Archive for the 'Navel-gazing' Category

Paris is here, wish you were beautiful.

Friday, August 10th, 2007

When I got into Paris I got ripped off by the cab driver. He was one of those guys who stands in the airports asking dumb foreigners (like moi) if they need a taxi. He charged me eighty euros for the ride from the airport, which should have been more like thirty or forty, tops. Don’t get me wrong, he was friendly and all, and made conversation to the extent that his English and my French allowed (not very far at all). So, being a clueless North American, I tipped him! Because that’s just the kind of fish I am.

It wasn’t a huge deal, I mean I’ll just expense it to the company anyway so no big whoop. The problem is that these fake-o taxis aren’t insured as taxis, so if we’d gotten into an accident I’d’ve been fucked. Lesson: learned. My co-worker fell for the same scam I guess, because she’d emailed me before I left Vancouver saying that I should expect to pay around 85 euros for the cab from the airport. So that was was that.

I also got here right when the Tour de France was going on, and i had to cross the Champ Elysees to get from the place where I picked up my apartment key to the apartment, carrying all my luggage through crazy nutty tourist craziness. It took me ages to figure out how to get into my apartment because the directions I was given were completely wrong and I spent half an hour trying to open the wrong apartment door, until I was able to convince myself that No, objectively none of these keys fit in this door, I’m not just stupid. After I had the brainstorm of matching the name on the keys to the name on the door, it worked — eventually. A sticky locking mechanism nearly reduced me to tears.

Anyways, not to go into all the dull touristy details, Paris is a nice place to walk around. But of course, I always want to see the seedy areas because those are the places that are the most fun to people-watch, so I liked going down to Pigalle and having a beer on a terrace in the evenings. Pigalle was called “Pig Alley” by the American soldiers in the second World War, because that’s where all the prostitutes hung out. Nowadays it’s mostly sex shops. I only went there once or twice, until I was warned off by a resident co-worker, but I have to say that the dodginess had nothing on Vancouver. No hordes of cracked-out zombies like we have. Mostly a lot of this:

I’m heading back to Vancouver on Sunday, and I’ll be glad to be home in my own apartment and bed and routine. One thing that bugs me about Paris is that I can’t get a big fat-ass honking cuppa joe in the morning to bring to work, as is my custom. They only serve these gay little espresso drinks. Maybe that’s why the French are never in a big hurry.

I made a faux pas (that’s French!) the other day by ordering some cheese after my meal and an espresso at the same time. The waiter was like You want espresso with your cheese??? And I was like Is that not done? He said A French person would not do zis, but you are not French so ees ok. (Another odd thing is that as soon as I would say Bonjour to a waiter, they would immediately start in with the English. My pronunciation must be terrible.)

Ok, that’s all. Here are my pictures.

War On Junk

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Today I undertook fixing my leaky kitchen fawcett. Whenever I ran cold water, it would dribble out the bottom of the tap and spread along the counter. Previously relying on a j-cloth as a stopgap measure, today I decided to unleash my mad plumbing skills and remedy the situation once and for all.

But, as the Bush Administration is fond of repeating as if it were exculpatory, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. In this case, if my counter-top represents New Orleans, then I guess my junk drawer is Iraq. It was definitely a quagmire; I knew I had some thread-sealing tape (=WMDs?) in there somewhere, but could not locate it within the foreign and inhospitable terrain, no matter how vigorously I shoved and prodded the junk. Instead of cutting and running to Home Hardware, I decided to open a second front in my home repair mission: cleaning out my junk drawer.

Inventory:

  • Paint: acrylic x 5; watercolour x 7
  • Disposable camera with five pictures taken (~7 yrs. old)
  • Sewing materials: thread X 14; needles; leather lace; fabric scraps; a button
  • Head lights (Sort of like glasses with little flashlights on either side of your face. Great for camping.)
  • Cork
  • Silicon weatherproofing spray
  • Tools: screwdriver x 3; wrench; pliers; hammer; scissors x 3, x-acto knife x 4, etc.
  • Batteries: AA x 7; AAA x 6
  • Tape: clear tape x 3; masking tape x 2; electrical tape; packing tape; thread-sealing tape!
  • Paperclips
  • Sponges

I eventually located the tape, brought order to the region and Accomplished the Mission. A well-spent Sunday.

Meanwhile, two car-bombs explode in Baghdad, killing 60.

Better Living Through Technology

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

I got laser eye surgery done on Monday, my 30th birthday present from my wonderful generous mother. (Thanks Mom!)

I wasn’t nervous at all going in — they gave me an Atavan and played soothing new-age music while I waited for surgery. When the procedure began it was a whole nother story. Laying down beneath the kerotome laser, I was handed two stress balls to squeeze. A nurse recited numbers, “eight, twelve, twelve, ten, six, twelve, nine, nine, ten, eleven, ten…” I had compete faith in Dr. Lin, who’s performed thousands of procedures and is probably the most experienced laser surgeon in the world, (he participated in the very first Lasik studies in the eighties). Despite my trust in his capable hands, the physical stress of having one’s eyelids clamped back was kind of overwhelming. I exhaled sharply from my mouth, for which I was reprimanded, (water particles can get in the laser and you’ll get a shitty prescription).

