Archive for November, 2009

The book cull

Monday, November 16th, 2009

November 10, 2009 086

Today I went out and got shot for the flu, and then abruptly my plans changed when the car broke down. Fuel pump, maybe? Unrepairable, probably. It’s an ’85. When we were tail-ended in August, they couldn’t find a taillight to replace the smashed one. ICBC wanted to write the whole thing off.

I’ve spent the afternoon camped out in my parents’ livingroom writing papers and sorting through books to cull. There are thousands here and being a bit of a packrat, I’m not really keen on getting rid of any because they might be useful later.

I’m not just saying that either. I’ve written entire political science, anthropology and history papers using just the books off my parents’ shelves. I like to be able to know that they’re there.

I much prefer this to taking them out from the library. Between my seven library cards I manage to rack up more debt in fines than I pay out in credit card interest. Besides, when I own the book I can keep it pristine. I hate marking up my books. I never break the binding. It feels like a sin.

One day when I grow up I’m going to have huge floor to ceiling bookcases and knowing me wherever I’ll be living will look like McLeod’s and be filled with old tea cups that I’ve forgotten and I’ll probably end up dying in there in an old lopi sweater with my hair tied up in a fantastic knot because it’ll be about twelve feet long.

November 10, 2009 087

Concert photos

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

November 10, 2009 070

a single spark explosion

dreamt last night I saw you

Finally some pictures from the concert. I took a lot of photos, some of them half-decent and I stuck them all on my flickr account.

I guess that’s all I have to say for today. No one reads blogs on Saturdays anyways.

The end of the ice age

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Don’t look now but we got a new boiler today!

No more seeing your breath indoors!

No more shower-induced hypothermia!

No more sleeping with two layers of clothing on!

No more sleeping with mittens!

No more sleeping with a toque!

And best of all, no socks in bed! Because I’m hardcore anti-socks-in-bed it drives me nuts that I have to wear two pairs to be able to sleep comfortably.

Yes, you read that right. We’re going to melt the polar ice caps like there’s no tomorrow so I can sleep barefoot.


Thursday, November 12th, 2009

They’ve increased the lighting on transit a lot recently. It’s far more harsh and clinical than it’s ever been, so that everything shows up that much better in the surveillance footage from the new security cameras they’ve been installing.

But it also means that at night the reflections in the windows are that much brighter and clearer. It’s that much harder to see what’s happening outside, and that much easier to come face to face with yourself.

At the end of the night there’s always that long skytrain ride home. Some nights you just don’t want to look at yourself so you stare at the floor.

Heat seeking

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

c'est Sachat!

My roommates are sick and I think I’m coming down with it. I can’t say I’m thrilled about this.

The only one who seems to be fine is the cat, which is good for her, but annoying as hell for us, because it’s no fun when you’re feeling kind of crappy, minding your own business and someone is biting your leg. I’ve tried to explain this to her but I don’t think she understands.

Our heat still doesn’t work. This place is so draughty that there’s not really any difference between the temperature indoors and that outdoors. Someone came to look at the boiler last week and the prognosis was not good. The landlord decided that she wanted a second opinion but said second opinion has not arrived yet and I’m unclear as to what the plan is there.

We’ve taken to using the fireplace, which cuts the damp a bit, but really doesn’t seem to ward off the chill. Some people say it does but I don’t feel it.

Once again, the one entity in this house that seems to be keeping warm is the cat, but not in a way that I’m comfortable with. The other day I looked over toward the fireplace to see that she was curled up in the corner behind the grate. Aww, she looked comfy.

I did a double take. The cat is in the fireplace. She is going to track soot everywhere and dirty stuff up. I need to discourage this behaviour!

It was shortly after that that I realized that there was also fire in the fireplace. The logs were still glowing red. The cat was snuggled up beside it.

Trying to explain to your roommate how her cat got cooked on your watch is not a conversation I want to have. I sprayed her with a squirt bottle. She ran out. She was pretty pissed off with me.

Matt Good

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Mr. Good is back with a band and he never disappoints. I went in with my fingers crossed for Avalanche and they played it second. It’s chilling played acoustically and pure awesome with a band.

He played a lot of songs from the new album, some from Hospital Music and a lot of old singles. It was nice to see him pull out some old MGB songs that he hasn’t played much over the past few tours. The crowd loves it, everyone sings along and the atmosphere is great. He doesn’t really need to sing some of them because the audience can sing them louder. I was totally floored to finally see Weapon live.

I would pay a lot of money for a bootleg of the version of Empty’s Theme Park that they played so I could put it on repeat and lay on the floor in the dark for forever.

And, as always, you go to hear him say whatever’s on his mind, whether it’s the pathetic state of the news media in Vancouver (Canwest Global owns it all), discussing how if he was the president of the earth he’d give the world’s arms to Tuvalu and the USS Abraham Lincoln to Jamaica to turn into a giant floating bar or how cocaine is very bad. Stevie Nicks had to take her cocaine anally because she’d destroyed her nasal passages so badly, which would be the point where any sane person would stop. It’s like a guy who runs over his foot every time he mows the lawn because there’s a hot nurse next door (eventually you have to realize that she doesn’t put out so maybe this is a dumb idea).

It’s one of the few shows you’ll go to where people actually call out for more stories instead of songs. The man’s hilarious. I laughed until I nearly cried.

I took a lot of photos but they’re being held hostage right now so have a look at my new shirt! I wasn’t crazy about the one women’s shirt they had so I bought this one in a men’s small. Please pray for lots of dryer shrinkage for me. They also had some really cool soccer scarves but they’re not the sort of thing I’d really wear a lot.

