Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Same cheesy name, new domain!

I needed a break, but I didn't really expect my hiatus to last this long!

I got kind of tired with this blog. My photography and writing was feeling stale, a lot of people I know in real life have been reading and I've had a lot of things to write down during the past couple months that have no place on the internet.

Thanks to all of you who have checked in and asked for me. Sorry for not keeping you all in the loop.

I've started a new blog. It doesn't quite look the way I want just yet but I needed a blank slate to play with.

I considered changing the name, but when it comes down to it, I'm kind of attached to this one. I like it, people know it. It's hard to get rid of. My mom found it and she said she knew exactly why I chose it and that it's very me.

The new blog is here. I hope you'll follow me over!

Sunday, May 24, 2009



The dining room window in the house where I grew up was five and a half feet square and faced the ocean.  Our dining table was a semi-circle that hugged the wall just below it.  A huge cedar branch looped down in front of it from which we suspended a bird feeder that saw a lot of action.

We didn't have cable so it provided a lot of entertainment.  Frequent diners had names.  I'd get up late at night with a flashlight so that I could watch Harvey the nocturnal flying squirrel because he was the coolest one.

One of the first things I noticed when I moved out here was the lack of birds.  I mean, there were probably birds around but I didn't see nearly as many.  It didn't really help that the previous owners had covered the front garden with a huge slab of concrete and the back yard was a sea of oil and car parts.  They had had an outdoor-only cat that they didn't feed called Fuzzers.  Not to mention, the neighbour next door at the time used impressive amounts of RoundUp and Killex.

These things do not happy bird territory make.

You can probably imagine that I'm pretty happy that there are birds living in the back yard now.  Manic would be a better way to describe my glee.  It's almost ridiculous how much it amuses me that they're there.  My joy however, has been tempered by the knowledge that the barrier I built on the fence beside the birdhouse has been knocked down by cats that want to harass them.

I've got my eye on you, Flinty. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This post brought to you by the tungsten setting on my camera


I went hiking with my camera the other day and somehow or other managed to take all my pictures with the white balance all wrong so everything looks very blue and washed out.  They kind of remind me of those really tacky paintings you can get in Chinatown or in dollar stores that show the Yangtze River and a waterfall that lights up with little lights.  The fact that I have photographed such a thing makes me want to whack myself.

Anyways, out on the dikes the birds were singing.  We didn't really see very many.  What we did see were bugs.  Not the bitey kind.  More like the eating-the-bitey kind and the eaten-by-birds kind, which is probably why there were so many birds. 

I'm not all that good at identifying these things.  I'm good at the plants and animals but once we get into the lichens and bugs my knowledge fails me.  I guess I have to go back to girl guides.

I chased some dragonflies around for a bit but I didn't manage to get any spectacular photos.  Not that they'd be spectacular anyways because they're all very blue.

It's been nonstop yardwork here.  My only reward for being so awesome at yardwork is more yardwork.  Such is life.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Laminated bacon


A party sat down behind us and the conversation began, spanning all sorts of things - silvaculture, raw log exports, windrow composting, Gordon Campbell, unions, mostly dominated by a single guy.

There's a set script that seems to be followed by these conversations regardless of the actual content.  The guy who does most of the talking made a lot of money.  Maybe he was in the oil sands or up north somewhere.  It doesn't really matter.  They try to establish their importance and explain away their current less-than-favourable position by claiming all sorts of past victories but mostly they just talk.

At one point in time the conversation drifted toward hunting.  They discussed all sorts of lodges and the entertainment and game you could find there, bragging about what they'd caught themselves, who had been to the best one.  Of course the one guy dominated finally by declaring the amount of bear ham and bear salami he'd eaten.

"You know, this one place is the best," he said, "You know how you go to hotels and they put the chocolates on your pillows?  You go to this place and they leave dried meat on your pillow.  Dried meat!"

That was enough listening in on that conversation.  We left.

Outside and out of earshot there was a competition to imitate the line.  Dried meat on your pillow!  Ick!  Can you believe it?  It was good for a bit of a chuckle.  "I bet that's meat hanging from the mirror of that truck," my mom said in an offhand way, without really looking at it.

"There is," I replied.  It was three laminated strips of bacon.

She began to laugh hysterically.  Good thing she wasn't driving.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chocolates were meant to be surprises.


When my parents took my sister to Seattle in the spring, she took on the task of making a reservation at a nice restaurant.  She shopped around and read a lot of restaurant reviews and menus until she finally decided on what sounded like a decent seafood place with a view of the ocean.

But when she made the reservation, something was off.  She was told that the restaurant had changed its name but didn't think a lot of it until they got there.  They found that the restaurant in question was actually next door, the one my sister chose had closed.  The two were in the same hotel.

The place they ended up at was still by the water, but the rotting hulk of an abandoned cargo ship was moored just outside, completely obscuring the view.  The menu was different and the food wasn't particularly good.  The service was very good because the restaurant was empty for the duration of their meal.

Abby was really upset because she had spent a lot of time and effort trying to find a good restaurant so she wanted to redeem herself.  Not that she needed to because no one really blamed her for it.

She chose Sandbar this time.  Everything was great and she received the victory she so badly deserved.

Onwards!  (my blogging rut is apparently hard to get out of so I'm posting this too late and now making this post unnecessarily long)

We also got my mom a box of chocolates and the first thing my sister did was open the map to start the orientation.  I hate that.  I want to be surprised.  I want to jump in with both feet and not look back.  I want to put a chocolate in my mouth and be disappointed when it tastes chemically or weird and I can't figure out what the flavour is supposed to be.

That's the way it's supposed to be, but she insists on ruining it by telling me that it's a raspberry mocha just before I stick it in my mouth.

I was determined to have none of it so I tried to sneak them out of the box without her seeing it which turned into a wrestling match that I lost.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The creation of a fantastically large litterbox


I've spent the past two days shoveling a small mountain of sand that appeared in front of our house into the back yard in order to turn the back yard into one of the most fantastic litterboxes that the neighbourhood has ever seen.  Any cat who is anyone has already been around to use it.

