Monday, September 29, 2008

Your gut knows something you don't.

In spite of my best efforts today was pretty much a wasted day.

I had a design project that I needed to get printed and I headed out to the copy shop where I printed the student union magazine. Their prices are not the cheapest but I thought their service was good and I was happy with the finished product so I figured this would be a good place to print school projects.

Apparently not. I arrived to find it closed, and inside it looked pretty empty and dark.

I had planned to go downtown afterward to take back some library books so that's where I headed, and on my way to the library I stopped off at another place. We opened the file on my flash drive together, and then I left it with them so I could go get some books at the library.

But as I left I had an inexplicable sinking feeling.

You know how you get that feeling in your gut sometimes? Listen to it. Secretly it's trying to tell you that someone at the copy shop is about to reformat your flash drive and lose your file without printing it.

And of course I'm too stupid to have carried a backup with me.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Erin: 1, nasty gross wart: 0


For the longest time I had an annoying little wart on the inside of my right middle finger. It took me quite a while before I identified it as such, several weeks before I noticed that there was something there, several more weeks of wondering why I had a blister in such an odd place on my finger and then after suddenly realizing that it was actually a wart, a good two weeks of denial.

After that I tried several home remedies for warts, none of which worked. They always seem to be effective for a few weeks and then inexplicably they stop working. Then each time you stop one the wart comes back with a vengeance. It's like pruning bush to make it grow better.

After a while I threw up my hands and decided that I would just go to the doctor and get it burned off. But to do that you need to go see another doctor and get a referral. This means two or more phonecalls to make two but probably more appointments in order to go through a really unpleasant little procedure possibly multiple times until it was gone.

Well, I'm lazy. I have a habit of forgetting to call and make appointments during work hours. Or I put it off, or I don't have the time. I never bothered to make the appointment.

Now all of you people who are sitting here wincing at how gross this all is, don't you fear!

Three weeks ago the nasty little lump suddenly got little black spots all over it. I watched with morbid fascination as the spots grew and became more numerous and within a few days the whole thing got kind of dry and began to disintigrate.

Then inexplicably the whole thing fell out of my finger, leaving a bit of a hole that has since filled itself up with some scar tissue. I may be jinxing myself by saying this but I think it's gone!

The only reason I can think of as to why it's gone is because it is no match for my super mind skillz.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

My not very eventful afternoon

IMG_7562_1It figures that when I arrived at the lab this afternoon the only computer in use was the one attached to the graphic tablet. It's amazing how quickly I've become dependent on that thing. I love it. I hate when I can't have it and I hate even more when the person who's using the computer isn't even touching the thing.

So needless to say I sat and stewed and worked on a project for about half an hour and then I left.


I went to catch my bus and just barely missed it. I decided that standing and waiting for the next one was boring so I'd go wander. I wandered a little too long and missed my second bus so I went wandering again but kept a better eye on my watch.

My life is horribly interesting, eh?

A while ago I thought that since I like alt-country music that maybe I had secretly warmed up to country music. I turned on the radio to hear a song with classic, timeless lyrics:

"Hold my beer while I kiss your girlfriend."

Yep, my aversion to country still stands.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Destiny awaits


My tried-and-true paper survival tip is when in doubt, invoke Marx. That time you had to read the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts was probably the best thing you ever did.

I just wrote a whole paper in which I illustrated alienation with a paperclip. That will either go over well or it won't.

I don't have much time for a lot of things today. Blogging is one of them. Random spam messages from semi-literate people is another one:

Hi! ;) I am lonely pretty girl who is looking for chat with you.i am talkative and funny... i need you... maybe you my future?? Email me back at and i will reply back with some really nice pictures ;)...and you will see that maybe I am... your destiny...
Fuck destiny. I am... busy with school...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

98/365: Hunnings

Hunnings was the English teacher who told the class that he and all good people are feminists, if not in name, because it wasn't fair that I (he singled me out) am destined statistically to make 70% of what my male counterparts would make in wages. He then went back to finding phallic imagery in our readings. He was really good at that.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Study snack break


I'm up studying because I have an exam tomorrow. I didn't get nearly the amount of school work done today that I was hoping to do, but at the same time I achieved enough that I won't have to shoot myself because I'm behind.

