Sunday, August 31, 2008

I'd rather write about cheese curds.

It is near midnight. I have yet to write a post. Some days are just like that.

This is technically a long weekend, though it hasn't felt like one at all. I'm not sure if it's that yesterday was so busy and tiring or that I feally didn't have any plans that were out of the ordinary.

The most exciting thing I planned to do today was to walk to the bank to deposit some cheques. Since it's a long weekend their hours were reduced, but I figured that I'd just put them in the ATM because I'm in no hurry to spend it.

I arrived at the bank to find it closed like I had imagined it would be but there was a homeless person laying out in front of the door to the cash machines. I didn't want to step over this person or make her move so I just kept walking by. I don't know if that was guilt or just a matter of not liking the picture that that situation would have made. I guess they're both guilt.

Once back at home I attempted to make a dent in the mess that is my living space. I haven't had a closet since I was evicted earlier this summer, so I've had to store all of my closet clothing in a trunk. It's not such a big deal because the thought of keeping my clothes in a large trunk really amuses me.

I have a few things that absolutely must be hung up, though, and I've managed to sneak them into other peoples' closets, mostly without them noticing. ABBY, YOU DID NOT JUST READ THAT.

Anyways, I washed, folded and packed away all my work clothes into the trunk so that they'll no longer be scattered all over the place and because I won't be needing them for a while. I'm glad to be finished work because it was starting to eat away at me, though not glad about the pathetic amount I earned this summer compared to how I've done in the past.

Yet, for once I'm not chomping at the bit to get back to school. I've actually been feeling really apprehensive about it. As far as education goes I did pretty much everything right, got my scholarships and good grades and finished on time with the correct number of credits and yet I chose not to apply for graduation because I remain undecided as to what the next step is.

Now, coming back for another year with what amounts to be a full degree's worth of coursework under my belt, I'm suddenly running into stuff I don't know, and things I feel like I should have learned earlier, and for the first time ever I don't have the prerequisites for anything. Its effect has been destabilizing, and I really feel like throwing out my grad school applications because nothing I will write in there will be good enough.

With eviction, moving, jury duty, family dysfunction, the cat dying, persistent unemployment then subsequent crappy employment, indecision about my education and feeling socially isolated and alienated due to my move, this summer has given my morale a bad beating. Maybe it's not so strange that I've been feeling so ambivalent and apathetic about everything.

Great, I set out to write a dumb post about how it was late at night, my ear was itchy and I was eating cheese curds and this is how it turns out. Can someone please make my tale of woe go away so that I can stop being fixated on it? I'd rather write about cheese curds. They squeak when you bite into them, you know. But only the fresh ones do that.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Playdate with the cousins

IMG_7461_1I've spent most of today babysitting my cousins and my evening has been spent decompressing.

My neck's sore and my sweater's stretched out but I'm otherwise alright, except for the fatigue. They're a bit of a handfull. Not bad kids, but on the undisciplined side.

Part way thorough their father came home and he began immediately to follow them around, nattering, fussing and cleaning. As always, they take this as a cue to act up and are a lot worse than they are when their parents aren't around.

I compare him to me. If the kids leave a bunch of books or toys all over the floor, meh, maybe they're not done with them yet. I don't much care if they shreik a bit because that's what kids do. If they get themselves sticky with food then there's no point in scolding them, though I won't hesitate to manhandle them into the bathroom and give them a good scrubbing.

I will however crack down on the practice of chewing the edges of the coffee table because "it makes it hard to run in the living room." I will proclaim loudly that I think the practice of eating used bandaids picked off one's injuries is gross and I solidly refuse to talk to girls who run around with no pants on.

If one of them decides to ride her bike without a helmet into the middle of the street, she will get locked into the back yard. I will watch from a distance as she tries to undo the latch on the gate, only to find that once the latch is open, the chair she is standing on is in the way of the gate. When she gets down to move the chair, the latch will close itself and she'll still be locked in. I will try hard to stifle my giggles.

