Monday, March 31, 2008

Dear dysfunctional group project from hell,

Please go back to where you came from. I've had enough of you.

Please take away group members that disappear for eight weeks and then randomly arrive and attempt to take control over the group.

Please rid me of group members that use the power vacuum to justify their complete lack of action on anything, and who then email me privately to ask what's going on.

Please help me avoid getting really terse with people who will not stop talking about wearing costumes while the essential parts of the project have yet to be covered.

Please stop them from spewing random crap all over the above mentioned wiki instead of attempting to organize these things or fit them into the outline for the project in some way.

Please save us from the sudden appearance of uncited quotes in our paper, and people who have no idea where they came from.

Please for the love of all things holy learn to use Google Docs instead of some random wiki site that is hard to use, buggy and limited in its capabilities and features. I'm tired of the two emails per day that I get from it.

Seriously, you suck.



Sunday, March 30, 2008

49/365: Hembruff

Before teaching he had been a professional jazz musician. That and his sense of humour made him cool. He had a really down-to-earth way of teaching that included tons of improvisation and playing a sizeable repertoire of music, at least for a high school band. In his class we were always ready to play sets of 10-15 songs. He had high standards but often his class would be the highlight of my day.

Some students had convinced him to quit smoking so he'd switched to gum instead, which gave him cavities. He half-jokingly blamed us every time he had to go for a dentist's appointment. He wore a coat with tails to concerts and it made him look really, really short.

Sometimes he'd play along with us on a black enameled alto sax, but often during concerts he'd go sit down in the audience while we were playing because we didn't need much direction. He felt that sometimes the presence of band teachers takes away from the audience's appreciation of students' talent and work.

A glorious racket

I'm listening to a documentary program on the CBC right now about the history of the bagpipes and I'm finding it really fascinating.

I've always liked bagpipes. The fact that they're really an ancient instrument has always appealed to me. They've changed immensely over the years and have hundreds of variations but they've all got a similar sound, something really old sounding.

I think part of it too is that bagpipes have always been mainly an instrument played in rural areas. They're a kind of throwback to times when most people lived a more pastoral, pre-industrial lifestyle. It's not particularly unusual that I feel a kind of nostalgic sense of yearning for an idealized and possibly nonexistent 'simple' life. I think I'm in good company there because a couple hundred years' worth of European poets and intellectuals have done the same.

I like that they're so spread out geographically, through northern and western Europe, the Balkans, Northern Africa, the Middle East and India, and have adapted to so many different folk music traditions. They remind me that we may be different but we come from similar roots.

I like that they remind me of empty, wide-open places and funerals.

My problem with playing them was that you have to keep your fingers straight when you're playing. Mine always got tense and locked up so I had a lot of difficulty getting them to move fast enough to play gracenotes. Add that to my general lack of patience for mastering musical instruments and eventually I put my bagpipe chanter down and really haven't touched it since.

That was back in the day before youtube. Nowadays there are tons of handy tutorials to help you with stuff like that so maybe when I find my chanter again, I'll have to try it out.

Youtube's good for that. It helps me with knitting techniques that I don't understand. Though the fact that you can learn to fly a plane there kind of scares me.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

We pirates are cooler than you!


I'm home now from babysitting the cousins, so I'm decompressing. I've said this before but they're not bad kids, just kind of undisciplined. A handfull.

A victory though. I got Gary to wear her eye patch for an hour. I made one for me out of paper towel and we put stickers all over it so that I could wear one too, because seriously, who wouldn't want to wear eye patches when they're so cool?

The kettle is boiling and I don't remember filling it or plugging it in. That kind of worries me.

Friday, March 28, 2008

48/365: Uncle Eiler

My grade 10 IB English teacher. He was Danish and I always thought that his mustache made him look kind of like a walrus. He used to ask us what kinds of horrible people named their children things like "Eiler" and we would reply that Danish horrible people name their children things like Eiler.

He was retiring at the end of that semester so he was a lot more interested in having a nice, fun end to his carer than actually teaching us stuff. He spent a lot of time telling us about love.

Now that he's retired, he spends a lot of time photographing birds in Florida and stealing ice cream signs all over Europe. Evidence of his international spoils are all over his house.

