Category Archives: Katimavik

The Katima-End, The New Beginning

Katimavik officially ended for me on June 4th, 2008 at 1 PM when I walked in the door of my house.  I had the same feeling when I left as I had when I arrived.  It didn’t hit me that I was finished Katimavik until I was walking in Toronto about to get on a subway.  I walked on and expected a rush of 10 people to follow me, but it didn’t happen.  That’s when I knew I wasn’t in Katimavik anymore.  

I can eat meat again (went vegetarian and later vegan while in the group because there was so many vegetarians in our group), I can get up at a reasonable time and not worry about managing a house (as much as I used to).  I can sleep in a Queen sized bed and on real honest-to-goodness mattresses without hearing a certain person snore! I don’t need to worry about getting sick because there’s another person in the house that is sick.  I can make more money than just $3 a day.  My life is not jam-packed with stuff to do.  I actually have time to sit and think about things.  I do miss having 10 people around me all the time though.

My mother has said to me that I should turn this blog into a book (and write more information in it… I’m looking at you, Stonewall trimester! There’s no posts in May!) and I think it’s a lovely idea.  It will definitely take time, but we’ll see how far it goes.  I have a lot of stuff going on right now in my real life.  The sooner I write it, the more fresh in my mind it will be.  

So far, my time has been spent job hunting.  I applied at a few clothing stores and I’m applying to a palliative care centre tomorrow.  I currently work as a promotional model in Toronto, which is really exciting.  I had a Polar Ice Vodka promo (that was last year, but that’s the uniform I wore except it’s now a tie instead of a bow tie) last Saturday at a classy resto-bar and it went very well.   I had a successful interview at Le Chateau Men’s Wear (I’m going to lose all of my paychecks if I work there) and they’ve sent me to a Ladies’ Department but I have yet to hear back from them.  I made some connections at Club Monaco and I’ve yet to hear back from them either.  

It’s funny, a bunch of people that used to be at Banana Republic (where I worked last year) all migrated to Coach (the store with amazing bags and $800 trench coats.  When one person left, I guess a few others followed suit.  I’ve pulled some strings there and a friend of mine is opening a new store in Square One in late July and he said that he would keep me in mind (thank you thank you thank you).

I was planning on performing at a restaurant, but that has turned out to be a bust.  The woman I keep trying to call never picks up. I’m thinking I’m gonna go down there and just start playing the piano and be all, “This is what you’re missing!” and then take my jar full of tips and leave.  Of course, I can’t get tips because I think they think I’m under the impression that I would do it for free (I love volunteering, but I’ve done that enough and I need money).  I know that Sassafraz has a piano… maybe they’ll take me in?

Speaking of music, I’m applying for busking license in August. It’s a competition/audition of sorts to be able to busk in Toronto.  I’m writing music and getting my songs together for that.  It makes sense that it would be an audition situation considering that Toronto is so large and touristy.  They need good musical representation.

Katimavik wanted me for an interview for being a Project Leader and I turned them down. School is my priority, and PLing is a full time job.  Maybe later on in life I’ll do it, but I am Katima-full right now.  FSWEP keeps bugging me, but to do jobs for them I would have to move (and not get my living covered by them), and I’d rather stay in Toronto right now and enjoy life.

Onto the new stuff.  I am now the owner of a MacBook, an iPod Touch (I’ve given my Dad the iPod Nano I got for Christmas as a Father’s Day present) and a Canon printer.  The last two items came with the MacBook (mail-in rebates… now I play the waiting game to get my money back) and I’ve never been happier (I’ve already got a printer, I’m selling the Canon one on eBay and the iPod Touch is AMAZING).  If you remember from a previous post, I said I would get a MacBook Pro.  I decided on the MacBook because I don’t need that much power for what I plan on doing.  I just need enough to do creative things (record songs, maybe play some games, word process) and I’ve found that in this laptop.  When I get another job in the mix, I plan on buying some recording equipment.

