You know you’re old when…

September 19, 2007 at 1:40 pm | Posted in random | 3 Comments
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…you leave a rock concert early because your back hurts, your feet hurt, and it’s too late for you to be out on a work night.

My friends and I went to the Rilo Kiley concert last night at the Phoenix. Ok, it sounds cool when I say it like that, but the reality of it was more like, Ugh, dude, we’ve been standing here for, like, THREE HOURS. How long does it take to do a friggin’ sound check? I’m pretty sure the guitar was in tune the first 30 times you picked it up. Man, I can’t wait to go home and crawl into bed…

Rilo Kiley was super awesome, real tight, and Jenny Lewis is just gorgeous. She is beautiful and sexy and she rocks. Every single male in the room was drooling. But the standing. And the other people. And the waiting. And the dickhead bouncers. I am just too old for that shit. At midnight on a work night, I want to be in bed watching TV.

Can we note that all three of the bands that played last night (Grand Ole Party, Jonathan Rice, and RK) are from California? Can we also note that a song about coyotes taking over the Governor’s Mansion from Ahnold doesn’t really resonate with a Canadian audience? Jonathan Rice explained the song, and the audience’s reaction was something like this:

“…”

Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure no one outside of California or maybe the West Coast — maybe — gives a shit about the Governator. It’s just that nobody remembered to inform Californians of that fact. It kind of reminded me of this one time in my freshman year of undergrad when this sophomore girl announced that nobody had dare fuck with her ’cause “I’m from San Francisco.” Uh, really? The mean streets of Frisco? Bitch, please. St. Louis? Absolutely. South Central? You betcha. I’ll give you Atlanta and Brooklyn and Detroit and pretty much any city on the entire North American continent including, fuck, I don’t know, Halifax, Nova Scotia, before I’ll give you San Francisco. Anyway, sometimes the whole California complex gets to me. I’m trying really hard not to like Rilo Kiley any less just ’cause they’re based in LA, but man, it’s hard.

Quilting: step 1 done!

September 12, 2007 at 11:56 pm | Posted in sewing | 1 Comment
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Can it be? Have I actually made some progress on a project?

Last night, I finished sewing and pressing the last squares of the first step of my quilt. I sewed all of them by hand, something that I’ve never really done before, save for a few buttons and some pot leaf patches in high school (I was so fucking cool). Carolanne met me at work/school today and we started laying out the squares to form the larger squares that’ll make up the quilt top. I finished the rest at home tonight and started sewing them together. I did a couple by hand and then used the machine. I enjoyed doing the little squares by hand but I might do the rest by machine, since it’s not like I’m learning any new stitches at this point anyway.

The color scheme is brown and blue, and within that scheme, there’s light brown and light blue, medium brown and medium blue, and dark brown and dark blue. There’re also “tight” (busy) patterns and “loose” (um…un-busy? sorry. it’s past 11 pm, the time at which I hit a wall and my brain turns off, so I can’t think of a word to describe the opposite of busy in the context of fabric) patterns. I’m arranging the squares, which look like this,
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in a sort of diamond formation. I’m trying to balance brown and blue, busy and un-busy. It’s really fun. It’s the intellectual side of crafting, where you have to figure out how things fit together. These fabric squares were a set, so most of the work was done for me, but I still had to arrange each diamond to the fabrics’ best advantage. I didn’t want two busy fabrics together, or two calm fabrics together, or two darks or two lights…it’s all about balance (I think. Did I mention I have no idea what I’m talking about?) and I did what I could.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it is way past my bedtime.

Things I have done lately

September 10, 2007 at 10:26 pm | Posted in knitting, life | 2 Comments
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1. Finished the first sock of a pair of Red Herring socks for Heather.
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Socks were started in, oh, April. I got mad at this one and had to put it down for several months, but I finished the bugger and started on sock 2.

2. Had my first ceramics class. It was possibly the most fun and liberatingly, unrestrictedly (word?) creative time I’ve had in a while.

3. Saw Across the Universe late last night as part of the Toronto International Film Festival. I am a sucker for twisted, vibrantly melancholy and/or macabre films, and if they are musicals I am sent into paroxysms of delight. It’s like Moulin Rouge, except happier. It’ll be interesting to hear other people’s impressions of how the Beatles’ songs were interpreted. I especially liked ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Strawberry Fields.’