Reasons why I'm glad I'm moving


The building has settled. That much I know. It was brand new when I moved in a little over two years ago and now it has settled a lot.

When they were building it I watched them put two feet of crushed rock underneath the parking lot. When they built the neighbourhood down the street they drove piles into the ground for weeks to stabilize the ground. They barely put anything under the foundation of this building. Why that was is a mystery to me. The ground is pretty marshy around here.

The people who built the building, my landlords, they're not exatly smart, but that's a topic that I intentionally skirt on this blog for multiple reasons.

So the building has settled, or is settling. Maybe it will settle more. All I know is that there are cracks by door and windowsills that are getting larger and the kitchen counter's trying to separate itself from the wall.

Is that why all of a sudden trains are bothering me? I've lived more or less in the same location for over 16 years and there have always been trains nearby. I'm so used to them that I've mistaken earthquakes for freight trains. I don't remember them ever being all that disruptive.

But all of a sudden I'm being shaken awake in the middle of the night by trains idling nearby. They sit there for about an hour from 2:30-3:30 before they move on. It's not really shaking, more like a low vibration that makes me nauseous. I've never been a good sleeper but this makes it worse.

I wake up feeling really dumb and drained. All the better reason to move.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

47/365: Maryanne

She was our lunch monitor one year, and one of the people my parents called the three or four days in my childhood when they went out without the kids.

You might find a million reasons why they didn't go out by themselves all that often, but I think the real reason was because I was so damn irritating. I don't know how many times I said "that's not how my mom does it" but Maryanne took it with a lot of grace. She was sooo nice.

Still, I was horrified when I saw her scrape leftovers from dinner off her plate and into the garbage.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

46/365: George

George is a sensitive soul. He tells me that he doesn't understand girls and I tell him that I don't understand people. What he does understand is Mozart. He is one of those people who can really feel and connect with the music as he's playing it. It's really lovely to watch. He has a habit of bringing up existentialism and Shakespeare up in the same sentence all the time.

If only he could give up the genetic splicing-in-labs gig he's got going and take up art or music instead, he could actually do something good for the world.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mon francais est terrible.

Someone flicked the wrong switch at the CBC the other night and all of a sudden all the commercials were in French. Being Canadian, of course I don't have a problem with this.

Bonjour, je m'appelle Erin. Je suis un pizza. Ouvrez vous la fenetre.

Je vais chercher un agent bilingue. Un moment, s'il vous plait.

J'ecoute musique du Quebec.

Qui fait la musique? Malajube fait la musique! J'aime Malajube.

That's about it for my rotten French. I had semi-decent non-anglophone-accented French in elementary school. I worked two years ahead in the curriculum, so that when I went to middle school I got to repeat those two years at a lower level of difficulty. They wouldn't accomodate my requests for more challenging work so I failed because I'm passive aggressive.

Besides, the stuff they teach you in French is pretty dumb and useless anyways. That's the reason why my French is limited to knowing how to order a pizza, how to talk to an alien and how to tell if a clown is confused.

It put me off of French so I took Latin in high school where I was finally allowed to learn by rote like I'd always wanted to. I loved it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The office


I'm told Herbert Marcuse used to fill his office with plastic hippos, but I can't remember why.

My desk has a blue glass head named Headley and a shoelast on it. Why? Why not?

If I had an office I'd fill it with plants, random things and pictures of the ocean. There would be papers and books stacked everywhere haphazardly, but I'd know where everything was because that's the way I am.

The calendar on the wall would be four months behind and there would be a frog on my computer to keep the bugs out. There would be a critical lack of available writing implements because I'm convinced they like to hide from me.

If everything was perfect there'd be ivy over the windows, or a view into a courtyard that's not used frequently. I'd keep a blanket stashed somewhere for when it gets cold. There'd be a french press for really kickass coffee and looseleaf teas. I'd have a goodly supply of motheaten lopi sweaters.

It would be the sort of place where people could find me slumped over my desk after I haven't been seen for a couple of days, because I'd absolutely refused to retire. Can't retire with a setup like that.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Let's forget, or not.

It used to bother me that books went out of print, and that libraries cull their books for the new. I used to think that it was a shame, that so many different things were lost, that it was such a waste of human energy to be throwing it away.