You have probably noticed the new look on my blog.  Since Katimavik is over, I decided (to quote Anna Olsen) to “switch it up” and make some cookie ice-cream sandwiches out of these cookies we just made change my layout to show a new chapter in my life.  So I’ve come up with the title “Not Killing Time, Just making it entertaining”.  When you read a blog, it’s not only a glimpse into someone else’s life, it’s also a time filler.  You have a few minutes, you check your blog.  You send a quick wall post on Facebook.  You finish off a reply you’ve been thinking about for days and e-mail it.  The web is a time killer, but hopefully it will be satisfying and not just mindless wandering.  I’m writing not just for me, I’ve got an audience and I hope that whoever reads this blog will enjoy what they read (or not.  Can’t have it all).

The photo that you see in the header is me, twice.  Here is how I got photo that you see on my blog.  The picture was taken by Eliane one day when we were working at Propulsion in Montreal.  I liked that photo so much I doctored it a little and made it arty (as you can see in the photo).  That mirror is in the elevator of Propulsion and it translates into “Here is the person who is responsible for your security”.  Pretty effective.

In addition to a new layout, I added a new widget: the meebo Message Board! Leave me a message and I’ll leave you one too.  You don’t need to sign up, just type in what you want to say and say it and I’ll reply on the board.

For my next post, I shall write a long overdue -Ing Thing and continue with “Random Things About Me”.  Stay tuned tomorrow! Speaking of tuning, a piano tuner is coming into the house in the morning to fix my baby.  It hasn’t been poked and prodded since the summer of 2005.  I’m looking forward to watching the process and having a perfectly tuned piano again.  Hmmm… piano tuning could be a job for me too…

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Arrival at High Noon

“My blog is back.”

Such a lie. It’s been more than a month since I’ve last written in this fossil I call a blog. Sorry about that. Amazing things have happened within the last month that have prevented me from getting to a computer to spend some quality hand to keyboard love-making.

However, I’m here now, and that’s what truly matters, no? In an effort to kind of get everyone up to speed, here’s what has happened: I was in billeting right before that last entry until the 9th of May. My billet parents were fantastic. I will definitely be coming back to visit them at some point. They had a piano that they loved to hear (neither parents could play), and my billet grandma invited me to perform at the Lion’s Manor in Selkirk (a retirement apartment building). I did, and it was fantastic. I even received $20 out of the deal and a free Chinese food dinner. All in all, a fine payment for someone who only makes $3/day.

The following weekend our group had planned to have our 72 hours off (it was May Long Weekend, so it wasn’t just the usual 48 hours off we get from each other). I was to spend my time off with my brother who lives in Thunder Bay, but he had just got a job as a security guard at an airport, so he wasn’t going to come down to Winnipeg. I decided to switch my plans and do something I’d never done before: stay at a hostel and be alone. Not entirely alone, mind you. Daniel and I hung out for 2 of those days, and he showed me around Winnipeg and actually made me appreciate what the Capital of Manitoba has to offer. We had sushi, went shopping in antique stores, furniture stores, and walked around the Forks. It was great weather all weekend.

We even got to see some live music. I talked with each artist after to find out what their drive is, why they are doing what they are doing, do they have safety nets. I received different answers from each one. Some artists are performing without safety nets and just seeing how far their music will take them (most of them have CDs recorded). I was so inspired by them, but I know I have my path set out for me: Get a degree in Gerontology and then become a recording artist. That way, if something goes horribly wrong in the music industry, I can aide the elderly.

On the May-Long Monday, it rained. I sat in a Second Cup off of Main St. and wrote lyrics (I had never tried until that day). I wrote 4 songs, and I have melodies floating in my head for each song I’ve wrote. I’m so proud of what I have done and when I showed it to my group and other people, they were really impressed too. I’m looking forward to see what more ideas pop out of my brain. I plan on performing those songs at Open Mics and Coffee Houses very soon when I get home to Toronto.

The following weekend was the 30th Anniversary of Katimavik. 6 groups gathered in Winnipeg in Spence Neighbourhood to build a community garden for the children and for the adults. There was an Open Mic where I performed along with a fellow participant and my Project Leader. There are videos that I will post of the other amazing events that happened that day. I also said a speech on the behalf of all the Katimavik participants thanking Katimavik, the Project Co-ordinators, the Project Leaders, the community, and my peers. I was winging it, but it went quite well. I’m good at thanking people.