I made myself a wrap with melted cheeese. It's like a quesadilla only microwaved and therefore not as cool. The wrap itself is one of those novelty flavours with spices and tomato in it that my dad brought home because the Costco free sample ladies got to him.

Right now I'm feeling very ambivalent about the thing. It's quite tasty and oreganoey, but at the same time it's not whole wheat. This brings me to a question that's been nagging me for a long time.

Why is it that the cool flavoured kinds of wraps and breads are always made with white flour? Who are those rotten bastards who decided that they'd make one healthy whole wheat kind, and then eight delicious looking white death kinds to tempt me with? I'm feeling penalized and marginalized for making the conscious decision to not eat ultraprocessed crap that will give me diabetes.

This is a deep and angsty trip into my psyche, I know. I think I will go have some tea now.

What I'm not liking about all this being busy with school is that I seem to miss out on filling my paper journal with all the drivel I've become accustomed to filling it with. I find that the amount of verbal vomit I put in there is somewhat correlated with the quality and creativity of the posts on this blog. The more crap I put there, the less you have to read here.

Not that this post was crap. No, you just watch. In fifty years they'll be assigning it in English courses along with James Joyce's Ulysses.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Smells I like


Hydraulic oil. I hate the smell of gasoline, but there's something I like about hydraulic and machine oil that I just can't put my finger on.

Tar pitch, pickle and flux. All things that are used in metalsmithing, smells that used to fill our basement so they make me feel really nostalgic. The pickle I'm talking about doesn't smell even remotely like the vinegar stuff you stick cucumbers in.

Fresh bread. This one doesn't really need any explanation because so many other people like it too. There's something warm, delicious and wholesome about it.

My mom. I think she smells good, not that I go around sniffing her or anything. Grandma used to give her perfume for her birthday and she used to wear a light dusting of it. She never put it directly on her skin. Once a week she'd spray a bit into her underwear drawer so the smell was never overpowering. She stopped wearing it when she found out that someone in her office was allergic.

Sterile bandaids straight from the package.

Darkroom fluids. Part weird, part nostalgia. My mom used to work at an art school and I spent the greater part of a couple summers there, alternately taking classes and spending time alone, amusing myself. I made several pinhole cameras and spent a lot of time in the darkroom.

Old family recipes. Because recipes written out on note cards by grannies with accents are the best, especially because they're high in fat, cholesterol and sugar.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

97/365: Anita

She had a long, Russian sounding name that sounded exotic and cool to my seven year old self, and my fascination with it embarrassed her. Her parents constantly hovered around. When I invited her over to my house her father followed in his car as my mom walked the two of us home, and then parked outside for the duration of her visit. "You don't understand," he said, "You have two. We only have one, and if we lose her that is it." Mom was deeply offended at the suggestion that either of her children were expendable in that way. Anita never came over to my house again.

Friday, September 19, 2008

96/365: Matt

Matt and I met in kindergarten and went to the same schools until we graduated. His parents were military people and very involved in the Legion and the Royal Elks. He was often in trouble at school, but he was not a bad person.

One day in grade 12 I was feeling really crappy and he was standing by my locker. He didn't say anything but he gave me a hug. That's the last time I remember seeing him.

It suddenly occurred to me the other day that there's a good chance he's getting shot at in Afghanistan or Haiti right now. I hope he's well.

Two flickr people I really like

While looking around for some visual inspiration I've come across two people on flickr lately that I'm really liking.

The first one is babykailan. He's from Singapore and his photoset is full of pictures of architecture, travel and cats. His cats are pretty unique looking and his photos of them really capture their personalities well. He has a good eye and a sense of humour that makes his photostream awesome.

