Tuesday, May 27, 2003

It's been raining all day and it's got me a little bit down. Just moody though, and mostly b/c I haven't been doing enough school-related work... It's so hard when I feel like I should be a having a least a bit of "summer vacation". Alas, vacation is not going to happen for me this year. Must buckle down! It's not that I don't like the course either - Freud is interesting reading, really (I'm reading "The Interpretation of Dreams" right now) and gets me thinking. But I'd much rather be watching Farscape or reading novels - summer things! I'll simply have to get over it.

As well, I really should not be listening to Iron and Wine. There are a few songs (okay, the whole album) that just get me into a wistful, dreamy, moody state. Silliness! Sigh. And I can't block it out while reading. You know what this means? It means I will have to put on some German minimalist electro-noise. Nothing like the click-click of nothing to get one's head deeply embedded in the books...

Friday, May 23, 2003

Have I been doing enough work lately? No, I have not been doing enough work lately.
I'm taking a summer course called "Reading Freud". It's only six weeks long and two weeks have already gone by. There are a lot of readings. And I keep speed-reading them instead of Giving Them Their Due. Or something like that. However, I *am* reading "Prozac Nation", which a friend picked up for a dollar at the Salvation Army thrift store. Hey, it *relates* to the class, it does. I was a bit cynical about the book at first, but it's quite a good read. I'm reading it as if I don't know anything about the author. Which, really, I don't - I only know what I've read in magazines and such, which I always question the validity of anyway. Like, I heard she dated David Foster Wallace at one time. A rumour? Perhaps. But in my book just the idea of that represents some kind of cred. Though I imagine that dating DFW would be insane in itself. Anyway, interesting book to be reading while taking a course about Freud. I mean, last week's class began with the question "What does 'insane' mean?" It's all so massive and fascinating.

I did get to look at people's blogs today, which is always nice. I haven't been Keeping Up b/c I've been trying to do school work (and race through "Prozac Nation", of course...). So, during this perusal, I found to my *delight* that Ulla (http://knittingfactory.blogspot.com) listed me in her blog links. But I only saw this after my *even greater delight" at her illustration of the day (for May 16). It's the greatest thing and I want it on a t-shirt. It reminds me of the kid's book "Where the Wild Things Are", which I still LOVE and will love forever. And it also reminds me a bit of me b/c I am prone to saying things like "Follow me, I know exactly where we are going" even if I only have the foggiest of notions. (I blame this on being an Aquarian - apparently Aquarian's defining quote is "I know"... egh.)

Mark's blog was a different kind of delight today b/c he offers up a download of Dolly Parton's "And I Will Always Love You". So I downloaded it. And about 15 seconds in began to cry b/c Mark is right: it is the most beautiful song in the world. Or at least one of them. So amazing that I'd never actually listened to the words before despite having heard Whitney Houston's version a thousand times before. Whitney's version is nothing. It is all hitting notes and getting on the radio. Whereas Dolly is all heart. So amazing. It reminds me that even though there's tonnes of music out there in the world and many many different genres of music, the music that really gets to you just has that certain something, whether it's country, soul, indie pop or hip-hop. One can't discount any genre b/c in every genre somebody is creating something amazing. It's just that metal, for instance, might appeal to one person's sense of expression better than another form of music might. It's all about creating things. I'm simplistically rambling, I know. I will go on about it when my vocabulary comes back...

As if I could drop into yet a lower level of simplicity, let me tell you about vanilla coke. Now, I don't like coke. I don't really even like pop. But I have a strong nostalgia issue when it comes to cream soda and a less strong but still there nostalgia issue with coke. But I very very rarely drink the stuff. So, yesterday I was out with a friend and he bought a vanilla coke and I had a sip b/c I had never tried it. It tastes like cream soda, but also like coke! It's totally painfully sweet and feels (to me) like acid on the tongue, but damn, the nostalgia value is too great! So today I bought my own little bottle of vanilla coke. I'm still working on it now at 9:30 at night, but it's been quite nice in a really weird way. I feel a bit like a commercial, what with the success of coke and nostalgia advertising campaigns ringing in my ears. But anyway, interesting. I can't imagine buying another vanilla coke for at least a few months though - it's like, oh, okay, well that's done.

Oh, and the last thing I will mention today is that I've discovered the joys of the sci-fi series "Farscape". I love it! I saw an episode at a friend's house a few weeks ago and he has most of the episodes on tape! So I've been watching a lot of "Farscape"... and feeling like a bit of a geek, but not really a huge geek b/c it's quite a well-written show. However, unlike "Prozac Nation", it has very little to do with psychoanalysis and Freud. Or *does it*?... I will have to go watch another episode or two in order to address that question...

