Friday, October 31, 2008

I clap bilingually

I had a dream the other night that I met a hobbit that looked like O'Brian from Star Trek. He had a face tattoo that I didn't like so I scrubbed it off with rubbing alcohol. I'm not sure why but it set the tone for the rest of the day in a really indescribable way.

I was at a concert that evening. It was not the Madonna concert that tied up traffic and filled all the restaurants and parking in the immediate vicinity, though I could certainly hear it while I was walking on the street outside.

No, it was a bilingual taping of a concert for the CBC, which is pretty much the same as a regular taping for the CBC, except that there's a lot more explaining and cheering to be done.

The hosts will stand on stage and explain in English and in French that this show is being taped for the CBC and will be broadcast whenever it will be broadcast. Then they will explain in both languages that they'll announce the band in French, and that we'll all have to cheer for a while. Then they'll announce the band again in English and we'll all have to cheer again before the band can come out. Some time afterward the CBC editing staff will be able to magically transform us all into a Francophone audience for Radio-Canada, because that's what TV is: magic.

I like going to these CBC things because they're free, which works well with my student budget and I never know what exactly I've signed up to see before I go so it's a surprise and surprises are fun.

This time the band was Pacifika, a Latin band that is apparently making some waves. I liked their music. It seemed like it took a while for them to hit that good groove where the audience gets into the performance, but it can be hard playing for a bunch of people who haven't really heard of you before and may not be familiar with your genre at all. The talking between songs was a little on the odd side though. My favourite line of the performance was "The next song has glockenspiel in it. It's a word I can say many times. Glockenspiel."

I saw Ian Hanomansing in the lobby while I was there. If Abby had sent her toyvoyagers with me like she'd suggested earlier I might have been the weirdo who asked him to pose with a bunch of stuffed animals for some pictures. Somehow I'm not horribly upset about that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Finally some photos!

I'm speechless, so here are some photos from the weekend.






Just what was this all about? Net neutrality andmedia reform.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The go go don't stop

I printed out a project for school and it turns out that I made a huge mistake...

that turned out awesome! Yep, I totally meant for it to come out on tabloid sized sheets instead of 8 1/2x11, of course I did. I'm now busy ammending my thumbnails so that when I hand it in it will look very planned.

I had a meeting to go to near Dunbar this evening and I missed the bus that I should have taken to get to it. I didn't rememember which number that bus was or when it was supposed to come but I was certain that I had definitely missed it so I hopped on another one.

The thing about transit downtown is that I don't really know where all the routes go, but I get around just fine because there's enough transit coverage frequently enough that I just pick something that goes the direction that I want to go and transfer as needed if the bus starts going in the wrong direction for too long. If I have any problems with transit, I get out and navigate on foot.

Unfortunately, my choice of bus routes was sub-optimal today, and I ended up getting off on Quenesl near 27th, which really isn't anywhere close to Dunbar and it took me half an hour to walk to where I was actually supposed to go.

That's okay, though, because I like walking. I don't play sports anymore so it keeps me skinny.

I have also had slices of cake from three separate birthday cakes today. I think that was probably too much sugar.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

School work trumps all, it seems

I know I said I would have lots of cool photos to show today but school takes priority over everything and that's how I've spent most of my evening. Yay for school projects!

In all this, one thing has become clear to me: I hate stock photography. I hate how it looks like stock photography. I hate how they are always so deliberately posed. I hate how all the people are always white, and where they're not white, they're a specific minority group that was placed there to achieve a very calculated "diverse" look. I hate how they're always beaming from ear to ear, happily using their computers, happily demonstrating a point, happily having meetings, happily doing everything with perfect lighting and bland, nondescript surroundings.

But mostly I hate that the image I have in mind never seems to exist.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pictures tomorrow

I think I'm going to sleep well tonight.

I've been out running around all day, getting help with a project for one of my classes, helping with Media Democracy Day and taking pictures. I haven't put the pictures on my computer yet because I doubt I have the space for all of them right now. Bah, technology.

But I enjoyed myself. Met a lot of interesting people, heard a lot of interesting speeches, picked up a whack of pamphlets and things that hopefully I'll read.

I now have that sort of achey, vaguely sore feeling in my legs that comes from spending too much time on my feet on concrete floors. I'm sure I'll have a lot more to say tomorrow once I'm more awake, and that it will probably be more interesting that way.

I mean, I could throw in a lot of things that are only moderately related to the above, like how the Westjet commercials on tv are reminding me that I love ginger ale and that I haven't had any for a very long time, or that the cat is staring at me right now or that I'm searching for the perfect pattern to make fingerless mitts for my sister to wear at work.

