begone beige and never return

PARKSEASONS: virtual portals to spring, summer, winter, and fall.

One step away, every direction, pausing, humming, considering actions. Following traits instilled by searching to make better, drum machine, hard, punching the button to make it hit. Days without leaving except to go to work, stale bottoming out, standing still.

We didn’t finished painting yesterday, instead Nicole is going to finish it today with David while I’m at work, so when I go home tonight, it should be to a rather transformed apartment. (Getting the spare room done will clear out almost all the boxes we have left.) I’m quite looking forward to the change. Because so much of my life has been spent in transitory spaces, it’s been fascinating to delve into decorating and discover what it is I actually like to have around me for any length of time. Apparently I especially appreciate being wrapped up in warmth, colour, and a heady, baroque mix of internet modern and good antique design. It’s like I can’t own furniture that wasn’t built either in the last two years or at the beginning of the last century. Perhaps it’s a side effect of living poor, but as part of the future.

Eeeeeeee! SCTV clips up on youtube!

Dr. Tongue’s 3D House of Stewardesses.

I didn’t make a penny with my time intensive Hallowe’en post-an-hour this year, which is only disappointing when considering how much time I put into it. Last year I made fifteen dollars grocery money and barely put a lick of effort in. Lesson learned: just throw junk together at the last minute.

Alas. Alack. Whatever. I sincerely have better things to care about, (and I mean that, as apparently it’s in doubt), like when will our painting get done, how hard is it to put up wallpaper anyway, what colour should that bit of wall end up, and, most importantly, how soon can we have you wonderful people over to scope out our terrific newly semi-renovated place!?

step taken

Scientists record ‘music’ from stars.

It’s done! It’s done, it’s done, it’s done! Karen only has a few things left to pick-up, we only have a queen-size mattress to somehow move, and that’s it. That’s it! Even Remi’s found a place to live for November. Tra-la-lee-lah-lay-dah-lee. It’ll be all wrapped up by the weekend. There is, of course, furniture to be shuffled around, boxes that need unpacking, clothes that need to find homes in drawers, but it’s all, finally, in one place, with no obstructions.

We sat on the floor last night in a puddle of clear space, mutually exhausted, (something I think everyone does when they move into a new home), somehow stunned, waiting for the soup to be ready, surrounded by boxes and upended furniture. Swamped by our day, he looked so tired I had to grin. “Welcome to the house,” I said, “Officially like.”

Already we’ve shoved the futon in her room and lined the walls with bookshelves, which opened up space, and the bones of our new home are starting to show. David has a job interview with Raincoast books today, so I don’t know how much he’ll get done while I’m at work, but whatever. It’s starting, and that’s positive enough. Plus, rock on Raincoast. Rock on.

Video: the secret lives of invisible magnetic fields.

(not) a tragedy starting to happen

A map of breaking news.

Prairie sliding past in the dark, giving the illusion of being in orbit, five feet above the ground.

David and I are back in Vancouver, spending the weekend entirely on house things – putting away our clothes, doing laundry, dishes, clearing out furniture, swapping out my monitor, putting up curtains, acclimatizing the cats to the rabbits – preparing space for him to move in. It’s interesting, how I can hear doors slamming shut all over my future while we do this. I know, given all the options, this is the best possible decision we can make right now, yet still, it’s unnerving. Whispers of change, of stability, less possibility of incipient chaos creeping, cheerfully twisting my days like promises. Bridges burning. A day-job, a live in partner, multiple pets. My number up at last, or again, depending. Back against the wall by choice, the blindfold thrown away, considering a final metaphorical cigarette. Sunlight.

In Seattle this weekend, see you all Monday

Giant squid dissection video.

Since I moved in, there has been an untrusty bike rack outside my building under some scruffy bushes. Untrusty, because it has never been bolted down, and where it sits is completely hidden from the street. As of last night, I have moved it inside to a unused space next to the stairs see what would happen. This morning, someone had already locked their bicycle to it. If, in a few days, management has not shifted it back outside, my bike will join it, a mild victory.

Human plastination photos.

emotionally satisfying music

“A toddler whose remains were found inside a suitcase in Philadelphia in April was starved to death by members of a religious cult, including his mother, in part because he refused to say “amen” after meals, police said.”

Listening to the Kronos Quartet covering Sigur Ros’ Flugufrelsarinn, music as quiet, rich, and thick as the calm pumping of blood. Sound like running hands over sheets, straightening them out on a September morning, as leaves fall outside, golden and red and silent in the gutters. I’m letting the cello soothe out the jangled nerves of today’s news, of going to bed at three and waking up at eight to the telephone ringing with police on the other end wanting to talk about permits and crowd size and kids running around with replica guns.

Karen is considering moving out the end of October. She misses Main St, hopes to find a nice flat there, something vintage with wooden floors and windows that get stuck when it rains. I’ve been worried about her lately, she’s been absent from the house a lot, and I know her family isn’t as supportive as they could be, little things that add up into hoping she’s okay, so it’s nice to know that she’s well and together enough to keep on top of things. Plans will coalesce, they will calcify, they will become fact. It’s one of the nice things about living, how we continue to change and transform and become more of who we are as we become who we think we need to be. I hope that wherever she finds, she gets to paint her room again, whatever shade of light, minty lime green she likes best.

David will be moving soon, too, though more immediately, at the end of the month. No longer will he be staying with me as his place becomes piles of boxes full of books, instead the two of us will be staying up too late, unpacking his life-things into a nice, wine coloured room in a big house across from the Ridge Theater on Arbutus. I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to teach him how to make really nice, to-the-ceiling cinderblock shelves, (remember to pad the ends of the blocks with hidden felt), and lie in the garden with the rabbits hopping on leashes as the city drowns around us in every day, ordinary life. I might not have very much passion these days, but I can see putting a mild time aside for just that sort of thing, and being okay.

going to take you home

Katie West is having a blow-out print sale.