You see, a couple of days ago the parental unit looked out into the back yard and they snapped.  Up until this point, the lawn has been more weeds than grass, perpetually lumpy and in all but the driest of seasons it tends to be waterlogged, the soil a claylike muck that likes to form huge dirt clods on the bottom of your shoes that refuse to fall off until you're in the house.

No, the weeds definitely have to go and this calls for drastic measures.  The back yard is to be covered with a layer of sand, and then a layer of topsoil and then completely reseeded.  Since I am currently unemployed this is my new job.  

Just over the fence, the neighbours have completely let their garden go.

We shall see how effective all this will be.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Cinco de Mayo


Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, the international celebration of my mother's birthday.  We arrived at work and dragged her out for dinner.  Dragged is an appropriate verb here because she can be pretty hard to get out of the office sometimes.  I trailed her as she made a bunch of trips around the office and then somehow she lost me and I couldn't find her anywhere.

Just about the time we thought we'd succeeded, the office sucked her back up again because she'd forgotten her bag.  Is her bag really that essential?  Apparently yes.  Dinner was nice when we finally got to it.

Other than continuing my job search my mission this week is to actually learn Adobe Illustrator.  I'm no expert at InDesign or Photoshop but I can use them and have the finished product look alright.  I've been taught a bit of it and I've learned a lot from playing and feeling my way around.  For whatever reason, I've never been able to do that with Illustrator.  It's one of the most frustrating programs I've ever tried to use so we'll see how I do with it.

Tomorrow if the weather's nice I'm going to go hiking and see if I can take some pictures.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Garden notes

mason bee

Secret weapon:  Bees.  Mason bees.

They're all black so they kind of look like long skinny flies.  They're really docile and pretty much never sting.  They're more efficient at pollination than regular bees.

Technically they exist in the wild but they can be kind of 'managed' if you put up housing that they find acceptable for nesting.  Their larvae hibernate inside little cocoons that look like rabbit poop over the winter and wait for the weather to warm up to hatch.  That means that if you keep them inside your fridge over the winter, they'll stay dormant until you decide to release them.

mason bee house

They lay their eggs inside the holes and then plug them up with mud.  You have no idea how much they amuse me.  

Other than that, not much is happening out in the garden right now.  I guess that means that I have some space to answer some of the questions I was asked on my last post.

Soil: The City of Port Moody was generous enough to provide us with some topsoil in it's more benevolent days.  When we moved from Port Moody we shoveled it all into garbage cans and took it with us.  Every year we throw in a big load of compost, some steer manure and some beds get a bit of sea soil.  Most things (tomatoes especially) get crunched up eggshells and bone meal and everything gets a dusting of coffee grounds.

Beds: Everything is in raised beds because the soil here is full of clay and rotten to grow anything in.  We have ten plus two bathtubs.  Bathtubs are really great for tomatoes, have built-in drainage and seating.  The best kind of bathtub is dusty rose, avocado green or harvest gold and found for free by the side of the road or on cragislist or freecycle.



Maple trees have flowers.  Who knew?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let's be paranoid and take leave of our senses, shall we?


To mitigate the risk of swine flu SFU suggests that students should sneeze on their shirt sleeves instead of their hands.  

Seriously SFU?  Seriously?

You mean to tell me that this is preferable to say, washing your hands after you sneeze?

Do you have any idea how gross my shirt would be even two hours into the day?

Are you aware of the fact that the weather is warming up and shirt sleeves are rising?  Any idea how awkward it is to cough into your shoulder?


That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009



I spent most of yesterday at Canstruction.  For those who aren't familiar with it, it's an annual sculpture competition.  Teams of people make sculptures out of cans and then the food is donated to the food bank.

I didn't take my camera because I had a lot of other things to carry around so the pictures in this post are from my sister.  Corinna at Gusgreeper has a bunch of photos from this year's competition here.  You can see other photos on flickr though it seems like it's mostly photos from last year right now.

Some people come up with some pretty cool stuff but I think the kids in the school programs came up with the most awesome, creative, insanely gravity-defying stuff:

Because so much more is possible when you aren't familiar with the laws of physics.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Smells like victory

pear blossoms

A victory garden that is!

I've resolved to start taking better notes about the garden this year, mostly because it ends up being such a big part of how I spend my time over the summer.  Well, also because I care so much about the environment and food security and local eating and stuff.  Okay, and also because I like to gloat about my spectacular victories at the fair last year (nine ribbons! seven firsts! best in show: fruits, vegetables and nuts!!!).

So indulge me - I'll probably only mention it once a week and probably on Saturdays when no one visits blogs anyways.

Today we got some new fruit trees, a cherry, plum and olive as well as some raspberry canes.  We probably won't get very much fruit off them this year.  I planted an entire stir-fry: pak choi, sui choi and green onions.  I'm excited about the pear tree because it's covered in blossoms this year and it has only ever produced one pear before.

While I was turning over the beds I found the skeletons of two dead rats sheltered together beneath the newspaper.  Aside from a bit of dried skin on their scaly tails, the bugs had picked them clean.  They were contorted in positions that suggested an agonizing death.  One day I hope they make a rat poison that just makes them go to sleep very peacefully.

I buried them in the lawn without taking a picture.  For quite a while afterward my shovel would scrape up against things - rocks, dried leaves - and make a high-pitched squeal that really creeped me out.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Warning: sometimes I can be introspective and self-aware


I had another job interview today.  I think this one went better than the last.  They asked good questions so it felt less like a multiple choice exam and more like a conversation, which was good for me.  One of them described me as "introspective and sel-aware."  We shall see.

After that I went to a lecture about the early history of Vancouver's architecture.  A lot of it was information I've already heard, but it's neat to look at it all with a different lens.  Good fodder for leading tours.