But I won't.

It's time to go to bed.

Thursday, October 23, 2008



Sitting and staring blankly at the computer seems to be my Thursday ritual these days. Something about the structure of my week this semester makes me progressively more tired until Friday comes and I can relax.

It's worse if I have errands to run on Monday, if I have to stay late to get some help with a project on Wednesday, and have something due on Thursday. All of these were the case this week.

It's even worse when little unexpected things happen, like a stall on the bridge that adds an hour to your commute home.

The night before last the cat woke me up at about 3:30 am because she was having a seizure on my bed. She wet herself and I spent the next half hour cleaning and doing laundry so that I could go back to sleep.

I'm really tired, which is probably the reason why I can't sleep.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

105/365: M.S.

She was so excited that she'd made a friend and little did I know at the time that she would become indellibly stuck to me for the rest of the semester. After our course together she had nothing for the rest of the day and I had a huge break, but on the first day after three hours with this person I had only just met I wanted a bit of alone time to study or sleep. I had been trying to explain this in a polite and inoffensive way for about an hour already and finally as an act of desperation I declared that I had to go to a class and stepped into a lecture hall.

It was a third year kineseology class and it was just starting. I sat down and ended up staying there for an hour. A guy asked me if I didn't understand the assignment either and I said no, I didn't. The class was super interesting though. Something about metabolizing proteins or something. Fascinating stuff.

She was waiting for me when I left the lecture hall. I never bothered to go to that fake class again, and she seemed to think that was really cool and typically caucasian and rebellious.

We ended up spending a lot of time together that semester, and I warmed up to her.

Monday, October 20, 2008

104/365: S.S.

I did her filing because her work space looked like it was out of A Beautiful Mind. One minute she'd be proudly showing you pictures of her grandkids, the next she'd be muttering that she wanted to throw herself off a bridge and the next she'd be asking if your shirt was new. As much as this sounds like a chaotic and completely unworkable arrangement, I actually quite liked working with her because she was really a nice person. "Erin, you're like valium," she said to me one day "I see you and then I calm down."

Sunday, October 19, 2008



At the Apple Festival three things prevented me from taking lots of pictures:

  • The blechy cloudy light.
  • The coldness of the air and my subsequent mitten wearage. They're awesome mittens but they really don't lend themselves well to easy camera operation.
  • The realization after the Apple Festival last year that all my photos were like carbon copies of all the photos I'd taken the year before.
So no pictures of the sixty kinds of apples I tried today and no more pictures of the minotaur. One thing that I did take a picture of though was my sister and her favourite hobby. I also got some advice about how to take care of my bees over the winter.

We had dinner at The Naam, which is a vegetarian restaurant in Kits. The food was delicious, especially their salad dressings and carrot cake and I should add that they make a decent cup of tea there too. Good restaurant tea is nearly impossible to find.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This is a post about food

I found out today that the bucket of dates I had have been recalled and that I should return them to the store for full refund. Half of them have been eaten already to no noticeable ill effect.

Part of me is kicking myself for knowing better than to buy food from California because it's not local and local is best. Got to keep my food miles down, especially since I wrote an article for the newspaper about it that will be published within the next couple weeks.

The other part of me is thinking I should just finish off the bucket before I go in and get the refund. Am I weird?

It's been getting really cold overnight lately so today was a mad rush to harvest stuff from the garden. We have a heap of carrots, green tomatoes, some beets and I made emergency pesto. Surprisingly enough it tastes like pesto, and not, you know, like something else.

Friday, October 17, 2008

103/365: Abby

Abby is my sister. I've known her since she was born. Well, maybe not quite because I wasn't there, so technically I've known her since I climbed into Mom's hospital bed and ate her hospital dinner. Abby was born in the middle of the Three Stooges Film Festival on TV. Then she was almost born on the porch, in the car and in emerg. She was purple for about three weeks after that, but I'm happy to say her complexion has improved since then. I also thought she smelled kind of funny at the time but that has also improved. One thing that I've noticed though is that she seems to have gained a lot of weight - a hundred pounds or so! Mom set a new record for post-natal hospital discharge because she needed to go home and finish my Halloween costume. The hospital staff thought she was insane but clearly my mother has her priorities in order.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

That was my morning

I had two pages to print. With my head fully saturated with mucus I realized at about 2am that my printer was out of ink so I decided to sleep on it.

In the morning I put them on a flash drive and gave them to my sister to print out on her printer. Her printer ran out of ink during the first page and jammed during the second which threw her into a pissy mood and eventually resulted in her having all the new printer cartridges and me having an inkless printer and my flash drive back.

