Monthly Archives: April 2008

Two Weeks Ago

Two weeks ago, I spent a Saturday being cultural and interesting. Nothing says cultural like going to the Museum of Manitoba and checking out the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Nothing says interesting like Rolo Hot Chocolates, bathrooms, tour guides, and frozen cheesecakes. I’ll explain what everything means as I go along.

For breakfast that morning I had the butt of a loaf of bread (the part that no one eats, but is perfectly fine if you toast it). As I learned later on in the day, it was not enough to defend my stomach from the impending doom that was to wreak havoc on my digestion system. We piled into the Katima-van at 10 AM and drove off to Winnipeg for the museum.

Continue reading

Katima-tour!

I resurrected my Zire 71, and now my photo function works again! I guess when you don’t use it for a year, it crashes and then reboots itself. When I used to use the photo ability, the screen would freeze and I would always have to soft reset my Palm. Not anymore! So, in celebration I give you a photo post! (In medium size. Click on the pictures if you want to see it all a bit bigger).

Me at a window, not photoshopped at all.

This is me at a window. I did not “shop” this in any way. I just happened to be near a window. I guess being gay also makes rainbows appear, doesn’t it.

The laptop of scribbles

This is the laptop I work on. As I have mentioned before, this laptop was given to me by my room-mate. He doodled all over it, but now the cave-man style sharpie has faded into a blog writing machine. “Why is the screen black?” you ask?

The Monitor and the Laptop.  BFF.

Because it is hooked up to the monitor of the Katima-house. The participant computer is so slow and tedious that we all just use our laptops and the internet cable to use the computer. I use the monitor because this laptop’s screen has a tendency to shut off every 5 seconds.

Now for a tour of the Katima-house! Continue reading

I have great expectations for the future.

Long overdue -Ing Thing:

Wanting:

I didn’t believe it when I first flipped through the Spring/Summer ’08 Wish Book for Sears, but they actually have some clothing that I like and could possibly rock (if it’s small enough.  I need to measure myself.)  I want this and especially this.  But I have no money, so I’m going to be saving my Katima-money until I can order it.  Hopefully they will still have sizes by the time I get enough cash.

Missing:

I need to go buy another loofah.  Somehow I have mis-placed it.  I miss the exfoliation.  Also, our house is running out of hand soap and body wash.

Needing:

To do laundry.  Tomorrow I’m going to get ‘er done, first thing in the morning.  In inspiration of a post by RJ March I read a little while ago, I’m going to be wearing scrubs around the house tomorrow.  They are so comfy.  I also need to buy phone cards.

Resolving:

To drink more water.  I don’t ever drink enough, and I know my body and skin will thank me later when I’m hydrated and fresh-faced for the warmer weather ahead.

Wondering:

When I get back to Toronto in June, what am I going to do about jobs? Usually when it comes to me and the summer, I am working 3 jobs, and it’s become a running gag in our family (Eh Mon! Time to go to work! Unfortunately this does not seem to exist on YouTube.  Instead, I present to you, Men on Film 2.) I know that I have 2 jobs for sure, but is that enough to save for college? Guess I will find out at a later date.

Today was my co-house manager’s birthday.  Now she can vote and drink in certain provinces.  It’s funny, when I turned 18, I didn’t see what the big draw was.  I could vote, look at adult situations, and buy lottery tickets (and come out to my parents who visited me that weekend).  19 was tame as well.  I didn’t get plastered or anything.  Not that I wanted to, but you always hear stories of how wild and crazy people’s birthdays were.  I’m glad I don’t have birthdays like that.  But, it would be nice to have a lavish party.  Perhaps on my friend’s birthday (June 12th! You better believe we are partying, Stella!) I will do something awesome in celebration of that day being my half birthday.

I got a fortune cookie today after going to a Chinese food birthday lunch at Red Star and it said, “You will find romance soon.” I always keep fortunes in my pockets and I toss them in the trash when they come true.  I won’t be tossing this out at least until I’m done Katimavik.

I finished reading Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson.  It was turned into a major motion picture starring Natalie Portman and Susan Sarandon back in 1999.  I have never seen the movie, but now I think I will so I can compare it to the book.  It would be interesting to see how much they cut out of a 500+ page novel.