When this results in a tantrum that involves screaming, crying, rolling on the ground and eating wads of grass, I will completely ignore the attention-seeking behaviour.

Then we will all go inside, curl up on the couch, watch a movie and they will tell me that they like me best.

93/365: Sharon

My mother's aunt. I don't understand her, which is why I can't bring myself to dislike her. She seems to have a pathological fear of me, and from the day I was born she has gone out of her way to shun me. Every time I have ever seen her I have made a point to say hi to her in the most polite and friendly way I can. Every time I do this, she stiffens and without a word she turns on her heel and walks away.

It's just as well though. I don't know what we'd talk about if she had actually bothered to have some sort of a conversation like a normal human being. I really can't think of anything innocuous to ask about. Her hysterectomy? The crazy that rubbed off onto her when she worked in a mental institution? Her horrible cooking? Her multiple divorces?

Or perhaps I could ask for advice about how to save every single penny you earn, alienate your friends and family, turn your previously domesticated cat feral while it still lives under your roof and then wonder why the hell you're lonely?

I think it's better that I say nothing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

No soup for you


Today was decidedly a soup day because it was so miserable out. The rain came and blankeded the city in a fog that hid the mountains and made everything grey and blah.

I thought of getting some soup from the cafeteria on the fourth floor but the soups of the day were chicken gumbo and French onion. I wasn't in a chicken gumbo mood and I think French onion is a pathetic excuse for soup.

The reasons why I hate French onion soup are as follows:

It tastes bad.

It barely has any onions in it.

It's too salty.

It makes my pee smell funny and that weirds me out.

Sure, Vancouver's big and I could have probably found some soup that I liked somewhere else but I didn't. It was too rainy and ugh.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

92/365: Colleen

I didn't see it in the interview, but on my first day of work I found out that one of her legs was completely covered with dark brown spots. Yet that didn't seem to bother her at all. She strode around the pool deck without embarassment and answered peoples' questions about her leg with a confident nonchalance. It made me feel better about my own scarred, blotchy legs.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The ticket line


This morning I had to buy a new train ticket, and I thought that by arriving several minutes early I would have plenty of time. Wrong. Inevitably there will be a line up already there, and though it's not a long one, it can potentially take forever. I have no idea why some people can't figure it out.

Then again, I shouldn't complain because I have been that person who puts her credit card into the machine upside down, or who stands at the machine doing nothing because she hasn't noticed that the machine wants her to enter her PIN.

Sleep deprivation: the great equalizer.

I don't have a lot to say so I drew another picture. It's not really as good as the last picture because I didn't put as much time and care into it. I hope that's alright.

Sunday, August 24, 2008



I love taping over the numbers on the clock, putting a song on repeat and becoming absorbed in etching out a picture with some sort of overly repetitive and tedious method. It seems to be the only way I can draw anything that I am remotely happy with at the end.

Song of choice today? Kissing the Beehive minus the creepy video.

I have so many other things I should be doing right now but screw them.

91/365: Rainer

He was a rower, but clearly not made of the same cloth as the rest of them, and had a fondness for homemade gadgets like sunglasses with rear-view mirrors that no one actually needs. He had crazy stories about how his boat sank in the Amazon while he was racing in Brazil in the 70s, and how he was bitten by fish. After I met him he began to pop up in the most unexpected places, like in the community band one day, where he played the digeridoo.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

That's just corn!


My grandma used to hate swearing, so she'd use names of vegetables as epithets. Things weren't bullshit; they were corn. I struggled to keep a straight face whenever she was angry because I just could not take her seriously.

We've been talking about doing the corn maze for ages. The last time I did it was maybe four years ago or so. It's Saturday, we had nothing better to do and it's supposed to rain tomorrow so why not get lost in a corn field?


Dumb picture.


Not-so-dumb picture.


A sea of corn.

I'm not very verbose today, but that's alright. No one reads this thing on the weekends anyways.