Eventually we sorted that out. While that was happening I was also making breakfast. I went to the fridge to find that we were suddenly out of eggs. Not a problem because I decided that I wanted some hot cereal instead. You know the kind that has flax, cracked wheat, rye, cornmeal and lots of other super fibrous goodness? Well, actually we have several kinds because I happen to like that stuff, especially with a hefty dollop of peanut butter mixed in.

But the cereal was nowhere to be found in the pantry. Someone had reorganized it and neglected to invite me to the orientation session.

Finally I found some but it was not a kind that lends itself well to microwaving, and probably would have been better if it had been cooked on the stove. I wish to emphasize at this point that I'm a very lazy person in the morning, and that I have timed out my movements for maximum efficiency so I can sleep in as long as possible. I don't have time to be screwing around with all of this stuff.

So, into the microwave it would go, if only I could find the right dish for it. Where the hell was the dish? I make my hot, grainy cereal in a pyrex measuring cup because it combines lines that help me get my proportion of grain to water right, and tall, steep sides that don't allow my breakfast to boil over and make a mess.

It just so happened that my pyrex measuring cup was filled with leftover gravy from Thanksgiving dinner because certain members of my family have come down with some sort of gastrointestinal bug and have not been meeting their leftover consumption quotas. I used another bowl and left everything to fate.

Meanwhile I'd acquired a print cartridge and loaded it into my printer. The thing then went through the dumb process of expelling half its contents onto a test page. Grargh.

But finally I got to print! The whole thing came out with lines all over it which meant I then had to clean the print heads, the printer had to then waste more ink on another dumb test page and then I printed it again. The second time it had lines but they weren't as bad and I didn't have more time to waste on it.

I returned to the microwave to find that the cereal had boiled over and coated the inside of the microwave, the outside of the bowl, the tea towel I used to remove the hot bowl and the kitchen counter that I set the thing on. I closed the microwave because I didn't have time to deal with the mess and I hoped that none of it would become baked on while I was gone.

I ate the remainder of the cereal that was in the bowl and gulped down some fluids because I was still a faucet of mucus, whacked my elbow into the bathroom door while I was doing my hair, missed my bus and got a ride to school where I was locked out of the lab where I needed to do the finishing touches for a project that was due today.

And that was my morning.

Monday, October 13, 2008

102/365: Rachelle

Rachelle was our cool Guide leader. She had radical ideas for planning camps and events that involved large tracts of unstructured free time, cool crafts like friendship bracelets that you could work on whenever and letting us choose what we wanted to eat. So through consensus-based decision making we always decided that we'd have stuff like tortellini and cardboard box cupcakes.

Eventually the legal firm she worked with offered her a better job in Calgary and she jumped at the chance to be able to flaunt her love of country music out in the open. All of us who had been in her group moved to another group that was run in the old-fashioned paramilitary British way, which was hell compared to what we had been used to.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving kind of snuck up on me this year. I sent off an email to someone on Wednesday telling them that I'd see them on Monday and they replied that they'd see me the following Monday because this coming one is a holiday.

Good thing I didn't have any major plans that I'd forgotten. I have plans for Christmas, but Christmas never sneaks up on anyone. Christmas stuff has been in stores for a couple weeks now. But Thanksgiving? Super stealth!

We usually pre-order a turkey from an organic free-range turkey farm, which is kind of fun because once it's time to pick the thing up you never quite know how big it's going to be. Turkey surprise! This year it was just shy of eighteen pounds.

After dinner there was a lot of bird leftover so dad decided that maybe it would fit in the refrigerator better if he disassembled it and then piled it back on the platter. It was a complicated procedure that involved several plates and knives and then a careful reassembling of the meat and bones back on the platter.

The whole thing ended up being the exact same size it had been previously, only less appetizing. As he said "I'm glad I'm not God because if I had to put together a turkey from scratch it would look pretty fucking weird."

101/365: Franklin

One moment a group of young Spanish tourists were horsing around outside the Doges Palace in Venice, and then the next moment they had disappeared completely, leaving in their wake a twenty euro bill on the ground. I was the only one who noticed it, and not knowing who exactly had lost it or how to contact them, it was fair game.

I made the mistake of declaring aloud that there was money on the ground and Franklin was in like a shot. It turned out to be a wad of bills. He took a forty euro cut and gave me the remaining twenty. That night he bought a round of drinks for his table at dinner, taking great care to let everyone know that he was being generous.

