june 2002

click here for permalink June 25, 2002

This weekend I surfed around for tattoo designs to use with my new henna tattoo kit — a significant upgrade from the drug store stick-and-dampen variety and another in a long line of "test drives" for the real thing.

There are so many excellent tattoo designers with web portfolios, not to mention a crazy number of flash designs (which are just the design on white background as opposed to 'in the flesh'), so I now feel that much closer to having a real one, which is one of those long-term plans we haven't managed to pin down for one reason or another — being a perfectionist without a bit of abstract drawing ability is a big one.

While I was doing this, I suddenly remembered a gorgeous tattoo that my best friend in college had designed herself to have put on her shoulder blade. I haven't seen or thought about her in ages but I was suddenly compelled to type her name into a Copernic search to see what came up.

Instead of getting the myriad of random and ambiguous results I had expected, I actually found a few pieces of her artwork, which unmistakably identified her as the person I suffered through Life Drawing class with almost ten years ago. I checked a few more sites on the list and discovered that she's living in San Francisco, and is actually working as a designer.

Then I got this sudden feeling that I was totally stalking her, so I had to stop. But it made me wonder if there's anyone I knew ages ago out there looking for info on me and my whereabouts? Aside from the dreaded student loan police. Creepy thought — anyway, I know from my ego-surfing that this site would be at the top of the list... but would they just read and run like me or send a little "hey, remember me from..." note? I have to say for the record; Hey, if you are doing that, quit being such a fuckin' coward! Heh.

No, I'm not going to write to the college friend, although, if someone came to me asking if they should contact an old friend, I'd probably advise them to do it. But I don't think we're "meant" to meet again, necessarily — it was just weird to suddenly think of her after all this time and then to actually find her online... doing for a living what we went to college for! Damn... I wonder if she's planning on paying back her student loan too?

click here for permalink June 24, 2002

The following is a sample of some of the more pointless trains of thought I've been throwing back for a while now, hoping they'd reappear when they were substantial enough to make an entry out of...

None of them ever did, ergo, the sample platter (heh, get it... entry? nevermind)...

I think it's just that weird things always save themselves up to happen to me in the summer — or maybe I save them up? At any rate, the first few weeks of June have been... disorienting, to say the least... compounded by the sudden heat wave that took Vancouver completely by surprise last week.

We don't ever really expect it to get hot here, but once every three or four years, we're thrown a curve ball) — and, weather aside, it seems like everyone I know has been thrown something from out of left field recently.

If their experiences are any example, I should be wearing some kind of protective head gear by now... they've run the gamut from "tap your heels three times and make a wish" to "go directly to jail — do not pass go — do not collect..." ...you know.

Bearing witness to the almost daily miracles and cataclysms, I'm starting to feel a bit apprehensive, if not downright paranoid. Of course, I try not to read anything into things like the other night, when a homeless man stopped us for change (in exchange for a 3-minute comedy routine), then paused mid-punch line to study my face; his eyes were wide and alarmingly sober as he declared me to be "not of this earth."

He went on, as the three of us crossed the street together, to praise my wisdom, kindness and beauty, gesturing broadly to the night sky. He called me a "Priestess." As we trailed behind our friends through the alley and into the parking lot, he kept pace, earning his donation with a few mediocre jokes before warmly shaking our hands goodbye and telling Mr. Pink, again, how lucky he is "to have found me."

And then there was the incident, a few weeks ago, when Mr. Pink offered to help a friend move his new couch into an apartment building with a prohibitively narrow staircase landing. They worked away from opposite ends of the couch until the thing was firmly wedged somewhere in between them and could not be extricated by any method — and believe me, they tried — other than sawing the couch in half.

Now, as far as fucked-up things that happen to people go, that would normally have been enough... Stop... the story ends right there, case closed, that's fucked up.

But get this. Mr. Pink and friend, realizing the futility of their efforts to move the thing in either direction, procured the necessary tools and begin sawing away at the mammoth impediment. If there was any conversation on the topic of salvage, in the beginning, or debates over which was the most conservative surgical method, I heard nothing of it. Our friend braced the couch from the bottom while Mr. Pink straddled it dead-center and proceeded to gut the beast from above.

Having no other choice, he sawed savagely away at the couch without pausing to let exhaustion take hold, sweating and enshrouded in a cloud of decades-old dust, lint, upholstery screws, synthetic fiberfill, low density foam, sawdust, wood scraps and razor-sharp metal filings that fell to the floor like glittering curlicues of silver amid the wreckage.

Grimacing with pain and disgust, as the last screeching pass of the saw blade halved the last of the support beams, Mr. Pink and friend heaved the lower half of the couch over the railing of the brief but undefeated staircase. The couch, its support structure severed, buckled and swayed out of square as it went over, rebounding and creaking loudly before falling to the floor with a resounding thud that sent a wave of dust and needle-sharp fibers up into the air.