The other is fernandobaglioni from Brazil. He travels around a lot and has an aesthetic that I really like. He makes me want to take up shooting with film again.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Erin, meet graphic tablet.

fun with the wacom tablet

I've been considering getting a graphic tablet for a long time. It's a thought that comes and goes and I've watched the price come down quite a bit. Some time last month I finally decided that I would get one, though I was still undecided as to how much I wanted to spend.

But this being me I haven't done it yet. I tend to put off these sorts of purchases in the hopes that I will either forget I wanted them or someone will buy them for me. Sometimes that works.

One of the classes I'm in this semester entitles me to the combination for one of the media labs in the basement where they have all sorts of fun things, one of which is one of the biggest and nicest Wacom graphic tablets money can buy.

This morning I somehow ended up at school way too early and had an hour and a half to kill. I tried to have a nap but eventually I gravitated toward the lab where I decided to try out the tablet because it's probably a good idea before I go buy something like that for myself anyways.

The above was the result. It took a bit of getting used to and I didn't really get the hang of it, but what I did do was lots of fun. The only problem with this now is that the tablet I tried is about four times as expensive as the one I was actually planning on getting...

This weekend I have to create a visual illustration of a concept. If I get my way, this will involve a torch and that will be fun too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008



It's only week three and already school has slapped me with a shitload of work to do. I don't know why. I'm used to taking course overloads - 17 or 18 credits, so why 12 is suddenly so much more work is completely beyond me. It's not even a "full" course load.

Mom has about 20 hours of homework to complete every week which means that I'll be doing a lot of cooking and cat babysitting. I'm on the lookout for lots of good crockpot recipes. Her group needs to come up with some sort of brand identity, website, logo and stationary which has suddenly become my job because everyone knows I could use more stuff in my portfolio. It's funny how that happens.

I'm also on the lookout for good photos to pick apart in class this week. I'm not entirely sure what I'll end up choosing.

My father is talking to me again. Somehow he managed to make the InDesign template I made him go really screwy and needed my help to fix it. Presto! Instant dialogue and civility! Technology's amazing power to bring us all together!

All this busyness makes for boring posts. Sorry. Maybe by Friday I'll have enough time to tell you all about my informal survey of the mannerisms of the toilets in the various buildings at SFU.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My brain needs a switch.

Granville Bridge

The problem with going to university is that I can't really turn off my mad critical thinking skills. I was watching The Gods Must Be Crazy with Abby last night. It's always been one of my favourite movies for it's satirical look at our society.

It's strength is in how it uses the perspective of the Kalahari Bushman to question so many things we do in our daily lives and are serious about. He wanders through what seems to be a ridiculous world where people rush about, stress, fight, war, exchange money, own property, beg, steal, jail each other and find more and more ways to make life and society complicated, and all of this is completely foreign to him because he comes from a very utopian little society where there's no strife. He's very clever and makes sense of it all in a very different way that we would that makes him a very loveable character.

But something began to bug me last night, and that was the portrayal of all the other African people. The way they act is slapstick and comical. They're dumb and disorganized even as they engage in what is post-colonial warfare. I started thinking that though it's funny within the context of the movie, there are a hell of a lot of people in Africa that suffer as a direct result of civil wars like that.

And then I started thinking about the time and place the film was made: South Africa, 1980. Right in the middle of Apartheid, wasn't it? Suddenly the fact that every single African character (except for the Bushman) was a bumbling idiot seems really racist.

Then there's one of the most important questions in anthropology: can you observe something without changing it in the process? The answer is that you can't. The moment you come into contact with a tribe out in the bush you've changed their entire culture and worldview, just by showing them that you exist.

So the irony of the movie is that they were talking about an isolated little community in the desert with people who had no contact with the outside world, and yet they pulled one of the people from this society, turned him into a movie star and then sent him home to a tribe that was permanently changed because of it.