Just think of all the literature that we have lost over the years, because of disaster or negligence or whatever. For so long books and art, were so hard to reproduce and created in such small quantities that it's impossible to know how much knowledge is lost to us forever. Surely there were masterpieces out there other than Shakespeare and Rembrandt and all the other names we know? But today we have the technology, if not the resources and desire to save it all, and yet we still pulp books and throw stuff out.

It bothered me a lot until I realized that at any given time, a substantial amount of society's creative output is really not all that good. It's entirely subjective, of course, but have a look at the art in second hand stores and try not to agree with me. There may be nice things there, but a lot of it is just... not.

The same goes for books and films. There are good ones and there are bad ones, and the good ones have a habit of enduring in the public memory better than those which are crappy.

Which isn't saying that everything we save is good. It also isn't saying that everything we lose is crap either, because I'm sure a lot of good stuff flies under the radar.

I'm also not saying that the not-so-good stuff shouldn't be created either, because I think strong public sphere, arts and literary communities are pretty important, even if not everyone can be expected to create masterpieces. It's the same philosophy behind athlete development. You need farm teams to be able to produce professionals.

But in the end, this leaves a lot of the not-so-good. Not to be negative or anything but there are tonnes of things that should just be forgotten.

And yet, instead of forgetting this stuff we stick it all up on the internet these days, which makes me wonder what we'll all look like in ten or fifteen years.

Still, it's fun to laugh at, so in the spirit of laughing at stuff that really should be forgotten, go forth and judge a book by its cover and cringe at photoshop disasters.

Friday, March 21, 2008

This post brought to you by craigslist

It looks like for the time being I will be moving back in with my parents and cats. Though if that doesn't work out, there are other options. Though, I must say that the whole being naked all the time just because you can thing can get old fairly quickly, especially when your desk chair is upholstered in vinyl. As can being naked while cooking things that splatter.

All the valuable life lessons living alone teaches you.

I was sold on this one the moment I saw the bedspread.

I'm not sure why I was surprised that there are so many people offering free room and board in exchange for living with them. Sounds like something I'd do, only it would have to come with a caveat that people would actually have to live with me.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The End of Violence (1997)

I'm trying to think of blogworthy things to say today but all I can really think of right now is a film we watched in class today, so why not review it?

The End of Violence (1997) is a tale about a Hollywood film producer who abandons his soul-eating job and lifestyle creating violent films after he becomes involved in a double homicide. He joins a family of Latino gardeners to live a simple, peaceful life. His wife who had previously contemplated leaving him is suddenly saddled with his empire and affairs, and becomes just as sleezy as he had previously been. Meanwhile a secret government conspiracy is brewing, cameras are being set up in public places to catch crime and the creator of the system is beginning to have doubts about ethics. The police officer who is investigating it all is trying to get the attention of a 2nd rate actress.

Does that sound convoluted enough for you?

I found myself grimacing through much of this film. It was a really good example of how the best acting in the world can not breathe life into a crappy script. It was trying to be deep and contemplative, but instead it was overly wordy and the dialogue was horribly unnatural. It relied heavily on monologues and narration to get its point across, reminding me with irritation of what they say in every creative writing class: "show, don't tell!" The fact that they had to resort to speech to tell the audience what the film was about is both poor writing and patronizing.

The lack of character development was frustrating. I didn't know them, I didn't care about them and I didn't believe them at all.

In spite of my criticism, the movie did have a few decent moments. I thought the scene where the fugitive producer was able to walk out of a store under the noses of the police was particularly well done, showing that their biases made them blind to what was actually there. I give it kudos for its reasonably accurate portrayal of surveillance technology as limited and somewhat flawed in its abilities, unlike practically every other film with surveillance in it. I also think that it was attempting to bring up some interesting and very relevant questions about the pervasiveness of violence in our society, and whether violence can be conquered through violent or coercive means.

I did find means to amuse myself. The giant laptops and cell phones brought back memories for me. The explicit use of Netscape Navigator made me giggle. I loved hating Andie MacDowell's hideously dated wardrobe.