This past weekend was spent celebrating Stonewall’s 100th Anniversary. I dressed up as a clown, raised money for a 50/50 draw and entertained children. After lunch I sold candy to raise money for the new playground that was being constructed for the elementary school. I was cutting deals with the candy, selling boxes for 10 dollars (I was like a human Costco). I sold 3 cases of candy and estimated about $125 was made. Hooray for me.

We also had a debriefing camp at Prairie’s Edge Eco Village, where we spent 2 days being with one another, saying our goodbyes, being emotional, digging up weeds, tilling soil, playing with dogs and cats, celebrating a baby’s 1st birthday. It was such a lovely place to have a debriefing camp. The best part about it was that I finally saw my first shooting star (we don’t get them much in the South).  It was such an amazing view: no lights, wide open spaces, no cities for miles.  Just a giant blanket of stars in the sky.  I’m so glad I did this program.

I received my $1000 cheque 2 hours ago along with a certificate and a goodbye note from my Project Leader. Now all that’s left is to wait for a bus to show up at our house at 3:30 AM and take us to the airport. From there, I will wait until 9, when a plane will show up and take all of the Ontario participants to Toronto. The plane will touch down at noon and I will be done Katimavik.

I have many plans for the summer, which I will talk about in another entry (more than likely it will be later on today). I leave you with two slide shows: the Earth Day Cleanup and Gingerbread. If you hover your mouse over the picture, an “i” will appear. Click on it to get a little information about that slide. See you in another timezone.

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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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Poetry, Anticipation, and Information

I’m currently reading Lean Days by Steve McOrmand (a poetry book I found for free thanks to the Free Table at DIY Fest), and I found this amazing poem that I’d like to share with you:

Departure sensitive (for Janet)

These days, each window casts a rhombus of sunlight on the floor, brightens, dims, then brightens again, glowing like tungsten.

Love’s horrible. All you can think about is fucking that person. Or you catastrophise. The future’s an unreleased Russian film, storms of Stalin and wheatfields, wheatfields flattened under books. Worst case scenarios when you’re conspicuous by your absence.

You asked last night, ‘Are you fearless?’ I was trying to seduce you to stay and I laughed, ‘I am full of fear.’

Do you know your hands flit and rest a moment on my shoulders and I can’t think of pain and a time after pain? Only now and now – no, I’m lying. I’m a chipmunk filling his cheeks for the long winter ahead. I store you up in my memory, in my mouth and skin, in case things don’t work and I’m cold, starving.

It took a tall drunk guy in a blue dress to tell me I have great lips. It took you to show me who they were made for. You came and you said, ‘I am for you, for now.’ You came and said, “I will be everything you asked for, and else, and more.’

Today, lying on my back, I’ve decided I will be fearless. So the future’s a Russian flick. I will not go to see it. The window’s open. This wind that licks my skin and runs its fingers through my hair is warm without a hint of winter. And if I get up and go to the window…Yes. (31)

So amazing. That’s all I can say about that.

Monday:

I played the baritone sax with a trombone part in the Jazz Band class. What a fun instrument. All saxes are all built the same, it just takes a different embouchure to get it to work. I officially have a schedule now, which is nice. I know where I’m supposed to be, rather than following Courtney around or having to run all the way back up to 2nd floor and finding out from my work partner.

Speaking of work partners, tonight is the Katima-Welcome Party. It started snowing halfway throughout the day, so it seems highly unlikely that anyone will show up, but then again, it IS the Prairies and they are probably used to the snow. We got enough fresh baked bread, home-made tortilla chips and salsa and vegan muffins to feed the town.

Aftermath:

We placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the raging snow that was outside. 4 people showed up: 2 billet families. One of the families works at Oak Hammond Marsh, and we were invited to participate in a Swimwear Fashion Show on Sunday, featuring the Parrot Club of Winnipeg (there are going to be a lot of parrots at this fashion show/summer party thing. I think I may have to rock one as an accessory, like Jennifer Love Hewitt did). I’m going to be wearing a surfer wet-skins outfit, and 2 different types of board shorts. There will be pictures.