So while the character in the movie goes back to his peaceful, utopian society where life is back to normal and everyone lives in a stick hut and scrounges berries and roots to eat, the actor develops shrewd negotiation skills, stars in four more movies and then builds a house and abandons the traditional way of life to start a farm and die of tuberculosis.

This is one of those instances where I wish I could shut my brain off.

And as I was thinking of this, I turned and saw a cat I didn't recognize rubbing it's face on the edge of the door. I yelled. It bolted. We soon found that it had sprayed a bunch of stuff. Luckily it was all stuff that I could throw into the washer.

Public Market

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I am back and there will be much posting.

At the drydocks on Granville Island

Dearest Internet,

Just where have I been?

I think a better question would be where have you been? My connection stopped working for a full two days and now I feel like there's a huge backlog of stuff I need to check out, emails to reply to, peoples' blogs to visit and stuff to upload. Some of this will get done and unfortunately some won't.

I wish I had some sort of warning every time my connection went on the fritz so I could post a couple links to keep you all amused while I'm tearing out my hair and pressing the "repair connection" button repeatedly, but that's just wishful thinking.

So what have I been up to? School, mostly.

False Creek

I was a bit apprehensive about going back this year and all that turned out to be completely unfounded. The moment I set foot in the place I ran into people I know, and profs who not only recognized me, but also knew that I'm enrolled in their classes.

My course work for this semester is very project, creativity and portfolio oriented, which is all new to me, as is the fact that I have something due every single week. Weekly homework! That's a challenge for me because I'm a big fan of classes where the sole means of evaluation is one big paper that you start working on a week before the end of the class.

It's also a challenge because I've always had difficulty being creative on command and meeting deadlines for that sort of stuff. It's one of the reasons why I never seriously considered going to art school, even though I'm certain I would love it. That and I like money. It helps me eat.

I've also been doing other stuff. Student union stuff. Clubs stuff. Miscellaneous beginning of school stuff. Social stuff. Going to see plays stuff. Fixing up some photos so I can upload them to flickr and then show them to you stuff.


So speaking of photos uploaded to flickr so I can show you, here are more pictures of Granville Island that I took last week. I'm not sure why I'm showing them to you. It's one of the most heavily photographed places in Vancouver.

I'm creative, just like everyone else.

False Creek

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


For the first time in a very long time my sister and I are going to the same school, and oddly enough, we have similar schedules, which means that I have to ride the bus with her. It makes for some interesting moments.

Abby: What are you laughing at?

Erin: You and I just had an imaginary conversation four hours from now where we discussed eating cabbage on a stick.

Abby: Cabbage on a stick?

Erin: Cabbage on a stick.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Raspberry tea


Not a lot of good things can be said about my mother's father, but one of them is that when he passed away he left her a small sum of money. Well, actually that's not true. He didn't have a will and Ottawa took a chunk and then it took three years and a lawyer to get the bank to release the remaining contents of his account.

But anyways, all through the legal wrangling she had been looking forward to using the end product toward tuition at a program at Royal Roads. Now she's finally in the program, which means she's not here. She's gone off to school. She'll be back in a while but for now she's not here.

School's back in so this is a very busy time for my father so I haven't seen him around much either.

My sister is at work, but if she was here she'd probably be in her room with the door closed.

All of this is fine, really, but it has me reverting to the way I was when I lived alone.

Case in point: the tea I'm drinking. It's a fruity fruit blend of tea. It's not unpleasant, but I can't honestly say I like it.

I'm not a big fan of a lot of herbal and fruit teas because they often smell really good. The aroma convinces you to purchase them and drink them, but the flavour never quite matches up and I'm always disappointed.

So why the hell am I drinking this tea? Well because normally I'd drink orange pekoe but I'm out of milk. Well, actually I'm not out of milk, I'm rationing it subconsciously.

It's well within my powers to go get more milk, but that would involve leaving the house and walking and spending money so I'd rather just change the tea I'm drinking.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I like cheese.