I’m worried that I’m slowly transforming into one of those domestic goddess types, where every time you talk to them, the topic leans hard on decorating, cooking, and new ways to clean out your closet, try now! Fill in pin prick holes in your white walls with toothpaste, (it also takes wax and crayons off walls), use cigarette ashes to clean your silver, and newspaper to wipe down the mirrors. Don’t stand your brooms on their bristles, use equal parts vinegar and water to remove wall-paper, use salt to clean cast iron pans, and remember sunlight is a free UV disinfectant.

I suppose it’s because outside of Zombiewalk, all my news is apartment related. The mirror I painted has been wrestled onto the wall, I bought a batch of pictures frames and a black, epoxy/polyester powder-coated steel coat rack from IKEA, a birch wood IKEA bed-frame from Craigslist, and replaced every shared-space lighting fixture in the entire apartment with brushed steel fixtures I bought from Jane, an exceptionally nice woman who lives next to Paul Plimley. (It’s amazing what a difference lighting makes to a space). Soon I’ll be purchasing a little pot of raspberry/strawberry-daiquiri coloured paint for the kitchen, replacing the behemoth cupboard in the closet with something more functional, and putting up wall-paper.

Last night I framed the letter and the photos Lady Anomaly sent me, put them on the wall, abandoned the old lighting fixtures in the lobby of my building with a note saying they’re for my landlord, and sorted all the recycling that’s been languishing on the porch. (Does anyone want an easel? I’m not sure which ex-roommate ditched it here, but it’s a good one, if a bit rusty legged from being outside.) Tonight I’m going to do a last check around the house for things that need to be sent to Silva, itemize the boxes of things we’re giving away, (after Silva has a shot, as she left some things behind she’d still like to own), post my give-away list, and find a charity willing to take away what’s left. (That said, does anyone know a good place to give books to? David‘s got literally hundreds he wants to give away.)

Small changes, but creating order from chaos. Neg-entropy, the impregnation of order and coherence into the structure of matter.

I’m also thinking it would be a good idea to whip round a petition that the landlord put a bicycle rack into the space next to the stairs on the bottom floor. It’s empty, just the right size, and would save us all hauling our cycles upstairs away from the perpetual thieves that prowl the neighborhood. Is there a way to make this easy? I know he won’t want to put the money in, but maybe we could pool resources, buy the thing ourselves, and simply have him install it.

Ha Ha Ha America

query: any electricians in the house?

Does anyone know how to install lights? I bought a chandelier off Craigslist awhile ago, and Nicole’s then-boyfriend Brett installed it, but it’s turns out that it hangs too low and everyone keeps bumping their heads, so I went back to Craigslist and got a better one. However, Nicole and Brett are no longer together and I really have no idea how to take the old one out and put the new one in. I know that somewhere the internet will have instructions, but I am leery about attempting to muck with electricity without help.

edit: this is why the internet it fabulous. within half an hour, not only did I have a comment which made me laugh, I had actual, reasonable instructions from someone competent, and two offers from people to just come over and do it. you are all fabulous. thank you and thank you and thank you!

unhappy staying in, wanting ice-cream

Neurophysiologist Katherine Rankin has recently discovered that sarcasm is an evolutionary survival skill.

My apartment has finally begun to feel as if I live there after four years in the same place. I blame my godmothers things, taking up all the space. I blame her silver sun framed mirrors, her plants, her rows of carefully chosen objects that took decades to find. When I come home after work, my apartment smells like her, as if somehow she’d been visiting. Flour and myrrh and coconut and frankincense, thick swirls, flavours mixing with my own, the cats, candles, cardboard, and sunshine.

Every box is a new mystery, a penny worth of mystery, full of a mixed assortment of silver, food, tiny antiques, and tired moments of what is this, exactly? One very large box is entirely filled with spices, crushed leaves in tiny clear plastic bags, some with labels too faded to read, some in oddly shaped bottles that makes me think they weren’t purchased within my life-time. They hint at delicious meals, semi-exotic flavours, interesting combinations of taste. Where will I find room? I still don’t know. It was a feat enough collecting them together.

All I need is time, extra time, time tucked into crannies of minutes, the creases of hours meeting hours, needle thin threads of seconds adding up, secretive whispers of moments stolen from inattention, from bad decisions, from missing busses and losing keys, from distraction, procrastination, and the tips of fingernails, all added up. Enough time and it will all be done, the boxes will be unpacked, the things put away, the dust hoovered up, the disaster removed. My living environment will be cosy, friendly, cheerful and clean, the way I want it to be as soon as living possible.

David has gone out to meet with an old friend tonight, someone he hasn’t seen in a very long while. They might come back here after dinner, they might not. In either case, I am staying in, seeing what can go where, discarding as much as possible, skipping dinner, clearing space, creating a country, declaring sovereignty over the scattered boxes. I really wanted to go with him, painfully so, especially when he called, asking me to join them, but already I can see progress. There is more than only a path from one end to the other, there is space to walk, space to sit, space to wander around, room to better maneuver through the war.

When I can no longer stand it, when I stand in the kitchen, a dish in hand, seriously contemplating smashing it to save cleaning it, I go back and re-work my summary paragraph for Vitka’s dystopia novel, the one that’s going to go to the publishers as a Here, Buy This Book! It’s a nice distraction, something soothing in the middle of the dusty cardboard love song.

Passive Aggressive Anger Release Machine, an interactive china-smashing sculpture by Yarisal and Kublitz