Monthly Archives: May 2005

on mainland (dear vancouver, i love you)

I’m back in Vancouver today, staying with my half-sister in Kitsilano, on a grey June day in southern BC.
is it time to move home yet?

do the evolution

I had a wonderful day yesterday.

I walked the dog to Willows Beach, where dozens of Oak Bay residents were sunning themselves in freak 30C weather. It was so pretty, and everyone was so happy! And people always stop me to tell me how gorgeous Riley is. (He’s a very pretty retriever. He’s just got ADHD)

home is where the cold water is

home for a rest

I’m On Island again today. And ridiculously happy to be here. This is, after all, my home. This is the place I have always known by heart.

I went out last night with my old friend Neil, whom I have known for just about ever. We met down at the 24/7 diner, at one in the morning, back when we were both living in the quasi-bohemian Victorian late-teen underground. He used to hang out and play go with a mutual friend down at Java, the alternative coffeehouse that shut down in 2000. I used to hang out down there as well, back in 1998 or so, to drink coffee and smoke and read SPIN in one of the armchairs. Neil’s living in Japan now, teaching English, with no intention of coming home anytime in the next few years, but was able to time his visit home with mine this weekend. Which makes me exceptionally happy. Neil is one of my oldest friends for a reason, because he is simply one of the most amusing and droll individuals I know.

So we ended up drinking martinis at the Mint last night, which is pure New Victoria. It was inhabited by couples and groups in our age/demographic, in a room lit by candles and subtle lights on the exposed brick walls. It was decorated with masks and local art, serves tapas and an extensive creative martini list, and had a DJ spinning some exceptionally outstanding downbeat in a corner. It was the sort of place I’d cheerfully inhabit if it existed in L.A. – but it wouldn’t. It wasn’t quite shiny enough to be Westside, too dark to be Venice, too nouveau/faux-intellectual to be Silverlake, too downbeat to be Hollywood. Very new Victoria. And with outstanding martinis for $6.25 CDN.

I drove home, late last night, along the water by Dallas Road, so I could see the full moon reflecting off the Straits, and watch Port Angeles glittering on the Olympic Peninsula, and be totally at peace with myself and Victoria. It’s just good to be home sometimes, someplace quiet, where I can have an ocean road to myself at 3AM, where I can breathe clean air that’s come across the water from the snowcapped mountains, where I can drink water right out of the tap. Where I can swim without worrying if the water will infect open wounds (although I do have to worry about hypothermia)

On that note, I’m off to take the dog around Oak Bay, because it’s gorgeous outside, and the air is scented with the dozens of rose gardens and honeysuckle bushes that spill out of the yards across the municipality. I’m off to the beach, and the Village, and all the other corners of my home town. It’s good to be home.

this burger tastes like nostalgia

I just traipsed across East Mall to Buchanan D, eating an AMS burger enroute. Mmm. Nostalgia tastes like discount relish.

I was also breathing very deeply while outside. Does anyone realize how incredible that cold wind off the mountain smells? Does anyone realize how wonderful it is to breathe in that much oxygen and clean air after coming up from L.A.? There really is no place like home.

I have a couple hours to kill on UBC campus while I wait for my mom to get here (we’re all staying in the Gage West Coast Suites tonight), so I’m doing it in Buchanan. After all, this is my home turf, as an Artsie, the five monstrous blocks and the ugly Soviet tower. And it’s where I know all the places to sleep and access e-mail, because when you’re in this building as much as I was, you learn these things.

memories along West Broadway

the happiest anti-semetic place on earth.

I spent today at Disneyland with nafspeak!
a long entry about my disneyland experience


So Google rolled out Google Personalized today.

I immediately jumped on it, because I buy into everything Google does. Ever since the day that the Google reps came by and told us about all the wonderful things they do up in Mountain View beyond search, I’ve been a total addict. Need a flight time? Punch the info (ie. “alaska air 491”) into Google. Need an answer? They have that. Froogle? Hell yeah. And of course, Google groups – the Usenet graveyard – where apparently, a search for me yields about twenty all lower case posts from from about 1995.

But here’s what got me about Google Personalized. The choices they offer to add to your page include weather, Gmail summary and news. But the news comes from Wired, Slashdot, the New York Times and the BBC. Basically, all the sources that left wing geeks like me get it from already.

The question is – is there such a huge population of left-wing geeks that Google chooses to pull from as many tech sources as they do unbiased (or, as the right wing calls it, “liberal”) media sources? Or is Google just trying to hit their target market, and saying “screw you” to those people who are used to getting their “AMERICA’S NUMBER ONE!” perspective from FOX? Is Google ever going to roll in the horoscopes and “entertainment” sections that other portals do?

I hope not, at least.

And speaking of being a left wing geek, does the last Star Wars movie mean the end of geek dominated media? Wil Wheaton says no, and seems to subscribe to a theory that getting the Big Nerd Franchises out of the way clears the path for new growth. Unfortunately, to me, that’s along the lines of saying that killing brain cells with liquor stimulates new ones. Without a centralized franchise or two that demonstrates the financial return derived from geek media (like Star Wars or LoTR or X-Files or Star Trek or H2G2 or what have you), the trend might die out. Having too many new franchises spring up without huge followings might mean that the dollars invested in geek TV or movies will not garner as much return as those released in the early 00s, and the studios and corporations will stop investing in marketing the movies to the laypeople. That, in turn, will bring down attendance/profit, and then “the geek trend” will gradually become a cool memory. Sort of like how I look fondly back on the GenXer movies of the mid-90s, which, after a few years, died out so throughly that even microserfs wasn’t ever made.