There was a bit of a snafu at Bard on the Beach today because someone with a name similar to my mother's picked up our tickets, and those people, finding that they suddenly had too many tickets, sold the extra ones. Eventually we got it all sorted out and we saw the Tempest, which I really enjoyed.


Then after that we ended up at Granville Island where we did lots of walking and bought some cheese. I was the model of restraint today so we didn't buy very much cheese. If I had it my way I would just buy all the cheese.


All the good cheese, that is. Not the Krap. Life's too short to waste your time on that stuff.

How anyone on this earth can function without at least twelve distinct varieties of cheese in their fridge is beyond me.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Rotting hulk


It used to be an old postal truck, but had been converted to some sort of other delivery vehicle. I'm not sure what posessed dad to purchase it other than the fact that he's often a very impulsive person and it was for sale. He had plans for it that I don't know if we ever understood and were never fully realized.

For a couple years it made itself useful as a camping vehicle, because no amount of shifting, forcing or abstract thought was needed to fit all of our camping supplies in the back. While it was not being used on a camping trip, it was often used as storage for camping gear so that no substantial packing was required to go, though in practice this was never the case.

One day mom had some assignments to hand in for her CGA designation and dad had taken the car to the airport to go to a conference, so we were left with the big white cube van. We cruised all the way into Vancouver on the freeway at a top speed of 65 kilometres per hour, parked, carried out our errands and then began the journey home.

Halfway home on the freeway, a car began to honk at us, and some very concerned people attempted to get us to pull over. "We didn't want to alarm you," they said, "but there is a cat on your roof." Mom got out and stood by the side of the van. "You can come down now," she said, and Frick flew down from the roof to land on the ground, where she froze. Mom picked her up and she melted.

That day a legend was born.


After that the van became a place for the storage of miscellaneous stuff, falling further and further into disrepair. At one point they tried to sell it to a very eager ex-cocaine addict who was trying to turn his life around. The man paid a $150 deposit for it and was never heard from again.

By the time we had to move it had long since given up the ghost and would not start. It was covered in a thick coat of algae slime. You can imagine my mother's joy when dad decided to get a truck to tow this rotting hulk of a van to our new house where it has sat in our yard ever since.

As is often the case, my father will not be convinced and must be given the chance to come to his own conclusions about these things. It took him quite some time before he fell out of attachment with the van, but once he had it didn't take mom all that long to close in on the kill.

Last weekend she and I opened the thing up so that we could empty it of its contents and get it ready to meet the auto wrecker. We found that it was filled with rat shit and decided that it was suddenly a next weekend job. We put out rat bait and shut the door.

This just happened to be next weekend, so we went at it encased in rubber gloves and trashy clothes. It will be nice to get it out of the yard.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Lazy Friday


In the past four years I've only seen Mimi once or twice so we issued each other ultimatums: coffee now! She was living in the States on an athletic scholarship but has now moved back to Canada, which is awesome for all of us who missed her. And, lucky for us, she's not going back because of something to do with her student visa, she now gets detained and questioned at the border every time she crosses.

We talked a bit about life after rowing. It's one of the more cult-like sports out there because it eats all of your available time and you spend the majority of your waking hours with the same few people with whom you are simultaneously friendly with and bitter rivals, all under the grip of a dogma of massochism and pain. There's very little opportunity for people our age to do it just for fun. You're either hardcore competitive or you don't row.

When you first emerge from this environment, your life is suddenly a gaping hole. You have too much unstructured time. But then, gradually people who you neglected for years start crawling back into your life, and you pick up other hobbies and make new friends. Then one Friday night you will suddenly realize that it's just past midnight and you haven't checked your watch thirty times to stress about the hour because you no longer have to wake up at 4:30 am on Saturdays. That's a very liberating feeling.

And yet... I still kind of miss it. So does she. So do a lot of people we used to row with. I can't honestly say why.