The only actual operation the surgeon performs is cutting a flap in the cornea and peeling it back. Everything else is handled by the computer. The doctor feeds in a map of my retina, a target map of the desired retinal curvature is calculated, and the keratome does its thing. The only role I had in the proceeding was to stare at a green light in between two red lights. When the cornea is removed, the lights distort and pixelate in a way which reminded me of nothing so much as the final twenty psychedelic minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Then everything kind of goes squoggly and dark and the laser clicks loudly and there is a sharp odor like burning hair as retinal tissue is vaporized. It takes about twenty seconds, then the cornea is folded back over, and the work begins on the other eye. “It’s over,” Dr. Lin said, “You can stop shaking now.” The stress balls did nothing.

Now I have perfect 20/20 vision and it’s utterly fucking brilliant.

Waiting for the foam on my protein shake to settle

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

The rain has come back and it’s time to hunker down for a few months of darkness. My work gave me a fleece company sweater. Well I don’t technically work there, I’m a contractor, but I guess I’m there often enough that they felt I deserved some merch. I was resistant to the idea at first. When asked what size I wanted, I was hesitant, like “Oh, you don’t have to do that…”

It’s tan with slate-grey stitching and shoulders, and the company logo on the breast. It’s quite tasteful, but not something I would ever wear in public. They ordered one for me while I was on vacation and I brought it home last week. Turns out it’s very cozy and warm. Also, a definite step up from the denim shirt I got from my previous employer.

Watching Project Runway has made me way more fashion conscious. I’m so stoked for the season finale tomorrow! Even though Jeffrey is kind of a jerk, I hope he doesn’t get disqualified, as was suggested by last week’s gripping cliff-hanger. His collection is so far superior to what the other finalists came up with, it’s sad really. If he does get the boot, then I want Uli to win because she is completely adorable and her accent makes me feel dizzy.

A Fruitless Weekend

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

Finding a date is harder than it really ought to be. I had plans to Body Worlds on Friday, which is the exhibit of plasticized human bodies and organs. It’s sort of a hybrid anatomy lesson and art exhibit created by Guther von Hagens, I’ve been wanting to see it for a while, and have had plans several times with a certain female to go check it out, but events have conspired to make that an impossibility.

On Saturday night I went to the Califone show, again dateless. I even went so far as to post a M4W ad on craigslist, which garnered precisely zero (0) responses. Maybe all the cute, available women were at the Yo La Tengo show, or the Ladytron show, or the Sufjan Stevens show, or maybe my desperation is palpable. I also somehow managed to lose weight during my convalescence with my ankle injury, down to 120lbs from an all-time high of around 130, so I’m not feeling particularly menschlich lately. How one manages to lose weight while being immobilized is beyond me. But anyways, I’m pretty sure that somehow I’ll make lots of money someday, so even though I don’t have a car or a rugged jawline or any discernible ambition, I think I’m a pretty good catch. This is your chance to get in on the ground floor, ladies!

On the bright side, when I was at Scratch buying tix for the show I found the last Danielson CD I was missing: the live Danielson Famile/Soul Junk tour support disc from 1998. Oh consumer goods, at least you still love me!

The Official Desktop Image of Baboon Palace

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

By request:

Images are all 1600×1200; right-click to download.

Ankle Injuries

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

It’s a drag being on crutches. Aside from the hassle of not being able to carry anything, I don’t like being seen walking around on them; it makes me feel like sort of a pathetic specimen. It’s intensely frustrating to need people to buy my groceries and bring me stew and jam and movies; it’s nearly as bad as being poor. But it’s also great to discover that I can count on my friends, and that I haven’t yet succeeded in alienating all humans.

So when I was at the Emergency Room getting my ankle checked out, there were two other people waiting there, both also with injuries to their left ankle. The guy to my left, in his twenties and heavyset, with short dark hair and a goatee, twisted his ankle running at UBC; on my right was a blonde athlete, tall and good-looking, who had hurt his falling down the stairs wasted at a party. Several of his frat brothers were with him, keeping him company and reminiscing. (My injury was from tennis.)

The really weird coincidence was that I’d downloaded a new album onto my mp3 player before I went to the hospital, because I’m smart like that. It was Fujiya & Miyagi’s Transparent Things; good album, reminded me a lot of The Notwist, but a little bit more upbeat and loopy. I checked the track list a few days later, and the first track on the album is called “Ankle Injuries”. Weird, huh? It’s hard to know what to make of coincidences like that, simultaneously remarkable and vacant. They don’t really mean anything, obviously, so in a sense the observation is worthless. But it also seems in some weird way like a confirmation. Of what, I have no idea. The realness of reality, maybe. I guess all you can do is shrug and say “Weird, huh?”

PS I took some pictures of my ankle, because I was fascinated by how gruesome it turned for such a nothing little stumble. And now you can be too!