After a couple of nights of really good sleep I've hit another patch of insomnia, which is probably why I've been sitting here thinking that I probably have something worth saying, but that it's not coming out.  My brain is moving like molasses.

I have to take my cat to the vet tomorrow.  She's not well.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

When all else fails, make up a new project


As per tradition during this time of year, I become horribly dissatisfied with the state of my wardrobe and the options available through the usual channels.  I'm not going to go into my standard rant about the crappy options available for petite sized women because my blog is already peppered with it.

The one thing that bothers me most is the fact that I can't find a decent fitting dress shirt or blouse.  You can't really fake fit with a dress shirt.  Either it does or it doesn't.

Because I'm petite sized, the bust darts are usually too low, which means shirts bunch up and pull in a really unflattering way.  They also never seem to have enough room in the back or the bust because I'm so barrel chested.  It's almost guaranteed that if I have enough bust and shoulder room in a shirt it will hang off me like a tent and obscure the fact that I have a waist.

I also seem to have larger-than-normal biceps for someone my gender and size which also doesn't help much.  Damn rowing messes up everything.

So once again, I've decided that the best thing would be to do it myself.  I'm going to draft a pattern to my measurements.  It will be perfect because I made it myself.  It will be so awesome that I will etch it in brass and keep it in a glass case enshrined for everyone to see.  The heavens will open up and there will be perpetual sunlight in that very spot.  It will be that awesome.

But first I have to figure out how to make a pattern.  My search took me to the library where I found it very interesting that none of the new, trendy books I looked at really seemed to deal with a lot of technique.  I think one of the saddest things about the DIY trend is that for every good craft book out there there seems to be a lot of them that really lack substance and don't really teach anything.  The fact that it is trendy and cool and therefore sells seems to be good motivation to dumb down content.

I really don't need to spend $30 on a book that will teach me to thread a drawstring through some fabric to make a skirt that looks like a flour sack.  I can accomplish that on my own.  I also don't need a book that claims to teach me to customize my clothes and then contains such incredibly difficult and detailed instructions as to how to sew a patch of a contrasting colour onto something or how to tie a ribbon around your waist.

I finally found what I needed in an old, battered book from the 80s with horribly dated illustrations (seen above).  The moment I opened it up and saw the diagrams inside I knew that it was going to be an excellent resource.  

Speaking of old, battered and still awesome, I also found a copy of this on the shelf:


Non-knitters probably won't care about this at all, but this book has been out of print for some time and has acquired an almost mythical status as that book that is kind of hard to find, sells for buckets on ebay and like Mecca should be touched once in your lifetime.  I didn't even know that the FVRL had a copy of it.  It was just sitting there on the shelf, waiting for me.

Monday, April 20, 2009



Took a trip out into the valley over the weekend.  The weather was very patchy - lots of hail and fat raindrops but occasionally sunny.  You could always see it raining somewhere else though.  One moment a foggy cloud would descend into a valley and the next it would be clear.

We spent a bit of time out on the gravel bars on the Fraser River near Mission, looking for agates.  Seemed like there weren't very many out there to be found.  We need a good flood to shake some new stuff up to the surface.


I know part of that is that my attention span has changed because I use computers so much.  It takes a lot of walking very slowly, concentration and scanning.  It's like a kind of directed meditation, I guess.  If you're doing it right, they just appear in front of you like magic.  You know them when you see them.  They glow.

When I was little, there were agates everywhere and I could fill my pockets easily.  When my dad was little they were everywhere and they were big.  Now it's a lot of work because the sandbars have been pretty picked over.  I still like doing it though.  It's nice to slow down and spend some time outside.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Obligatory follow-up post


Re: job interview

I prepared well, dressed employably, showed up on time...

and completely failed to exude any personality whatsoever.  I was pretty wooden throughout.  I've always been a bit of a chameleon.  When dumped into situations where I'm with people I don't know, I tend to mirror them.  It's how I get along with so many different kinds of people.

I think one of the best things an interviewer can do is to start the interview with an innocuous comment as an icebreaker about the weather or something.  Then the second best thing they can do is ask an open-ended question that's fairly easy to answer - something like "what were your main tasks at your last job and what did you like about it?"  Everybody has an answer to that question but more importantly, it gives people an opportunity to talk.

The worst thing an interviewer can do after introducing themselves is read off a script in a very clinical voice and ask you to describe yourself with three adjectives.

They said they would be letting everyone know their decision by Friday or Monday.  It is entirely possible that the other candidates didn't do as well as me, or that my awesome references will counteract my boringness.  I'm definitely capable of doing the job.  I'm even convinced that it would be pretty ideal for the summer.

I've already rehearsed my rejection speech.

Re: new computer

I love my new MacBook Pro.  Love it.  Last time when I bought a computer I went cheap and that was a mistake.  It ran out of memory fairly quickly and didn't have enough RAM to run everything I needed open at once.  I was determined not to do that again so I probably spent too much.  No regrets so far.

This thing is fast, makes my photos look great, and I never thought I'd say this but I love the touchpad on it and use it a lot more than my mouse.  It took a while to get used to, and when I turned on the computer for the first time, somehow clicking wasn't enabled and I had to plug in a mouse to get through the startup.  

I have spent most of my evening customizing all the settings and it's fun.  I love the way you plug stuff in and it all seems to work without being installed.  I also love that it's integrated with flickr. Maybe I'll leave it at that. I could give you an entire boring list of the things I love, but that's what it would be - a long boring list.

I still need to get a bunch of software for it though.  

Friday, April 17, 2009

What I have learned about case-bearing clothes moths during the past two weeks.

case-bearing clothes moths


They look like a little tube of paper with some fuzz on the outside. Do not be fooled! There is a nasty little black and white wormy thing that will come out and eat your clothes. The worm will drag the little paper tube around. The whole process looks kind of bizarre.