In the merch line a guy was quite amused that I am so short. He kept looking back and smiling. It’s why I don’t do mosh pits, I said. I’m glad I can amuse people.

The show was so awesome I am kicking myself that I didn’t buy tickets for yesterday too.

Only one thing was bad about the evening. I managed to lose my favourite pair of mittens and my own stupidity is probably to blame. I put an ad on Craigslist here, even though I know I will never get them back. They’re just too cool to be returned. I’m sad about this. I really need an idiot string.

Life with a bag of squash

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

I’m not sure what possessed me to buy four squashes on my way to school. They were on sale, I guess. Well, actually, I do know. They were on sale.

But all that fades to the background when you’ve been dragging a bag of squash around school for four or five hours. You walk into class all cool and nonchalant with your huge grocery bag cutting off the circulation to your arm and try to stash it under the table with your umbrella and messenger bag and a stack of books.

Then you forget about it all until you have to load yourself back up again and wander down the street to a salon about innovation models in cultural policy with Stuart Cunningham. There you’ll repeat the ridiculous ritual of stashing your bag of squash under a seat while trying not to attract too much attention.

Topics included broadening the definition of innovation beyond the Frascati definition. the role of universities as incubators, the disconnect between culture and policy, the impact of new technologies on innovation, hidden innovation and the reasons why it’s not addressed by policy. ‘Twas interesting.

When you drag a bag full of squashes on to the Skytrain during rush hour you suddenly become that person that everyone hates as they have to try and squeeze past you.

But now that I’ve dragged my squashes home and made some dinner (not squash-related) I’m not feeling like really doing anything. I think I’m going to just knit and veg and figure out how I’m getting to this concert.

That and figure out what to do with the squashes.

Free! Sharp!

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

I woke up on my parents’ livingroom floor this morning. I had evidently lost the battle with the cat for the choicest portion of my pillow, and the other one had claimed enough of my blanket that I was cold. I lay there faking sleep until I was informed that we were going to go out for breakfast.

Breakfast with the parental unit is nice, but it tends to take about eight hours because it will probably involve something you didn’t really plan for, like buying a couch.

We visited several stores and did a lot of sitting and whacking eachother with throw pillows but I didn’t see anything I particularly liked. Everything was so fucking ugly.

It’s clear to me that designing attractive furniture is a dead art that hasn’t been practiced since the 1940s. But then again, what would I know? I’m quite partial to those nice 1920s couches that you can pick up for free in back alleys.

I said this but my complaints fell on deaf ears. “We’ve been waiting thirty years to buy a new couch,” they said, “if we don’t do it now we’re going to keel over and die.”

We ended up at the mall for an epic throwdown between Sears and the Bay. We tried every single couch at Sears and then headed across the mall undecided to check out the competition where we found that on the whole, the selection was fuglier, but it offered up one reasonable candidate.

This wasn’t going to be an easy decision though. We wandered around the mall, discussing options and then back to Sears where all of the salespeople had completely changed and all of the furniture looked completely different than it had half an hour before. It was too bizarre for us so we got the one at the Bay. It’s fugly but not unacceptably so.

But just about the time I thought we would finally be able to escape the hell that is mall shopping, someone decided that we needed a wrench from Sears for the fan belt on the car.

Now, as far as I’m concerned, the only size of wrench one would ever need is 7/16″.
Preferably two, because otherwise the bolt likes to spin around and never get tight. It’s fun to watch novices try and rig a boat without knowing this.

The metric equivalent just doesn’t work. Makes me wonder what size bolts Empacher puts on boats for the European market. It also kind of makes me wonder what we’ll all do in a couple of years seeing as they seem to be phasing the old measures out.

But suddenly a working-class Brit voice on the PA system announced that they were giving out free paring knives. Free! Sharp! Surgical steel! Come get them now! By the ladies’ handbags section! Free!

A moment later you could hear him again. Did he mention that they were free to anyone over 21? Free? This is your last chance! Get them now!

Well, you don’t get many free things in life anymore. I ran.

I found the free knife booth completely empty. There was a sign that said wait here for free knives. I waited. Nobody came.

I saw a hat that looked interesting. I wandered off a little. I swear the moment my back was turned, a guy approached the booth, took down the free knives sign and left.

I was quite put out about this, so I helped myself.

Notes: 07.11.09

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

A couple notes before I go to bed:

One of my roommates seems to have come down with the hamthrax. She is quite ill right now. The people at the clinic tried to send her home because they were too busy but she collapsed in the washroom there so they let her stay. It probably doesn’t help that we have no heat in our suite.

Celebrated my sister’s birthday at the Water Street Cafe. It’s one of my favourite places to eat and had a very predictably delicious dinner. Everything was fine until someone decided to tell stories about how my sister is as a drunk and she got really pissed off.

Succumbed to temptation to pull out my mom’s Meyers-Briggs manuals to read up on what she’s read about me. Pretty fascinating stuff.

La musique

Friday, November 6th, 2009

This morning I woke up to the sound of crappy elevator music, and because it’s usually my roommate playing music in the living room, I assumed that her taste had taken a sudden sharp turn downhill.

I then realized that she was on the phone to the government, they had her on hold and she had just left her phone on speakerphone. Service in French seems to take a lot longer than service in English sometimes. This means plenty of muzak to go around.

I totally prefer the stuff she usually listens to: