Archive for October, 2009

Rejected Halloween costume ideas 17 and 18

Friday, October 30th, 2009

“Mom, what should I be for Halloween?”

“Lady Godiva.”

“I don’t have a horse.”


“I don’t have a clam shell.”

I’ll have to come up with something. Facebook tells me that there are about 30 people coming over tonight. I’ve always been the party goer, not the party thrower. Still am. I’m not the instigator of this madness.

I’m charging my camera and I have a takehome exam to write.


Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Harrison Lake

My next door neighbour soaks his feet in formaldehyde every night.

Hundreds of years from now, after the worms and bacteria have destroyed his entire body, his feet will remain remarkably intact. He says it stops the smell. Some poor archaeologist will have a tough time figuring that one out.

Seattle, March 2000. Sparrow et al. had made the mistake of attempting to peel oranges in the backseat of Brad’s van while we were trying to cross the border. When they asked if we were carrying fruits and vegetables, Brad and I said no, the border guards saw the oranges, and long story short, we got searched. They confiscated everything.

We stopped at a grocery store with the largest freezer section I have ever seen. We spent our time wandering around looking at all sorts of things you couldn’t get in most grocery stores at home: bizarre freezer dinners, alcohol (in a grocery store!), organic condoms, soy water and Heinz ketchup that came in thirty-six different types of bottles. People like us don’t need monuments and tourist attractions for amusement.

That was the beginning of a pretty epic trip that ended with me hitching a ride with someone completely different to get back into Canada.

It was a full nine months later that I found the bagel. It had been pushed to the back of the breadbox and I’d forgotten about it but it was unmistakably the last of a bag that I had bought in Seattle.

It looked fine.

It smelled fine.

Hell, it tasted just the same as it had when I thought it was fresh.

I suppose I shouldn’t have eaten it. I’m suspicious of food that doesn’t rot, but I was risking my health for science.

But what did they lace that bagel with? This has bothered me ever since. Maybe when they dig me up they’ll find I’m very well preserved.

Idle speculation

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Stave Lake Powerhouse

We were driving east into the dark. I assumed that I was being driven out into the middle of nowhere to be dumped into the lake because that seemed to be the direction we were going. It’s a surprise, they said.

Of course, it was possible that I would be left out in the middle of the forest. I mulled this possibility over for a while. The lake seemed more probable.

Earlier in the day we’d been at Ikea for one of those hundred dollar breakfasts. They were having a bookshelf sale and remarkably, three of them ended up in our cart. Out in the parkade we fought with the straps as we were tying them down to the roof. Some of them had a really stupid closing/tightening mechanism that made them impossible to tighten up enough so much swearing ensued and they ended up on the ground. For the umpteenth time someone vowed to throw them out.

Me being the stupid packrat I am, I gathered the crappy ones we hate and threw them in the trunk, thus guaranteeing further frustration sometime later down the road. This only occurred to me once we’d driven out past Maple Ridge.

But apparently not. We arrived at the Stave Lake Powerhouse to find that it had been changed into a giant haunted house and it was pretty awesome, both due to the fact that wandering around huge strange machinery in the dark is cool and by the fact that the people there had obviously put so much effort into putting it all together.

I giggled all the way through. I do that in horror movies too. That’s why I can’t watch them in theatres.


Monday, October 26th, 2009

Photo 28

It was past eleven and pissing rain. We reached for the cross walk button at the same time. She smiled. “Are you Catholic? Do you go to St. Francis?” she asked.

“No,” I replied.

“You look like someone at my church. There are three sisters who serve at the altar at St. Francis and one looks just like you. Your height and your hair are just the same.”

We crossed the street together, and she began to laugh. She repeated herself. “I thought you were her.”

“It’s happened to me before,” I said, “But the person realized I wasn’t her when I turned around. I think it’s my hair.”

She shared her umbrella as we walked.

“You know, this happens a lot to my dad,” I said. “He’s very generic looking. There seem to be a lot of men that look kind of like him out there. He’s had little kids walk up to him and call him dad.”

“Really?” she laughed again.

“Which kind of concerns him because you don’t want to be a strange man seen walking around with other people’s children.”

She invited me to her church and then turned onto her street. I could meet this girl there if I wanted to, if I was Catholic. I thanked her for her invitation and headed on my way, arriving home mostly dry.

So there you go. I have a doppelganger. If you see her, say hello.

I don’t think I will go meet this person. It’s not supposed to be a very good thing to do.

Photo 37

Cat attack!

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

la petit troublemaker

Last night the sinus thing that I’ve been trying to fight off finally set in. Too many nights without enough sleep and suddenly my head’s stuffed up. It hurts all over and my ears itch. But by far the worst part of this is that my sense of balance is really off.

Every once in a while the cat suddenly decides that she wants to attack my hair and she’ll fly out of nowhere and latch onto my thigh. It’s not just that the sudden ambush catches me off guard, it’s also the fact that she always manages to hit the part of my inner thigh that’s really ticklish.