Later on he was to make a big deal about how he was going to do his undergrad studies at Yale because Canadian schools aren't good enough, further solidifying my impression that the majority of people who study at expensive, big named schools are assholes. If you are genuinely good at research, academics or sports you shouldn't need to use your school's name as a crutch.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

100/365: Wesley

Wesley has a kind of quiet awkwardness about him that is really endearing. He kind of speaks better through music than he does with words. After high school he left to do volunteer work all over the place and eventually returned with a really sweet Quebecois girlfriend and substantially better musical taste.

Friday, October 10, 2008

If I have interests does that make me interesting?


Today's weather forecast: gorgeous. That means another trip to the roof.

I spent much of today on the hill running errands, doing stuff for my student union and finding more books for a paper I'm writing.

The paper part is a long, drawn-out process because I have a bad habit of picking topics that really haven't been done very much before so it's not like I can just go out and pick up some summaries or readers to start with. I've been to four different libraries to get books for this, and most of them won't give me more than a few quotes or a couple little ideas to use. Sometimes I think glory sucks.

I think one of the coolest things about knit club is that it pulls in a lot of really different people who are interesting to talk to because they're really different. That's one of the reasons why I decided to go to meetings. I know lots of people in my major but not many outside of that. It also gives me a chance to be a complete geek and take part in a discussion about the direction you wrap your yarn.


After that I wandered around campus because it was oddly empty and the weather was still beautiful. I ran into someone who was jogging around in spandex. Since spandex is kind of in right now I wouldn't normally turn my head but it had a particular pattern and I recognized that it was Row West spandex which meant that this person was probably a rower. I asked her and yes, indeed, she was. Geekiness of another sort ensued.

Then, while I was running around campus with my camera someone came up behind me and said "hey! we have the same camera bag!" We stopped and compared cameras and she said that she was glad that she wasn't the only one who was geeky enough to carry around a big SLR.

So many random interests in one day! Just think - if I'd tap danced with bloggers about federal politics, ate gourmet cheese and purple tomatoes that I grew in the back yard, watched Red Dwarf, hid a food security themed geocache and read non-fiction books about the environment or economics or something...

My head just might have exploded from so many random interests coming into contact with each other at once. On second thought, that would probably be cool. Not the head explosion, but you know.

more roof, more Robert C. Brown

Thursday, October 09, 2008

99/365: Mrs. Digance

She was my grade two teacher. She was an artist and that made her an authority on everything artistic. She taught us to colour in the lines the correct way with individual lines of colour running in straight lines vertically until everything was uniformly coloured. That was the way that artists did it. She knew this because she was an artist. We didn't get along very well.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Knitting and Stoves

My parents have had this week off so they've been around a lot more and this is kind of cool because they've been out running errands and catching up on things around the house that just weren't getting done. But this is also not cool because my entire Monday was earmarked for catching up on reading and working on a paper but instead I got roped into rearranging the livingroom, a seven hour task that was kind of like one of those puzzles where you shift one tile and then another and then another to put the design in order.

But one good thing is that on Tuesday I came home and there was a stove in the kitchen. I will repeat that: there was a stove in the kitchen.

Now, all of you people who have stoves and take them for granted may not appreciate how earth-shattering this is. When we originally moved into this house we were kind of in the middle of renovating it. We had to move fast and we had too many things for this space so everything got piled all over the place and that slowed the renovation down even more.

I lived on a matress on a concrete floor and my walls had no drywall and in some places no insulation. It was pretty austere and depressing.

The suite didn't have a kitchen at all. We washed dishes and bathed in the laundry sink, cooked on a hot plate on a table and piled the contents of the pantry on the cement floor.

The years since have been a slow march toward civilization with lots of little celebrations: the day we put linoleum on the floor, the day we painted the kitchen walls, the day we got kitchen counters, getting a kitchen sink.

Every room has gone through that process.

So yes, for the first time since December 2004, there is a stove in the kitchen. I'm pleased.

I was good all summer but suddenly it's gotten cold again and that has me changing my priorities and buying yarn. I have a bad habit of underestimating the amount of time it will take me to finish things. In my infinite wisdom I try to pick projects in advance of when I'll need them but it never quite works out the way it should.

I was thinking about fall a couple months ago when I started working on some things that I could layer and wear in the early fall when it's cool in the mornings and warm all day. But then all of a sudden it got freezing cold and I'm looking at these things and thinking that the time that I needed these things has passed. I'm stuck with the dilemma of having to either finish them and have them not be seasonally appropriate when I finish or starting new, colder weather stuff that also won't be finished in time for me to use it this year.

But that has me buying new yarn for new colder weather projects that I may or may not make this year.

Gah, I can't win.