Oh wait, I also saw "The Matrix: Reloaded" last night. I was a bit overwhelmed by the theatre actually b/c it was sort of in the suburbs but not. I don't know - in a mall that reminded me of all suburban North American malls. And there were lots of teenagers. Enjoyable. I also enjoyed the absolute assault on my senses that was the movie. Fabulous. I love that. More review-type writing later, I suppose, when I'm more in that kind of mood.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

so, a week or so ago i noticed that there were ants in my room. little black ants, harmless looking really, but ants nonetheless! ants that are just fine outside where they belong but ants which must die if they enter my apartment. i am sorry, ants, but it was wrong of you to come in here and now you must die. so i stomped on a few, but soon realized that you can't stamp ants out of existence. no, you need something bigger than a slipper-clad foot (and nice slippers they are too - only $3.99 in chinatown! i also have the $1.99 slippers, but they are not quite as good at ant stomping.) But, you see, the problem goes beyond the ants. The ants just seemed to represent an escalation in bug infestation. Because before the ants were the weird centipede things. (shudder. shudder. eeeuuugh. shudder.) I have only seen three of the weird centipede things, but I wish for no further sightings, thank you. So gross. When you see one you can't help but feel that it's crawling all over you and even when you kill it, you still imagine that its friends will crawl into your bed while you're sleeping and, like, crawl into your ears Wrath-of-Khan style. Shudder.

You can see how this was a Problem to Be Solved. So I went to Canadian Tire and did something I've never done before: I bought a can of Raid. Now, I know I'm from B.C. and there are plently of bugs out there, so one would assume that I am well-aquainted with canned pesticides. But y'know, I'm not. I've gotten rid of ants before with bay leaves and a bit of that ant bait. And spiders, well, that's what vacuums are for, right? (Do you know what happens when you crush giant west-coast spiders. It's almost worse than the live spider. Almost. Better to let them die a slow vacuum suction death.) Anyway, I never had centipedes. But if I had, you can be sure I'd be well-aquainted with Raid by now.

Now to praise Canadian Tire. Such a good store. So full of useful things. And they had about 10 different kinds of Raid. Big cans, little cans, indoor-use Raid, outdoor-use Raid, crawling insect Raid, spider Raid, flying insect Raid (which conjurs up all kinds of images of balding men running around their backyards spraying Raid in the air while chasing flying insects), ultra-super-xtra Raid for killing pretty much anything within a 10-foot radius. I stood in that aisle for a good 15 minutes, reading labels, being awed. Eventually I chose a good, middle-of-the-line Raid. Sort of a like an all-season radial tire, I suppose - good for outdoor and indoor use, all kinds of insects, won't kill the cats, etc.. I brought my can of Raid home and immediately gave the apartment a good spray, concentrating on the exterior floorboards (it's an old house...). And no more ants! And no more centipedes! And probably no more anything for at least a few weeks.

I feel slightly evil, but, well, I've already been banished to the 6th level of hell, so at this point I might as well continue in my evil ways. I might as well buy the Ultra-Raid next time...

Monday, May 12, 2003

eeg, i've got a stuffed-up nose. and i am sneezing. but i am *not sick*. no.
I think it has something to do with over-indulging during yesterday's Survivor Finale BBQ at my place. It was great fun, but included lots of 'unhealthy' food and drink. oh well. I guess that just goes to show that I deserve to be banished to the sixth level of hell.

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test

Friday, May 09, 2003

I purposely *rode my bike up hills* today. In a way I did it partly for the much-needed cardiovascular workout (the only cardio I've been doing in the past couple weeks has been stress-related, kind of like interval sprinting, but with more clenching of fists and swearing. Okay, there has been another type of cardio, but some things must be kept private and mysterious...), but I also did it to avoid insane Montreal rush-hour traffic on busy, though flat, streets (it was a really pretty route though and went to the rich anglo part of town. quel suprise! rich, anglo and pretty?! never.). Yes, now that the essays are over (for these brief, brief moments - how I relish them and honour them by watching three straight hours of Thursday night tv.), I can get back into Routine. Which means going to the gym tomorrow to see if my muscles have atrophied as much as I think they may have. Poor mus-cles. I was doing push-ups and sit-ups but I kinda need to work out in a class setting or with a partner in order to stay motivated.

