The holiday’s over

January 13th, 2011 by erin

How many of my roommates does it take to take down a Christmas tree?

Several plus a television, apparently.

Wesley’s uncle seems to upgrade his TV every three or four months so we are perpetually the recipients of ever-larger television sets. The newest upgrade arrived yesterday morning. The screen was moderately larger than the one we already had, but the back end of it was probably double the size so it takes up a lot more space in the room and it’s much heavier.

I haven’t watched it yet so I’m not sure if it’s any better than the previous one we had. It has a couple quirks, one of them being that everything on the remote works except the on button. You need to press the button on the TV to make it work.

It dwarfed the little table that we had been using for the TV. Every time someone pressed the button the poor thing shook drunkenly and it was making people nervous.

Mye and Mary-Lee decided to move it onto the coffee table instead and in the process of manhandling it, knocked over the tree. Steph was passing by at the time and managed to catch it by the top and amazingly enough, not spill her tea.

There was a brief pause in which everyone breathed a sigh of relief, and then the tree abruptly broke in half.

We decided that it was time to take it down and stuffed it into it’s box. Someone can worry about it’s brokenness later.

Tron mittens

December 17th, 2010 by erin

Every year my friend Alex has a concert on his birthday. He always invites a bunch of his friends to play and the music is usually pretty good so I dragged my roommate along. Mye ridiculed us for our lack of enthusiasm before heading out but we’re introverts so of course there’s gong to be an interval of dread before we get there.

That being said, I had a good night. On the bus two guys standing behind us kept gesturing near me and then finally asked me where I’d gotten my mittens because he thought they looked like they were from Tron (they don’t). The one guy was clearly taken by them and he suggested that I should knit a Tron sweater and that he needed Tron underwear to impress the ladies. It would glow in the dark and they would be ‘like whoa.’

That was around the time we got off the bus so I don’t know where that conversation eventually went.

Old world lies

December 15th, 2010 by erin

Last night we went to see Brasstronaut at the Biltmore and they were pretty awesome. The crowd was a little off though, not really paying attention to the band, which was a shame. It was like there was a party going on and there just happened to be a band in the corner.

Poor Mye. We’re always confusing her. We make jokes about stuff that she says and then she thinks that maybe it’s because she said something incorrectly.

Case in point: over dinner she talked about how she had gotten home really late the night before, and had slept with her contact lenses in all night. “Was that awkward in the morning?” Wesley asked, and I played along. “Are you going to see them again?” “Did they call?” We had her so confused.


December 10th, 2010 by erin


I was at class on Wednesday and there was a gem dealer/broker there to show us some stuff. He didn’t have a lot that was really amazing or exciting to me except for some really large fire opals. They were cool.

One thing he did have though was a piece of sphalerite. It was a large stone, canary yellow with lots of brilliance and fire. I’ve heard sphalerite described as ‘diamonds on crack’ because of how bright and refractive they are and I find the description apt. They’re so much brighter than diamonds. Even under the shitty fluorescent light people noticed it’s brilliance from across the room.

The guy began to tell a story about sphalerite. He had three pieces that were identically cut. He sold one to a guy and told him that it was a display piece, not to be worn in jewelry. Sphalerite has a hardness of a little over three 3 and it also cleaves really easily. It’s a very fragile kind of stone. The guy indicated that he was purchasing it for jewelry and the broker said no, it’s not a good idea. Maybe a pendant, but do not under any circumstances put it in a ring. The guy then took it and had it set in a pinkie ring. Within a week he’d knocked it against something and the stone had shattered. The guy went back to the broker, bought the second stone and put it in the ring, only to have the exact same thing happen. So he bought the third stone. The broker was happy to have sold them all.

I found myself following along with the story, anticipating the details before he brought them up. I’d heard the exact same story before from someone else. That other person claimed that he’d been the one to sell the sphalerite to the guy. So… who’s story was it?


December 9th, 2010 by erin

Our house is really drafty, and there is nowhere where you feel it more than in the bathroom. It’s so bad that there’s actually wind blowing through from the window and the arctic outflow makes it especially uncomfortable to dry yourself off after a shower.

So my roommate got tired of the arctic conditions and invested in some of the plastic stuff that you put over your windows. It’s something people apparently do out east all the time but in Vancouver this whole practice is kind of foreign and weird. This is probably why the plastic stuff is hard to find. It took some hunting before she found a hardware store that carried it.

And, not only is it hard to find, it’s also expensive. Six dollars plus HST per window that you want to seal. But in this case, though $6.72 is a necessary sacrifice to prevent post-shower hypothermia.

I’m not entirely sure how this stuff is supposed to be installed but she stuck it on the wall around the window, completely encasing the windowsill and frame. Good thing too, because the cold seems to emanate from around the window, not the window itself.

It looked awful but it was an instant improvement, and was an instant improvement for maybe 12 hours until the cat tried to jump through it and tore the plastic.

I m a

December 8th, 2010 by erin

I collect buttons on the strap of my camera bag. It wasn’t really a conscious thing. Someone just handed me one when I happened to have my camera out and I stuck it on the strap. The next time I was handed a button, the precident was already set and I knew where it should go.

Now there are lots of them. Suddenly people notice them. They give guys a convenient thing to remark about when it’s really obvious they’ve been staring at my boobs.

And now, suddenly people offer me buttons specifically for my camera strap, because they see that clearly I am the recipient of buttons. So someone at work handed me a button of a partner organization. The organization does good work and I have no qualms about endorsing them.

But here’s the thing – I’m kind of selective about typography. The kearning is all wrong. The first line is “I’m a” and each letter has the same amount of space between it. It’s not two words, it’s three discrete letters floating in space. Terrible.