And yet, in the end the narrator begins to speak about how he's not afraid of nuclear subs or the Chinese anymore and there's a final, uninspring shot of a pier by the ocean that leaves you with an overwhelming feeling of meh.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

45/365: Amy

She experimented a lot with the format of our tutorials, deciding at one point that we'd turn them into poetry readings. She then shocked us with her modern Jerry Springer themed poetry that had been published in a now (and even then) defunct journal that had a weird name that might possibly have been "Flying Dog Carcass."

In other words, she was the perfect introduction to my university career.

Monday, March 17, 2008

What I don't understand about ethnic conflict

If I really wanted to do my Irish heritage justice today, I guess I could have put on something orange and punched a Catholic, but I'll pass like I do every year. Ethnic conflict is dumb and pointless.

As is St. Patrick's day.

Besides, I prefer the term "Ulster Scot" to "Northern Irish."

But I don't really understand this ethnic conflict stuff. Like how my sister's boyfriend's family has decided that they don't like us because they've decided that they're Jewish and we're German.

Now, aside from the obvious fact that none of us were alive during the war, and that no ethnic group is entirely homogenous, we have to consider a couple other things. I will not be the one to claim that they're not Jewish, but I do know that they don't observe any Jewish customs or celebrate Jewish holidays, and that the only Jewish person in their family married into it and has no descendants. People can call themselves whatever they want, I guess, but I don't know, they seem kind of more like Russians to me. After all, they came from Russia, speak Russian, eat cabbage and have filled their living room full of metruska dolls.

And are we Germans? Sure, if you go back far enough on my mother's side there were people who spoke German. They didn't set foot in Germany for the first time until they left Europe in the late 1800s. By the time of the War they were fairly well established in North America and had been for some time.

But if you go back and look at where they came from originally, it was further east, somewhere along the Ukranian/Moldovan border, so you might want to call them Ukranian or Moldovan, not German.

But wait! Have a look at your history book and you'll find that in the 1800s neither modern day Ukraine nor Moldova were their own countries. Who was in control of that territory? Well, oddly enough, Russia. So I guess you could call them Russian.

And the other funny thing? Last time I checked, we're all human.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

44/365: M.W.

She was in the middle of writing a formula mystery novel when she was my teacher in high school. She would talk with obvious fascination about the nuns in one of the convents up the valley from here. They would sit and meditate, their eyes closed, coils of incense burning spirals into their scalps.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

43/365: Isamu

Legend had it that Sam had been born under the hood of a Datsun pickup. I used to think that people meant that literally, but now I take that to mean that he had been a mechanic for a very, very long time and he was excellent.

A lot of what he said didn't make a lot of sense. He'd talk really quickly and earnestly about the car and mom would just smile and nod, mostly. Sometimes he'd pop the hood and start pointing at stuff. Most of the time all you could really make out of what he said was "Very bad! Very bad!"

We knew it was very bad though, because we never bothered to get the oil changed, or any of the rest of that maitenance stuff. In spite of that, Sam kept that car running, and miraculously enough, under his careful watch it continued against all odds to pass Air Care.

There was an old car in the back of his shop where he made his own wine. He gave us a bottle once, but we didn't get to drink it before the cork shot off it one day.

Some time after he retired we looked him up in the phone book and visited him at home. He had quite the garden. He had cut down a large number of alder saplings and had planted the trees all over his yard, and grew grapes all over them, a grape forest.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The playhouse


My parents could never afford to buy a boring, modular, pre-fabbed playhouse so this is the one dad designed. He and I built it together from salvaged materials, but it wasn't completely finished until long after I was too old to use it.

It had three plexiglass windows that opened, a stained glass window and a loft inside.

It sat unfinished in our back yard for a long time. The older I got, the slower the construction began to be. The door was installed when I was 6, the windows when I was 8, the interior was renovated when I was 9. There were plans for a table inside but it never happened.

I don't remember playing with it a lot. I was never much of a girl. I tried to grow carrots in the lawn in front of it one year but it didn't work.

People used to approach me when I was in the back yard to ask me if it was for sale. I never kept track of the hundreds of dollars I was offered for it because I never considered getting rid of it.