*Anyway*, speaking of health-related things, I think I might become a food activist. Y'know, go around spraying fake blood on boxes of cookies and bags of chips, that kind of thing. hahahahaha. no. I like a good chocolate bar as much as the next person (unless they don't like chocolate. In which case they are not a friend of mine and clearly sans all their faculties (see previous blog entry.)), but in general people eat far too much in the way of processed food. Yeah, I'm all whole-food revolution! It's difficult though b/c short of having my own farm, it's hard to practice what you preach. Especially when organic meat costs 3 times as much as 'regular' meat, meaning that I would only be able to eat meat, um, once a week. And I require protein. Protein that is meat. And there's so much bad press about soy now. I actually really like the taste of soy milk and tofu, but, as with everything, one can't eat the same thing every day - I strive for balance. Omnivourous balance! Yarm. A cornucopia of balance.

I guess I mention this b/c in this week or so of 'free time' I've had, I've spent a bit of it on the Internet, reading things and realizing that all information is eventually conflicting information. le sigh. It's not just an internet phenomenon either, as some would have you believe. Oh no sir, the books contradict each other too. One does not know what to believe anymore (this is me shaking my head in mock tragedy. Why mock? Because 'believing in things' makes me laugh anyway. hahaha. Just because. Ah, believing - let us not waste our precious time on believing and focus on 'being interested in' and 'attracted to' and 'exploring these ideas'. Ow, this fence is hurting my bum.)

I am almost finished reading "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" (it is the abridged version, however, bought for me in a secondhand shop by a party interested in entertaining me from a safe distance while plotting how to, like, get in my pants. harhar.) Abridged or not abridged, it is a great book! I'm told that all I'm missing is a hundred pages of mere "description", nothing to worry about. Well, okay. But I couldn't read "Fellowship of the Ring" when I was a kid b/c I thought I had to read all the appendix-type bits and maps and such (the "description", people!) before getting to the story. That is, I don't like missing out on the details. But, as is evident in my ability to read said abridged version, I'm calming down about all that. And soon enough I will read the Lord of the Rings trilogy b/c I've been wanting to read it forever and just, well, never have. It's silly really. But, aside from all the school-related books I've got piled up around my room (including one about *organ transplants* called "Twice Dead", which is really very cool and interesting), I've got 6 books on my bedside table, bookmarks in all of them. Like interrupting my own written sentences with parenthetical asides, reading too many books at once is a bad habit. So heaven only knows when I'll get to good ol' Tolkien.

Robin the Midlands Milkman mentioned me (and my newfound weblog) in his weblog! I'm all honoured and blushing. But let it be known that I cannot promise the whimsy of my doppelganger, what with his sweet stories about gardeners and his uncanny ability to talk to all sorts of strangers. But perhaps my stories will become sweet eventually and perhaps I'll be able to strike up a conversation with an interesting stranger at the market next time I'm there. I believe I'm already working on it though: I'm realizing that a friend of mine lives in an apartment filled with talkative/friendly people! And whenever I'm there I inevitably get into conversations with them while waiting for the elevator. It's nice and, like Robin, inspires me to talk to more strangers or at least just smile at them. Today the conversation was with a woman who had just come in from walking her *gigantic* rotweiller. As we waited for the elevator, her dog had a good time sniffing my cat-smelling hands. I said, in that lilting way in which you speak about nothing to strangers with big dogs, "Ah, he smells my cat." (insert little laugh. because i always seem to laugh too much when talking to strangers.) The woman was about 40 years old, a bit round, a bit gruff looking. But she laughed too! And told me about how her old dog had really like cats and used to lick their faces while they looked perturbed, and how this dog just likes to chase cats. Yes, another friendly encounter in the building of friendly encounters.

Such encounters always make me feel like I am floating above the conversation. Just a bit. I suppose because what we're talking about is so vague, so totally unassuming and almost not there at all, that I'm not all there. Yet at the same time these encounters are so meaningful to me. Simple little connections, you know, brief smiles in the hallway. They just make me a little happier. It helps that it was a lovely day here today and that I had just gotten off my bike and was full of exercise goodness. Mmm, I love me some all-natural lemon and lime flavoured endorphins.

Well, Captain Nemo calls.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

There are a lot of things in this world that can make a person crazy. And by crazy, I mean 'lose it a little' or 'destabilize' or other euphemisms. It seems like we are often treading a fine line between holding our lives together and just saying 'fuck it'. Not that this is a decision left only in one individual's hands. Like I said, a lot of things can make a person lose it.