When you squeeze them between your fingers, the wormy thing's guts will squish out the end of the tube in a gross yet satisfying way, much like squeezing a pimple. This process is not necessary to identify them. I just did it to see what would happen because I'm like a little boy sometimes.


They really like to eat dust and old hair and hate light. This means that you will most likely find them underneath furniture, inside closets, in corners, in the back of shelves, underneath area rugs, in your drawers...

You may also find them in inexplicably weird places, like on the ceiling or inside your shoes so be vigilant. Because they can climb, they could be anywhere. Most likely you won't find lots of them in any given place either. Be prepared to find one or two pretty much everywhere. There is no mother lode.

They like dust, but they also like to eat wool, silk, leather, feathers and some kinds of food. Anywhere where these things gather they probably will gather too.

Before I knew what these things were, I put a bunch in a jar so that I could observe and identify them. Left for a few days like that, they began to exhibit cannibalistic tendencies.


Your best defence is a good offence, which means vacuuming everything very thoroughly and inspecting stuff for damage and cocoons. If you can, throw anything that looks suspicious or infected into the freezer. 72 hours of sub-zero temperature will kill both the cocoons and their eggs. So will drycleaning.

Flushing a bunch of them down the toilet while laughing manically is fun but not nearly as effective as the above means of extermination.

Everything that I have read has said that moth balls, cedar, lavender... all those things you always associate with repelling moths are really not all that effective.

If your infestation is really bad you might need to call in professional help or use chemicals. I'm really not qualified to give you any kind of advice on that. I hope you don't end up in that situation.

case-bearing clothes moths

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Preview of my super important day

I shouldn't tell you all about this but I'm going for a job interview tomorrow. I took the important step of buying a new pair of pantyhose today so as not to repeat last year. I later decided that I will wear pants instead. You can't go wrong with pants.

After the interview I'm going to see about getting a new computer. This has proven to be difficult so far because though I have saved the money to buy the thing outright with all the software that I want, I seem to lack the ability to spend that much at one time. My credit limit is too low, the ammount exceeds my daily withdrawal limit for my debit card.

I don't have a chequing account because they send me annoying patronizing advertisement of their free chequing for young people which has a tone like:

Yo YOUNG PERSON! We're like a totally rad financial institution that wants to give you a sexy free chequing account dawg!

when really all they had to say was:

Dear valued customer, we are writing to offer you a free chequing account because you are between the ages of 18 and 24. Please visit one of our branches to set it up.

Whereas my reaction to the first is to pick apart the advertising style and wonder who put together the campaign and what kind of research into youth attitudes they did to come up with a watered-down quasi DIY inspired die-cut heavy cardstock collagey+grunge typefaces... and wonder why they've decided that that is the best way to appeal to me. If they'd just saved their money and sent me a letter telling me that I could get something that I would usually have to pay for for free I'd totally go for it.

So cheques are out. Paying cash is dumb. I'd get mugged or something. My only other option is to get the store to fax my mom a bill and get her to pay for it. Then I will pay her back. So much for looking all cool and financially independent. Being young sucks.

But the upside is that I'll be inducting myself into the shiny halls of mac ownership soonish. I will not turn pretentiously techie. I promise.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Clothes-eating moths: not cooler than Mothra

It's amazing. I don't post for so long and yet google analytics tells me that some of you lovely people still check fairly regularly for posts. I thought I'd let you know what I'm up to right now.

School's finally over. I have some sleep to catch up on but you have no idea how much I was looking forward to having some time off.

I have a bit of a moth infestation that demands my immediate attention. With any luck I'll have it under control soon and won't need any chemical sprays or to throw lots of stuff out, but the whole thing has had me kind of paranoid for a while now. Not easy to write papers when you're preoccupied with thinking about moths and all the cleaning that you need to do but don't have the time for.

I've also been experiencing some computer difficulties lately. My poor machine takes about 18 minutes to boot and sometimes when you turn it off, it hangs itself and stays on all night. It has about 85 MB of free space so I can't show you the pictures I've taken.

Most recently my wireless modem has died. The DSL port at the back seems also to be dead so accessing the internet is starting to get really difficult.

Next week I'll be getting a shiny new computer. Then I'll see about getting a shiny new blog.

But first I deal with the moths...

Would be so much cooler if they were Mothra instead.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Burial at sea.


Today while I was in class a procession of people appeared in the courtyard outside with an inflatable raft that they placed in the pond. Shortly afterward a second group approached carrying a stiff girl on their shoulders like a coffin.

They placed her in the raft and pushed her out into the middle of the pond. It was all quite mysterious and funerary looking, and pretty distracting to boot.

I had to turn back to our class discussion about how the US and UK killed NWICO because they don't like communication rights and why most people have never heard of the CRIS campaign.

When I looked next the courtyard was empty. After class we speculated. Rehearsal? Performance art? Hazing ritual? Fire arrows?

I'm sure we overthought it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My funk continues


I took this picture a few weeks ago now, and I've been mulling it over ever since.

It's funny how a given medium will predispose you to think in certain ways or see from a particular point of view.

In a lot of ways I think some of my best pictures were taken in the first six months or so that I had my camera. Sure, some of them are really lacking in technical quality, but there was something fresh about them that the ones I take now lack. Maybe it's just me that thinks that, but getting a new camera was kind of like seeing with new eyes.


They say that if you have a hammer things start looking like nails, and for me, suddenly everything was a shot. I had pretty specific ideas about what "shots" looked like and in a way it kind of framed my existence. I was always looking for them. It annoyed me when people told me to take pictures of things where there were no shots.

Chilliwack General Hospital

Meaning, of course, not that there was nothing photo worthy to find there, but that I'd developed a way of seeing that was very hard to shake. Meaning also that gradually all my photos began to look the same.