90/365: Uncle Lloyd

If you google him one of the first few results will be the Tamil Tigers who have apparently relied heavily on one of the articles that he wrote about Quebec separatists to justify their cause. I told him this one day and he said that it was widely regarded as his best article ever, not by him, mind you, but others. He's pompous and self-important, but I kind of like that. There must be something to it because you don't get to be a professor emeritus unless you've achieved at least some level of respect.

He's been to each continent at least twice, including Antarctica. Every time he comes home he speaks another language, but French and German the best. French because he worked in the civil service and German because he spent his sabbaticals teaching political science in Austria.

I rated him as "hot" on but it didn't stick for very long.

Friday, August 22, 2008

That is my mother talking through my mouth

August 21, 2008 024

I forgot how dopey worknight concerts make me. When I got up in the morning I was awake and clear headed enough to get to work but not particularly coordinated. I got off the train at Waterfront and walked to the top of the stairs where a penny was waiting on the ground for me.

I bent over to pick it up and lost my balance somehow, and from there I crumpled very ungracefully to my knees. I began to laugh, which is probably why no one bothered to help me. I now have two bruised knees and the toe of my right shoe was badly scuffed, but otherwise I'm alright.

No, I was not at the sopping wet Radiohead concert that everyone's been talking about. My relationship to Radiohead consists of mild appreciation. I think they've made some decent music but I don't love them enough to shell out the cash to see them.

But will I go see concerts that people have bought me tickets for? Hell yes. That would be the main reason why I saw Jack Johnson last night at Thunderbird Stadium. It was a pretty enjoyable concert all around. Unlike Radiohead, the weather cooperated with us, though a lot of the grass was still pretty trashed from a couple days ago.

The only thing I really don't like about Thunderbird Stadium is the lack of incline on the field, because it makes it even harder than normal for us short kids to see anything. Luckily there are some considerate tall people out there. One girl kept making her boyfriend move out of our way every time he stepped in front of us. He'd then turn and make really melodramatic apologies. Eventually they decided to stand behind us.

Being at a concert full of stoned people makes me really aware of the fact that I'm turning into my mother, but also happy for the fact that my sister's got the bug worse. At one point in time there was a young couple in their teens near us doing dumb lovey dovey stuff. She was really intoxicated and clingy and he looked really happy to have the chance to grope her awkwardly, which had Abby's knickers in a knot.

Then at one point in time her skirt started falling down so that you could see her underwear. Abby got really pissed off about it and I laughed at her because she sounded exactly like mom. Though after they were gone I agreed that if he was really a good boyfriend he would have pulled her skirt up.

I count on my friends to tidy me up when I start looking like a disheveled whore because that's what good friends do. Yes, that is my mother talking through my mouth.

August 21, 2008 034

89/365: Ingrid

I'd meet my friends at the same place for lunch every day and one day she was with them. She just kind of appeared, and no one bothered to introduce us so it was over a week before I learned her name. She had a crazy sense of humour, and because she had foreign parents her stories always seemed more interesting than ours. In high school we'd leaf through Vogue, Elle and GQ with the metro guys and commiserate about our IB assignments. She stubbornly refuses to get a facebook account, which makes it harder to keep in touch.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Last year's cake

For all you people who haven't been reading this blog for very long, Kevin reminded me to tell you that my sister's birthday creation for me last year was pretty shitty.

More photos of that cake here.

88/365: Stephanie

She had a glass eye that was always slow to follow the working one. I tried very hard to be nice to her and not stare. One day my parents told us to go play in my back yard and a girl I knew from Guides arrived and invited herself in, demanding to be the centre of attention. I only talked to the other girl for a moment, but in that time Stephanie made herself disappear. She was used to it, she said, and I felt horrible.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fake sushi

Enough depressing introspective bullshit. My sister wishes to inform you that she made me cupcakes for my birthday and they were cool.

August 5, 2008 024

August 5, 2008 020

August 5, 2008 005

I didn't post pictures of them earlier because I was blown away by the magnitude of their awesomeness and consequently forgot.

