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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

No Laughing Matter

There are two things that I will never joke at someone's expense about. (There are generally more than two, but these two are nolle prosequi material.)

1. A person's name. Even Drumpf. (Perhaps especially Drumpf; after all, it's not like you need to go excavating the ancestral past to find criticisms of that guy.)

No matter how unique you think your humour is, I guarantee you: the person has heard that joke before. Dozens of times. Maybe they even still give you a pity-laugh to stifle the sound of their eyes rolling.

2. What Bertie Wooster would call a person's "outer crust." Unless it's something foreign, like crumbs or something (which, you'll note, people never mention, and just leave you to discover it hours later in the mirror. Thanks.), you can rest assured that a person is much more intimately aware of what is on display than you are. There's simply no tact or sense in pointing out someone's unibrow, mole, acne, tendency to turn deep vermilion when embarrassed or just after the dreaded 20-minute-run PE class, birthmarks... the list goes on. I include tattoos in this, if the comment comes from a total stranger who would otherwise comment on the weather. For everything on this list, they know about it. They know you can see it. No need to verbalize.

There's something private about a person's body—even the visible parts—that merits respect.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Unproductivity

I just discovered that my writing tablet (or perhaps the stylus) has stopped working, so I had to haul out pen and paper for my annual drawing post. Then I discovered that I don't have any blank paper so I had to make do with cardboard, and then I discovered that I don't have any decent pens. At least it's still better than those very first MS Paint moments of my comic? Somewhat?
literally verbatim (one of those words is probably redundant)

Actually, I've been living in a slum of broken down electronics for quite some time, so it wasn't much of a surprise about the tablet. More of a gd... why is everything I own crap moment.

Despite being the legitimately best thing I've ever owned, my computer is very dated at this point and chugs away like a steam engine winding down its speed for an upcoming station stop. Add to that my "high speed lite"—which I honestly think my ISP is making liter day by day—and it's either impossible or frustrating to try to do any of my computer-related hobbies these days. It's like the old days of dial-up, but without the beautifully moving song of the handshake (no sarcasm. I'm nostalgic like that).

Most distressingly, my Zoom H4N spontaneously and thoroughly died due to a known bug death (you could call it a "feature") when I ejected it from my computer a couple months ago. I'm not sure it's worth sending it to the company to fix, which is apparently the only option. This means I can't do any more YouTubing until I get new equipment, which I was planning to do anyway because I've been wanting to do some vocals as well. But then I've also been stuck in the middle of a couple transcriptions for about a year, lacking the motivation to move forward in them. And what's the point of posting them anyway?

So then I had an ubi sunt moment. You know what I'm talking about: that how did it come to this kind of feeling. (Btw, if you didn't know, ubi sunt is a poetic device that basically communicates "where did the golden past go, and why is everything ruined forever?" Théoden knows how it's done.) Maybe studying elegiac Anglo Saxon poetry laid that tragic foundation in me. More likely it was a long process of myriad contributing factors. None of it makes particularly good drawing fodder, but if it ever does, I promise I'll start posting more.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Canadiana

The other day, I was reflecting on how very different Canada is now from the nation I grew up in. My family was staunchly (almost rabidly) pro-Canada to the fault of being anti-American. Canada was the best country in the world, and being Canadian filled your heart with all kinds of pride, warmth, and hope. The border was less than a 2hr drive away, but I didn't set foot in the US until a whirlwind conference trip when I was 23.

Fast forward to two weeks ago, when I spent an entire day trying to figure out how to emigrate to the US, wondering if Harper getting reelected might be passable grounds for a refugee application. Granted, there were myriad other (real) reasons I wanted to move, but nothing could sever my remaining shreds of patriotism quite like watching our own government cannibalize the body it inhabits.

(Turns out it's basically impossible for someone like me to live in the US, barring a complete upheaval of my life, which I'm not opposed to, but is full of complications.)

I'm not much interested in sports, but the thing that I find most infectious about them is the rivalry between fan groups. It's one of the arenas of our society where enthusiasm and energy seem to generate and perpetuate themselves. And when a team faces off against its biggest rival, there are only two possible outcomes, both of them extremes: crushing victory, or humiliating defeat.

Federal politics is rivalry at its most intense. Although there are a few teams at play, everybody won this round, because regardless of who actually won, the main thing is the rival—everybody's rival—lost. Gotta be honest, I seriously doubted Canada would come together successfully, but boy did we ever. There's nothing but hope right now, and relief. Congratulations to us all.

In other news, I've decided that my main goal for the present is to travel.

It's a shame traveling costs a lot, because I just returned from Las Vegas again a few weeks ago and was basically in need of a vacation from the moment I deplaned.

(For the record: traveling is more expensive if you can't get your shit together and end up fiddling with your flights multiple times. It's even more expensive if you spend 30 minutes suppressing your nausea in the taxi before you manage to croak out a request to turn around and take you home. Yep, it was the most ridiculous, needlessly complicated escape of my life. I'd do it every week if I could.)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tales

Once in a while I find myself remembering something that I haven't thought about in a decade. I would like to linger over my memories more often so, to that end, I thought I would start writing them down. I've created a repository for tales from the past, which is mainly intended to be a memory lane in digital space for myself. This Tales blog is one of several writing projects I began this year, and I've been far more prolific in it than in the others.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Remember the Ides

The Ides of March is one of the only days I remember to write. For four years it's been a melancholy anniversary for me, but finally this year I think I've come to terms with it. What has happened in the year since my last post? Well, lots of ups and downs—as usual, and as typical of everyone I expect.