I used to follow a lot of photoblogs but I found that more than the individual photos, I visited them because of their point of view. Once I'd figured out their style, they became kind of predictable and I'd get bored of them, regardless of what new content they had to offer.

harbour centre

I do this with blog posts too, or at least, I do when I'm on my game (which has not been for the last three months). There's a little monologue that happens in the back of my mind that's constantly concerned with structuring my existence into an interesting post. I see something and already I'm trying to put it into words, experimenting with different phrases more than living through the moment. Eventually that gets old.


My sister said I had taken the same picture before and she was right.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My mother, bringer of blizzards.

window frost

My mom wishes to apologise for the snow and cold weather we have been having lately. She believes she brought it on by not putting away the Christmas themed tablecloth that is on the kitchen table.

Forget groundhogs, the real reason why we have six extra weeks of winter is because the table is covered with snowmen and gnomes on skis. Kitschy, kitschy gnomes on skis.

window frost

window frost

We must rectify this. Stat.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

29 cents

One of my friends limped into class the other day. She had fallen down the stairs at the skytrain station while running for the bus and her ankle was swollen to the point of looking gross and deformed. I decided I would go get some ice for her.

I had five minutes. I ran down two flights of stairs and then all the way to the other end of the building to get to the cafeteria where I filled up a cup with ice. I ran into problems at the checkout because apparently ice costs money. Twenty-nine cents worth of money. That's practically theft.

I didn't really have any time to argue and the cashier wasn't really the person to complain to anyways so I paid it. Good thing I had a loon in my pocket.

I ran the ice back upstairs and didn't tell her that it cost money, because that would be petty and stupid. But 29 cents? Bah!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Because who wouldn't want to write a paper about Eugene Hütz's mustache?

For my one class all the readings for this week have been about old school rap and hip hop, its links to the Caribbean, reggae and civil rights movements, DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash.

For my other class we've been looking at diasporic identities, the Caribbean, Rastafarianism, voodoo and mythical narratives of Africa as a heartland.

I had a conversation with a colleague from another class today about music because it turns out that he's a huge reggae fan.

I have to come up with a paper topic to hand in in eight hours.

You know what this is all telling me?

I need to write a paper about Balkan Beat Box. Glad you made that leap with me.

I'm going to make it about Eugene Hütz too, because his mustache is awesome.

I have the best major ever.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Thinking green


I'm joining Project Spectrum this time around. It's a self-guided, open-ended collective art project that revolves around four themes over the period of 8 months. The theme for March/April is north/green/stones/earth so I'm going to make something with the above because it wants to be made into something. I'm still working on making up a design so I'm not really sure what it will look like just yet. We'll see.

One thing I know though, is that planning it out has been a lot of fun and completely absorbing so far. I think it's more the time of the semester than anything. Procrastination drives me to jump wholeheartedly into a whole lot of creative things.

You should join me because it's fun and it's cool to see what everybody else comes up with.

There are skunks living underneath the back porch. We are torn between choosing to coexist and choosing to get rid of them because they will likely eat everything out of the garden.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Inopportune times


I've been having computer difficulties lately. Half the time it doesn't turn off when I want it to.

I've also been pretty busy with school. I'm not sure why I don't post anything about what I'm working on there here. I'm still kind of riding a high from finishing a presentation this week. It's a weight off my shoulders and got rave reviews like "cerebral" and "you guys got the conceit of the week."

I would have done a good job by myself, but I think it was definitely improved by the fact that I had an intelligent, agreeable partner to work with. Good to have people to bounce ideas with, especially when they have well thought out ideas that are not the same as mine. I don't learn very much when I'm always the dominant person in the group, which is often.

People are going to be upset with me for saying this but I'm really glad it's raining. If you string too many dry days together, I get nosebleeds. They can last for hours and disrupt everything. The past few weeks I've also had really congested sinuses and it really sucks to need to blow your nose while you're paranoid that you're going to make it start again.

Increasingly these things have been happening at the most inopportune times. In class, while I've been talking to people, on the bus or at night.

The worst night was last week. I spend a lot of time at school on Thursdays - seven straight hours, if I'm not meeting with someone for a project. I usually get home around 11 pm and then I have to be up at 6 for school downtown the next day.

I had a paper due in the morning and it wasn't quite finished. I got home and started working on it and for whatever reason it was slow going. It really shouldn't take all night to come up with 800 words but in this case it did. I was having trouble with it so at 2am I decided to get a couple hours sleep.

I woke up an hour and a half later with my face in a pool of blood. I was groggy and disoriented and it had soaked into my pillow and sheets. Laundry time! I stripped everything off my bed and threw it into the wash.

This was the perfect opportunity to get some more work done on my paper. I wrote at a snail's pace until the sheets were out of the dryer while the cat squawked at me that there were no sheets on the bed.

I made my bed, put the cat to sleep and worked on the paper some more, which was still slow going. Half an hour later, the cat started fussing again. I checked the bed and it was wet. She'd had a seizure and peed all over it.

Why do I only have one set of sheets?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Help preserve an open internet.

You there! In Canada! The CRTC is currently accepting submissions from the public about net neutrality.

Right now, internet access is not regulated in Canada. This allows your internet service provider (Shaw, Rogers, Bell, etc.) to speed up, slow down and block your access to websites and services as it sees fit.

A free and open internet is important for democracy, for communication, business and innovation. You pay for internet access and you should be able to visit anything you want without the interference of your internet service provider.

Please consider sending a submission to the CRTC. There is a form you can fill out to send them a letter so it is relatively painless to do. The deadline for making a submission is tomorrow, Monday February 23.

The petition, CRTC letter and lots of information can be found here.

If you are in the US, you can find out what's happening with the FCC here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I forsee warm sweaters in my future.

new yarn

Somehow my father has the magical ability to know about yarn store sales before I do. He clips the ads out of newspapers and leaves them on the keyboard of my computer where I will see them. He does the same for computer sales or anything else he thinks I am interested in purchasing at any given time. It's his way of being helpful.