4. Work. Lots of work.

Photography and the art of compromise.

August 26, 2007 at 8:23 pm | Posted in photography | 5 Comments
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Photography is an enormous part of my life and has been for years. I know you can’t tell by looking at the photos on this blog (taken with my digital point-and-shoot), but it’s one of my main driving forces. I still use film — I shoot with a Bronica ETRS-i, a medium-format single lens reflex camera that I got a few years ago. The camera is awesome, but man, it is heavy. Built like a tank, that thing is.

I started doing photography in 7th grade, in the mid-90s when digital was barely a gleam in Canon’s eye.  I used a 35mm manual camera for years (what’s up, Pentax K1000!), and my Bronica is largely manual, as well.  The great thing about using cameras like this is that you learn a lot about light.  You learn a lot about many things, actually, cause there are no illusions about who’s doing the work.

I used to get lost in a darkroom for hours, lulled by the rhythm of printing. It became a dance, agitating three trays simultaneously while keeping an eye on that print you’re exposing. When the darkroom was crowded and the music blasting — and I am super picky about the kind of music I will print to: there had better be no top 40 or gangsta rap cause really, what is creative about that? — and you had to jump over and around other people to get to your enlarger…well, that kind of energy, that creative force that is both communal and completely solitary, got me going.

When I was in undergrad I spent hours in the darkroom. In high school I took my camera everywhere with me. Now, I do neither. My camera is so heavy that I have to carry it around in a dedicated backpack and while spontaneous photo field trips are totally doable, lugging it around every day is not. My lifestyle has changed, too. I work a 9-5 job now, and the last thing I want to after a day in the office is stand around a hot, stinky darkroom and make a few prints. (You’d think that since I don’t have homework to do any longer, I’d actually have more time for darkroom adventures, but you’d be wrong, as I did a negligible amount of homework.)

I have resisted going digital for so long. I still believe that film trumps digital and, if it made sense for me right now, I wouldn’t have even considered it. (Not to mention that digital is the biggest pissing contest…trying to follow and give a shit about a debate over photo editing software or Nikon vs. Canon is about as stimulating as trying to follow and give a shit about two dudes arguing about carburetors or the age-old Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones question. Here’s a clue, guys (and it’s always men debating these fine points): the number of megapixels your digital camera has is NOT equivalent to your penis length, in inches. But I digress.) However, I don’t want to lose photography. So, I considered investing in a digital SLR system. I read tons of websites and product reviews and looked at image comparisons. I had a few systems picked out that I was seriously considering.

In the end, I couldn’t do it. Part of it was the expense — even if you get a good deal on a d-SLR kit, the lens you get is usually pretty crappy, and man, lenses are expensive. Most of it, though, was knowing how much I’ve already invested in film photography. Not the money so much as the time and energy. Honestly, too, I just do not believe that digital equals higher quality than film, and what about obsolescence? Most of the pictures I take with my point-and-shoot remain on my computer, and some of them I upload to Facebook or Flickr, but I don’t have hard copies of them. With film, even if all you have are negatives, you will always be able to see the images.

So, I split the difference. I didn’t abandon my negatives and I didn’t commit myself to a lifetime of darkrooms. I bought a very nice, quality, consumer-priced flatbed photo scanner. It comes with film holders in different sizes and is designed to scan negatives or slides by virtue of the fact that it has two light sources, one under the glass screen, and one in the top, which is the one used for scanning negatives.

It’s going to be weird, developing film and then scanning it to my computer and editing it there. I’m certainly a little hesitant about the whole thing. I played with the scanner a little bit today (I won’t start seriously using it until I get an external hard drive) and here’s a picture from a negative that I scanned for the web. It was taken at the Don Valley Brick Works in the winter.

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This is it, without any manipulations except for a bit of cropping. Not bad for a straight-from-the-scanner image, huh? Waaaay better than the very first print in the darkroom, for sure. God. Did I just say that? Am I a convert already?

War, an apt metaphor for dating. Or is it, Dating, an apt metaphor for war?

August 18, 2007 at 7:37 pm | Posted in boys, life | 6 Comments
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So, I don’t know who really reads this blog, other than some of my friends and some of my classmates and coworkers. But if you’ve met me for even a second, you’ve probably heard me say at least one of the following:
“Dating is a nightmare.”
“I hate men.”
“I’m never dating anyone ever again. Ever ever ever.”
“Dating is like walking through a minefield — you never know if your next step is going to blow you up or land you on solid ground.”
“I give up.”

