it's either very hot or very wet out.

I don't know how people get angry about transit. I suppose it can be stressful if you are late for something, but that just happens sometimes, and even that doesn't really bother me much.

I don't know how people can sit down and meditate either. I had a teacher once in high school who used to assign meditation exercises in class and none of it ever worked. We'd all sit there with our eyes close and I'd feel really silly because my brain would be going in a million different directions.

But oddly enough, the bus is one of the few places where I can really be alone in my thoughts. I get all detached from the situation because the bus exists and I exist and everything else exists and stuff happens. I hesitate to call it zen because that's what everyone else would call it, but it's pretty calming. The downside, though, is that sometimes I really lose track of where I am. I blame all of this for the fact that I accidentally ended up in Surrey yesterday.

But in spite of all of this I still have to wonder why it takes so long to get anywhere.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

How do you clean such a thing?

Thanks to the recent heat wave the cats have been shedding like crazy this week. It's my theory that they didn't shed at all during the cold, miserable spring we had so now they're making up for lost time.

This has spawned hairballs of proportions I never thought was possible and all of a sudden I'm finding them all over the place.

Not only that, they're getting more creative in their placement of said hairballs. Apparently the floor's just not good enough anymore.

At one point in time today I heard that cat choking vomiting sound in the livingroom so I went to investigate. I found Lou sitting quite demurely in the middle of the carpet, beside one of my slippers. Nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary until I checked inside the slipper.

There, bunched up inside the toe of the slipper was a giant black hairball. I don't know how she managed to get it all the way in there.

I think I need to brush my cat more.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Because let's face it, Julius Caesar was pretty kickass

Announcer: Veni vidi vici.

Erin: It sounds cooler that way but it's just not right.

Becky's Mom: Why's that?

Erin: Well, they're using the ecclesiastical pronunciation there, which isn't wrong, but it's inappropriate for the time period. It's Julius Caesar, right? Well, he's actually not Julius Caesar because he would have pronounced it Yoolius Kaizer. But Caesar used classical Latin, so it would have sounded like wenny widdy weeky.

Just imagine him standing on the banks of the Rubicon, saying wenny widdy weeky! It's just not as kickass.

Becky's Mom: Did you just say kickass?

Erin: Yep.

Becky's Mom: You're funny.