Little 'ole me?

You Are 62% Evil

You are very evil. And you're too evil to care.
Those who love you probably also fear you. A lot.


Formal introductions

Blog, this is Beatrice; Beatrice, meet blog.
Beatrice is a stunning example of a Volkswagen Type 3. She's a squareback, though the Type 3 came in the fastback and the notchback.

At a bit of a loss to write about, but recognising the large number of hits Liminal Me received this weekend, this is a short post about Rocco's new car. New. By new I mean new to him. By new in this particular case I mean new to this millenium since Beatrice's birthdate is August 24th, 1973. She was born in Nanaimo and has been a BC car her entire life. Rocco is only her fourth owner. Granted, she needs some TLC for the rusting of the undercarriage (you can see the asphalt by lifting the back seat) and a few new seals in various parts of the engine, but otherwise she's quite sound. She is, as you can plainly see, as cute as the cutest button in Buttonville in the province of CuteButtons.

Check out the junk in this trunk!

We have followed various leads to mechanics who might be in the know and a few people interested in bodywork on this kind/age of car. The best folks around for bodywork happen to be down in Portland, Oregon, about 5 or 6 hours away; they call themselves the Die Dritte Baureihe, German for "the third type". We may take a (slow and cautious) road trip down there this summer to get the worst of the rusty bits replaced. Another gang are organising a Type 3 invasion in Myrtle Creek, Oregon one of the last weekends in July. The invasion sounds completely fun: an ass load of Type 3s descend upon an unsuspecting town in the middle of nowhere, rev about for a short weekend, then disappear off into the sunset in a haze of (hopefully not blue) smoke. I wish we could go but it's not likely. Any Type 3 owners out there who are able to make it, please send a full report, with pictures!

Ripping around town in the little red cutie seriously rocks. People point, giggle (in a good way), stop us to ask questions about her, they sometimes drool, and according to the previous owners they also avoid hitting the car because of its high level of cuteness. It makes sense, right? A car that is more noticeable will not get in as many accidents since drivers will be more aware of it. Wicked, a built-in safety cushion! I bought a pair of super keen shades that match the car. On those sunny days with my matching shades on and the oldies station cranked up, there's nothing better than tooling around giving other VWs the thumbs up.

Man. I'm a geek. But at least in this car I'm a geek with some cool assets. Next week let's talk about my assets. Or...let's not.


Not contrary atall atall!

The fire escape garden is growing! Things are sprouting and reaching for the stars - you can almost watch the peas grow by the hour. It has only been maybe 3 or 4 weeks since I planted everything, and I'm astounded by how fast some of them are growing.

Here you see the tomato plant that is almost becoming unwieldy in its rambunctious growth, the sugar snap peas that will eventually climb the string trellis, and beyond you can see Crazy Neighbour's backyard full of junk, dogs, beer cans, and more junk. The lovely Sophie is doing what she does best, giving the camera a bit of assface. Let me just brag a little on behalf of the sweet tomato:

See the fruit?! See the little globes of goodness already asserting themselves on the stalks? We'll have home grown tomatoes before the end of June! This strain grows to only about 1" diameter, a little bigger than a cherry tomato.

This last pic shows the other half of the fire escape garden. Cos and Sangria lettuces are both starting to look good. I planted a few more seeds of both this morning where the original planting didn't take. Maybe this will mean they are staggered perfectly so we'll have garden-grown lettuce all summer. In this picture you can also see a pot of Dahlias, barely through the surface, a pot of mustard greens (yum, yum!), and a mint plant. The mint is being grown purely for the purpose of convenient mojitos to sip throughout the hot Vancouver summer. The large terracotta pot has five snow pea bushes that don't need trellising; they're looking very healthy. The last long planter holds green onions, cilantro (thanks to Dawn's gift last year) and chives. Only the cilantro is up so far but I have my fingers crossed. Rocco is particularly fond of the alliaceae family - good thing it doesn't affect his body chemistry in any way that affects my olfactory system. It's all about me, isn't it?

Actually, these days it's all about the fire escape garden. Sophie and I would spend all day everyday out there if I didn't have schoolwork to get through and she didn't have an insatiable curiosity for the steep roof abutting the fire escape. I wish we had room for a lot more even though it would be more work. There's still hope that the peas will grow in great abundance so get your orders in now!


Covet, covet.