My lack of balance means there have been a couple close calls where I have nearly fallen over. That and shrieking.

Little red awesome building

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Jimi Hendrix's grandmother's chicken restaurant

The problem with not blogging regularly is that suddenly I have a backlog of cool pictures that I really should show the world. Case in point: this building.

Sure, it looks red and nondescript but this little building has been touched by greatness. This used to be Jimi Hendrix’s grandmother’s chicken restaurant.

You see, there used to be a decent sized black community in Vancouver called Hogans Alley. They arrived because a lot of them worked as porters for the railway. The community was concentrated around just a few blocks near where the Georgia Viaduct is now, and was well known for BYOB bars, jazz and blues clubs and chicken restaurants.

Then the city decided to build the viaduct and they demolished it and now not a lot is left except this building, which just so happens to have been owned by Jimi Hendrix’s grandmother.

Jimi Hendrix Shrine

Media monitoring

Friday, October 16th, 2009

It’s been a super busy week for me! In one of my classes we’ve been gearing up for the Global Media Monitoring Project in November. The project is supposed to create a global snapshot of the way that women are represented in print, TV and radio news. We’re working on the research for English language media in Canada.

On top of that my group, the print group, is working on another research project on women in photojournalism. We’ve spent the whole week putting together our research proposal and drawing up our methods for what is starting to look like a crazy ambitious project.

I think we’re all pretty excited to be working on projects that are actually useful that we’ll get to send away to Toronto to be published in a report. It’s great to write something that people are actually going to read.

One thing that bothers me about undergrad is how much time and energy is spent doing research that goes nowhere. I’m sure that there are a lot of projects that aren’t really useful for anyone, but there are some that might be beneficial.

The one that comes to mind is the composting feasibility study that I did with a group in one of my classes. It wasn’t until afterward that I found out that someone had done the same project as a directed study and a geography class had been working on the same thing at the same time. None of us knew about eachother and each of us started from scratch. Ultimately, nothing has been done with any of our results. It’s frustrating.

But not this project. It will be pure sleep deprivation and awesomeness.

Phantom books

Friday, October 9th, 2009

bell jars

I’ve had a bunch of words and tunes stuck in my head all day. While I was on the skytrain I wrote some of the words down, in the hopes that it will jog my memory but I’m not sure if it will. I probably won’t do anything with this stuff. I just like to sing at bus stops, that’s all.

I live with a musician. Maybe it’s starting to rub off.

At five on a Friday the food on campus magically dries up. There are vending machines, of course, but I haven’t bought anything from a vending machine in at least fifteen years. I’m not even sure if I’d be able to operate one.

I wasn’t there to eat anyways. I ignored the knot in my stomach and stalked around the library. I hate how you can find something in the computer, check to ensure that it’s in the library and then inexplicably it’s not on the shelf. Where are all those phantom books hiding?

My parents tell stories about how they used to drop the books out the windows instead of checking them out, but they’ve installed grates so you can’t do that anymore. The books are just missing.

I wasn’t in the mood to spend a lot of time searching for the ones I couldn’t find. I got enough for me to carry home anyways.

The knot in my stomach had tightened. That’s the first step. I was starting to get light headed. That’s the second. I don’t get hungry anymore, I just get sugar low. There was nothing to eat anywhere around but luckily I had some nuts in my bag to tide me over so I could get home.

I have some reading to do now.


Should have picked up the Barthes book. Damn.

Chihuahuas, they’re fierce.

Sunday, October 4th, 2009


My driver’s license is so old and stale that it doesn’t count as legal ID when I’m going to go renew it. This meant a trip out to my parents’ house to get my birth certificate and gorge myself on cheese yesterday.

The cats are pissed off at me for leaving but took interest in me for a brief period because I am a conduit through which sausage reaches the floor from the fridge. Once sated, they went back to sleep.

On my way home, I stopped at the neighbourhood Salvation Army where I always seem to have incredibly good luck. It’s as if there is a legion of short women with reasonably good taste that donates to that specific Sally Ann so that I will magically find decent clothes that fit there. I picked up a wool winter coat for $25, as well as a couple other things that filled a garbage bag.

Out on the street waiting for the bus I heard someone calling my name. It was my aunt who had snuck up on me from behind with her super stealth SUV driving skills. She offered me a ride most of the way home.

The cousins were happy to see me, but the counterflow lane was on on the bridge and traffic slowed to a crawl. The kids started fighting in the backseat. A couple confiscated toys later we turned to a safe topic: their new dogs.

“Did you hear about how Chihuahuas are more dangerous than dinosaurs?” my aunt asked.

“Their teeth are sharp! One nip and you go right down!” someone shouted from the backseat.

“That’s why they’re macho status symbol dogs.”

“Can we get another one?”

“We have two. There’s a limit.”