The gingerbread trim was a late addition. All of a sudden there was one last push to finish it. Shortly after I learned that it had been traded for a new transmission in the van, and with that it was gone. Something about that hurt - maybe that it was never actually completed for me. But then again, I was 17 and we had to move so it was probably for the better.

playhouse 2

42/365: Angie

My friends didn't like Angie and I never figured out why. Some sort of dispute that I had never been party to festered and got nasty. My friends never let me know what was behind their pathological dislike of certain other people, and I never bothered to ask. I didn't like or dislike her but I never saw a reason to be mean.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The other version of Bladerunner

My parents used to watch horror, thrillers, dystopian futurist fantasies and the like. They don't anymore, but before a certain point sometime just after I was born they seem to have seen most of them.

But beyond that there were some genres we just never rented or watched so there are huge blank spots in my film knowledge. Oh, sure, we'd be looking at the selection of films we could rent and my parents would say something like "Oh, that was a good film" or "That was really big when it came out, it had this scene where something really cool happened..." and then they'd say we should rent it one day. I'd ask "why not get it today?" but the answer was often no.

I've tracked down and watched a few of these films on my own, but there are tons I still haven't seen.

To satisfy my curiosity, my parents would often give me plot synopses, stuff like about how some guy was looking for another guy who knew something about his father. I've heard some of these summaries more than once, so I know them pretty well, or at least my parents' versions of them.

One such film was Bladerunner, which I finally saw in class today, and all I want to know is where the cannibalism was. And that guy? You know, that guy who went over to the other side? And the guy who got framed and now they're all after him? I seriously didn't see it.

The question is which movie my parents saw.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I'm not all that unpredictable, really. This is the time of the semester where I spend most of my time thinking about all the wonderful artistic projects that I could be doing if I didn't have school.

Like I want to turn a wooden vase on a lathe, burn a line drawing into it and then stain it with watercolours and seal it with laquer.

And I want to make a series of glass kites that look like birds to hang around my apartment.

And I want to cast silver and bronze and cut gemstones and paint canvases.

I want to make casts of my feet in blue fibreglass, mount them upside-down on a piece of mahogany and shine a light through them as a table lamp.

I want to design a dramatic, asymmetrical, goldfish themed lace stole in silk thread.

I want to shoot the film I wrote in grade 11. It's scripted and storyboarded, but it just sits there.

I want to animate the other film I have shelved.

I want to actually get good at photography.

I want to design and make my entire wardrobe.

I want to change this blog into more of a moleskine, a creative outpouring of stuff that more than five people would actually want to read (though you are an awesome five people).

For the most part I have the skills and the equipment with which to do this stuff. I just don't have the time or the ability to follow through with creative things before I get bored and think of something else.

I'm all talk and no action.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I have coined the following words recently:

cowichanize - the act of making something more like a cowichan sweater
ex. "I am going to cowichanize that cardigan."

bunaded - the act of being clothed in a bunad
ex. "On the 17th of May I'm going to get all bunaded up and watch the parade."

I used the word "cowichanize" on one of the boards in Ravelry and then all of a sudden it kind of took off and now several people have started using it. Correctly in sentences, no less.

I find that a tad odd because I've attempted to create my own words before and it never quite worked. It's all well and good to make something like that up, and to have it make sense and be useful, but if you can't get other people to use it too then you haven't really made up a new word, have you?

But then all of a sudden I reveal my secret plans to make a cowichan inspired fitted jacket out of White Buffalo wool (discontinued :( ) inherited from family friends and coworkers and scrounged at thrift stores. Now everyone's using my word and I wasn't even trying. I kind of feel like Anne Bradstreet's author to her book.

"Bunaded" on the other hand, seems to be taking more time to catch on...

Monday, March 10, 2008

41/365: the Venerable

In Creative Writing 12 our teacher decided that we needed to loosen up and clear our minds so she began to devote half our class time to meditation. After a while she decided we weren't doing it right so she brought in the Venerable to meditate with us.

He arrived, dressed in crimson robes and told us about Buddhism, and about how no one makes fun of him on the Skytrain because people assume he knows really kickass karate. Then we meditated. I don't know if it helped my writing at all, but the mark I got from that class got me into university.