I just listened to the song that k.d. lang wrote for the movie (which I had heard before I read the book a while back) and now that I’ve read the novel, I can completely see where she got the words to write the song.  I love k.d. lang’s voice.  She has the richest, powerful alto ever.  I would really like to see her live someday.

Speaking of seeing things live, I am going to go see the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra this Saturday and the Winnipeg Opera on Thursday with some music students of the high school.  There will be a chance to talk with the conductor and ask questions on Saturday, and it’s a dress rehearsal on Thursday for the Opera.  I am so lucky to go and experience these things.  I love listening to beautifully crafted music and seeing composers interpret another composers works.  I love the fact that I can not predict how a song will shift, or be pleasantly surprised if I guess correctly.  It would be so cool to meet the opera singers backstage after their show.

I’m definitely going to make an effort to see more artists this summer, or at least go check out more live music.

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Have piano, will perform

Katimavik has taught me one thing about volunteering.  If you volunteer at a function that is at a church, you can be sure that there will be a piano or a keyboard that isn’t be played during lunch or breaks.  That’s where I come in.  Today we attended and volunteered at a workshop on creating an edible landscape and growing an abundance of food in small spaces that was ran by Ron Berezan.  Here’s a little information on what was in the seminar today (I really just want an excuse to try out the Blockquote button):

What is an “edible landscape”? What are the benefits of including edible species in our yards and communities? What can we grow? This session will explore these questions and the many design principles for creating landscapes that are beautiful, sustainable and productive.  Using intensive organic growing methods, the average urban yard or community plot can grow a tremendous amount of fresh fruit, berries, veggies and herbs.

[The growing an abundance of food in small spaces workshop] will explore a variety of techniques and strategies for increasing back yard food production while building healthy soil, conserving resources like water and energy, and creating habitat for other species. Models such as lasagna gardening, square foot gardening, bio-intensive raised beds, no-tills gardens, and perennial forest gardens will be presented. (from The Urban Farmer)

It was quite informative and it has inspired me to take part in a community garden when I get back to Toronto.  Or, to at least spend more time on green roofs and walk around in gardens.  While the rest of the group was serving food at lunch, I performed on the piano and sang on a few songs.  I pulled out my lounge material as I was only background music and played for an hour and during the break.  A woman came up to me after the workshop was over and said:

Your piano playing reminded me of when I was at a piano bar in Europe.  In the part of the town I stayed at, I couldn’t find a single good bar.  But as soon as I walked into this lounge that was recommended by my friends, I saw a grand piano and heard beautiful music played by different musicians.  Your music made me reminisce about that time.  Thank you.

Hearing someone say something like that is one of the greatest compliments ever.  I was told by other people that they had written good comments about me in the evaluation paper for the workshop.  I wanted to read them, but my head would of exploded from the ego rush.  I felt good about my performance, so I know that other people must of felt good as well.

A huge aspect of group living is communication.  At dinner tonight, I found myself in a situation that happens very often in our group (I’m a colon whore tonight): attempting to finish each other sentences (leaving thoughts unfinished), and miscommunications (which end up in people becoming very frustrated and short with each other).  We have had workshops on how to communicate in a group and it still does not seem to sink in.

However, tonight was a lesson for everyone.  It was like standing at a street corner waiting for the “Walk” sign to appear and seeing a car crash.  You know it’s coming but you can’t do anything about it.  People kept interrupting other people, and then the discussion changes entirely and people get lost, frustrations mount, and the tension becomes so thick that people have to get up and leave before something bad happens.  I think a part of the problem comes from the fact that we all have strong personalities and everyone is scrambling to get heard.

We have tried putting up our hands to speak in turn, having a mediator in our discussions, using little notepads to jot down ideas so that when your turn comes you don’t forget what you have to say, just to name a few solutions.  Now that this incident has happened, it will become more apparent and people will learn to be patient and let other people finish their thoughts before putting forth their ideas.  I hope that we find a solution soon in order to make the last two months of our Katima-lives less painful.

I love reading other people’s blogs.  It’s so neat to read about other people’s experiences and how they became the way they are, to witness their triumphs and failures, to read about the new love of their lives, or to read an ode to the SO that holds them together.  People are fascinating.