Wednesday:

Today I played an alto sax in band, got invited to help out the Senior Choir, and bought a portable, roll-able piano! You better believe I’m excited to get it tomorrow! I’ll get someone to take pictures or record a video of me playing it, because IT IS AWESOME. *ahem* I also went swimming with the Special Ed. kids today. It was so much fun! I got to play ball, tag, and float around the pool for an hour. Afterwards I took 10 minutes to myself in the sauna. It was glorious.

When we returned to the school, we discovered that someone had smeared their own feces on the walls of a boys bathroom. This incident happened last week when someone did the same thing in a girls washroom. In order to find the culprit, there will be a lock-down on the bathrooms during breaks. Loks like people are going to have to hold it until lunch or the end of the school day. This all reminds me of Woodingford a little, only more messy. Should be an interesting next couple of days.

Now it’s time for…

21-40 Things About Me:

21. I’m blunt to a fault sometimes. I’ve gotten better at not being that way though. Living with 10 other people cures you of that habit quickly.

22. I would take an one-on-one interview over a group interview any day.

23. Lucky Charms cereal is so good. I think the love for the super-sugary cereals comes from not having those cereals when I was a child. I was also deprived of Sodalicious, Fruit By The Foot, and other fun-time treats that would get traded over elementary lunches. 

24. I’m a sucker for Major 7th chords.

25. I find it easy to predict a chord progression of a song.

26. I enjoy lazy male vocals and female vocals with vibratos. I can”t understand what’s being said in screamo songs. Can anyone?

27. I have never had a pen explode on me and make an embarrassing stain on my pants or shirt.

28. I don’t have much of a problem walking around the house in my underwear, unless there are guests in the house.

29. Every time I watch the movie Amélie, I always find something I missed the previous times I watched it.

30. I prefer form fitting or tight yet comfortable clothes over loose clothing any day.

31. I don’t care much for beer. Everything else alcoholic is great, and I’ll force down a beer if I have to, but I will never ask for one.

32. I love Easter chocolate. It’s my most favourite time of year because the weather is warm and the chocolate is cheap and delicious. (As I write this, I am eating a Rolo Egg. It’s pretty delectable.)

33. I am a mouth breather, according to my friend/model/dental hygienist.

34. I will defend friends if they are being put down behind their backs.

35. I read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings when I was 10. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the movie. Although, I do think I would enjoy watching the Hobbit. Bilbo… Bilbo Baggins… only three feet tall…

36. I love it when I start singing a song and then someone in the house will finish it and vice versa.

37. However, I find it annoying when people who are not performing with me start trying to add in bad harmonies or vocal acrobatics in the middle of my songs. You have to start at the beginning of a song and build up to it, not just jump in there and add in whatever you want.

38. I’m a nerd. But I didn’t take programming in high school or university, so I don’t know how to hack into your computer, or physically put together your hard drive. But I can fix your computer in other ways. I’m handy with printers and photo-copiers as well.

39. I think the Microsoft Office Assistants are annoying. I don’t want to see you pop out and ask me, “Oh, it looks like you’re writing a letter! Want me to help you with that?”. No, thank you. I’m capable of doing it myself.

40. The greatest compliments I have ever received were after my performances. People would come up to me and say, “Thank you, your songs made me feel like this, or made me think of a time in my life.” I love knowing that the music that I play makes others feel good.

    Tagged

    Tying up loose ends

    I know that it seems a bit tedious to be writing about my life day to day, so I’m going to try only writing about interesting things that happen throughout the day rather than giving a long spiel about how I went to some class and nothing happened.

    Last Friday the group went to the neighbourhood watering hole. It was as if they rounded up all of the high-schoolers that think they’re bad-ass getting into a bar when they aren’t legal and their parents that support them all in one place. I couldn’t complain about the drink prices though. $3 for a rum and coke? Hells yeah!