But I can make myself a soft-boiled egg in the morning.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

School is turning me into a design Nazi

I'm supposed to redesign an ugly newsletter for class so I headed off to the library where you can get all sorts of low-budget publications made by nonprofits and community service organizations. I picked up a gold mine of inspiration off the free community publication racks.

Putting pictures of them up here is tempting, but I would feel bad singling out organizations and the people who obviously worked really hard on these things.

So needless to say, I'm stuck between choosing:

The attack of the stroked boxes! In which every single piece of text is inside a box. Or two boxes. Or three boxes. The text must be contained otherwise it will jump out and bite you! Not only that, the boxes don't seem to be aligned to anything or to each other so they look weird in a way that is not immediately evident.

The proud Mac users who have clearly not absorbed any of the Apple aesthetic. Flagrant use of Zapf Chancery, centred text that is inexplicably off-centre, long, monotonous blocks of text that wraps around photos in a weird looking way.

Fearless dedication to a one-column-all-text layout with one pica (really small) margins all around and NO WHITE SPACE printed on eye blistering yellow stock and invisible headlines, due to the fact that they're pretty much the same size and font as everything else.

I'll sleep on it.

Monday, October 06, 2008

No typing, my wrists are on fire

Click to enlarge and greatly improve legibility.

And, if you really like handwritten posts, read Kevin's blog .

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Attack of the relatives!

This weekend has been consumed with relatives. My aunt's cousin passed away suddenly last week so my aunt and uncle are here for the funeral.

They had assumed that the service would have been within a week of the death so they booked return tickets from Ontario only to find out that it's going to be next week. While they've been stranded out here they've been looking up relatives to visit.

We had lunch with them on Saturday and while we were there he invited us for lunch today with my great aunt Elsie. I'd never met her before and knew nothing about her except that she was my grandfather's sister. Her name would come up fairly often because she's the only one still alive, but she was always like some sort of imaginary relative because no one knew how to contact her. My dad would ask his mother about her every time we visited but she didn't know her last name.

Uncle Lloyd's far more into family unity than us so somehow he managed to track her down, and through her, another cousin. She's scrappy and disagreeable, but at the same time she seems pretty worried that she won't be able to pass some things along before she dies. She was glad to talk to us.

Some stories I'd heard before, some I hadn't. Other stories were ones I knew with some major changes to them. It's funny how we all have our own way of remembering things.

She had pictures. I took pictures of the pictures but my camera is dead and needs charging. They'll come later.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Public service announcement

I interrupt the regularly scheduled programming for a public service announcement.

Canadians! I voted in the federal election today and you can too!

Polls are open October 6 and 14. You can look up the information about voting in your riding here.

I'm not going to tell you who to vote for. If you want to go vote Conservative, by all means, go for it!

If, like me, you're not a fan of the Conservatives and think they've been doing a shitty job then please consider voting strategically to dump some Conservatives from their seats. If all of us centre/left voters get together maybe we can make some change happen.

Either way, get informed and find out what's happening in your riding. The CBC has riding-by-riding coverage, as well as specific issue coverage, and so does DemocraticSpace.

Just go vote, please.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Long day.

My day started out not so good but got steadily better, especially once I sat down to some nice, soothing work in the lab. I love being able to tune out everything and work on the minute details of a project. It's the same as drawing, I guess.

After class I went to the communication symposium because it's a good event with lots of interesting presentations to watch. Well, that and the free food and wine and because one of the door prizes was free tuition for a course. I didn't get the tuition but I got a coupon for free cookies and a new mug so yay me.

This year the panel discussion was on corporate social responsibility. It's always interesting to see who is able to step out of the role of PR person and who doesn't. Some people can be quite candid about their career choices and what it's like to work where they do and other people never seem to stray from the official line.

It was nice to see some grads that I haven't seen for a while. I've sat here for a while now trying to think of an interesting way to elaborate on that so I guess I won't.

As I sit here my legs are that really restless kind of sore so I guess I spent a little too much time standing around today, but it was the good kind of standing around.

I'm going to do everyone a favour and go to bed before this post gets any more dumb and pointless.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008



We have been plagued with a few big, black flies that have taken up buzzing around everywhere and making a nuissance of themselves. I have no idea where they came from. We've checked for rotting things to no avail. There's no obvious explanation as to why they appeared or why they're so damn annoying.

I feel bad chasing them around with the swatter because the swatter scares Sally. When anyone starts waving it around she runs away with her ears and tail down and hides until it's safe to come out.

When we first got her she had been badly abused and we barely saw her around anywhere. It took a lot of intensive snuggling to get her over her fear of brooms and newspapers, but she's still pretty skittish.