and I quote

april 2014

click for permalink April 22, 2014

It will surprise absolutely no one that I fucking love NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette by Nathan W. Pyle (via Kottke).

They're all amazing, but the one that actually compelled me to repost it here is this:

Because that was me last Tuesday night, making fun of my friend for carrying around one of those pathetic $5 umbrellas, which he had allegedly borrowed from a female coworker. I say "allegedly" because he made such a point of overexplaining its origins whilst extracting it from his pocket or wherever he'd had it conveniently tucked away. Verbally distancing himself from the thing. He had somehow ended up with it, but only passively and through no fault of his own. Struggling to center himself under the ever-shifting circle of shelter, he clutched the handle to his cheek as the rain effortlessly soaked him from the ears down. "It fits inside her purse," he said.

How can you take someone seriously when they carry an umbrella that collapses to the size of a spring roll to fit inside their purse? Maybe if you live in LA, you can carry around a purse-sized umbrella and feel vindicated when a brief afternoon shower strikes and you're prepared. If you're lucky, it might keep your head dry all the way back to your car. If you live in Vancouver, your umbrella should not be something cute and compact that you toss into your purse "just in case." My friend's argument was, "What do you expect for five dollars?" I just paid $12 for a drink. I don't expect a hell of a lot from a five dollar umbrella.

I'm not saying nobody should own a $5 umbrella. I was an art student once. I've been unemployed in recent memory, so this isn't a pronouncement for everybody. But if you can afford to pay $12 for a drink, you can buy a $20 umbrella that won't be in a landfill by the end of the month. The last time I bought an umbrella was in 2007. I'd just come within inches of losing an eye to this piece of shit collapsible thing when two of the metal spokes that bend and connect in the middle suddenly broke in half. So the parts that were still connected — these two long, sharp metal stabby things — are now hanging down from the center inside my umbrella, dangling straight into my eyes. I was livid, but I managed to channel my rage into something constructive, a mission to buy the most expensive umbrella I could find.

Sadly, the umbrella shop I'd long heard rumors of was no longer within walking distance* and I was unwilling to put off my mission for another time when I would have done some research into the matter, so it would have to be Hudson's Bay Co. I marched into the store, dripping wet and angry from fending off my shitty umbrella's blinding spokes of doom, and immediately asked a store associate to direct me to their most expensive umbrellas. The best I could find was $40, BUT...

  1. It was pink; and
  2. It came with a lifetime warranty.

Which I've carried in my wallet ever since. If anything ever goes wrong with this thing, you know I will be sending it back for a replacement.

*(It turns out, Vancouver's Umbrella Shop is very real and has a long, distinguished history. If this lifetime warranty doesn't pan out, I know where I'm going to get my next umbrella.)


click for permalink April 5, 2014

Last month I gave a talk at the Fraser Valley Astrology Guild. (You can read an interview I did with the Guild's President Joan Morton before the talk here.) It was only my second-ever public presentation on astrology (the first was in 2005 and I finally got it digitized and posted just last year — you can watch it and listen to "Paul" narrating here). It was lots of fun, after my initial attack of extreme nervousness subsided and Mr. Pink stepped in to help with some "technical difficulties" which were threatening to derail the whole production.

Fortunately, it took him just long enough to straighten the projector so it wasn't gradually sliding off the chair it was on, causing the image on the screen beside me to slowly tilt upwards until it drifted all the way up to the ceiling, that I completely relaxed. Watching Mr. Pink fucking around with cables and audio/video equipment made it feel like just another day chilling at home, and once he got it all sorted out, the rest of my talk was a breeze.

So, below is the playlist in seven parts (because, you know, it's YouTube). The first five minutes are a little rough for the aforementioned reasons, but it honestly gets better! I'm working on adding proper transcriptions to the whole thing, but so far only the last half is done. (The rest has been auto-captioned by YouTube which is kind of like running the whole thing through an English-to-British Rhyming Slang translator.) The slides are often hard to read in the video so, for anyone who's interested, you can download a PDF of them here, and this is my elevator pitch for the presentation:

Pluto Transits and the Generations
Although there will always be some debate over a topic as open to interpretation as generational studies, a general consensus has arisen that defines the 20th Century Baby Boom years as 1946-1964. For those of us who study astrology, however, the characteristics of the "Baby Boomers" and the constellation of historical correspondences we've come to associate with them, are better summed up in the phrase "Pluto in Leo." This generation born 1937-1956, give or take a few retrograde periods, is virtually synonymous with post-war optimism, rock & roll, the flowering of the sexual revolution and Civil Rights movements, and the Atomic age.

To find meaning and symbolic synchronicity in the timeline of the last century, we need look no further than the outer planets of our solar system. During this talk, we'll be looking at four generations encompassing most of the adults alive today, from Pluto in Leo (1937-1956) through Pluto in Scorpio (1984-1995). We'll examine the events, cultural forces and planetary configurations that shaped each generation, and we'll explore the impact of Pluto's current transit through Capricorn on members of those generations.