I practice one of the seven deadlies: I covet the new Macbook. It has a dual processor, Intel chip (faster though unholy), built in iSight, and a whack load of bling. Extra Extra!

Don't get me wrong, a fondness will forever reside in my heart for the ancient (ok, 2001-01) Pismo I currently use and abuse. The Pismo is solidly built, handles the extreme surfing and text editing I use it for, and has stood the test of home remedy (a 40gig hard drive I installed myself last September) and my rejection of an actual laptop carrying case in favour of my roomy and junk-filled backpack. Still, the hinges are shot which caused much giggling and questioning of the plant pot I had to bring to my presentation this morning to prop the damn thing up, the screen is incrementally fading to black and should be toast in about 6 months at the current rate, the mouse button jams regularly under the keypad causing unintentional online purchases plus a bevy of other problems, and the poor Pismo is too heavy to lug around so its mobility is not only compromised, it's been terminated. Yeouch! What a sentence!

If the plan goes to fruition, I'll purchase a 13" Macbook, a second-hand but decent quality monitor for the desk at home, and bluetooth-enabled full size keyboard and optical mouse. I'll be set! If the plan goes nowhere, I'm stuck with the Pismo for another year or so. That wouldn't be terrible since I've started to think of it as a cultural icon of a bygone era. Soma, an über-hip coffee shop on Main Street, is a Mac zone; I have yet to see a Dell or similar PC in the place. I have also yet to tote down the Pismo and watch the Hipster reaction to such a dinosaur. All the little iBooks and Powerbooks in the place should start to tremor and applaud that my Pismo is still functional, fashionable (in my twisted mind), and grandmotherly. Hell, the baristas might even spot me an americano since it will be so obvious I'm down on my luck and can't afford a new, shiny, über-coveted, Macbook.


A wearying, wonderful weekend!

Spectacular, eh? This long weekend was spent slogging uphill and down, in deep snow and on dirt trails, to spend a cold, uncomfortable night in a tent on snow, dining on burnt, canned chili. And guess what? I'd kill a goat to be able to go again next weekend.

Five of us, myself, Rocco, and three good friends (see the group shot?), hiked 9km and about 800m of elevation gain into Garibaldi Lake campground on Saturday. We knew there would be some snow, thanks to the park site conditions link, but we didn't know how much. I was even concerned we wouldn't reach the campsite, but luckily most of it was packed down enough from other hikers, and the trail was very easy to follow. It was not easy to hike. Parts of the trail were extremely slanted, leaving you only inches to put your full weight on, and often the soft snow would give way beneath you and you would have to scramble to not slip down the mountainside. The picture below is just outside the maintained campground you finally reach after all your slogging.

At the campground, between 2 and 3 metres of snow still remains. The rangers or maybe other campers had shovelled out the doorways of the warming shelters so we did have somewhere dry to heat and eat our meals. No fires are allowed in the park though so even the shelters are frigid. We tented on top of the snow after tamping it down. Yeah, I complained about being cold, but actually inside the tent was pretty cosy; Rocco slept like a log after the exertion of hiking in. I felt the cold through my thermarest so tossed and turned a bit, but did manage to get some good shut-eye as well.
Sunday morning we had a leisurely breakfast of porridge and tea, made soup for thermoses, packed all the wet, cold gear back into our backpacks and set off down the trail. The hike out was only marginally faster than the previous day's efforts, mostly because the footing on the snow and snow/dirt combos was so treacherous. Down nearer the parking lot was a totally different climate which we took advantage of for short breaks.

Exhausted and aching as we all were after the adventure, we still managed to find the energy to stop at the Squamish Pub for a beer and some pub grub. Life can be so sweet when you get outside.

On to the next adventure! We all want to hike the same trail later in the summer when the snow has finally receded. The site is so picturesque and, apart from the 50 other campers you share the area with in the summer, still feels remote. I also picked up a book of lower BC hikes so I'm already plotting the next trip.



On the bus this morning a friend told me about treesweater. A lonely, lowly little tree in Seattle has been graced by a hand-knit sweater over the cold winter months. Erika at Redshirt Knitting thought the tree outside her office looked a little chilly and decided to knit it up some love. The result has been documented and picked up by some unusual and international media. First, Seattle's the Stranger spotted the treesweater and featured it on the very front page of a late March issue.

Eventually the treesweater's notoriety reached as far as New Zealand, being written up in
Thread, New Zealand's fashion-culture magazine. An impressive impact for such a tiny, quickly knit, web of yarn.