It’s no longer necessary or expected for women to marry straight out of high school, or even college/university, thank God. I can’t even imagine being married right now, let alone married to some dude I met when I was 16 or 20. I am not on the marriage/babies track; I don’t know if I want kids. The biological clock isn’t ticking, that’s for sure. But still, I feel that companionship is extremely important. One of my goals in life is to have a lasting emotional, sexual, intimate relationship with a man. Preferably a decent, unmarried man. And so, I find myself at 26, looking for a partner. (I’ve always hated that word, “partner,” when used to describe heterosexual relationships. Just say, boyfriend, or girlfriend, ok? But now I kind of think that it’s appropriate — I’m not looking for a sugar daddy or a baby daddy or any kind of daddy (I already have a father, thanks!), and “partner” has the connotation of equality and companionship, two things I value highly.) So, for the past four years, since the end of my “college marriage” relationship, I’ve been out there.

I love hearing stories from the dating front. One of my coworkers has the most incredible and unbelievable catalogue of first date nightmares. Consider these: a woman so close to lesbianism that she was practically her own pride flag, a Buffy-obsessed lawyer whose entire apartment was decorated like the fictional character’s condo, a pre-op male-to-female, and a woman on a day-pass from a mental institution. As he put it, “I put on the dating magnet and attract all of the cheap metal in the GTA.”

My friends and I have our own, less shocking but probably exponentially more dramatic, catalogue of dating history. Between us we’ve heard every opening and closing line in the book…we’ve had one night stands and long-term relationships and everything in between…we’ve slept with ex-boyfriends and -girlfriends…we’ve dated and re-dated and tried so hard to jam square pegs into round holes (so to speak)…we’ve obsessed and neurotically picked apart every single syllable uttered by a man — or a woman…

Sometimes I find it pretty amazing that anyone, anywhere has managed to meet someone else. Consider all of the things that have to come together for that to happen: both people have to be in the same place at the same time, be mutually attracted to each other, live in the same geographic region at the very least, be single at the same time, and not be irreparably damaged. And that’s just for them to decide to go on a date! Imagine the things that have to happen for a relationship to develop… As I said, amazing.

I’m just not sure I can do it all right now. I’ve been dating pretty much constantly for FOUR YEARS. That is, like, the world’s longest marathon. I’ve barely had time to breathe. Wait. Does that make me sound like a whore? Oh, whatever, I don’t care. Point is, I’ve been busy these past four years and all I have to show for it are notches on the bedpost and a growing list of shit I won’t tolerate from men. I’m tired. I need a break.

Tripping down memory lane

August 17, 2007 at 1:23 pm | Posted in life | 4 Comments
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There are several people that I keep in touch with from undergrad — Aundra is one of my closest friends in the world, and I love her to pieces.  Javad is someone I will always be friends with, no matter how far apart we are (China, Macau, Toronto, Miami; to name a few of the places we’re living in/have lived in).  I’ll be attending Kristen and Drake’s wedding next summer.  I met Ninon on our trip to Scotland, and I credit her with saving my life the summer after I graduated.  She and her mom gave me a place to live, and hers was the shoulder I cried on when Vito and I broke up.  We haven’t seen each other in years, but thanks to gmail chat we’re sometimes able to catch up.

We were chatting today, about people we have in common, and I had this enormous pang of missing Portland and Lewis & Clark.  LC is this small liberal arts college, smaller than my high school, perched on Palatine Hill in southwest Portland.  The campus is gorgeous — a wooded ravine, old brick buildings, a perfect view of Mt. Hood from the reflecting pool.  My freshman year was mainly a whirlwind of drunken nights in the dorms and nighttime missions to the indoor swimming pool and the football field to haul leftover Astro turf back to Copeland Hall.