After coffee I ran some errands, did a bit of geocaching and took a nice leisurely walk to check out a brand new yarn shop in Port Moody called Black Sheep Yarns. I needed some yarn and that was as good an excuse as any to make the trip, which I can sum up as follows:

Nice shop, gorgeous yarn, friendly staff. I spent more time there than I thought I would because I was having a nice time talking to them and I'll most likely be back. I bought a couple skeins of Cascade 220, which I guess isn't all that exciting but I'm a student on a limited budget so it's exciting for me.

As far as knitting goes I'm working on a couple projects right now, but going into the fall I'm feeling like I should have more wardrobe essentials, like cardigans and things, especially ones that won't take me eight years to finish.

So enter Liesl. The cardigan's made out of lace and doesn't require a huge amount of yarn so it wouldn't take a huge amount of time or money. I showed the pattern to the ladies at the yarn shop and they got kind of excited so I think I may have just turned myself into an enabler.

There are far worse things I could be.


95/365: the other Jess

She's good friends with the previously mentioned Jess. We met in middle school when she suddenly started spending a lot of time with my friends and we got along well because she liked camping and a lot of outdoorsy stuff that she did through scouts. She had a baby just out of high school and she went through a bad bout of depression that I'm glad she seems to be over now. Her son is one of the most happy, friendly kids you will meet so I think she's doing a great job.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I could sleep forever.

IMG_7026_1During the month of August I averaged about four hours of sleep per night and it's finally caught up with me. I'm fine when I wake up in the morning but every day this week I've hit a wall somewhere between 2 and 3 o'clock.

It doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing. It's just that suddenly I'm out. On Tuesday it was under the watchful eye of a prof whom I've only just met. She asked a question just as I woke up again and I groped around in my brain for an answer so as to not look like I was completely asleep. "Change the typeface to one that has shorter descenders, like impact?" I said, and she looked a little surprised, but I'm not familiar with her teaching style so maybe she looks like that often.

Wednesday it was on the Skytrain. I find it fairly easy to sleep on buses, but I never feel nearly as comfortable on Skytrains so the fact that I woke up in Surrey means I must have been pretty tired.

Today it was in the middle of a film called Black Sun in which a painter explains what it was like to lose his sight. It takes the form of an extended monologue, during which you see a lot of blurry, distorted visuals with lots of lens flares. Parts were interesting; parts were tedious; parts irritated me because they were talking about Chinese customs officers and the writing on the screen was Korean. In keeping with the theme of this post, parts of it I completely slept through, though that had nothing to do with the quality of the film.

You'd think that all of this would translate into a good night's sleep but no. On the contrary, laying in a horizontal position in the evening in the dark is the perfect way for me to stay awake.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

94/365: Jess

Jess and I went to elementary school so we've known each other for at least 18 years. Like some of the other people I've known for practically forever, our goals, lifestyles, education and experiences have diverged so much but we're still good friends and will probably continue to be. I like that we don't seem to grow apart.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

On my bed right now

Two very tired girls.

I'm off to school now. I'm leaving them to hold down the fort. I think they'll do a good job.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Okay, not all of my summer sucked


A few things didn't suck.

The garden, mostly. I've had more success there than usual, and I cleaned up at the fair because of it, taking a bunch of ribbons as well as best of show for vegetables, fruits and nuts. In fact... now that I think of it that was pretty much the highlight of my summer, as sad as that sounds. And yet, it was so awesome that when I walked around and saw all of the displays and all of the ribbons beside my stuff I couldn't keep myself from giggling maniacally.

I'd orignally planned to blog more regularly about that but I didn't. Anyways, today was carrots and beets. The white icicle carrots kind of taste more like parsnips than carrots.

The other thing? This pair of gloves. They're nowhere near finished yet but I keep picking away at them and I think they're awesome.


I've also managed to meet some people in Maple Ridge who don't suck. They exist!

On top of that I reached 30,000 plays on It's a clear sign that I'm quite addicted to the site and I spend way too much time on my computer, but I don't care because it gives me a chance to show off my awesome taste.

So yes, not everything sucked.