I'm not sure why I'm thinking this right now. It's not because I always feel at the edge of some scizophrenic precipace, no. But just like we can enter a doctor's office feeling fine and leave with a diagnosis of cancer, we can wake up one morning with a mental illness gnawing away at what we thought were our intact faculties. Y'know, those faculties we rely on to communicate with people, to make them understand who we are, see the 'real me', we might hope. Or, more accurately, we communicate with others to help us understand what that 'real me' is - we certainly can't do that on our own, right? I don't think so. And I'm a pretty independent person. Even I recognize this need for other people.

Perhaps I'm thinking about L.O.V.E. and its catalystic functions. How love can make you crazy, make you happy, make you sad, all of it. Y'know, that's love, all those things, lots of different things. I believe I've been in love a few times and each time has been quite different. Yet each kind of 'being in love' has made me notice this fine balance between who I am and who others perceive me to be, and how much of me depends on who and what surrounds me. Oh, it's be said before and more eloquently, but whatever, it's my weblog, yo. Yes, so this recognition of how identity is constructed can be a bit much and that's perhaps what I mean when I say that so many things can drive us over whatever edge it was we were balancing on. And I guess it's what can bring us back too.

I just want to be who I am. To do that is a struggle though, I realize. Frustratingly enough, for me it's a process of constantly questioning myself. That is, I may know who I am at this moment, but the next moment will see me change - and that's also me, of course. Is it a balance between understanding the stable parts of oneself and adjusting to the instable? Or just recognizing the complex process of how identity is formed. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to harness the stable, make that our 'truth' and have some kind of solidity in our lives? Maybe it would be, but the only examples I can name are from movies or tv.

This all also makes me question how we can trust ourselves. Or how we define what trust means in this case. Perhaps this is why I invoke the word 'crazy' - this distrust of self, distrust of our own perceptions of the world and distrust of others' perceptions. I mean, this trust is part of having stability, being able to rely on something. But the more I think about it and the more I go about my life, I find that what I rely on is nebulous - I have convictions, but they seem ephemeral. Maybe I was never meant to have a 'rock' in my life (hey, my chart is all about air signs, after all...), but even that thought is a bit upsetting in a 'why can't my life be a movie' kind of way. Y'know, it's upsetting but at the same time I can wave it off as silly. And I'm still left with the nebulous, with a bunch of words to rearrange again and again into sentences meant to unravel the problems posed. As much as I can write it and say it, I am still trying to understand how much more important it is to explore these problems instead of going straight for the answers because the answers, much like me in a game of hide and seek, are always changing their hiding spots.

I think I just need to write some stories or poems on this theme or something. But writing them this way is helpful too even if the words make little sense to other people. It's sort of a way towards making sense. I try.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

This summer I am going to improve my currently sad French. I have been watching French tv, which is helping my comprehension, but I still find speaking and understanding in public really difficult. I mean, French on tv is pretty clear and enunciated. French in Montreal is slurred and full o' slang. Not to diss it - it just makes it much harder to understand for someone who's been trained on the west coast in Parisian French. So for all of July I'm going on a program (paid for by the government! hurrah!) to immerse my anglo-ass in French. I'm going to Moncton, New Brunswick, and even though it's not Quebec (where I am now, and still French-impaired), it's the only officially bilingual province in Canada (trivia!) and apparently the community 'spies' on the program kids and if they hear you speaking English you will be Reported to the Authorities. So, I figure if I can stay drunk the whole time I'll definitely be able to stick with the French. Because that's what seems to happen when I'm drunk. If only the government would pay for booze.

Oh, c'mon now though, I am not like that. I am a keener, a learner, a hitter of the books not the bottle.
I'm taking a bit of a book break at the moment though b/c the semester just ended and the next one begins in a week. I've only been reading "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and the nutritional content labels of packaged food. Oh, and Things on the Internet, but pfft, yeah. I even watched "American Idol" tonight. Yes, I was making dinner at the same time, but how much does one really have to "watch" that show as much as listen and rush into the livingroom when Simon says anything so as to better perfect my imitation of an imitiation of whatever/whoever he's imitating. I think he may be a robot. Or at least have some robot parts that are being controlled via satellite. By more robots. "The Osbornes" was great though and I feel that they are all very much human in both sad and happy ways. Sad = Ozzy's obvious nerve damage, Sharon's colon cancer, Kelly's singing, Jack's Inflated Sense of Rejection. Happy = Ozzy's hair, Sharon's hair, Kelly's hair, Jack's braces. hahaha. I should go to sleep.