87/365: Mme. Carr

She was the computer/French/family planning/gifted kids teacher. She was most likely the reason why I got through elementary school as well as I did. She recognized that I was bored and unchallenged and arranged for me to spend most of my time doing my own thing, which just so happened to be what I needed. Too bad that made it so hard to adjust to taking normal classes with normal kids later on.

Monday, August 18, 2008


My brain's been a lucid mush for the past couple days. I guess that's an odd way of saying it. It's just that sometimes I have those moments where everything going on in there is nothing but clarity but I feel like I'm floating around in a bubble detatched from everything.

It's the sort of feeling that lends itself well to me writing a post that tries ineffectively to explain what it feels like, but it's also the sort of thing that lends itself well to me writing a post that's filled with things I hesitate to let anyone read.

But I've been bouncing around a lot of thoughts lately.

I can't remember when it was that my father said that he'd never seen me show my mom any sort of affection. I thought about it for some time and then I never bothered to tell him that I agreed with him.

It's something that has never ever come naturally to me. I had to teach myself to show it because apparently thinking it is just not enough.

I've always felt kind of socially retarded that way, like I'm always slow to pick up on how I'm supposed to act. I watch people; I have a habit of picking them apart, their motivations, their reasoning, their appearance and habits. Yet, in the end, I still fumble through things, still come across as awkward, still feel like I'm just going through the motions that I learned from a manual or something.

I can't help thinking that I lack compassion and empathy. I have strong morals and convictions and I'm inclined on most days to believe in the goodness of people, but do I feel for them? No. I'm beginning to think I'm not capapble of it. I'm too rational for that.

It's for that reason I'm usually at a loss as to how to deal with things like weddings, births, deaths and the like. I find myself reciting from scripts that are backed with very little real conviction and I feel like shit for it because shouldn't I think your baby photos are cute or feel waves of sympathy and caring because your mother died? Maybe I should, but most of the time I don't. I don't like being confronted with these things because they remind me of my complete inability to be a normal human being.

I've been thinking of the accident on the cusp of this year, replaying the sounds, the sights, the smells of the impact, floating through the path my body took against it's restraints as the van spun around and both vehicles were totaled.

I floated through that too. I wasn't scared at all. I was tense for part of it, and afterward I shook a bit, but that's more physiological shock than anything.

And afterward when everyone was crying, claiming injuries against the insurance and writing wills, suddenly reminded of their own mortality I'm strangely unaffected by the whole thing. It's just another thing to mull over in the detatched way I approach everything.

I've been having chemotherapy dreams again. They come around in a series once in a while. In them I always vomit, feel a lot of pain and lose my hair. After the initial shock of diagnosis, though, I'm calm. They end with me in a hospital bed, sometimes writing a letter, but feeling nothing.

Maybe there's something to them. If there is then I don't feel like telling. They're just dreams.

And I know that if I give it enough time my mood will eventually lift itself. My social ineptitude will remain, but I'll be more positive about it. Even that has become a mundane routine.

I see people and I want to run my hands through their hair.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The sweater sprint

IMG_7502_1Oh, and did I tell you that I'm knitting a sweater from start to finish for the duration of the Olympics? Now I did. Someone invited me to join Team Canada on Ravelry so I did and now I'm knitting this sweater.

Unfortunately it seems to be affecting my blogging a lot, especially with work. I get to the end of the day, just before I have to go to bed to get the requisite hours sleep for me to function at work I suddenly have to put together a post so that you don't all think I've forgotten about you.

Perhaps more importantly, I've been really bad at reading other peoples' blogs lately. So sorry all you people out there.

So while that eats away at my time and attention, why not see what I was blogging about at this time of year?

One year ago today my sister and I were admonishing people who don't recycle and being positive role models.

Two years ago today I posted a video about Alfonso the hexoplegic wasp, which is unfortunatley no longer on Youtube.

