Thursday, March 22, 2007


Last week, when I was putting over a thousand dollars on my Mastercard at the Volvo repair place, I mentioned to the guy behind the counter that I was moving this week. A disembodied voice from somewhere in the back yelled out, "It never ends!!!" Disembodied voice, you are right. Moving is the suck. Except that I love my new apartment so much I could cry. Last night I had a meeting that went very late and when I drove up to my house at 11:45 at night, straight into the driveway a mere two paces from the backdoor, I was overcome with happiness. And then I was greeted by cheerful little cats at the door.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

No Jacket Required.

Okay, it's not Halloween or anywhere near it, but random Google searches can yield some gold, GOLD.

Here it is, friends, the best Halloween costume I have ever seen.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Adventures of Pee Wee Proportions

Today at Trader Joe's I bought some stuff and chortled to the woman in line with me when the woman in front of us said to the cashier, "Thanks Ryan, you did a really good job." The lesson there being never have a job where you have to wear a nametag because you might find your name included in a sentence like that. So I was talking about when I had a job on the tourist-riddled streets of Vancouver for which I had to wear a nametag and people would say weird things to me, Robyn, and it was silly and then I told the story about how being accosted by Tom Green while on the sidewalk with my nametag on. And then I had a moment where I see the other person's eyes watching me talk and I know they are thinking, "Wow, in Canada everyone knows each other and runs into each other on the street all the time. She probably chats to Celine Dion at the grocery store" Which isn't quite how it goes down. Canada has a small POPULATION but a large LAND MASS. Mostly we run into prairie dogs and bear scat on the street.

Then I went out and got in my car and when I tried to start it, it made sounds like it was going to explode. And it didn't want to move even though it was now blocking the throughway of the Trader Joe's parking lot--a parking lot already filled with a lot of frustration and rage without my station wagon sealing it off right in the middle. I managed to get it over to another spot and then my brother's brilliant Christmas gift of renewing my AAA membership really swung into action as I couldn't get it to start. It would ignite, but hitting the gas had no effect whatsoever.

So I called AAA and then took the perishable groceries back to the store. When returning them, I was helped by this hipster guy who has taken things to some extremes. Trader Joe's seems to kind of generally be staffed by cool people and the Silverlake Trader Joe's is kind of off the hook sometimes. This guy was very happy and friendly and had a mustache that was waxed into curled tips. He also had a tattoo of a Tim Burton drawing on the inside of his forearm. "Hey," I say, "is that 'Jimmy The Hideous Penguin Boy?'" "Yes, it is," says he. "I once wrote a paper on that poem," I say. A poem, it should be noted, that goes like this: "My name is Jimmy, but my friends call me Jimmy The Hideous Penguin Boy". And then the picture: horrible little lumpen creature with indentations for eyes slouched against a red-and-white striped background (circus tent? US flag?).

"How long was your paper?" he asks. "And what was it about?" And then I admitted that it was around four pages long and it was basically a paper that comes out of being in the third year of your English degree and knowing you could write a twenty page paper on one word, such is your ability to take a linguistic piece of work and pull it and stretch and roll around on the floor with it. Then he pointed to his tattoo and said something about George Bush. Then I went back to my car.

So I did block the parking lot after all with a giant flatbed tow truck. The tow guy was super nice as we tried to work out the various problems of how to get my car on the truck and then what to do with it once we got it there. In the cab of the truck on the way to Zen Volvo I started a conversation that I got lost in when I couldn't really understand what he was saying but I acted like I did when I didn't want to say, "What? What?" over and over again.

Luckily I had spent the afternoon helping Mo shoot in a backyard in the Valley that smelt overpoweringly of dog shit and featured a bone the size of a yule log and an antler lying around on the grass. In thirty-three/ninety-one degree heat. So I had an instant favour to call in and Mo came and picked me up and the sky was all softly purple and pink with silhouettes of palm trees like some kind of postcard with "L.A.!" scrawled in pink neon writing across it and we stopped at a 7-11 for juice.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Keeping It Separate

Tonight when I went down to run at the track at school there was a woman and a security guy in a uniform sitting behind a table blocking the entrance to the field. I had to sign in to go in. I asked her about it and she said in a closed mouth kind of way that they had had security problems. I was trying to figure out if that meant someone had hurt people or if someone had hurt property. She finally admitted that there had been some theft (what can you steal from a track? garbage cans?) and also concern with students being able to have enough room for their games on the field. Usually the field is super busy with pick up games of soccer and tons of people making their way around the track in various forms and speeds. A lot of the people using the track were not students but people from the surrounding neighbourhood playing with their friends or walking with their kids. It was crowded at times (and some people displayed some very poor track ettiquette) but in a cheerful way. Little kids jumping on the high jump mats, big fat moms walking another lap, teenagers getting some of that testosterone out on the soccer pitch. It felt like a big, safe, well-lit community park.