Sunday, March 09, 2008



I got some photo frames on sale at Opus so that I could put up some pictures near my desk, but I haven't decided which ones I wanted to print out yet and I really shouldn't have bothered in the first place.

But it's just like how I brought the big window box inside and dressed it up with some new potting soil and some manure. I planted it with lettuce and other leafy greens so I would have salad all summer. Now the sprouts are long and gangly, reaching up in search of light and I won't put them outside because there's no point. I shouldn't have even let them take root.

I'm moving soon. It's not really a shock. I've known it's been coming for more than a year, but it doesn't change the fact that I don't want to go.


Saturday, March 08, 2008


IMG_6765_1This year the birds are back.

At the parkhouse the main kitchen window was five feet tall and had six panes. A yellow cedar sat in front, its downward sloping limbs served to shield the window from the lawn outside. We had a bird feeder suspended from one of them, and our kitchen table was a semi circle that faced this window, giving us a front seat view of everyone who visited.

There were chickadees, sparrows and finches, mostly. Sometimes starlings would invade and muscle out the songbirds and we'd have to throw rocks to scare them away. The crows were too big to use the feeder so we never saw them there. Occasionally a junko would make an appearance, but they're shy birds, preferring to pick through the seeds that have dropped on the ground, and disappearing the moment they think they're being watched.

A pair of finches used to make their nest inside the feeder on top of the seeds. We'd watch them come back year after year. Their day-to-day life became the source of much conversation and I missed them when they stopped coming back.

There were squirrels too. Doug the douglas squirrel was the first. We watched him slowly fatten himself up on seeds when there were no birds around.

Mabel was the biggest squirrel. She was grey, which isn't common around here. One time I watched Sally chase her around the base of the tree. They'd run around one direction, then stop to catch their breaths, then they'd both switch direction and run the other way. It didn't seem to occur to them that perhaps they should run away from the tree or up it. It was the sort of scene that cartoons are made of, except that it was life and death.

Harvey the nocturnal flying squirrel was shy. He'd sit on the roof in the dark and reach down to the seeds, his armpit flaps bunched up underneath him. If you turned on the light, he'd stare directly at you before gliding off into the darkness.

The first thing I noticed when I moved back was that there were no birds anymore. The neighbourhood was silent, but that seems to be changing finally. I haven't seen any birds yet, but I can hear them.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Naturally, intoxication leads to thoughts about punctuation.

The funny thing about alcohol is that it makes me really tired and not brilliant, so please forgive me for the fact that I have nothing of value to say. I don't do this often. Though something occurred to me just now:

I am the sort of person who would get a colon tatooed on my butt.
Or maybe a semi-colon, if I was feeling particularly half assed.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Three isolated memories

Someone has dropped a neutron bomb on the town and only the women were affected. The men wander the streets in bunches. We are staying at an Oriental themed hotel on the Amalfi Coast that has been scratched into the face of the cliff, and we have decided to walk into town, but where are the women? We are greeted by hisses and cat calls from all angles. There is a honk, and naively I wave as a scooter shoots past. He makes a quick u-turn in the middle of the block and we realize that I have probably just consented to sleep with him and he's going to come back so we duck into a bar to take refuge in the cigarette smoke. There is a music program on the screen. Someone is interviewing Robbie Williams and it is subtitled in Italian.

Arnie is sitting on the front porch, rolling a cigarette. I keep a wide berth because secretly I'm frightened of smokers, but I'm also secretly fascinated by the way he rolls tobacco into paper. I make a big no-smoking sign, complete with smoke billowing out of a crooked cigarette and summon up my courage. "No smoking in the house!" I shout behind him, brandishing my sign. He turns, startled. "Oh hi, Jonski," he says, "I'm not going to come inside. It's sunny out here." I sit with him for a while, in the sun, then lose interest and go inside.