    Our group definitely stuck out like a sore thumb because for one, I was the only guy in the group of 8 girls and two, a friend of a participant, who is gay as well, came down to visit her, making our table (sadly) the most diverse. A gay man, a lesbian, and two bi-sexuals at a booth, clearly over-dressed for the environment in which they sat.

    Lastly, it was obvious that we were the new Katima-group in town. Some guys bought us all a round of Buds (oh happy day) and later introduced themselves saying, “You guys must be the new Katimavik group. We can tell because the last group sat in that exact spot. Plus you guys are probably the most attractive group here.” I know that was directed at the girls, and not me. By looking around the bar, I realized that it didn’t take much to be the most attractive group. All of the high-school people that could drive and fashionable people that have better things to do than be in a tavern were all in Winnipeg, being classy and complaining about the cold as they run from their cars to the club doors in their mini-skirts.

    On Monday I started work at SCI. The teacher who was supposed to be there to give me my schedule was absent (I later learned it was due to her child having strep throat), so I shadowed Courtney and got to know the teachers and the ins and outs of the school.

    That evening, Courtney and I were invited to record the high-school performance of Guys and Dolls (we got in for free, the rest of the group paid). I ended up recording the whole thing due to my hands and their ability to arc around a camera and zoom in and zoom out at appropriate times. Next week there will be a viewing party. I want to go and see how my work turned out. After watching that play I remembered just how much I missed theatre. Perhaps I should try out for a community theatre when I return home, or maybe see if there is a dinner theatre that could use my help.

    I struck a deal with the music teacher and I now get to help out in his band class, troubleshooting, working on tricky parts with sections, and maybe conducting when he is absent. I am so excited to be back in my element, I could not contain myself as I squirmed and tapped out times and rhythms to a troubled trombone player.

    Every Tuesday the Special Education (or Special Me. Bad joke) class goes to the local bowling alley and plays a game of 5 pin. I missed bowling so much and scored 187. I’ll be able to track my progress as I accompany them each week. Maybe I will surpass my 15 year-old self’s average of 175. I think I may join a league when I get back to Toronto (there is so much I want to do when I get back, it shall be a post of its own).

    I help out at an art class once in a while, and on the second day I heard a student say, “That’s so gay“. I had heard the term be tossed around a few times that class in a derogatory way, and I decided at that exact moment to do something about it. I was going to reclaim a little piece of my high-school self and never feel more proud of my sexuality in my life. I turned around and said to the student, “That’s so gay, huh? You know what else is so gay? I am so gay.” He was taken aback by what I had said, so I repeated myself: “I’m gay.” “Uhhh, what?” he said, still in shock. “I am a homosexual.” I said, emphasizing the last word to it’s full effect. “When you say, (in a mocking tone) ‘That’s so gay‘, I feel that you don’t realize that there may happen to be a gay person in your presence. For all you know, there could be someone in your class that is gay and not comfortable with themselves. Think about what you say.” Later on in the class I took him aside and apologized for calling him out in front of the whole class. He apologized to me as he had no idea and he had a friend that was gay and he was afraid of him. I explained to him that just because someone is a homosexual, it does not mean that they are going to come on to him. He understood that and I think I made an impact.

    It’s funny because a similar situation had happened before, in my first year of University. Here’s an excerpt from that post:

    We went back to my res for a second, Kate had to use the computer for a quick second. As she’s signing in, some frat boy from my res and some chick are sitting there, having a bit of stuff to drink, they’re buzzed… and I hear the frat boy whispering loudly something like “I hear that Joey’s gay, he denies it, but I think that he’s the biggest fag ever.” I don’t know who Joey is, but I was pissed off that someone would say that about him without him knowing. I’ve been through it before, and it is really annoying to have someone spread rumours behind your back. It’s like the drunk guy had this big issue with it. So, in reply I said, “I’m gay. Get over it.”

    Instantly his face turned to complete shock. He was just there with some drunk girl on his lap and his mouth made a giant oblong “O”. I left with Kate to my room, used the computer and washroom, and as we were about to leave, Lucas knocks on my door. He tells me that what I did took a lot of guts, and he’s impressed that I did something so courageous. He said that the dude was totally shocked, it was awesome. I said thanks, and we went to St. Clair College to go play poker.