I don't know if the sign-in thing is meant to shut out people who aren't students. I think it probably is. Tonight, except for some teeny tiny little kids learning how to pass the baton from their coach, it seemed to be all students and it was pretty empty. USC has all these ways that it tries to help people from the immediate neighbourhood: scholarships, magnet schools, etc. I think there's got to be a lot of problems involved with having a very big and very wealthy school taking up a big swath of your community and creeping outwards every day. I hate the idea that the neighbourhood people got kicked out because, more or less, they were making too much use of the space.

Once at UBC I saw a woman chase this tiny old lady with a big bag of pop cans out of the Student Union Building. The can collector people at UBC were almost always older asian people who were very quiet and circumspect. They never seemed to be after anything but cans. So this woman chases away the can lady, who finally abandons her bag of cans and flees. And then the woman grabs the bag of cans and marches back inside the building. What? They're still gonna get recycled! Just let the can lady have them--she worked hard for them. And at the very least, the can people on campus show the students what being industrious looks like.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Time Personified

This little dude is one month older than my film school career. He can talk and everything. Can my film degree chat with me about what playdough colours we like the most and then twenty minutes later remember the one I liked and hand it to me? No, it can't. Is my film degree the cutest ever? No, it is not. Though I do imagine that if I were to pose with my film degree for a photo, it might make this face.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

One More Thing

I won a poker game the other night. I felt like clasping my hands over my head in a cartoon-like manner but didn't because if you win a poker game it means everyone else just lost a poker game. Still, wooooooo!

Team Zissou: Nordic Edition

Some skiing happened this weekend.

I've never driven too far east of LA. Turns out that's where the old west is. Or was. We even saw tumbleweed.

It takes about 5 hours to drive to Mammoth, which is a ski hill. After miles and miles of sage and plains with hills in the distance I was curious to see where the vertical rise comes in. It turns out the name is very apt: Mammoth is a ridge that lumbers along the windswept plains. It gets steep at the spine, which is also where the wind likes to scour you like a brillo pad, but mostly it ambles out lengthwise. This makes for lots and lots of chairs next to each other, and also makes it tough to end up where you want to, because just because you are above a ski lodge does not necessarily mean skiing downhill will get you there.

We bunked in a double double-bed room, all six of us. Six of us, and a lot of Coors Light and a Back to the Future marathon on TV. Fortunately, I grew up with an older brother, so I'm more likely to find farting funny than infuriating. This came in handy on the trip, as being give or take 10,000 feet above sea level and drinking lots of beer took its toll on everyone.

Being 10,000 feet above sea level took its toll on the skiing too. On Saturday I'd have to stop because I was out of breath, which usually never happens because the lactic burn will kick in well before. Later that day and on Sunday I got better at not panting so much (not dignified) and more into feeling like my legs were going to burst into flames.

The most important thing about the weekend was that the snow conditions were very good. Light, dry without being arid, and lots of it. Saturday was California sunny and even warm once you got moving fast. Sunday was an insane blizzard in which you fought to not be blown over and at the end of the day were surprised not to find snow in your navel, but whatever, the snow was still good. No fresh tracks to speak of, but a lot of snow to push around on some nice steep moguls, which is all I really ask for.

The best thing about lots of snow is how much no-consequence falling over you can do. I even bailed in the parking lot and landed on my face... in a nice soft pile of snow.

We drove down in the friscilating dusklight, with a lot of good music in the car.

Many thanks to Miss Sarah for organizing the trip. It would not have been possible to know in December how much I would need a weekend of having fun and laughing at stuff and skiing and eating and drinking beer at this point, but lo, I did, and lo, there it was.

Movin' On Up

Although my conscious brain won't acknowledge it, it's entirely possible that I've decided to move because my fridge won't stop making a weird ongoing noise. This is mostly relevant because my fridge sits more or less right next to the door to my room which is right next to my desk, which is where I sit when I'm trying to have ideas or otherwise get my life organised into some kind of palpable shape.

I do love my apartment, but it's small, so small, and where I am moving will be so much bigger and will also, yes, have a dining room and the thought of sitting at a dining room table to do work is deeply exciting. Also a parking spot. Wow, a parking spot. I could come home at 3 in the morning with a bunch of stuff to unload and it would be FINE. Imagine that.