I have this one memory of wandering down one night to the flagpole on the lawn that overlooked the rose garden, where you could see Mt. Hood and catch a glimpse of the city.  I don’t know who I was with, maybe Vito, and I think Brad was there too.  I put one foot into the loop of the rope and hoisted myself up; the boys ran with me until I was virtually flying around the flagpole.  I could see the lights of the city and the stars and I was drunk and happy and I cannot even imagine being that person again.  Not that I can’t imagine being happy again, but that I can’t imagine being 18 years old again and throwing my head back joyously as I swing around and around a flagpole in the dark.  I can’t imagine dorm life.  I can’t imagine caravaning down I-5 to spend spring break in Mexico.  I can’t imagine the keg parties and dorm parties and celebrating 21st birthdays.  I can’t imagine walking home from the “rat house” in the fog and rain… I can’t imagine an entire life that I once had.  Sometimes I miss college and Portland so much that it physically hurts, in my chest.  I will not attend my high school reunions but I can’t imagine missing my college ones.

I love Toronto, I love my apartment and my friends here and I enjoy my job.  I’m an adult here (well, except for my amazingly incompetent dating history).  Still, I think about Portland a lot.  It’s like a love affair that I never really got over.  Isn’t that so rainy-day melancholy?  That no matter how much you like who you are and where you are, you can miss the people and places from your past so much?

Nalini’s necklace

August 4, 2007 at 2:49 pm | Posted in shiny things | 3 Comments
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I made this necklace–crocheted wire with freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals–for a coworker and friend.  She asked me to make it ages ago and I’m such a slacker: I made two of the strands and when I ran out of wire, I didn’t immediately get more.  She gently reminded me to finish it and I did… sorry it took so long!

One of the reasons I didn’t hurry to the jewelry-making supply store to get more wire is that every time I step foot into that place, I end up spending 10 times more than I originally planned.  Apparently, I am powerless in the face of shiny things and adorable boys (I purchased a brand-new bike in a moment of weakness).  I was going to take a picture of the necklace I made with the materials I bought when I got the wire for Nalini’s necklace, but the nice digital camera at work needs to have its batteries charged.

Quilting

July 26, 2007 at 4:10 pm | Posted in sewing | 2 Comments

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A few months ago, a friend from grad school invited Alli and I over to her place to rummage through her fabric. Alli was going to look for some cool bookcloth ideas, and I, well, I just like not having to pay for stuff.

Turns out that Carolanne is a quilting goddess. I wish I had pictures to post here, but I don’t, so suffice it to say that both Alli and myself were blown away by the beauties that our friend had created. Combine that with 3 bottles of wine, a plate of cheese and fruit, and the most adorable apartment on earth, and it was a magical afternoon.

Of course, I walked away with a bag of fabric, mostly batiks, that will one day (hopefully) metamorphosize into a quilt. For now, I’m working on a batch of what I think are called charm squares. These guys are 40 little 5″x5″ squares, 20 patterns in coordinating shades of brown and blue. I looooove brown and blue together and took to those squares like flies to shit.

Carolanne taught me how to do the most basic of hand-sewing stitches, hooked me up with some muslin and sent me on my way. There was a moment there when I thought I’d lost the Omnigrid ruler of awesomeness that she lent me and was preparing myself to buy two, one for me and one for her, but then it turned out that it was in a dark green bag on a piece of dark brown cloth on the floor. After neglecting my quilt squares for a while, I’m back with a vengeance, baby. They’re pretty basic — I just sew two straight lines .25″ away from either side of the diagonal when a piece of muslin and a piece of patterned fabric are held together, then I cut along the diagonal and I have two squares, half muslin and half patterned fabric. Still, I am super excited for this quilt, mainly because it so far consists of only straight lines, and I figure it’s relatively difficult to screw up straight lines. (Knitting has been relegated to the back of the craft house for now, for such reasons as: it hates me.)

None the wiser

July 22, 2007 at 9:04 pm | Posted in sloppy drunk | Leave a comment

I guess there’s a moment for most people when they realize that they’re getting older. For some, it’s a first grey hair or wrinkle; for others, it’s the slowing down of their metabolism and the sudden ability to pack on weight like never before. I figure that it’s mostly a physical thing. When something goes “wrong” with our bodies, we’re usually pretty quick to notice it.

I’ve always prided myself on my ability to drink. I’ve been doing it since I was 14. I quickly learned my limit and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve thrown up from drinking since 9th grade, as it’s very rare that I disrespect that limit. Fortunately, and handily, I’ve also been blessed with the ability to drink a fair amount before I have to stop. Thanks, English/Irish/Scottish/German genes! Also, over the years I’ve built up what I thought was a failsafe hangover plan. I get hangovers just by looking at alcohol, and since I usually do a lot more than just look at it, I’ve sort of devised a ritual for myself, consisting of food, a shitload of water, and a multivitamin right before going to bed after a night of drinking.