So we arrived at the rock and gem club show only to find that it wasn't open yet. I had prepared for this inevitability by having $45 in my pocket - more than enough to buy some yarn for a pair of socks. I suggested that we could kill the twenty minutes petting yarn a couple blocks away.

Once there he was thoroughly impressed by the selection and gained some attention for being the only male in the store. I heard the following from his mouth, among others:

"Yarn doesn't go bad. You may as well stock up because the prices are good."

"Look at this! Isn't it soft?"

"It's made out of lama. Lama!"

"Are you sure that's enough for a project?"

"No sense in wasting your time on crappy materials. Why use acrylic when you can use alpaca?"

"What about your next project? You should be thinking three projects ahead!"

These statements are not conducive to being frugal. The end result was the picture above. Two sweater's worth and a skein of Malabrigo Lace.

"You have a card," he said, but as I made it to the till, mom slipped me his.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

No more squirrel!

cable yoke sweater

Nonstop excitement here.

We finally put an end to the squirrel problem. Yesterday dad covered the holes where it was getting in and out with chicken wire. The only problem was that in doing so he accidentally caged it in.

We left it in there overnight, figuring that if it was hungry it would be a lot more willing to leave. This morning it started climbing around at around 8am and later on when I looked out at it, I found it clinging to the chicken wire, its face pressed up against it to get some sun. I took pity on the thing and decided that I would let it out today.

In the early afternoon I began to pry out the staples holding the chicken wire when I suddenly realized that it was sitting two feet away from me, growling. Have you ever heard a squirrel growl? It's the scariest thing in the world when the squirrel is two feet away from your head and you're not wearing goggles, gloves or a bee suit.

I got my sister to whack the ceiling below it scare it to the other end of the roof, but that meant that when I finally got the chicken wire open so that the squirrel could get out, it would not move. She and I tag teamed for a while on squirrel watch to see if maybe it would come out on its own, but two plus hours later, it hadn't moved and we were freezing cold.

We had to burn an entire newspaper to smoke it out. It hopped hesitantly to the open hole and then out across the patio, never to be seen again. It hasn't returned, so it's a good sign that it didn't leave any babies in there. It has, however, eaten all of the electrical wires and filled the space with random junk and feces, so eventually we will have to tear out the ceiling and clean it up.

I've been working on the above sweater for a while now and I've finally made it through the yoke. The pattern is Wheat Ear Cable Yoke from Interweave Knits Summer 2007, modified to be knit in one piece from the top-down. It will be finished just in time for it to be too warm to wear it.

Monday, February 09, 2009

D-talks is for people not like me.

Belzberg library has a brand new book on pedestrianism and the art of walking that I've been considering taking out because it looks interesting. Not that I don't have about nine other books going right now. I've held off because frankly I'm a little afraid to show my face in there for the next couple weeks because I was caught (horror of horrors!) and admonished for talking in the group study room where you are allowed to talk.

But I do love walking and I love the times when I suddenly have random free time with which I can explore. Today it was a random twenty minutes in which I walked down Great Northern Way from VCC-Clark to Main and back.

I saw all sorts of interesting things. For example, did you know that Sir Francis Xavier School was on that street? I sure didn't! I have no idea how many times I've driven past it and not seen it there. It's quite big and bricky.

I checked each tree for bird nests but I didn't find any. A jogger caught me in the act of doing this and I think he thought I was strange. There seem to be a lot of not particularly personable people that jog and bike through that area.

Down by one of the railyards there are two metal chairs bolted to the ground that face each other for no apparent reason other than to have them face each other in a place where public seating is not particularly needed and probably not used. The scene prompted me to shout out "Face off! At the railyard!" I will not lie; there were hand gestures and a dramatic pose involved. This may be hard to believe, but some people find me embarassing to be around in public.

I also walked past Detox. I knew where that was because my dad used to take some of his students down there. At the time I thought it was D-talks and assumed that drug users had special conversations there. There was something special about drug users that required them to talk a lot more than everyone else, deep conversations about drugs that I would never ever have because people like me don't try drugs.

This trip into my 6-year-old psyche brought to you by my walk down Great Northern Way.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Home alone

I'm home alone. The sudden lack of diabetics in the house turned tonight into a carbfest. I told myself I wouldn't but the fudge cookies kind of just made themselves. You know how it is.

They have gone to Seattle for the weekend. I opted out because I have too much work to do.

I'm writing a paper about media reform, not a research paper, but more of an imagination paper. It doesn't require research, which makes it hard because I have to make it all up myself.

Still, having the house to myself makes this sort of thing easier, because I can regress into my old paperwriting ways - walking around in circles and talking to myself.

Somehow they managed to turn the furnace off when they left. It was off for more than 24 hours before I noticed. I mean, I noticed that it was off and that it was getting uncomfortably cold, but it never occured to me that there was a switch in the wall and that it was off.

Other than that, the only remotely interesting thing that happened today was that I went to pull a kleenex from the box and the whole thing leapt for freedom off of the ledge and into the toilet bowl. It kind of reminded me of a goldfish.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


They should have Super Bowls more often because the gym was pretty empty save for a few women using the treadmills and a couple guys who by the sound of it, were in the process of giving birth or passing something large and undigestible, or otherwise expelling something horrible from their back ends.

I have finally gotten over my lamenting about my gibbled back and the loss of the super awesome muscles I had in high school and gotten back into the gym. This is going well so far. The most underused equipment at the gym happens to be the ergs, and coincidentally they are my favourite equipment, and as far as I can tell, I'm the only person around who seems to be able to use them properly.

This new gym routine fits well with the previous routine (the one that wasn't particularly well followed) entitled "walk the dad." I no longer have a dog to walk, but I do have a father who has been ordered by the doctor to lose forty pounds. It ended up that everyone would take turns walking the dad.

However, the previous routine fell apart because the dad doesn't walk far or fast enough for it to be exercise for anyone else. The gym is a good solution to this because you can all go there and do your own things.