P.S. For those that are misinformed (I’m talking about you, room-mate!): The song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is not by Bob Marley.  It is by Bobby McFerrin.  Also, the cover of John Denver’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane” that was used for the movie Armageddon is not by Jewel (as Limewire users would like to believe), it’s by Chantal Kreviazuk.  Just thought I’d point that out.

Ha, WordPress has now changed the name of the “Show/Hide Advanced Toolbar” to “Show/Hide Kitchen Sink”.  Sweet.  I’m also a fan of the ability to upload music and photos straight from the computer (goodbye, Flickr!).  Although I do miss the Spellcheck function.

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An interruption from The Hills Watching Extravaganza

I have come to terms with my room-mate’s snoring habit. I figure that he gets what is coming to him because when I want to stop him from snoring, I have to get out of my warm comfy bed, take 5 steps, kick him (which prompts him to say “Ow” in his sleep), and retrace my steps and try to warm up my cold bed. Every 2 hours. It’s just a fact of my Katima-life.

On Sunday our group attended the Oak Hammock Marsh Parrot and Beach party. It wasn’t much of a party for the parrots because there was only 2. 2 out of 50 parrots showed up due to the grey skies, which later cleared up nicely. The day went on anyway and we learned how to Salsa dance. Just the basics with turns and the waterfall move.

After dancing, we rounded up people for the fashion show and started to get ready. The fashion show theme was “What not to wear to the beach followed by what to wear to the beach”. So some of us wore tacky clothing to show what not to wear, and later on we walked out in our beach wear. I wore the following:

  1. Red Billabong board shorts with a white GAP (RED) hoodie
  2. Black and grey Billabong surf top with TYR surf shorts (oh Lycra, you are so comfortable)
  3. White Billabong board shorts with the same hoodie as before with white sunglasses

When the show ended, I was approached by the man who ran the event and he asked another participant and I if we were models. We looked like we had done it before (which was true in a way because of the Parade de Mode in Montréal), and we must of looked good. There were pictures taken, but we don’t have them yet. Although today we did receive a blown up picture of our group on the roof. Oak Hammock Marsh has a green roof that serves as a great observation deck, a fantastic place to have lunch when it’s warm, and a feeding place for the birds. Hopefully more pictures will arrive soon in a digital form.

Because of Spring Break for the schools, I get to work at Oak Hammock Marsh this week. On Monday I got trained on how to use the theatre and do slide-shows and movies as well as work with the day camp. The next day I did a slide-show, face painting, and story time with the children that visited. Today I showed a film, did an hour and a half of face painting, and just generally hung out around the exhibits and learned stuff about the wetlands. I really enjoy working here, but I’m glad that I get to back to the school in 2 weeks (I’m house managing next week). My face painting improves with each child’s face or cheek I paint. It’s pretty amazing that I can develop such a skill. Drawing is my only weakness in the arts. It just takes practice I suppose. Much like anything else.

On Monday night, my Dad and Brother Unit #2 visited. I was so glad to see them. My sister-in-law’s mother is a chocolate maker, and she gave the Katima-group a lot of chocolate (left over from Easter, but it was still good and very delectable). I also got my broken watch back from the Bay, a pair of shoes I can wear for spring, and a credit card bill (there has to be some business on the trip).

We went out to a Chinese Buffet (ironically named Goody Foody). It was definitely Chinese-Canadian style. Almost everything was deep-fried, and there was hardly any vegetables in sight, except for the two stir-fry dishes. The bus boy that was working there had nice hair, and it reminded me that I need to buy hairspray and wax. As we were walking out, we found a man passed out in the foyer of the restaurant. I’m glad we found him as we were walking out, not as we were walking in (although if we did, then we would of ate at Joey’s bar, which had a Cabana bar attached… can you say gay?).

After eating not so goody foody, we killed a little time at the hotel my dad and brother were staying at by watching television and drinking rye and cokes. We found a disturbing “art” dance show on Bravo! (Bravo! and Showtime are one in the same, I swear).  In one scene, there was a man pacing back and forth and a woman sitting on the couch. The man stops pacing and the woman tilts her head back and points her leg upwards. Blackout. Next scene there are two women wearing dance tights and artistically “wrestling”, complete with soft-core porn grunts. I wanted to change it, but my father and my brother wouldn’t have any of it. I am officially scarred for life. Thanks, Bravo!