Their eyes, still stinging from the dust, suddenly widened in disbelief as a small, mechanical, Japanese toy — heard once before as a muffled rattle when they upended the couch the first time — rolled out of the couch and onto the floor. They barely had time to register the sight — which was odd enough by itself — before they realized that the toy was moving towards them, of its own volition, rattling drunkenly around the floor, emitting a maniacally perky rendition of "It's a Small World" in broken, Pokemon-flavored English.

I'd rather not go into detail about what happened next... but I will say that, until you're in the throes of exhaustion — and facing imminent asphyxiation — it's hard to predict how you'll react to being suddenly face-to-face with a potential messenger of evil. I'm just sayin.'

Anyway, June got weirder from there, trust me — actually, it got better, worse, and weirder. And I can't believe it's almost July. I was talking to my Dad on the phone the other day (a few days late for Father's Day) and somehow the conversation turned to dental work (about which we both have much to say, go figure). He was praising the work of a student dentist from Vancouver who had fashioned a particularly resilient crown for him the year I was born, telling him it would likely last ten years. Well, it lasted nearly three times that, he estimates, "because you'll be thirty next year, right?" Eerrr.

The words sort of hovered in space, caught between receivers. We both broke the silence immediately; he said, "oh, I'm sorry... I... I shouldn't have said that..." And I said, "aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhgggggg......" And then we both started laughing nervously. And then we laughed harder and started talking faster, talking over each other as if to distract attention from the unfortunate thing back there... Heh, and then we laughed some more, kind of naturally and fondly. Because it was really fucking funny.

click here for permalink June 23, 2002

Firemen. Boy, if that word didn't conjure up vivid imagery before "nine-eleven," it certainly jump-starts the old imagination these days. Lately, it's the grim image of heroes in doomed stairwells that comes to mind, rather than that of the "Backdraft" brothers, silhouetted against an inferno of CGI...

... or, for that matter, several month's worth of smoke-smudged, chiseled hunks posed naked-to-the-waist with their fire hoses in hand. You know (for the record), even though I'd take a pack of tattooed grunge rockers and flannel-clad skate punks over men in uniform any day, it's easy to see why firemen feature so prominently in most women's fantasies. "Recent events" have surely added fuel to that... well, recent events have really added to the phenomenon, let's say.

Obviously, these modern-day knights in flame-retardant armor have earned their recent accolades and all the media-fueled outpourings of gratitude. However, while the strong, silent types who are embarrassed by all the attention are the ones getting all the attention, there might be quite a few off-camera who are letting it go to their heads just a bit.

Walking home the other day, I was stopped a block away from my destination by the sight of a giant red fire engine parked in the middle of the street. Looking up the street, I saw three more trucks in the adjacent block clustered around the entrance of a tall highrise, which showed no outward signs of having been recently ablaze.

I nodded to the heavily jump-suited young man who was planted in front of the massive red vehicle in my way, waiting for his signal that it was okay to cross. As I did so, he stopped me and grinned, pointing up the street, "Hey, there's some single firemen..!"

I glanced in the direction of his finger and saw three of them striding purposefully in our direction. I smiled and laughed, said it was a nice offer but I'd have to decline, which prompted him to exclaim, "what's the matter — don't like firemen?"

I nervously sputtered something about how I loved firemen but that I had a boyfriend and, "well, you know...tee hee..." The three eligible bachelors swiftly descended on us, grinning photogenically, as the crossing guard continued his sales pitch.

"They're young, too!" He grinned, placing a hand on my retreating shoulder, and called out to the youngest-looking one, "you're single, aren'tcha, Bret?" Bret nodded enthusiastically. I slipped out from under the crossing guard's fingertips and waved goodbye as the four men called after me, telling me to spread the word to all my single girlfriends...

So... although my single girlfriends know that asking me for advice on dating is like asking their dates for advice on nail polish, I think this is one of those times where I can sort of hit the mark without even aiming...

Without further ado, here's my advice for you single girls: if you live in Vancouver, or drive a fast car, keep an eye on the horizon and follow the first signs of smoke, because where there's smoke — sometimes — there's fire... and where there's fire, there are truckloads of hot, young, single firemen in dire need of being taken down a peg.

Don't say I never gave you nothin.'

click here for permalink June 12, 2002

Suddenly, everyone's weighing in on our favorite color; when asked about her alias, Pink has more often responded by mentioning a certain Reservoir Dog than by waxing sociopolitical...

...which kind of makes it waxing sociopath-political... but anyway, now the curator of one very pink-themed page on The Mirror Project is singing (the color) pink's praises, via its association with Mr. Buscemi, although she's a little defensive about it. She goes on to add that the verb "to pink," from the Welsh (hey, me too!), means "to stab." Her point; pink ain't as sissy as it seems, and it carries the "tincture of violence."

Damn straight, it does! Heh. So what's my problem? I swear; I said it first! Heh...

The Mirror Project (thanks, M.) is a fantastic site with tons of self portraits and otherwise, er, reflective scenic shots, categorizing tons of participants by theme and linking to their own photo galleries, portfolios, web logs, friends' web logs (many from Vancouver)...

