Archive for March, 2010


Thursday, March 11th, 2010

making chains

Last weekend I put in a couple hours of solid cleaning in the shop out at my parents’ house. What seemed like an impossible task a couple months ago really wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t as messy and disorganised as it looked, and after a while things started to fall into place. That was really the whole point of the class that I’m taking. I can figure out most things myself, but I really need to know where to start.

I managed to find everything except for the torch heads. I have no idea where they are. I’m torn between buying some new ones and just waiting until they appear. As with everything else, when you buy a new one, you will magically find the old one. That’s just how it works. But I can’t really do much until I have one in hand.

I’ve been making chains lately. It’s not something that my parents ever did so they’ve been mining me for information about how to polish them. Dad always said that he didn’t like it because it was boring and fiddly, but I’m not sure he ever tried to do it. I think it’s more likely that with the number of craft fairs we used to do they were under a lot of pressure to crank out a high volume of stuff at a fairly low price point.

Handmade chains take a long time to make so pricing them is hard. It’s like any other craft. If you put a fair price on your time, you’ll probably be charging more than most people are willing to pay.

But I’ve been finding that making chains is a lot of fun. It’s tedious. It involves a lot of calm, repetitive, meditative work. It defies all logic but I love it.

making chains

Border Zones

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Yesterday my class was at the Museum of Anthropology, where we took in the Border Zones exhibit.

I took my sister’s advice as to how to get there, which worked until I got to the bus loop, which was not quite where I thought it was, and not nearly as close. I’m never totally lost but UBC is a pretty big and spread-out campus that I don’t visit often. I headed south-west but I overshot a little and ended up much further south than I should have, and ended up walking what felt like two kilometres up Marine Drive before I found it.

It’s an annoying feeling realizing where you are and knowing that it’s going to be a long time before you get where you’re supposed to be.

The exhibit was cool, though I would have liked to have had a little more time to go through it. Some of the installations were more like experiences that you had to spend a lot of time in to get the point.

One was a series of LCD screens that showed a bare, sandy plain, juxtaposed with elders from wherever it was explaining that it used to be a village and a river. I’m not sure what happened there to make it change. It was oddly familiar and reminded me of the ugly mud flat that is where my great-grandparents’ farm used to be. Maybe those people lost their homes to a hydroelectric dam too.

My favourite piece was a giant floating river of little plastic boats suspended from the ceiling everywhere. The older I get the more I love these big concept pieces that are more about changing the environment of a room than anything else.

Standing at the skytrain station, waiting for the bus I was surprised by a few snowflakes that landed on the book I was reading. It’s been kind of cold the past few days. Figures I’ve already put away my wool coat and a bunch of my sweaters for the summer.

Maybe I should push back my plans for the back garden.

Plenty of fish

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

One of my roommates has just discovered online dating. This is something that he has never previously ventured into before because he has a pretty awesome girlfriend who he’s been with for a long time.

No, he’s not cheating on his girlfriend. He just likes looking at what guys put on their profiles and has been a little obsessed with finding us all boyfriends. A couple of weeks ago he came up with a shopping list of characteristics for a guy for Mye and then asked for some of my input. From there on, I guess he kind of made up a shopping list for me. I’m kind of intrigued as to what he thinks but I don’t really want to encourage him.

Today he’s been busily trawling through profiles, and choosing guys he thinks are interesting for our other roommate who has been into the online dating thing for years. So far the results are inconclusive as to whether he is a born matchmaker or not.

“Hey, this stuff is fun!” he said. Sure, it’s fun if you’re not feeling really lonely and don’t have to deal with lots of creepy male attention or good male inattention or actually going out on the dates. He approaches it kind of like a tourist: fly in, have fun, withdraw with no strings attached.

He’s been trying to convince me that I should also sign up on a site so that he can find a bunch of random people for me. I keep saying no, but it will be a while before he gives up.

A couple of our roommates provide so much entertainment to us that we call their lives ‘shows’ and try to figure out where the writers are trying to go with the plot after they’ve gone to bed. No doubt there’s also an Erin Show that I don’t hear about and this is part of it.

End of the party

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

LiveCity Yaletown

For two and a half weeks I had nothing to do and a bus pass for everywhere. I set out to fit in as much as I possibly could. I think I did a pretty good job of it. I managed to see 14 bands play, took a couple thousand photos, had a few posted in the People’s Podium series on The Tyee, took in some local art galleries, attended the annual march for missing women in the Downtown East Side, hung out around W2 went to the Fresh Media Conference, heard Lawrence Lessig’s wireside chat, caught up with some people I haven’t seen in a while and met new ones.

I somehow had this idea that I would blog every single day of the Olympics. I’d go out, experience lots of things, take a million pictures and then I’d come home, edit, upload, write… and then somehow do that again and again.

Yeah, didn’t happen.

Something I keep getting reminded of the older I get is that my body has limits. After a couple of days I was too tired to put anything together, or worse, I’d sit there, awake without the brain power to do anything. Too many things to process at once, too many nights where I wasn’t in bed before 4:30 am.

One thing is true: I have never seen Vancouver like that before and I will probably never see it like that again. I think Ben from Said the Whale captured it when he said that it was like Vancouver was acting like it’s parents were gone for the weekend.

It’s been crazy, surreal at times. Being downtown was a constant assault on your senses, with music, scalpers, paid street teams, crazy fans, random high-fives, street performers, and crowds pushing past each other. Everywhere you looked there was something else to see. The street scene varied from block to block, so much that they could have been different worlds.

As with everything, the crowds were more entertaining than the programmed, sanctioned entertainment. The carnival-like atmosphere provided a stage for all sorts of impromptu performances like these guys or the lady I saw on Sunday dragging a goat down Georgia Street.

But a week ago I started coming down from the manic high I started the Olympics on. One morning I woke up really groggy, cancelled all my plans and slept the entire day. The next day I was fine, but in spite of eating all day I felt like I was starving.

It was the beginning of the end. I was fatiguing, and on top of that I’m cursed with constantly thinking about the future. The reality of being away from school and shelving other projects for two weeks and that my financial and job situation are currently in a state of yellow dancing with orange was starting to really bother me again.

It was perhaps ironically at it’s worst when I went downtown on Sunday. I thought that that would be a really great opportunity to shoot a lot of pictures of people on the street during the gold medal game. It was. Too bad the battery in my camera was dead. From then on I wandered around, just observing things. But when the winning goal was scored and the streets erupted into celebration, I just wasn’t feeling it.

So, I went home. I’m done with the Olympics.

LiveCity Yaletown