And on THAT note, I have filth and vice to spread throughout the Internet now. I’ll be off peddling sleaze for the rest of the afternoon.

quote du jour

From a CNN article about the anti-monorail movement in Seattle:
“If you were to ask 10 people smarter than a bear in Seattle to name Seattle’s top-10 transportation priorities, if anyone suggested building a monorail they would be committed as a lunatic,” said Henry Aronson, one of a group of Seattle residents suing to block the tax.”

That implies that there’s enough people who are NOT smarter than a bear in Seattle that it might be a challenge to find them.

Then again…we are talking about a city where the bears are very smart. Last summer, there was a drunken one that chose Rainier over Budweiser. So if we use that as a criteria for intelligence, then a great majority of the population of Seattle is smarter than a bear, in that they would choose Rainier over Bud if nothing else was available.

I suppose the real question is – if they asked people who were NOT smarter than a bear, would their answer include the phrase, “pic-a-nic basket”?

crash into me

Saw “Crash” tonight with nafspeak

Wow, that was awesome.

Especially the part where Ludacris is ranting about the big windows on the bus, because that bus stop is around the corner from my house. My adopted cousin and I recognized it as Venice Blvd.

nafspeak says that the tension is pertinent for any big city. Now that I think about it, I agree – but isn’t that the thing about L.A.? It’s supposed to be a metaphor for all of America, in ways, because this is where so much of America’s media (TV, music, movies) comes from.

I just finished reading “Another City: Writing From Los Angeles”, a collection of short stories and poems from L.A. authors and writers. There were so many different perspectives, observations, lives. And this is what “Crash” was about, as well – perspectives in Los Angeles, in particular. It fascinates me, to see how different the views of the city and its citizens are depending on who one is.

is this ironic or just painful?

Yesterday, I seriously pulled a muscle while moving a couch out from the wall so I could sweep behind it. I felt a white-hot thread of pain go up the right side of my lower back. Actually, it’s technically the upper part of my ass, but “pulled a back muscle” sounds way more serious than “threw out my ass”.

Regardless, it’s incapacitated me. I can’t walk properly, and definitely can’t bend at the waist. And engaging any of my core muscles hurts like hell – even rolling over in bed was painful. (Four hours sleep due to pain? Not fun.)

This is probably the most severe muscle strain I’ve ever had. I can’t remember anything worse. The irony is – I snapped this muscle moving a couch, as opposed to when I was demonstrating core strength/yoga moves and using my lower abs to push my legs and torso off the ground. I figured, if I was going to severely injure myself, I’d do it when I flipped my legs over my head and touched my toes to the ground behind me. Pilates might have made me more flexible, but it hasn’t made me any smarter or less injury prone.

So I hobbled to the drugstore this morning, cranked three Aleve into my system, and now I’m wincing while sitting at my desk. Biking was out of the question today – driving was borderline – and I figured, I might as well come in & work until I can find a doctor who will see me and prescribe some serious painkillers and/or muscle relaxants. I’ve never touched Vicodin in my life – recreationally or otherwise – but right now the idea of it sounds really really good.

eulogy for a black cat

Tonight, we buried a black cat in our backyard. My very good friends, D and K, who have been roomates since Ohio, lost their cat on Tuesday to a car. D was about to leave for LAX, to catch a flight back to Cincinnati, when a neighbor came up to ask if they had a black cat. She had found their pet on the side of the road, where he’d dragged himself to die. K called me around 9:30 to tell me, in tears and shock that she hasn’t come out of yet.

We all loved Jack. Even I, with my allergies, and my non-enthusiasm for felines, adored him. He had more charisma than any cat I’ve ever known. He played fetch, like a dog. He tried to drink out of the toilet. He would wake the girls up by batting at their faces with his paws. He would trot out to the mailbox with K when she got home from work. And he was an absolutely beautiful cat, the kind that looks like its made out of perfect black velvet, except for one white streak on his chest. (Strangely enough, Izzy, our household black lab, also has the same streak)

Jack was adorable, and sweet, and affectionate. He was a people cat, if such a thing can exist. He would ride around on K’s shoulder, and then leap to someone else. He was just like his owners – outgoing and good-hearted – and now he’s gone.

I was the one who put him in the grave tonight. My guy housemate dug a cat-sized grave in the backyard, and four of us – him, me, K and another Jewish girl friend, T – were there to lay him to rest. K couldn’t bear to even watch, so T and I together lifted him out of the box K had put him in, where he was wrapped in a towel. And then, as T said the Jewish kaddish for the dead, I unwrapped him and placed him in the grave, tucking his feet in and closing his eyes. I put his toys in the grave with him, petted him one last time, scratched him behind one ear, and then stood up while my roomate shoveled the dirt back in.

We secured the grave against other animals – including our own – as best we could, with concrete pieces and hardpacked dirt, and left a candle burning at the site. We’ll have another memorial Monday, when D comes home. For now, I can’t get the image out of my head, of this beloved cat, who looked like he was just napping, and his cute little velvet face just before we covered it. I will miss him – and it is heartbreaking, how sad D & K are. The cat isn’t there to meet them at the door anymore, and their house is empty, and the little black cat that D has had for years and years is gone.

If that wasn’t enough, another friend lost his cat this morning to a car. This is just not a good week for cats, or for my friends. This has been a week of multiple deaths, human and animal, in the families of those people I care about. I hope it’s over, I hope the streak has stopped.