    So there you have it. History repeats itself, and I feel that this will happen many more times in my life. Every time, I will be more than happy to correct the homophobia and fears that people have about people with a sexuality that is not the norm. I will fight for the rights of diverse sexualities everywhere.

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    DIY Fest Part One

    I woke up this morning at 9:20 and made vegan crepes.

    I felt like that deserved its own line.  It is a separate thought, and separate thoughts belong in their own spaces.  Our group went down to Winnipeg to check out the Do It Yourself Festival.  When we arrived we helped ourselves to the pool table that was overflowing with free clothes (you take some, you leave some).  I picked up a cute red t-shirt that has a Yamaha logo on it.  Sounds cheesy when I type it, but it looks cute on me.  Afterwards, I went to the following workshops:

    Sewing:

    I wanted to get a refresher on sewing by hand, and I got just that.  Plus I re-learned how to do a french knot, how to hem pants, and how to darn holes in socks.  A pretty handy workshop considering I haven’t put a needle into thread by hand since I was in Grade 7.  We had the luxury of using sewing machines for our Home Economics class.  Not only that, one of my parental units works for a sewing machine company and there is always a new machine sitting in the office in all of its computer I’m-better-than-Singer glory.

    No-schooling:

    This workshop was just a debate about the advantages of home schooling and the stories of people who have been home schooled that went into high-schools afterwards or parents who are teachers who home school their kids.  It was very interesting.

    Hot Safe Sex:

    It was impossible to fit everyone into the room that the workshop was being held in.  I knew that my whole group was in the room, so it made little space for everyone else.  The workshop was nothing I didn’t already know, except for one fact.  You can use non-microwaveable plastic wrap as a dental dam.  That’s actually pretty handy.  Another way to protect yourself is to cut off the fingers of a latex glove and stick your tongue into the thumb and go about your business that way.  I guess that makes two things I didn’t know.  Following the workshop, we were ‘treated’ to a random cartoon art porn film thing called Green Pubes.  The quality was terrible and from what I could see, it was in stop motion animation.  Kind of questionable.

    Haircutting:

    The last workshop was about cutting your own hair.  I have never put a pair of scissors that have been in my hands to my hair in my life.  I leave that to a stylist.  I leave my hair color to my colorist.  That’s just how I roll.  After attending the workshop however, I feel that if I ever get really really drunk and I want to cut off my sexy locks (which, I was told, will take another 6 months to reach its full potential, and also that my face shape can pull off having shaggy hair), at least I can do it properly now.  All I need is some good scissors.  Plus a bottle of Tequila.

    That concluded the first day of DIY Fest.  Tomorrow we are returning to Winnipeg for more DIY Madness (can you say soap making, paper making, book binding, breast casting, and urban exploring? I can!) and also going to an Ethiopian restaurant so we can spend our Food for Learning budget.  Katimavik’s fiscal year is ending at the end of March, so we are receiving a new budget come April, which means we have extra money to burn.  Food for Learning is money that can go towards the group going out to an international restaurant and learning about the culture while eating their delicious food.  I can hardly wait!

    P.S. Why the hell does Facebook’s “Item of the Day” always sell out? Who the hell buys that crap?

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    Gerund Thing in 777 words

    I haven’t done an -ing thing in a while, so here goes:

    Loving:

    Lucerne Tin Lizzie Cheesecake ice cream. It cost me $4 to buy a 2 L box, and it actually tastes like cheesecake with caramel swirls and chunks of toffee in it. Looks like cheap ice cream can be good ice cream after all.

    Over-indulging:

    Courtney brought home Lamontagne Chocolate from SCI where they are doing a fundraiser (as is every school in Stonewall), and I can’t help buying it. I’m a sucker for fund-raising chocolate. Sure it costs $3, but it is very good quality chocolate and the quantity is never quite enough, which makes you want more. It comes in a multitude of flavors and varieties: chocolate covered almonds, cashews, caramels, and mints, as well as almond and caramel bars.