During my undergrad I practiced a small amount of artistic subterfuge similar to treesweater. My boyfriend at the time helped me drape campus trees in resonating tubes so that when the blustery wind of Southern Alberta blew the reed tubes would hum and eerily echo. I would watch people glance around them, eventually up into the tree, seeking the source of the eerie music. Sometimes the glances were curious then delighted, sometimes they were annoyed then irate. And, of course, some passers by were so oblivious of the world around them that they took absolutely no notice. While having an otherwise idle conversation with the brother of a friend, he suddenly began to rant about the "f*cking chimes some asshole strung up outside the rec. building." I wonder what he would have said if I told him his conversational partner was the perpetrator of what he considered a crime.

Eventually the tubes were needed for another project and we took them down, but I loved being behind an act of public art, forcing (most) people to reconsider the world around them and not take a simple path for granted. What's the moral of this story?
Go, go geurilla art!


Thou knowest me best, oh Internet.

There's a quiz, it's available at Quiz Galaxy. I was really hoping for something sensuous, maybe humourous or even just down and dirty, spot-on. Nope. I tried my full name:

My full name --


A deadly strain of projectile vomit

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

and then out of dissatisfaction tried the shorter name I prefer to be called:

My preferred name --


A real life terminator

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Bah humbug! I'm not that much of a hardass, am I?

[aside] Mwah ha! This may actually incite some comments from my numerous readers. Oh who am I kidding, I don't have readers.[/aside]

Added later:
Aha! I tried my preferred name with no last name and finally came up with an appropriate definition. See what you think:

Just me --


A dance involving little to no clothing

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com


The solution to print-heavy blogs

Stanley Park

I’m mere pages away from finishing Timothy Taylor’s Stanley Park. It’s been on my list of To Reads for a while now and luckily I was able to borrow it from a fabulous friend. The novel is a perfect bus book, though I did take to reading it at other times because it is a very engaging story – at least I found it to be.

The novel is set in Vancouver, sometime before the smoking ban and near the turn of the century. I know this because there is a single reference to the millennium in the latter half of the book, and characters are constantly being offered cigarettes and cigars in fancy restaurants. A strange motif. The key characters are a young chef and his father. The chef is a Blood, that is he wants to cook from the local land, harvest ingredients indigenous to the place and relish the ‘local bounty’. A Crip on the other hand would be a chef interested in mixing ethnic palates, sampling from far-ranging harvests, importing delicacies, combining bizarre ingredients on a single plate for ridiculous costs. The chef's father is a professor of sociology who is currently studying the inhabitants of Stanley Park. The itinerants and the permanent residents become friends to him and eventually the father moves into the Park to learn about their lives more intimately.

I did not find the novel extremely well written and there are major gaps in the action that leave the reader anxious for the story to progress; some characters are annoying though that's not necessarily a fault of any novel, it is usually the author’s intention. Still, I found the thrust of the story meaningful and significant. I won’t ruin the story for you if you haven’t read it, so suffice it to say that the major tension in the plot circulates around this notion of Bloods and Crips: you are one or the other and it is a defining characteristic of your thoughts and behaviours.

What the novel really helped me to see, and maybe this explains why I found it so engaging, is that my PhD work has strayed from my original, intended topic. Well, maybe that’s not saying enough. The soul has dropped out of my work over the last two years. It is demoralizing to be consistently turned down for funding, to be told that the project is not important or worth doing or perhaps that you are not the best student to undertake such work. I came to UBC to understand more about the centrality of the physical body to how we know and make sense of the world. A major correlate to this idea is how we interact with our locality, including what we reap of it, how we move through, around, over, and under it, and what all of this corporeal knowledge base means to our values and beliefs.

A brief foray into Taylor’s novel reminded me of my emotional connection to my original research questions. I remain deeply affected by my home region, wide open prairies bordered by jagged mountains; my days in Vancouver are defined by how visible the North shore mountains are from my whereabouts in the city; the quality of light and wind at any moment of the day on any portion of my skin can lift me up out of the doldrums. I want to investigate this. I want to know how other people are affected by their airspace, aural space, oral wafts, visual cues, the gravel under foot, etc. Stanley Park is all about the local, and I’m grateful for the reminder.