I stopped after six degrees of separation failed to produce a familiar face (that I could name — there were plenty of "oh, I know I've seen that guy" moments). What is it with me? Lately I can't read a local web log or flip through a city paper without expecting to see the name or likeness of someone I know. The funnypathetic part is that I almost never do.

click here for permalink June 11, 2002

I'm one of those people whose TV is always on — I'm not always watching it, but I need "background noise." Over time, I've actually lost the ability to concentrate, or even sleep, in total silence.

So, naturally, it's important to have channels that work well as "background" and the most important element in that is a consistent programming format; daytime TV is the worst — a minefield of cheesy sitcoms, infommercials, talk shows, soap operas and really weird cartoons (anyone seen "Arthur" — what the hell is up with that?).

So, today I was flipping around and settled on MuchMusic (our MTV) because they were about to show an interview with Pink, who I'm starting to really like. Anyway, I went about my day listening to the interview, surfing, working on stuff, etc. and when it was over, this show called "Becoming" came on.

It's this half-hour show where they surprise winners of their contest, make them over like their favorite band or performer and then reshoot one of their videos with the contestants in the starring role(s).

I've heard the intro plenty of times but I've always turned it off when the band was announced because it's always some god-awful, quasi-famous boy band and I've always snapped and lunged for the remote as soon as I heard the contestants' cries of "oh mah gahd! oh mah gahd! I can't bahlieve it! I'm gonna crahy!"

But not today. It was "Becoming: Britney Spears" and — gahd, this is so embarrassing — not only did I not lunge for the remote... I came out from behind my computer to sit and watch the show. The entire show.

But I think, perhaps, that I'm not entirely responsible for my actions today... For the second day now there have been construction workers outside my building laying big, huge strips of new asphalt on the street and causing disgusting, burning-tire-smelling, probably brain-damaging chemicals to waft into my apartment on a semi-constant basis.

This isn't even the first time they've asphalted the entire street in recent memory, and this month alone, they've been at it three times... that I can remember — who knows what information may have been stored in all those brain cells lost to fumes? And the construction itself has been going on much longer than that; on and off, they've been out there for several months.

The first time, there were several weeks of early-morning noise, random construction fumes, barricaded streets and driveways; they even turned off my building's hot water supply a few times, which would last all day, in the dead of winter. Then they sealed up all the gaping holes in the two blocks out front and the three blocks to the west of us, packed up their orange cones and left us in peace...

And THEN, only a few short weeks later, they were back, tearing up the same goddamned streets they had just finished covering generously with brand new, long, unevenly raised strips of reeking asphalt.

I don't fucking get it... I really don't. If anyone out there who lives in the West End has some idea of what the fuck they're doing, I'd really like to be illuminated. I'd look it up on the Internet... do a long, boring search for public projects in Vancouver on some municipal funds disclosure site or something... but I'm pretty sure the brain cell responsible for motivating such searches is a now just a vague memory.

click here for permalink June 09, 2002

It was only a matter of time, but what was once thought to be an inexhaustible resource, a seemingly endless wellspring of cartoons and comic books ripe for the recycling — fuelling countless live-action summer movies — has run dry.

And for us, the viewing public, the joy ride comes to a sudden — screeching — halt. That halt's working title... is the Wonder Twins.

Forgive the emotional outburst... but... Hollywood? Can you hear me? For the love of god, DON'T DO IT! What's next, the fuckin' Crest Kids? Keeping America safe from the terrorist threat of a Plaque Attack?

For me, it comes down to this; no one — I mean, no one — needs to be subjected to 90 minutes of Jennifer Love Hewitt in a pleather jumpsuit and blue pixie cut trying to infuse ironic sex-kittenishness into the act of transforming into a shriek owl while being upstaged by one of most horrifying images I can imagine, a CGI-rendered Gleek.

Has it really come to this? Have we run out of childhood memories to strip-mine and market to the next generation? Is there nothing left of the 70s that hasn't been reimagined to death?

Maybe I'm just bitter because all these nostalgia makeovers haven't managed to produce a feature length "Goldie Gold and Action Jack" or a live action "Jem and the Holograms." Hey, and how sad is this? If they did, there isn't one girl group out there today that would actually be cool enough to play The Misfits.

The Misfits. Heh.

click here for permalink June 07, 2002

It's incredible, considering the saturation level she's reached, but I'm still not sick of Shakira. Although... I have stopped singing along at full voice every time I hear "Underneath Your Clothes."

And... I have nothing interesting to say right now... it's been the most boring week on record here. It's almost "summer" and there's an ice-cold wind blowing in off the water that has virtually negated the effects of the sun. I've had to stop myself from turning up the heat all week, telling myself that it's June, for god's sake, as if that means anything up here.

My mother, meanwhile, complains to me that it's already 105 degrees where she lives; as I'm blowing on my hands to keep them mobile on the keyboard, I'm finding it hard to be sympathetic. On the other hand, my cardigan/jacket fetish has never seemed more practical... uh, having to wear long sleeves year round isn't exactly an encouraging "up side," is it?

Fuck it — it's not like Vancouver needs another selling point.

In other news, I think I've died and gone to pointless quizlet heaven...

Who's Your 80s Movie Icon Alter-Ego? Find out @ She's Crafty