Lately, however, my tolerance just hasn’t been the same. This started in the winter, after I’d gone out one night, without eating, and had four pints. That’s it. Four pints of beer. I didn’t eat anything while I was out, and just sort of poured myself into bed without implementing any of the hangover plan. The next day, I was convinced that I was going to die. This was no ordinary hangover — for me, a hangover is usually a pretty bad headache, the inability to sleep in, and that boozy feeling that stays with me all day. No, this was certain death. Death by raging headache; death by queasy, churning stomach; death by the shame of a mere four pints. I tried to drink water and couldn’t keep it down. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat: all i could do was lay in bed, surely dying. My head was pounding with the force of a thousand hammers and I had no pain reliever in the house. I ended up calling my friend Heather to bring over some ibuprofen.

Since then, this has happened twice more, most recently on Friday night/Saturday morning. Apparently, 3+ bottles of wine between three people is more than enough alcohol. I staggered home from the party, my steps unsteady. I picked up Lebanese takeout to eat before bed. Let me just say that while Lebanese food is delicious going down, it’s not as tasty coming up. Eight hours later.

Is this my getting older wake-up call? Is this my body telling me to chill the fuck out, pace myself, and drink responsibly? For some reason this disappoints me. I mean, I knew that I wasn’t 21 any more; that’s been obvious by my apparent inability to be productive past 11 on a weeknight and my lack of interest in staying out all night every weekend. But this? Why does it have to be drinking that’s taken away from me? I’d been looking forward to a long and productive drinking career, but I guess I’m just not 14 any more, damn it.

I don’t care if you ARE bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

July 14, 2007 at 2:36 pm | Posted in garden | 1 Comment

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I hate these little bastards.

It’s unfortunate, because I am an animal lover — nay, an animal freak. I like animals the way other people like people. When I was a kid, I would jump into the pool to save drowning insects, for Christ’s sake. But now that I have a garden, I hate — HATE — squirrels.

Reason # 1: They love to dig. I don’t know if they’re burying nuts or just digging for digging’s sake, but they love to dig in my containers. At least once, sometimes twice, a week, I find that the dirt in my sweetpeas’ containers has been disturbed by clever little squirrel paws. It’s not such a big deal now that everyone is grown up and has strong roots and stems, but when my plants were just seedlings, it infuriated me. I took the lobelias indoors for a while to save them.

Reason #2: Even more than digging, they love picking my tomatoes. Do they eat them? No. They nibble at them, ripening ones and green ones alike, and then leave the gnawed-on carcasses all over the place: on the floorboards of the deck, on the railing, in the containers. I’ve been picking the toms as soon as I can and letting them ripen indoors — NOT ideal.

Reason #3: They have no remorse and no fear. You know with dogs and even sometimes with cats, when you catch them doing something they know is wrong, they look at you guiltily? Or, at the very least, they stop what they’re doing? Well, squirrels are NOT like that. Those bastards just do not care what you catch them doing. Even when you throw stuff at them. Furthermore, they taunt. They will sit on the railing and sort of chatter at me while I’m going about my garden business.

There is at least one squirrel — and when there’s one isn’t it, like, there’s 10 more in the walls? Oh wait. That’s roaches. Whatever, same diff — living in the roof of my apartment. S/he slips under the shingles and into the space between the ceiling and the roof and I’m pretty sure s/he’s the root of my squirrel problem. Who chewed up the hammock last year? Mr./Mrs./Ms. Squirrel could not resist such convenient bedding materials, I would imagine. Who “eats” my tomatoes? Same bastard that spies on me from its dark home in the roof when I’m on the deck.

I think I need a gun. Someone else suggested a crossbow. Note: I generally do not advocate violence and weapons, but in this case I’m willing to entertain the suggestion. My favorite solution to the problem? Lasso them, catch them, swing them around by their tails, and whip them off the deck. Of course, that is the solution in my dreams, not in reality.

My solution in reality is to mutter curses at them and blog about them. And it surprises me that I lose more and more tomatoes every day?

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