In the fall, I participated in a (not quite complete) month of intensive yoga challenge. Maintaining that kind of momentum is hard, but it's also not particularly appealing to me. I like my downtime, and spending up to 3 hours at the studio every day doesn't allow for much.

I didn't take much time off work during 2014. The weekend before Canada Day, my parents drove out to visit me, bringing the granite endtable that my dad built. Dad's tables are gorgeous works of art. I tagged along on their drive back east, which took two full days. It was a wonderful road trip through the Okanagan during cherry season, and I spent Canada Day weekend on the farm before flying back home.

In the fall, I took another brief trip for my cousin's wedding in Banff. It was a whirlwind trip, as I didn't take time off other than my regular flex day. My own family wasn't able to attend, so I wasn't overly eager to spend much time in Banff by myself, especially since the altitude difference added a migraine through the whole weekend.

Christmas in Saskatchewan was cold, malingering somewhere between -20°C and -30°C during my whole trip. Indoors was cozy, but I've never been much interested in being outdoors in the winter. This suits me just fine, and I'm content to while away the days indoors; but I always get the impression that this is unacceptable in my family, so it's tinged with guilt as well.

Christmas always leaves me with an unidentifiable feeling—kind of like wistfulness, and kind of like melancholy. My flight back west chased the sunset on New Year's eve, and I remember wishing we could just keep chasing it. I didn't want to land, to return to Victoria. New Year's is more on the melancholy side of wistfulness.

The big derailment at the moment is another burst pipe (same one?) in my apartment, much like the issue almost exactly one year ago but more alarming from the outset. I'm currently in the stage between the chaos of stopping the leak/drying out the carpet, and the wall repairs/painting.

I'm starting to keenly feel the lack of a vacation, and I'm close to the point where I simply need to get away. Somewhere with a white sandy beach and warm, clear water. Or somewhere with a wild, pebbly beach, crashing waves, and a warm cozy view. Somewhere with balmy evenings, neon lights, and 5am cheesecake. Somewhere with rolling thunderstorms and warm evening rain. Somewhere to recharge and let my emotions settle back to a milder level. Somewhere away from this town. Vacate rather than staycate. I spent a recent weekend in Houston (ah, warm evenings), but a weekend is pretty short—though it was a wonderful trip as always.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Less stuff, more cats

Two weeks later, the whole leak incident is finally wrapped up. I appreciate that the property manager took care of everything, though I still think that entering a suite without giving notice is objectively out of line. Leaving a job incomplete for days and a bunch of janitorial clutter in a corner of my apartment doesn't constitute sufficient notice, even if it is obvious that they'll need to enter in order to finish. Or maybe I'm just holding a grudge from last week when somebody actually unlocked my door while I was inside—without even knocking!—in the early evening. This is why I keep the door chained 100% of the time.

The last step was steam-cleaning all the carpets with what I assume was a concoction of toothpaste and mystery water collected during the leak itself (I was hoping most of the ants would get steam-cleaned too, but I've found some malingering still). They did give me express notice of that, mainly because they needed me to "can you please move everything off the floor :)". Moving as much as possible into the bathroom and kitchen (possession tetris yet again) has left things pretty tidy everywhere else, which makes me think it's a good opportunity to get rid of stuff.

And maybe get a cat. I wanted this one, but today's daily search indicates that she's not at the SPCA anymore:
The floor doesn't feel like the beach anymore, so that's a definite plus.

P.S. I optimized my dictionary recently, which you might have noticed since I keep linking to it.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

A Million Things That Make Me Uneasy

I seem to be on some kind of roll here, so why not continue with the theme?

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

There probably are indeed at least half a million things that bug me. People who stand on the bus without hanging onto anything, for example (you just know they're going to blunder into you at the next unexpected halt). People who walk at anything less than a brisk stride (if they're in front of me). Little annoying human habits that drive me into a raging [wind]fury.

Because I endeavour to be a halfway-decent human, I keep my fury hidden as best I can until it subsides on its own. Sure, sometimes when random strangers are in close proximity I have to actively, repeatedly, inwardly tell myself don't knock them over, just don't do it—but that's a different conversation.

But there are even more things that are more than minor annoyances. Things that awaken a deep dread or terror. Things that make me sit in the pouring rain for 40 minutes rather than board a bus that might be uncomfortably crowded. And all these million things used to keep me at a well-maintained level of unease, which came to be increasingly broken by peaks of anxiety that set my heart racing in an infuriatingly unexpected and uncontrollable way.

Losing control over your emotions is a terrifying thing, and if those emotions end up affecting the way you can function in the world, then you are in a losing position indeed. I think it's shocking for everyone when that tipping point is reached and the most apparently sedate person lashes out—and perhaps most shocking to the person it's coming from. That's when I know it's time to get off the island for a few days.

When it comes down to it, the list of Things That Bug Me is actually pretty short; I could elaborate on a lot of the points, but I think most things are encompassed by the following (in no particular order):
  1. other people's opinions
  2. the word "whinging"
  3. the guy upstairs
  4. other pedestrians who obstruct my own pedestering
  5. close-mindedness
  6. unnecessary noise
  7. beards
  8. invasive landlords
  9. mayonnaise
  10. when people believe that their likes/dislikes are objectively good/bad
And yes, negativity too.