    My parents can testify to the fact that I ate more fund-raising chocolate than I ever sold. I used to bowl in a league when I was 7, until I was 15. Every year the league would try to raise money with chocolate drives. One year I ate the chocolate without paying it and had to pay for it after. My parental units were pretty upset about that. After that, they wrote a cheque to the league each year to avoid the hassle of walking door-to-door or selling it at work. I ate the chocolate without consequence.

    Reading:

    Chick lit. The selection of reading material in the Katima-house ranges from garage sale finds to bibles to trash magazines. I just finished Summer Sisters by Judy Bloom (a classic about vaginas vaginae) and I’m almost done Table for Five by Susan Wiggs. I also read an old issue of bitch magazine yesterday and I was interested by one article. It was about gay and lesbian teenagers who had come out in their high-schools and how the rest of the student body dealt with it. Coincidentally, Dan Savage’s column this week is about just that. Gay minds think alike?

    When I was in high-school, I knew of one “out” guy and a bunch of bi-sexual people. It’s funny how they were all in drama class with me. I considered myself bi-sexual when I was in high-school because I could see myself getting married to a woman but being sexually attracted to men. Not only that, I was uncomfortable with coming out in such a toxic environment. Since Grade 7 I was being called a fag in the hallways or being made fun of because I was effeminate. I didn’t start dating until University because I knew that the people there wouldn’t give a damn about who I found attractive or whether I wasn’t acting butch all the time. My first date was with a guy. We went shopping at the mall. It felt right to be walking around with him because I finally knew that I was comfortable with myself and that other people were too. I’m really lucky because my whole family is comfortable with my sexuality as well. Now that I am volunteering in a high-school for the next 3 months, it is going to be really interesting to see how the environment has changed and how I have changed as well.

    Tomorrow we are going to the Do It Yourself Festival in Winnipeg. There are loads of things to do and I will definitely write about it when we get back. As for tonight, we are making sushi for dinner. Earlier in the day we made a couscous salad with roasted vegetables and a sun-dried tomato pesto. Katimavik food doesn’t have to be boring.

    Because of free time tonight (and the fact that no one wants to see Alvin and the Chipmunks), the group is heading to the only bar (I think) in town: The Rock. I’m curious to see what it will be like. Probably a mix between a sad attempt at a dance club, a neighbourhood bar, and a place for guys to sit and watch the game. Should be a seedy, hole-in-the-wall, fun time for everyone!

    P.S. I have quite a few people from Seattle on my blogroll. From what they write, it sounds like a really nice place to live in, even though it rains a lot. I think I’d like to go there someday and see what all of the fuss is about. I’ve never really explored the U.S. (except for the mandatory Florida trip, Maine and Lake Acid Placid), and I have not been to New York, LA, or San Fransisco. I suppose I can chalk that up to living in Central Canada. Someday I will trek through the United States with my friends, road-trip style.

    Tagged

    Just to let you all know…

    I am alive and freezing.  Welcome to Manitoba, where it is an hour behind Toronto and country music coupled with -40° weather reigns supreme.  Our plane touched down at 5 (an hour late, thanks to the bad weather conditions in Montréal), our over-stuffed bags were taken by our new PC (who is so awesome and every girl has a crush on him), and to kill time, we got to walk around the airport for an hour and ate “normal” food (I had Swiss Chalet) while we waited for our bags to be dropped off and our new PL to pick us up.

    During this time, I saw a gay in unfamiliar territory.  He was working in the sports souvenir shop and he smiled and waved at me as I walked by.  Yeah, you read that correctly.  Waved.  This is how I knew I wasn’t in Montréal anymore.  I walked back into the store and asked him about sports paraphernalia just to make sure of the gay factor.  Lo and behold, he knew nothing (as most gays do).  I asked him what the people in Winnipeg do for fun and I now have the knowledge of some bars and museums.  Plus it never hurts to be complimented a little after being in pain thanks to the descent of an airplane (stupid ear popping).