I don’t think I can wear this button.


December 5th, 2010 by erin

My sister is writing a paper on the ethics of salvage. She’s interested in the kinds of old things that people feel they are free to take because they don’t seem significant or old enough, like old garbage or household items.

It’s a really interesting topic. Stuff that is ‘ancient’ is off-limits to the public. It gets excavated by archaeologists and put into museums. But stuff from Confederation onward is fair game for everyone, despite the fact that it might provide interesting insight into settlement and life during different time periods. This stuff is important to researchers because the history wasn’t always recorded very well or truthfully.

She wanted to add a personal dimension to her paper so she dug into my grandparents’ autobiography, where our Grandad wrote at length about salvaging bottles and collectibles from old garbage dumps and collecting glass insulators off of telephone poles.

We had a laugh at some of the stories he wrote. Grandad was a clever guy and his writing is very colourful. Maybe I’ll find the time to dig through and pick a couple stories to post.

Stored in with the books was a bunch of ephemera that I always forget is there. Somehow it’s always new every time I look at it, maybe because I’m always looking at it with different eyes. It was in all this that we remembered that he passed away fifteen years ago today. Interesting coincidence. I’m not good at remembering those sorts of things.


December 3rd, 2010 by erin

For the past several weeks our internet has cut out in the evening, sometimes as early as 6 or 7 and then it’s out for as much as four hours. This began shortly after our newest roommate set his computer up as a server for some game that he plays so he probably unjustly bore the brunt of my wrath.

It’s really stressful to not have a reliable internet connection, especially when I do so much of my job from home and I need it to look for more work.

But the awesome thing about being a generally amiable, even-tempered person is that when I do get pissed off I get results. The factory presets were restored on the router and things were fine for about a week when suddenly the internet went back to being screwed up again.

It also began to screw up while the roommate was in question was not at home, so I’ve apologised profusely and now we’re looking to change internet providers.

So part of this is frustration and part of this is me trying to excuse myself for being such a bad poster. I’m stuck in a meta loop as far as blogging goes. Instead of writing about something interesting I write about blogging. My blog is full of suck these days. Not being able to connect to the internet and post posts is just one of many reasons.

It has taken 45 minutes for me to log into wordpress to post this, and I can’t get flickr to load so I can add a picture. It makes my blood boil.

Breaking up with spinach: a study of grief

November 30th, 2010 by erin

I woke up this morning, had breakfast and then fell asleep for six hours. Maybe this means my sleep deficit is fixed? I certainly hope so.

This is all due to what I fear might be a newly developed intolerance to either lentils or quinoa. Four of the six previous nights have been spent lying awake writhing in agony with indigestion and the only thing I can think of that those nights had in common was lentils and quinoa.

This is not outside of the realm of possibility because a few years ago I developed an intolerance to spinach that gave me the same symptoms. I had never previously had a problem with it but it suddenly started making me violently ill.

The worst part of suspecting that you’ve suddenly become allergic to something you eat all the time is that the process of coming to terms with it is difficult. I find it takes several steps:

If it’s something that you commonly eat then it’s going to take a while to recognize that you ate it every time you were sick. You’ll pass feeling ill off as being under the weather, or food poisoning or having a bit of a bug, so you’ll keep eating it and feeling bad for a long time.

Spinach? Really? No, there’s no way it’s spinach. Spinach is good for you! Who ever heard of a spinach intolerance? You do a google search that seems to confirm the fact that this is a crazy idea. You eat a lot of spinach figuring that if you just suck it up it will go away.

You find yourself asking why. Why spinach? Why couldn’t it have been something you don’t like eating? A spinach allergy is so stupid! No one’s going to believe you if you tell them you’re allergic to spinach! You get pissed off that it makes you feel so sick and that you can’t sleep because of it.

You start asking yourself what if? What if you try your spinach salad with a different dressing? What if you put it into the blender? Maybe organic would be better? What if you only have like five leaves on your salad and you mix them in with other stuff so you can’t see them? You will experiment with many ways to eat spinach and suffer the consequences.

You realize that you’re going to have to make some changes in your life and it saddens you. You will never eat that awesome hot tuna salad from the Red Onion ever again.

You give up eating spinach. You begin to avoid it in your daily life, asking at restaurants if the house greens have spinach in them. You spend a lot of time at the grocery store surveying the baskets of mixed greens, trying to decide if you should risk it and then you probably won’t.

In all likelihood it’s probably stress that is making my body reject half the food I put into it. But until this is confirmed, I’m in denial.


November 21st, 2010 by erin

Jeez it got cold all of a sudden!

I’ve been busy working all weekend and conveniently the boiler in our part of the building stopped working sometime last week so the temperature has been slowly dropping.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been digging around trying to find half-finished knitting projects that I can complete in the minimum possible time. The first blast of winter always seems to catch me by surprise. I’m not sure why. It’s not like it happens every year, right?

Luckily we have heat at home this year. We all laugh about it now but last November was pretty miserable.

This morning on my way to work the back bus doors jammed on some snow stuck to the curb. They would neither open nor close. The bus driver just sat there. So everyone just sat there and the time passed. People got really irritated and explained to the driver that the door was stuck on the snow and that the bus had to move forward a little so the doors could move. The bus driver didn’t move or say anything. He opened the front door but closed it when no one got off. He just sat there.

Eventually a couple of guys got out and kicked down the snowbank that the door was stuck on. The doors closed. The tension in the bus didn’t dissipate. Within two stops the driver and several passengers were embroiled in a full-blown yelling match.

Nothing like some conflict to start your morning. I got to work late.