Three years ago today I wrote a post that isn't worth reading about how I lost my ride to work, lost a coworker because he'd failed a drill and my sudden paranoia about my own job security, had a sore throat and the basement flooded.

Four years ago tomorrow a building inspector came to "look for asbestos" so that my house could be torn down. He gouged the shit out of walls and tiles with his knife and neglected to check the one place where there actually probably was asbestos. I was pissed off.

Go knitting Team Canada!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

86/365: C.F.

At 22 she still harbours the belief that by posting Harry Potter fanfiction on the internet and navigating a lingerie clad sex kitten through Second Life that she'll be discovered by publishers who will pay her lucrative amounts to write novels for them. She spends so much time doing this that she is unable to hold a job. The last time I saw her she had lost a lot of weight and looked really good, but that wasn't through working out or anything. No, her mother moved out and alone in an apartment with her computer she began to starve until her boyfriend intervened.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Black balls

IMG_7440_1I don't usually talk about work because because but today I'll make an exception.

We were all talking about our weekend plans and someone asked one of our coworkers what her plans were. She said that she didn't have any, so someone suggested that she would be spending the whole weekend with her cat. She turned to us and said "he's very well endowed, you know."

It was so damn random that we were shocked and told her so. She then proceeded to tell us the story about how he's a grey and white cat but he had the hugest black testicles and that she took him to the vet to be fixed and the vet was amazed.

We kept laughing and asking her why the hell she was telling us that, and what it had to do with anything. She said it was because the guys like to talk about girls all the time. We told her that that was no reason to bring up her cat's genitalia in conversation.


I waited for my bus at the train station for 25 minutes until I decided that I was hot and tired and wanted to go home. I started walking and halfway home the bus found me. All the people inside were waving at me and they made the driver stop and pick me up. Is this what it feels like to have neighbours?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What is it with me and elevators?


So far I have resisted the temptation to make dumb faces in the elevator mirrors at work, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been doing dumb stuff. Something about elevators does that to me.

Today I had an accident in the elevator on my way down toward the ground.

It started with a couple shuffles and then it turned into an all out tap routine that took me all over the floor of the elevator, ending in a couple of rapid maxi fords and a flying leap that had me land in a triumphant ending pose right in front of the door...

Just as it opened.

Much to my chagrin, it was not the ground floor and a woman happened to be standing right there. The trip down was uncomfortable, to say the least.

I couldn't look right because she was standing there and I couldn't look left because if I had looked into the mirror I probably would have burst out laughing. I faced forward, trying unsuccessfully to contain the retarded smirk that was plastered all over my face.

At least I haven't gotten into a fight with the elevators in this building yet.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm looking forward to the eight race

Like I said, I'm not overly excited about the Olympics this time around but I do follow rowing. I've heard that they still have Mike Spracklen as a coach and he's got a really impressive coaching record. Love him or hate him, his coaching seems to produce results.

I remember when the men's 8+ won the world cup. It was part of a two year winning streak, and our coaches attributed to Spracklen's no-pain-no-gain style, a style that soon became fashionable in local clubs because of the national team's success.

All of a sudden out of nowhere we started hearing his name mentioned in conversations, our coaches invoking him as if he was some sort of deity that would grant us all luck. Coaches liked it because they were inspired. We didn't like it because it meant more practices, longer practices and harder workouts.

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I think it's fine to push people who have really made a committment to the sport and being competitive. I don't think it's a good idea to push people who are brand new or recreational, which is what happened and it drove a lot of people away, people who would otherwise have stayed around and helped pay the club's bills. But then again, it's difficult not to. Rowing's kind of an all-or-nothing sport. Either it is your entire life or it is not.

Some people put together a video about the world cup victory and I could watch it on repeat for forever. It doesn't seem to get old. But eventually the victory did. In the face of so much optimism and expectation the 8+ raced at the Olympics and failed to even medal. It was heartbreaking to watch.

I'm hoping they do better this time, but I'm also hoping that CBC will put them on some time when I'm not asleep or at work. The last thing I want to do is come home, turn on the TV and see baseball. Why is baseball even in the Olympics?