Then you can all come home to find that the strings of Christmas lights on the house have all been severed by someone/thing. And while you're standing there with pieces of light strings in your hands, you hear a th-thunk th-thunk coming from the ceiling in the front porch.


Saturday, January 31, 2009



Mittens finished!

You know it's bad when people have to tell you to update your blog.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Glasses, full, empty

I have officially lost my blogging mojo.

I am deeply embroiled and simultaneously up-to-date with my reading for school.

Glass half full or half empty? You be the judge.

Or not. I always thought that was a stupid question anyways. Water is matter, and so is air, right? If that is the case then the glass is fully full. In fact, both water and air are made up of more or less the same kinds of elements, so I guess you could say that it's actually two thirds (ish) full of hydrogen and that most of the rest of it is filled with oxygen with a bit of other stuff mixed in. Either way, the glass is full.

But then if you consider that there is more space between atoms than the space that they take up, the glass (meaning both the space within the glass and the glass itself) is mostly empty space, as is the rest of the universe. Then the glass is empty.

I'm not even going to get into the question as to whether or not the glass is actually there at a given point in time, or whether or not it exists, or how we know or do not know that it is there or that it exists.

Either way, it's kind of a stupid question and a really poor test of optimism.

This isn't to say that I don't have other interesting things to say, or that I can't come up with a regular supply of them, but for the past month or so, they have been the sorts of things that really don't belong on the internet. They are things that I might only tell you if I fictionalized them and didn't bother to ever tell you which bits were true. Not necessarily bad things.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Good help is hard to find


Sally helps me do my homework.

Today she disagrees with Miljan and Cooper's critique of Hackett and other critical theorists because she finds the idea that empirical studies of media bias and content could be carried out in a comprehensive manner to be very problematic. How on earth do you reduce words to numbers?

She also disagrees with the notion that using abstract, figurative and difficult to understand phrasing and concepts is a bad thing. Sally herself frequently uses complex and unintelligible words and it's never hurt anybody.

She took a brief interest in Edward Said's Orientalism earlier today, but then she got confused and went for a nap instead. She says she doesn't need to read theory about the racialized Other anyways because it is her everyday existence. Sometimes people even treat her like she's not human.

She suspects the problem is that she puts up with this because she has bought into the false-consciousness and hegemonic ideals and institutions that come with living in a westernized, capitalist state. She dislikes this society for its requiring her to take baths and for filling her ears with ear mite poison, as well as robbing her of the ability to go outdoors whenever she wants. Still, it provides easy access to beds and havarti cheese so she thinks she will postpone the revolution.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Eat something new every day.

Maple Ridge has a surprisingly large number of sushi restaurants, some better than others. One of the better is Hamada, which seems to be owned and/or managed by a lady with a severe perm and has staff that run. They do everything so fast.

Everything on the menu is good there. Well, mostly. The cheese roll is kind of weird because Kraft Singles do not a good roll of sushi make, but I don't think that's on the menu anymore.

Sometimes there are just too many things to choose so when in doubt, order the boat. It's instant variety for minimal effort.

We ordered Love Boat B and the waiter ran away to the kitchen. Shortly afterward, he ran back to inform us that the boat came with something else - was that okay? He spoke very quickly so it was kind of hard to make out what he said. He made a triangular gesture around his head. Fish head? Sure, why not?

There was nothing in the menu that mentioned fish heads anywhere so no one was quite sure. He ran out again to confirm.

The boat came out without anything really unusual on it, but once we had finished most of it off, someone else came out with a platter, announced it as the special and then quickly disappeared.

Fish head!

It had been cut in half and deep-fried so it was rather gruesome looking. We attacked with gusto, picking it apart with chopsticks trying to figure out which parts were edible. Deep-fried fish gills look kind of like black coiled springs. The outside was crispy and the inside was melt-in-your mouth delicious. My dad flicked the eye at me but I didn't eat it.

I found an egg-shaped piece of something kind of fatty that I ate. It was completely white and tasted really good. Salmon has white meat on it. Who knew?

The lady that came to take away the plate looked surprised. "You did really good!" she said. It was a pretty genuine compliment. I take it that the dish isn't always as well received.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How to locate scissors


If you are unable to locate a pair of scissors, buy another pair of scissors. Eventually you will be able to find some scissors. This is wisdom I learned from my father.

Monday, January 12, 2009

And my klingon name is...

Jen's post today reminds me of the undeniably unique gift-giving enigma that is my grandmother. She has never once forgotten my birthday or Christmas. I kind of like getting gifts from her because they are always weird, unexpected and demonstrate a true lack of thought and understanding as to everyone's personalities and tastes.

A good example of this is the period in my early teens when she bought me a bunch of girly sweaters sized 6x.

Then there was the "Sounds of October" CD, a compilation of different random sound effects arranged into quaint little titles like "My furry little friends" and "A lovely little stroll by the seaside." No one was sure why she gave a CD about October to my mother, who has no special attachment to that month in particular. I mean, my mom's birthday is on Cinco de Mayo, which would make a pinata far more appropriate. Grandma said that one of the nurses told her that it would make a very good gift.

By far the best gift I ever got from her was the Star Trek interactive video boardgame that she gave me for my birthday when I was twelveish. I thought it was weird but kind of cool at the time, being the closet trekkie I am. It had a board that looked kind of like Clue with different areas of the ship marked on it and a VHS tape with some klingons on it.

The story was that the klingons had taken over the ship and imprisoned the crew. The players had to somehow make it out of the room and accomplish a bunch of tasks in a set period of time in order to avert near-certain disaster. The rules and game play were complicated and I don't think we got them before we lost interest.

The problem with game play being tied to the video was that there was only one scenario that I remember, and that meant that every time you played it the Klingons said the same things, took over the same part of the ship and imprisoned you in the same room that you had to strategize your way out of.

