Category Archives: Stonewall Collegiate Institute

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.

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    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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    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.

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    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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