Another good band is: Manitoba. The province however, well, I cannot be so kind in my assessment.
I've been told that humans are meant to walk a lot. And though I enjoy a good long walk I've noticed that a lot of other humans do not seem to enjoy walking. Or, more accurately, they do not do it too much. Sometimes I walk because I'm too cheap/inanimpoverishedstate to take the metro and riding my bike would be inappropriate/uncomfortable (e.g., i'm wearing a skirt; going somewhere that will end up with me in a state wherein bike riding = sure death.) I walked to Chinatown yesterday, having never explored that part of the city. I found out that it only takes up about 2 square blocks. Oh well. But they had what I needed: $1.99 slippers, red bean buns, and tapioca starch. Strange coming from Vancouver though where Chinatown is pretty big and you can go from store to store searching for, say, a Totoro keychain, and know that you will eventually find it in some hole-in-the-wall manga/stuffed cartoon animal paraphernalia shop.

Walking, yeah. I need some new sandals b/c I walked right through my last pair and dare not make my beautiful red and white camper sandals my primary summer shoes. God no! Those are Special Occasion Shoes of Glory. I'm torn between buying a cheap-ass pair of sandals at, like, Payless or Yellow or some other semi-knock-off shoe store and buying a pair of $85 hush puppie sandals that would last a little longer and not hurt my feet. Plunking down the cash for those is difficult though. In the past, when employed, when not prioritizing "intellectual betterment" over fashion, I would have thought $85 decent. Blame my high arches, blame my high tastes, I don't know. I have a weakness for shoes that, unlike my weakness for clothes, cannot be saited at the thrift store (have you *ever* seen a pair of size 10 women's shoes in decent shape in a second-hand store? I have not. Of course, my definition of "decent" is "unsullied by other people's feet").

The Decemberists are a good band I have just heard on the radio. I have made a note to try not to spend too much time downloading their songs. I made that note for Sunday too and didn't leave the house until 7pm. And it was sunny out! But oh, c'mon, I have bought so many cds in the past 4 years and gone to so many shows and bought merchandise, that a little downloading can't hurt me. And knowing me, I'm totally going to buy all the proper cds and go to all the shows once I'm out of school and making the cash once again. I'm just Like That. Downloading is simply a stopgap.

Oh man, there's a Montreal band called Arcade Fire. I love that.
More later. More better.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Oh, I'm just getting started. I'd like to alter the template, but I'd rather write. I'll alter the template one day maybe, if I'm in that kind of mood. I just want to type right now. I've gone back and forth on this Having a Blog Thing for a while now. Sometimes it freaks me out and sometimes I think I can handle it. It's not that I'm that sensitive; it's just that I don't know if I can be myself. (And lately I am wavering in my support about the whole multiplicity of identities thing. I mean, Stuart Hall writes convincingly, and I like his arguments, but maybe I'm a modernist at heart? Or perhaps I'm simply being nostalgic for something I've only read about but never experienced. This probably only proves that I should stop thinking about it already. For at least a few days.)

Or maybe I'm feeling like this b/c of the things I bombarded myself with today: a salvation army thrift store browse (recently un-mothballed clothing and lonely, smelly people who just want to talk while I search out Made in England stoneware), another harrowing montreal bike ride, briefly worrying about taxes and then saying "fuck it" at the tax forms, chinese food, a student production of "the beggar's opera", tofu chocolate pudding, a late-night viewing of "event horizon". Quite a day of incongruous stimulation considering that I just handed in my last essay of the semester on Tuesday morning and keep thinking I still have to work on another essay or go to the library and do lit searches. Of course, I should be doing those things anyway, though without the stress of Deadlines (which i never meet anyway. see above note about taxes.)

Lately I like the following things:
- The New Pornographers - "The Electric Version". This is so good it hurts me. Download "The Laws Have Changed". It makes me want to bear Dan Bejar's love child. Or something like that.
- Homemade chocolate tofu pudding sweetened with stevia. Low in carbs, high in chocolately goodness! Also high in west-coast hippychick vegan protein love vibes. Does this make up for the my Essays Are All Done, Now I'm Going to Eat Two Hot Dogs and Poutine Dinner I had last night? Haha. No. Nor does it help with tonight's chinese food dinner. As I said to the tax forms today: "Fuck it."
- Chinese brocolli. It's really good. I really like it. Etc.
- Some people, some of whom are quite cute.
- 'vitamin B6.
- http://www.superatomic.co.uk/blog/ especially the story about the gardener. that was great.
- the idea that this blog might be something interesting with some stories/essays of interest rather than a whole lot of e-rambling. mmm, e-rambling.