It also required that you talked to the video, which required more than a little suspension of disbelief, and lent itself well to being mocked.

The commander-in-chief klingon would ask me what my name was, then pause as if listening while I said the silliest name I could think of, something along the line of Petunia Lipschitz-Garagehead. He would then groan predictably in disgust, tell me that it was a slave's name and give me a new name:

Well, I was about to tell you what I was renamed, in Klingon, but it seems I can't find the word on the internet. Whatever it was it meant worm.

I did however find the word for ponytail holder:

I need some new ones, you know.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


IMG_7967_1A friend was having a party last Saturday and my parents made me take my sister along. That in itself isn't a big deal, because she can drive and gets along well with everyone and half the time people don't know we're related. The only thing is that she's not legally allowed to drive after midnight, which meant the inevitable call at about 11:30 insisting that we come home now.

This was mentioned, but they would not budge. No, there might possibly be drunkenness, lewd jokes and wii playing. My sister must accompany me in order to witness these things first-hand.

So predictably we got the phonecall and had to speed home far too early, and I'm wondering why I suddenly have a curfew again.

On another note, we got faster internet today. It was pretty painless. The guy wasn't here for all that long, but my parents had to twitter around awkwardly embarassed about the state of the livingroom, as if they had to explain away the mess somehow. The guy was completely unphased by it but seemed a little amused by my parents. I wonder how many times during the day they have to go through the same awkward conversations.

As far as I'm concerned though, the only thing that faster internet means is that youtube videos load faster than they play. Of course that means that I've been watching lots of stupid yet entertaining videos.

And now I want some soup, but not ham and pea and panda nose and pony.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Any time now.

Well, this is certainly an exciting beginning to the semester. Between the snow and my schedule I haven't actually been to school yet. Two of my classes don't have textbooks. The readings will probably be available online but I don't have access to them yet.

I went to school to go to a meeting only to find that it was cancelled when I got there. I'm not a fan of the practice of cancelling things two hours before they're scheduled because it takes me two and a half to get there from home. It doesn't bother me a lot because I'm used to it. Every once in a while my friends do this to remind me to get out of the house and go on more self-guided tours of random bars and restaurants.

I headed off on my second errand, to find books for one of my classes so I will have something to read instead of feeling like I should be reading something. I have been at university for five years now and this is the very first time I have visited the bookstore during the first week of class. I had a feeling that there was a good reason for that, and my feeling was confirmed.

The lineup snaked around the top floor, down a flight of stairs, around and around, and then down another flight of stairs, zig zagged, took a dog leg, then went around in a big circle before it finally reached the doors to the bookstore. I was totally unprepared for something of that rediculously long length. It was something that would require a chair, knitting, extra provisions and an ipod to be able to endure so I went home instead.

Some days SFU is a cloud. The air becomes thick and transparent and figures disolve within it. People stand outside the library with cigarettes, smoke halos around their heads.

I don't really have anything interesting to say.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Back to school

I've been putting off shoveling because it's supposed to rain. Apparently it was supposed to rain a couple days ago and then again today but all it has done is rain harder.

I can't believe that school is starting again tomorrow. I don't really feel like I've had a holiday at all. My time off wasn't particularly relaxing, festive or memorable. I can't really remember what I did. I got my wisdom teeth out, barely took any drugs for that because I'm impervious to pain, slept a lot and obsessed about how much I'm tired of the snow.

Maybe it's a good thing I'm going back to school then.

My cats have proven once again that their favourite pasttime is to find novel locations and scenarios for vomiting hairballs. Today they worked in tandem, ensuring that I would be occupied with cleanup for the longest possible period of time. Sal chose a location that involved me wiggling along the floor on my elbows and stomach with a flashlight, running out of paper towel and wiggling back out to find some more.

Not ten seconds after I finished putting away the cleaning supplies I went to my room to find that Lou had found a place where three blankets conveniently converged in the same place and decided that that would be the perfect place to lay down a hairball. She managed to nail all three blankets and herself simultaneously, instantly providing me with a full load of laundry to do. I felt just as loved as that time that she projection vomited into the toe of my slipper. That one was a lot harder to clean.

I'm considering going back to keeping fish.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I do not have cheesecake but I have mittens.


One day historians and sociologists will look back to this time period and point at the phenomenon where people use the internet to participate in some form of collective centred around individual activities for a month-long periods of time, giving these collectives unweildy acronym names that begin with "Na" for national, regardless of the nationalities of the participants.

Either that or I'll write a paper about it. Knowing me, I'll write a paper about that anyways. I have to put all my wasted internet time to good use.

Did I mention it was national mitten knitting month? This may astound you but I am knitting some mittens. If you are knitting mittens too, you can join us in our collective, month-long wooly hand covering production.

If not, then feel free to continue to exist and visit this blog.

In other news, a 9:30 hunt for a piece of cheesecake yielded no results. I went to all five restaurants in Maple Ridge that could be expected to carry such a thing only to find them all closed, an experience that was eerily similar to spending the night in Calgary, one of the most boring places on earth. But in spite of its boringness, Calgary has a leg up on Maple Ridge in the sense that I do not live there, so that makes it a little interesting. Maple Ridge is my everyday, which makes it worse.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008, you sucked.


I've been thinking about 2008. I've even been considering writing something about it. I've been preoccupied with this for a few days now.

In short, 2008 was a rotten year. People's natural inclination when I say this is to ask what about 2008 made it bad. It is my natural inclination to indulge them by launching into chapter one of the tale of woe, after which point either they change the subject or their eyes glaze over because they weren't all that interested in the first place. Either way, they weren't interested, I wasted my time talking and I'll end up feeling bad about that.

Besides, Google Analytics tells me that most of the people that come here are just looking for the post with the fake plastic breasts anyways.

All I know is that if this year isn't better than last year I might have to do something drastic. No, not shooting myself. Maybe moving to Sierra Leone. We'll see.


Maybe there are good things in store for 2009.