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm a busy beaver.


I've been a busy, busy little beaver. When I had had enough of being unemployed I got off my ass and found some things to do. I approached a number of local nonprofits to see if I could help them in some sort of personal portfolio and or resume enhancing way.

It turns out that I'm needed! In fact, I'm probably needed far more than my schedule and abilities would allow.

But this means that I have lots of little projects on the go right now that will hopefully eventually help me find a job that I don't hate.

And it seems that other cool things are starting to come out of this too. When I arrived at one place to help out, I was asked out of the blue if I wanted to co-author a weekly column in the local newspaper. Of course I said yes so now I'm busy writing stuff for that so we'll have a few ready to go before September.

It's nice because it gives me things to think about while I'm doing mindless stuff at work.

I'm tired of the Olympics.

I will admit that I just haven't felt very excited about the Olympics this year. No doubt part of it is the controversy about China and human rights and all of that. Part of it is that I'm increasingly more angry about the business side of the IOC, about Olympic branding, Olympic sponsorship, the IOC's lack of concern for anything other than making a buck off of the backs of amateur athletes.

I think I can attribute part of it to fatigue about the 2010 Olympics. I'm tired of hearing about it. I'm tired of the logo controversy. I'm tired of the ugly mascots. I'm tired of hearing about how all the merchandise is made in China, not Canada. I'm tired of hearing about the IOC stepping on small, local, well established businesses for apparently using their brand.

I'm tired of the Olympic themed commercials that have been on TV for well over a year. I'm tired of the Olympic billboards, seeing the Olympic logo on everything everywhere. I'm tired of the "we are all Olympians" message because we are not. The athletes are.

I'm tired of hearing about people getting evicted. I'm tired of seeing the people of the Downtown East Side get displaced and forced out into suburbs that lack the resources to deal with drug addiction, mental illness, disabilities and homelessness. I'm tired of seeing buildings torn down and replaced with high priced condos full of yuppies and dog spas.

I'm tired of collapsed rooves and mold in Olympic venues. I'm tired of the fact that while we pour massive amounts of tax dollars into Olympic venues and infrastructure projects, our hospitals do not have enough beds and the government has been slashing funding to universities.

I'm tired of wondering how much it's going to drive up property values and the cost of living for all of us who paid for it but will not benefit from it.

I don't like that even though we've spent so much money to put the games on, they will not be covered by our national broadcaster so that if you want to see the games on TV you will need to purchase cable.

I'm not looking forward to the increased traffic or the security concerns, the anticipated bedbug infestation or the throngs of tourists that will crowd the sidewalks and get between me and where I want to go, because unlike them, it will be two weeks of business as usual.

I hate to be such a sourpuss about all this. I wish I wasn't but I am and I think I have good reason to be. So fuck the Olympics.

I do like rowing though. My parents are boycotting the Olympics but I've been watching because I want to see how the rowers are doing. The problem is that the events schedule has been vague at best so I've ended up seeing a lot of other stuff too, but I'm just not excited about it like I used to be. It's sad.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

85/365: Dick

Dick is a former Olympic rower, always smiling and universally loved for his friendliness and lack of pretentiousness. He shuffles around the club for a few hours each day, fixing boats and coaching people. I'm not a member there, but sometimes he lets me take out a single. People leave anonymous gifts of cookies, fruit and homemade jam on his toolbench for him to take home to his wife.

Saturday, August 09, 2008



You're supposed to hand stuff down to your younger siblings, not the other way around. That's how it worked for us for a while, until I turned into the preteen chunk that I was and anything I would have discarded would have been too large for her.

But then all of a sudden it started going in the opposite direction. I lost weight and she lost weight, and suddenly that meant that she was passing stuff off to me until she got way too skinny for me to catch up. Not unhealthily skinny. She's just got smaller bones than me.

For the most part I didn't mind that much because her clothes were cooler than mine and I'm an inherently stingy person, so I don't mind having to buy less stuff for myself.

