Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tea guy?

I am currently sitting in the Bump and Grind Cafe on Commercial Drive (near Venables) and I have been given a huge french press pitcher of Irish Breakfast Tea by the in-house "tea guy" or tea sommelier. Said jug of tea comes on a silver tray with a creamer, a small mug, and a TIMER so I know how long to steep my tea. That's right, a timer. For $2.75. And there's free wireless. Ok, I have 12 seconds left. I have to try this tea.

Wow. It's....perfectly steeped.

discouraged in vancouver

Though Vancouver has, for the most part, been good to me, my great plan of getting easy money bartending may have been entirely foolhardy. I can't seem to get a proper job in this city, in part due to the appalling lack of actual bars in this place. Sure, there are restaruants, and even cafes that have booze, but there are no actual, unpretentious, non-restaurant bars in the place. I find myself nostalgically pining for the good old days at Sharx, the incredibly sleazy pool hall where I could make $200 cocktail waitressing in one night. And I was damn good at that.

Here, I have three bar jobs: The wine bar, which is so unbearable that something like five servers have walked out, and I tried to quit last week but ended up staying because I have nothing else to fall back on! The army base, which is amazing, but not always open so I haven't been there in over a month, and finally, and most depressingly, catering, which is usually awesome and good money, but tonight was incredibly intense non-stop hard work very similar, i think, to working in a nightclub, which would have been awesome if we were getting tipped. Of the hundreds of drinks I served tonight, I made 15$, which was not enough to get me home in a cab. It cost me (not counting paycheque of course) $5 to do all this hard work. Brutal.

Hey guys, if anyone's actually reading this, let me know. I started updating again, but then I get lonely when no one ever comments and I feel like I'm venting into the void. Which means it could get weirder and weirder with no one to stop me. Oh god.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Oh, the rain...

Well, it's August 27th, and it's already fall. We've had a couple of cool days here, and the leaves are falling off the trees giving off that very distinct fall smell. It's nice, actually, but it makes me want to stay home under a blanket cuddling and reading books rather than going outside to bike in the rain. I've been doing it anyway, of course, and last night found myself at a little spot called the Cottage Bistro on Main Street. Let me tell ya, this place looked nothing like a cottage. It was a bit cold inside, and held a grand total of about 10 poets, all of whom frequent the poetry slam, there to watch and participate in The Poetry Show, which apparently happens once a month, and might as well be in someone's living room because everyone there was already friends!

Well, Alla and I took a seat and I ordered a whiskey, asking the bartender to surprise me. He made a perfect choice, and I have no idea what the whiskey was. By the time we switched to red wine, we were feeling much cozier, and sitting at another table, where all the friends managed to pull chairs together.

Considering the weather, I was ready to be entertained, not to participate in any way shape or form. I was not expecting poetry tag.

This is a game in which one person reads/speaks and then literally tags the next person. I told Chris, AKA Faust MacKenzie, that the last thing I wanted to do was play poetry tag, so of course he tagged me first. I begrudgingly went up and managed to speak one of the two poems I've only just memorized (by chance, I had no papers with me) and it went just fine! Being the attention whore and wine lover that I am, I was certainly ready for my second round.

In some ways, the intimacy of the night really made it. It was nice to be there with a bunch of poets, all incredibly supportive, listening to each other practice, play, whatever. And there was some beautiful stuff happening here, namely a certain poem by one Sean McGarragle. Other favourites were the aforementioned Faust, and, for novelty, the completely incomprehensible, sopping wet Kir.

I'll be back on the next rainy Tuesday for poetry tag, and come next time somewhat more prepared.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

losing weight?

Well, it's a lovely rainy day in Vancouver, and I'm getting a couple of things off my back.

1. I quit today. I explained to my boss that the manager can't handle his shit as a manager (though he is a great cook, I'll give him that!) and told her I would stay for another two weeks. She wants me to change my mind. We shall see. I feel lighter already.

2. I finally submitted my e-thesis, which is the penultimate step to actually having a master's degree (i think) and so McGill can shove it in just about a month and a half.

3. I have also shaved a hefty amount of dollars off my back over the past week, and quitting may have been highly unwise. I revel in highly unwise, and will throw caution to the wind as i start looking for a new job. Ohgod.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

photos are a good substitute for feelings!

So I've been trying to think of something interesting to blog about this week, but rather than having amazing adventures, I've been having lots of feelings. And no one likes to hear about feelings. The primary one, for those interested, has been confusabobulation. Not to be mistaken for whimsibotitudipline.

Luckily, last night at ukelele night, I bumped into Ivy, the older Chinese woman who thinks I'm beautiful and recently took a whole whackload of pictures of me in order to turn into impressionistic paintings. It was funny, she actually appeared when Eric went to the bathroom and just starting shooting more photos of me before giving me her cd from last time. She paid me for this modeling session with a giant jug of cashews and a bouquet of flowers. I sometimes worry she will try to kidnap me and cryogenically freeze me, so I haven't yet gone to do a second session with her yet. I do like cashews, though. Anyway, here are some of the pictures:

Thursday, August 14, 2008


So. What to write about this morning. What's new in my fascinating life...

Ok, how about trying my hand at life modeling? Tuesday morning I went into a gaming company called Next Level Games to stand around naked while people drew me for two hours. It was surprisingly fun, and $25/hr ain't bad. The guys (all guys of course) were very cool and professional, and I never felt the least bit weird or objectified. Though I was, of course, literally being objectified.

Staring into space was kind of nice, actually, and way easier than I had expected. The one-minute postures were particularly fun. I just pretended I was some sort of elf or something hunting in the woods and posed accordingly. It was like a one-woman improv game that no one was laughing at. During the 10-20 minute poses I was composing my next masterpiece.