We are at a residential Guide camp. Because of our advanced age, we are there without our own leaders, and we are also at least three years older than any of the other participants. We are bored. Some exploration reveals that we can climb onto the roof of the building from the window in our room. There are some guys leaving the corner store across the street, looking mildly suspicious, like they're trying to shoplift something. On a dare I shout out that I think they're hot and the three of us duck back into our room. Shortly afterward a group of young men gathers at the gate of the camp, sending the leaders into a panic and causing a camp-wide lock down. Because we are assholes, we make the ridiculous claim to one girl that the guys outside have axes, and the rumour spreads like wildfire. Panic ensues and we lock ourselves in our room to wait out the storm.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

40/365: Grumpy Tom

Tom refers to his son affectionally as "the little shit" and is very careful to make sure the kid knows that he takes no joy in anything that he does. Under his careful tutelage the boy is turning into a sour little asshole.

He had a dog but neglected her until someone had to take her away because she had nearly barked herself hoarse and was becoming a nuissance.

For him bigger is better. He's got the big boat, the big RV, the big seadoos, the big garage to put them all in, and the big garage extension he built because he needs more room for it all. It doesn't seem to matter to him that he never actually uses this stuff.

He had to build a giant extension for his deck to accomodate the extra people he can cook for with his industrial sized barbecue. The deck now sits directly above the fence, overlooking my parents' yard and the barbecue floods the yard with smoke and the sickening smell of charred meat.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Time to get back to work

I have been spending too much time on ebay lately. I'm finding things like this:

Cute little jacket, yes? An inch and a half too small at the waist, yes? Sometimes that drives me nuts. But at the same time it saves me money as well so it can't all be bad.

My assignments for the rest of the day are to finish a paper, clean up my balcony and make soup because I'm hungry.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Remember Seattle?


Nostalgic nights at the bar with people you haven't seen in years are interesting because for whatever reason my memories never match anyone elses' memories.

Remember the time we went to Seattle in 2000 and stayed at a crappy motel and found that they had given one of the rooms we had booked to someone else but we couldn't really go and complain because we were trying to fit six or eight people in that room.

After much haggling we ended up with some sort of family suite with two beds in the one room and one in the other room which was perfect because we didn't have to sleep on the floor unlike some of the other people in some of the other rooms.

I got to stay in the one room with the SFU girls who were a lot older than me and Irina and Jo took the bed in the other room because they were being antisocial or leaving me out of things or something. But lucky for me the university girls were a hell of a lot of fun. We decided that the sheets on the bed didn't seem very clean so we started stripping them off in a fit of giggling.

Irina and Jo heard us from the other room and they came in to see what we were doing and found that we had nearly stripped the sheets down to the mattress (which didn't look overly clean either when we got to it). They decided that they wanted to join in so they took all the sheets off their bed and started to drag their matress into the room, only to find that there was a stack of pornography between the matress and the box spring.

The reactions in the room ranged from horror to shreiks to hoots of laughter. A couple of people were decidedly offended so we called room service...

...only to suddenly realize that that might not be a good idea. After all, there were more of us in the room than we had paid for, we were standing around in our underwear and the beds were completely torn apart, the sheets all over the place and one matress was half on the floor.

Someone flicked the offending magazines underneath one of the beds and in a flash we were all in motion: trying to put the beds back together and throwing on clothing. Room service found us in the middle of this. I have no idea how we looked but it was certainly not normal and nonchalant.

He was tall, thin, gawky, awkward in his movement. He stood at the door for a while, trying to understand what was happening. We didn't really give him a chance to figure it out. He was shooed in and then shooed out and then we were safe, and it was time to go to bed.

Do you remember that? I guess not.

But still, it's nice to spend time catching up with people, even if you don't remember the same things. It's good to find out what people are doing these days and hear the story about how exactly the rowing club imploded after we left. It's also fun to have someone at your table win the door prize - a pair of white boxers, size XXL.

39/365: O'Neill, 1992

O'Neill gave names to our big toes: "They love each other and they hate to be apart. Make sure you get them to touch every time you kick." Then he sent us off to do laps of kicking. I took it a bit too literally and somehow managed to scrape and bruise up my feet on my toenails.

At the end of that summer he packed all his worldy posessions into an orange Volkswagen microbus, and I caught him clearing the last of his stuff out of the guard shack at the pool. He said he was moving to California. I was the only person to see him off.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

More nostalgia!


I have a lot of blurry pictures that I took of my mom looking like this during the era when she was doing her master's degree and trying to get her CGA designation.

Why? A certain someone was really good at eating homework and theses.