I figured that all of this hand-me-around business was finally over until a couple months ago when I once again endured the immense irritation that comes with trying to locate undergarments of the correct size.

I spent a couple hours angrily busting out of everything I tried on when suddenly I had a bit of an epiphany and decided to try on something bigger. (I'm sure that any other person would have done that right away once they found out that something didn't fit but give me a break, I'm "gifted.") It was then that I found out that I had gone from one uncommon and difficult to locate size to a larger but still uncommon and difficult to locate size. At about the same time my sister did the same thing, and it just so happened that she vacated the size that I now found myself in. Something in the water maybe?

So you probably guessed that this called for more hand-me-ups as my sister suddenly had a drawer full of nearly new bras that she won't use. They weren't quite as enthusiastically accepted as, say, that pair of black jeans or the tshirt that I had secretly wanted, but they ended up in my drawers anyways, to be worn when the ones that I bought for myself were in the wash.

For anyone who is horrified at this point you can rest assured that there is quite a thick line drawn in front of underwear. I don't know if the line is completely necessary because I can't think of anyone who would try giving me their old underwear but whatever. It's there.

All this means that I'm currently wearing something with a cutesy design that I never would have purchased for myself and I'm not sure how long I'm going to bother keeping it because it's itchy and one of the underwires is poking me a bit.

I can't believe I just wrote an entire post about why my boob is itchy. Sometimes I wonder why so many thoroughly awesome people read this blog.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Attack of the taxpayer-funded chintz

Government House

Government House

For the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor and the Queen when she's in town, Government house is kind of austere. It has been burnt to the ground and rebuilt twice, and along the way it's lost a bit of its original splendour. Though as a taxpayer, I think that maybe it's good that they didn't spend so much this time around.

One thing they could have spent money on was a sprinkler system though. Apparently they cheaped out on that so we should all cross our fingers.

dining room

the view from Government House, Victoria

It has a pretty nice view though.

On our way through, the official photographer kept following me around. Maybe I'm photogenic or something. Who knows? Maybe I'm just the perfect addition to an annual report or a tourist brochure.

We were just about to leave when the uniformed woman at the front door asked if we needed to use the washroom. "Are you sure you don't need to go?" she asked, "the washrooms are worth seeing, not to be missed."

I was incredulous, but I went downstairs to have a look.

Now, chances are you have already scrolled down and had a look at the picture. Shame on you, because I'm not finished priming you for it yet. What you have to realize is that the decor in all of the rooms I saw up until that point had been really tastefully done. Lots of woodwork, antique furnature, stained glass windows, Canadian artwork and prints.

And then there was the bathroom.

taxpayer funded chintzy bathroom

The taxpayer-funded pink chintzy bathroom with upholstered powder room stools.


with ballet dancers!

Chintz with ballet dancers!

My good lord it was pink. It made me scream. The pictures do not do it justice.

I can't handle the chintz

Okay, maybe I'm not that photogenic, at least not in the face of so much pink chintz.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Victoria ecclesiastic tour



More pictures.

Sometimes I feel like I've been to Victoria so many times that I've seen everything there is to see. Regardless of who I'm with I can get kind of bored when we eat at the same restaurants, walk down the same streets and see the same things.

One thing that was different for this trip though as that because it was the BC Day long weekend, a lot of the churches and cathedrals were open to the public. Unlike Vancouver, a lot of old churches escaped being torn down, though because not as many people go to church anymore, some of them are being converted for other uses.

A lot of paritioners were around to show people like us around. They were really friendly and obviously very proud of their churches. I liked having the chance to meet some of the people who attend them and getting a sense of what they feelings for the places. That's something that for whatever reason we never got to do in Europe.

As someone who is not the least bit religious, I find the histories of the churches really fascinating, because their construction is inseperable from small-town politics, and their recent histories are a mixture of perseverance, adaptation and failure in the face of social change.