Out for a date

After cleansing for 12 days (ok, maybe it was actually 11 days - I cheated) on the Wild Rose Detox, not enjoying any yeast, fermented foods including soy sauce, flour products like bread or pasta, or sugar of any kind except in unadulterated fruit, we splurged. My main squeeze and I (let's call him Rocco) planned a date night to end all cleanses. We would go out (a thing impossible to do on a whole foods, no flour cleanse) and feast, drink and be merry. It's taking me a while to post this as a matter of fact, what with all the deleting and retyping to correct for wine and mangalore (a concoction of spices and champagne), the result of a more than pleasant, utterly indulgent, cleanse-busting dining experience.

Vij’s, an Indian fusion dining experience, treated us extremely well. We arrived only 45 minutes after opening for supper service, but at the door we were still quoted a 45 minute wait. We expected it so agreed and headed to the rear lounge to have a drink and wait it out. They serve appies in the lounge and I might have had enough to spoil my appetite except that we waited a full hour to be seated. In the end it was worth it: we split the tofu, rapini and spinach appetizer, I ordered the celery root and bulgar koftas, Rocco ordered the chicken cilantro curry. The food was exquisite and speedy. The bottle of wine we ordered turned out to be over the top since we spent more time eating than drinking and had to hang about afterwards to finish the booze we had already paid for. It was a tremendous night out, and I would recommend Vij’s to anyone with an appetite for something new and shmoozy.

Yum, yum, YUM. Off to digest and recline.


They talk among us

I can't get over this talking cat video. Turn on your speakers; laugh 'til the tears stream from your eyes!

A craving for movement

Last night myself and a few friends took in 12 Minutes Max, the 32nd annual instalment put on by the Firehall Arts Centre and the Scotiabank Dance Centre. 12MM is a showcase of emerging and established dance and interdisciplinary artists, each piece being no longer than 12 minutes (obviously) and some pieces lasting only the length of a song. It’s been ages since I attended a dance show - January to be exact - and as the time lapse grows between one show and the next, each performance more strongly reminds me what I’m missing by not dancing or being involved in the dance world.

Ten pieces were showcased last night, a wide variety of forms and interests displayed. The most striking piece for me was Caroline Liffman’s movement study performed by Julia Carr. Julia, dressed only in a simple but elegant black strappy dress, stretched the boundaries of physics and the human body: She lowered herself nearly to the floor over an agonisingly beautiful two or three minutes, arching backwards so far and for so long that the audience held its collective breath just waiting for gravity to kick in. It didn’t. The piece might have been 6 minutes long in total and my eyes were glued to Julia the entire time, watching her fluidly contort her body through sanguine, feline stretches and poses. So simple and so rewarding.

Jennifer McLeish-Lewis performed Orange, a text and movement medley exploring some representational movement (a bit like mime) and more abstract, contemporary form. She recounted a conversation with an artist friend who has become obsessed with the colour orange, spurring Jennifer to write a poem, an ode maybe, to all things orange. Though the piece dragged in places near the end (yes that movement on the floor looks cool but we really only need to see it once or twice, not ten times), it was clever and fresh, making a true connection with the audience. I think there is a vast arena for exploration in the intersection of text and movement; you wouldn’t have caught me saying that even just last year when I was completely committed to non-verbal communication as the path for empathic audience engagement (see my unpublished and overstated Master’s thesis). Though Orange was the last piece of the first act, it took me at least a couple pieces following the intermission to not miss the inclusion of text, spoken word, in the dances.

One final piece should get a mention for innovation and beauty: Shae Zukiwsky ’s through is a study of the body confronted by a nonhuman object and the ways we find to interact with such things. Shae wore one sock and one rollerblade that seemed to be fashioned from an old-school, black leather ice skate. Disregarding the endless moments of pregnant (read: constipated-looking) pause, the collaboration of the dancer and the skate was seamless. Some movements flowed fast and furious, displaying the power of gliding and speed. Some moments of high tension occurred as the dancer pointed his skated foot so it bore no weight, and painfully (this is not quite the right word but it will have to do), tirelessly, worked to draw himself up onto pointe on his load-bearing, sock-wearing foot. When gimmicks like a single roller skate are used, it is hard to imagine the resulting piece will be anything but contrived and self-indulgent. Shae made it work by displaying great agility, innovation and artistry.

Note to self: see and do more dance. Andrea Nann is performing this Sunday - definitely worth trying to get to.


First go round

Everybody and their dog has a blog so my cat and I have also joined the band wagon. I doubt there will be many witticisms found on this blog, but keep your eyes open, they may be subtle.