The guy I had been corresponding with about this job is called Nigel. Nigel Quarless. What kind of face appears when you think of a guy called Nigel Quarless? A skinny, wrinkly, bespectacled gaming nerd for sure. Well no. Nigel Quarless was a tall, half black, extremely attractive and very cool man. After the session was over, he told me ou'd never be able to tell it was my first time and that I did great. Look--another thing I'm good at: standing around naked! Who would have guessed.

This has got to be the best company in the world to work for: you get to game all day, there's free coffee and a wii in the break room, and you get to draw naked ladies every other Tuesday. How awesome must that be for Vancouver's nerds? Another reason to move out here, gentlemen. And nerdy lesbians, I suppose.

So yes, I certainly hope to pose for Next Level again! Perhaps this is the beginning of an illustrious career.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I <3 Commercial Drive

So I just got an email from a friend who is coming into town. He asked me the following thing:

hey lady
i'm coming in to vancouver tomorrow night and will have all day friday to explore the city. i was wondering if you could suggest a few places for me to go wander.

ideally i would like my day to consist of:

good coffee

a place where i can go and read a book/the paper with my coffee all the while people watching.

shopping. vintage, boutiques, good used book stores,music stores etc.

cheap/amazing sushi

a nice patio

a nice view of the rockies

any suggestions??

My response:

So many suggestions. All on Commercial drive. I am working from 11-4, but anytime around that I can definitely help you out. If you want to have an early breakfast beforehand, we could do that too.

Good coffee: Turks coffee house has the best vibe on the drive, plus wireless and a sweet patio. Bump and Grind has better coffee and comfier couches, but isn't great for people watching. It's good if you want quiet (it's close to Venables).

Shopping: Retro rock is pretty good on Commercial. Mintage has vintage clothes by the pound. There are a ton of places on the Drive to check out. Audiopile is good for music (i hear--haha) and Bookophile I think it's called is good for used books.

Cheap/amazing sushi is definitely Brittania on Parker and Commercial. for 5.50 and surly service, you get a yam tempura roll, tuna roll, california roll and miso soup. I spend all my money there. Which means I'm full all the time.

Another nice patio for people watching is Havana's. It's right on the middle of the drive, and they have good food and booze, so it's good to hang out there. Fets, beside it, is also good for people watching.

As for a view of the rockies, well, maybe not so much on commercial, but why would you ever leave that neighborhood?

If you want some company, I'll be working at a wine bar (with no store sign) at the corner of Graveley and commercial. It's kind of lame and expensive, but hey, I'm there. I'll be done at 4, maybe a bit later if i'm lucky enough to have some tables.

Friday night there's a burlesque show I was planning on attending, and I'm sure some more fun festivities we'll have to clear with Zack on Saturday. Sunday is trivia night at my favourite dive bar.

Enough infomration for ya?? If you want to go wandering somewhere else, there's always kits beach, good for ogling, jericho beach, good for walking, main and hastings, good for crack dealing, gastown, good, spending money, and stanley park if you want to be a real tourist about it.

Yup, I love my neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I got slammed

Ah, the Vancouver poetry slam. Such an excellent institution of Commercial Drive. I have been going almost every Monday for the past couple of months, and the first time I slammed, I won! The past couple of times i competed, I got fourth place, which was pretty awesome considering who I was up against. These people are amazing--funny, unpretentious, never what you would expect.

As a result, of course, I started getting an ego on me. I invited just about everyone I know last night, including my parents and my new roommate expecting to at least make it to the second round. I opened with a known winner--the poem I won with the first time. It did not do so well! I didn't make it to the second round. Luckily my parents love me anyway.

This is what happens when you start getting such a big head you invite your parents to things. What was I thinking?

For your perusal, here is the poem from last night:

On Musicians and their Mystery

Tonight you played, you played me
on your accordion.
You played me so good that according
to the flush I flushed pink I got embarrassed.
I don’t remember what you were singing but it shamed me
It really shamed me, you know, to my toes.

Your voice and your accordion
crashed through iron tonight, through my walls I built of iron
strong stuff, but you could tell me stories
about myself that even I wasn’t sure were true.

Just me and a plastic auditorium seat,
Jaw bones and rib cage threatening out
You made me feel things, I was feeling all these feelings,
but suddenly, so suddenly—
it wasn’t just me and a plastic auditorium seat
but a whole lot of strangers seeing me feeling me feeling
and I felt so suddenly so
Devisably visibly uninvisible.

For the first time tonight I saw you,
for the first time I felt the raw power of your—
Really, and what an instrument to shame me with.
You know things about telling stories that I,
with my total deafness of tone
and complete discord with accordions
can only tell about telling.

You were so loud up there though,
just filling the whole room with my
deepest, darkest secrets that I had secreted away
from you musicians and your magic tricks
even though you never knew me, will never know me,
your listener.
Your audience.
your disgraced, humiliated,
eternally devoted
forever and ever

I wanted to tell you—I planned immediately—
I imagined myself saying—
“Thank you. You shamed me. Take me home with you.
Fill all my rooms with your song and we
will try to understand everything together.”

But I left with the crowd,
too embarrassed to look for you
aware of what a weakness it was to be touched.

I have none of your talent
none of the access you seem to have to me.
I’ll never understand it,
not being a musician myself.

I’ll find a way to let you know, though.
I’ll use the word “transcendental.”
Maybe I’ll pour you a coffee,
or write you a poem,
and it will be so good it shames you to your toes,
and you will never forget that poem or cup of coffee,
not having poured it yourself.