Take Christ Church Cathedral, pictured in the top two pictures. If you look closely in the second photo, you'll notice that the back wall that you see is not where the church ends. The congregation is smaller than it used to be, so they built a new back wall to make the room smaller. The new room that was created at the back there is now gallery space.


Then there's St. John the Divine, where the paritioners are happy to tell you that it has burnt to the ground and been rebuilt twice. This little window was one of the few things that survived.


Next time I'm in Victoria I want to see if I can catch some organ recitals because those things look pretty impressive. I also want to take more pictures of stained glass windows because there are so many of them around and some of them are stunning.


And then there's whatever this church used to be. I don't know because the people who worshiped there are long gone. It's the Conservatory of Music now. The giant stained glass windows shed light on the stage of what is now a recital hall.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

More Victoria




Abby wanted to take a tour of the Legislative buildings and I hadn't been for a long time so that's where we went. It seemed like the tour we got was a lot shorter than the last time I went there, but maybe that was just me.

It is a pretty building though. Am I weird that I kind of want to be a politician just because of that?




Anyways, it's my birthday today. People keep leaving me nice messages on facebook but every time I log in to facebook to thank them all my internet connection goes on the fritz. I have no idea why.



Monday, August 04, 2008



Well, I'm back from Victoria now and I'm going to see if I can get the pictures off my comupter without crashing it. I had anticipated having some internet access while I was over there but I was either busy, asleep or just not able to find any.

IMG_7408_1Abby and I went over on transit, which for us means six hours and five buses in addition to the ferry. All was well until we got downtown to Burrard Station where we waited to take the 601 into Delta. The bus was out of service so we got on another 601 that was sitting near it.

We sat on that for a while until the bus was nearly ready to leave, when the bus driver suddenly announced that it was not the bus we wanted and that he'd forgotten to change the sign.

We hopped back out and waited beside the broken down bus. It wasn't really broken down. It was just that the wheelchair lift had been used and wouldn't retract back underneath the stairs again so the front doors wouldn't close. The technician fiddled around with it manually for a while with little success but then as a last ditch effort he sprayed some WD-40 all over it and then it worked.

The bus left too late from the station for us to catch the next one, or so we thought. The driver called Translink central control to see if they would hold the next bus back a few minutes and then he drove like a bat out of hell to get to Ladner station, honking and tailgating pretty much the whole time.

We made it! In fact, we got to the station almost on time, in spite of leaving about 10 minutes late. The next bus also went really fast to catch the ferry, so fast that it nearly tail-ended a car in front of it. The bus swerved and left tire tracks on the road and the whole thing filled up with the smell of burnt rubber. The excitement!


Once onboard we lamented the lack of sunshine breakfasts on the menu. Sure, everyone used to complain about them but that's only because they secretly loved to hate them. They should bring them back. Screw the White Spot menu and the new "healthy choices" stuff that they charge an exorbitant amount for. I want the greasy milk carton eggs and sausages.

We ended up with burgers instead and someone had gotten a little too overzealous with the relish on mine. I just can't condone the overuse of condiments. It's just wrong. That is... unless it is either mayonnaise or sour cream, but I digress.

But now it's time for me to go to bed. I'll write more later.


Friday, August 01, 2008

It was a shitty day at work, literally

Today at work people began to notice a really gross, poopy smell, and it was discovered that it was coming from the stairwell. Rumours flew until someone braved the grossness to check it out.

It turns out that some unidentified person went to the trouble of smearing the walls, handrails and stairs in the stairwells with shit. This person covered twelve floors with it.

No one is quite sure how such a volume of feces got into the building or how the person managed to distribute it so widely without anyone noticing. It boggles the mind.

Thanks to the miracle of office building ventilation the smell circulated all over, though admittedly it wasn't all that bad in my area. It had us afraid to go to the lunch room to get water or to the washroom though.

Eventually after the initial shock of the event wore off a special cleaning crew was called in, and though the smell lingered a bit, it was soon overshadowed by a heavy, antiseptic odour.