    Our new PL picked us up and we drove to our new house in Stonewall.  It’s about the same size as the house in Ingersoll.  4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a really well functioning washer and dryer (and a Katima-illegal dishwasher that we can use for special occasions), a moderately sized kitchen and a living room that is right outside our bedrooms (which is something that did not exist in Montréal).  Here’s the kicker: There is an old-school organ (that sounds like music that would come out of a Gameboy), an accordian, 2 guitars, a broken violin, a glockenspiel, and a harmonica that I can play.  When I discovered that, I didn’t care about the rest of the house.  Here’s some info on Stonewall:

    Stonewall is a tiny town of approximately 4300 people.  There is a movie theatre that we can go see a different movie every week (on Friday we went and saw Cloverfield.  It was like watching someone play a really low-quality horror game that wasn’t even scary).  The saving grace of the theatre is that it only costs $4.25 and you can buy really cheap popcorn and assorted snacks.  At the end of the month, the group is going to go see 27 Dresses.  Hopefully that will be better.

    The town also has a café that is going to be having an Open Mic in a month.  I’m going to be performing with a guitar, an organ and vocals.  Genvieve is also going to perform there.  Tommorow I plan on speaking to the owners to see if I can have a gig outside of Open Mic nights.

    Even though the town is small, there are quite a few work placements for our group: 3 schools (elementary, middle, and secondary), a marsh/wet-land conservation area, a day-center for the disabled, a long-term care facility for the elderly (like Woodingford but with an Alzhimer’s unit attached), and a youth after-school program (called Youth for Christ).  There was also an arena to work at (I could of driven a zamboni), but no one in the group wanted to work there, so it was scrapped.

    The interviews took place on Friday and we all got the chance to interview with each placement.  The long-term care facility wanted me but I told them that I already had experience in that field and I was going to study it in college/university, so it would not be an effective placement.  I wanted to be in one of the schools, and the interview for the middle school solidified my position. 

    I was told that I was too mature for the middle school and I should be perfect for the high-school (named Stonewall Collegiate Institute, or SCI).  Plus, it is more difficult to have a role-model who is 20 and has completed 2 years of University for a middle school than it is to have someone who has just finished high-school.  When it was all said and done, I ended up at the high-school placement (with Courtney, who was probably also considered “too mature” due to her age as well).  I’m really happy with the descision and I look forward to starting work next week.

    This past weekend the group volunteered at the Manipogo Festival in St. Laurent.  St. Laurent is a Metis community, which means that French is the first language spoken there.  I was so pleased that I could still speak French in other parts of Canada and it didn’t just end in Québec or New Brunswick.  During the Festival, I got to be a traffic controller, a clown’s assistant/translator, and Manipogo himself.  Thanks to the costume, I also got to dance around like a fool, get into a pillow fight with a girl (and lose.  It is very difficult to fight in a giant dragon-esque costume.  Dinosaur arms and all…), get snow ice balls pelted at me by little kids, and stay warm the whole day. 

    After the festival was over, we went to a hall to go dance to fiddle music (I swear the same song was played 5 times that night.  Some bands need some new material.  I’m look at you, Back 40) and help sell bannock and clean up garbage.  It felt so good to volunteer at something and be exposed to different cultures that I would not have been exposed to in Toronto.  It was a good way to start the trimester in Manitoba.

    This week, I am house managing with Katie.  It should be loads of fun and very relaxing.  I’m planning on exploring Stonewall more and getting back into my routine of working out.  Not only that, I intend on figuring out how my PL’s 4-track recorder works as well as posting some songs on here.  Stay tuned for partial excitement.

    I will have a picture of me rocking the scruff posted on here either tomorrow or the morrow next. My housemates have to upload their cameras and make facebook albums and such. Sorry for the wait and thanks for being patient.

    P.S. I saw Juno on the plane.  I am so proud of Ellen Page.  Go Canada.  The dialogue is so witty and the music fits the movie so nicely.  You better believe I’m buying the soundtrack when I find a record store in Stonewall.

    Speaking of movies, my room-mate just described the movie Into the Wild as “delicious”.  I have never seen a word misused in such a way.  He also said, “It’s a very simple movie that makes up for it’s shitty title.”  Sometimes I wonder if he even understands what he is saying.  I think he just likes to hear the sound of his own voice.

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