We finished our rye and cokes and then went to Silver City to see A Superhero Movie, a parody of a bunch of superhero movies. Go rent it. It isn’t worth the price of admission, but I thought Leslie Nielson was fantastic as always. There are a few laughs, but it’s not comic gold. It was 9ish when the movie was done and my brother decided that we should go have some drinks at the hotel bar.

Our drinks were great, but our service was mediocre. People that sat down after us, had 4 drinks, 2 appetizers, and left before us were served way better than we were. We left no tip, and I’m pretty sure they complained to the manager in the morning when they left to go back to Ontario. We would of complained on the night of, but the manager looked like an idiot who knew nothing (that, and he fidgeted with his hands and kept wringing his fingers. Very sketchy). I was driven home and I decided that I would never drink in another hotel bar again.

I had had a drink in a hotel bar before, with Jeffrey, in the Best Western of Montréal. They screwed up our orders. I asked for a Cosmopolitan for Jeff and I, and I received a vodka and orange juice, while Jeff got a cranberry and vodka. Hmm. Not right. Are all hotel bar staff not competent in all aspects of their jobs?

Last night was physical activity, and my committee had planned on going to the school to play floor hockey.  When we got there, we remembered that the school was closed for Spring Break.  So we decided to do a Billy Blanks Tae-Bo video instead.  It was actually a work out.  The video itself was kind of terrible.  Billy Blanks was wearing a very unflattering blue Lycra leotard thing that emphasized his man-boobs (he had a wardrobe malfunction half way through the video).  For some parts of the video you could tell that they just repeated the sequence again.  The cheesiest part of the video had to be when they decided to do moves in double time.  Then the strobe lights would go on and the lights would dim and the music would get more “intense”.  When the group wasn’t laughing, we actually got a work out.

Now for 41-60 things about me:

  1. I enjoy reading with a glass of wine or chocolate.
  2. When I was a kid I used to stay up all night and read.  That stopped when I got to University.  I’ve taken up that habit again since Katimavik.
  3. I love looking for the subtle rhythms and melodies in music and studying the lyrics.
  4. My first exposure to Japanese music came from watching Clip Trip on Much More Music.  I watched Pizzicato Five’s Tout Va Bien and I was hooked.
  5. If I studied more in that field, I would love to run a show like Clip Trip, or The Loop.
  6. I have never toured the CHUM Building in Toronto, but I want to and plan on doing it this summer.  Some Torontoian I am.
  7. Synthesized strings in serious ballads annoy me and take away from the emotion of the song.
  8. I have so many things I want to do in life, I wonder if I’ll have time to do it all.
  9. I don’t do anything for April Fool’s or for Poisson Avril.  No fools or fish here.
  10. Spring to Summer is my favourite seasonal transition.
  11. I enjoy going to art museums and wandering around.
  12. I have yet to buy any souvenirs for my family.  It’s probably because they have all been to the same places I have been living in for the last 7 months.
  13. I try to find things to look forward to in life.
  14. Sometimes when I’m bored and listening to a song, I wonder what the artist is doing at that moment in time.
  15. I’d rather do something right the first time than half-ass it.
  16. I pick up random romance novels for fun and open up the page to see if it has any hilariously written love making scenes in it.
  17. Bad resumés make me wonder how those people got jobs in the first place.
  18. I’ve seen almost all of the Star Wars movies (except for the most recent one) but I couldn’t tell you what happened in any of them.
  19. I get more intellectual satisfaction out of reading a book than watching a movie.
  20. I have a soft spot in my heart for documentaries.

I decided on a set list for my Open Mic performance.  It is going to play out like a relationship.  Happy, sexy, romantic, sad, depressing, and hopeful.  Probably with some jazz and accordion thrown in for good measure.  The performance isn’t until the end of this month, but I love thinking about how fabulous it is going to be.

P.S. The title of the post comes from a few seconds ago, where 2 of my house-mates wanted the internet so they can watch more episodes of The Hills.   Just for the record, I do not watch that show.

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