Friday, September 26, 2008

there's no way to go but upwards / thru murk into crystalline glow

it's that time of year again. here i am wearing woolen hoodie (hand-me-down from eleanor), scarf (present from chicory's human from turkey), woolen arm warmers (crocheted by miriam) and rain jacket (hand-me-down from nimmersatt - it is perfect!). i've broken out the long socks and my woolen singlets. the leaves are all turning, which is beautiful, even though they signal coming darkness and coldness and dampness.

life is a bit rough at the moment. i am house hunting (boo-earns!), putting in a major scholarship application (drafting and re-drafting my proposal), keeping up with my usual coursework and still trying to make new friends and negotiate a new campus. still, the stupid application goes in on monday, eleanor and i are checking out an apartment tomorrow afternoon, and on sunday i'm going to a party called "dead werewolves play pingpong and swap trousers".

here's some pictures i've been meaning to post for ages. i found out that most garlic available commercially in vancouver is shipped from china. i think that's absurd and disturbing, so next farmers' market i invested in a beautiful garlic plait made from locally grown, hand-plaited garlic:

(one is mine, the other is miriam's.) i have mine hung up in the storage room and hope it will see me through at least a chunk of winter. plus, pretty!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

for itchy

here is my new desk - as it was last week, and as it is still. i'll get round to assembling it some time. . .

Monday, September 15, 2008

bike riding and tomatoes

i went on a lovely long bikeride with eleanor and our friend M, yesterday, all the way out to lighthouse park. here's where we went:

see, we started on the drive, went downtown, through stanley park, over lion's gate bridge (scary!) then along marine drive for about an hour (lots of traffic but really great views, with huge trees on our right and the sea on our left), then hit the park. then we sat on a rock looking out over the sea and ate lunch. there was a view along the north shore, of stanley park and the city, and out to UBC on the right. the combination of sea, city, mountains and sky in vancouver really does it for me.

there was also mount baker, hovering in a cloud of smog behind vancouver. mt baker is a volcano in washington state, btw. i'm still wigged out by just how close the good old US of A is.

according to douglas coupland:

Mount Baker is important to the Vancouver psyche in that it stand there, huge, record-breaking and serene, shooting off just enough steam every few years to let us know that if it really wanted to, it could bury us. It's a metaphor for the United States: seductive but distant, powerful and a least temporarily benign.

while we were sitting there, watching america float behind vancouver, we ate a delicious lunch of bread and brie and things i grew:

i have been harvesting like this every couple of days. see how mutant that cucumber is? love it!

one of the spiders that live in my plants:

the end.

Monday, September 08, 2008

on the difficulty of rejoining academic discourse

i just finished wading through a debate between chomsky and foucault, two philosopher theorists. for a while there i was sustained by the photos of them looking thoughtful, and chomsky's entertaining glasses:

but i quickly realised that i'm completely rusty on academic language, and have no clue what they're talking about. for example:

"In the history of knowledge, the notion of human nature seems to me mainly to have played the role of an epistemological indicator to designate certain types of discourse in relation to or in opposition to theology or biology or history."

i kept reading to the end, partly cos i'm expected to have something intelligent to say about it by wednesday, and partly in the hope that exposure to academic language will help me regain my ability to understand it. i got bits and pieces of the 20 or so pages. it's all a bit off-putting, really. i used to be able to follow this stuff, though i never wrote such convoluted wank myself, and now i haven't the foggiest what they're banging on about.

on the other hand, being back at my desk is instantly familiar: productive and reassuring and challenging. i just have to keep working through this transition.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

in other news

i have found the perfect desk.

it is very long, relatively low and wide, and has bookshelves at each end. my plan is to have a computer setup at on end and a reading/notebook setup at the other end, and pile lots of books and paper all over the rest of it. i've never had what i would consider the perfect desk before, and i've just signed up for another five years sitting at my desk, so finding this beautiful piece online has made me unreasonably happy. it will be mine!

miriam says she will drive me out to the 'burbs next week, when i hopefully will have got some of my money out of the university, and will help me stuff the dissembled pieces into the back of her little car.

true love is voluntarily going to ikea with your partner.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

island hopping

miriam and i went on one last trip away before september school/work craziness kicked in. it was very relaxing. we saw nice trees, like garry oaks:

and this beautiful arbutus, reflected in the sea:

i bought these funky pants from a farmer's market outside victoria and they have a maple key on them:

we stayed one night on a very small island you can only get to by ferry. it was very peaceful and quiet, and very beautiful. there were birds of prey circling above us:

we sat by the sea and read and drank tea and watched a tern diving into the water for fish. (tern not featured in this photo.)

the shore line was partly made up of bricks, cos the island used to be owned by a brick company who had a big factory on it. you can see where the different tide lines sit by the colours of the bricks:

also in the history of the island was some dropkicks introducing deer so they could hunt them. now there's over a thousand deer on the tiny island, eating everything. they woke us up in the night ripping branches from trees and stampeding around. who knew deer were so damn noisy? all the trees on the island only have foliage to deer head height, and grow up from the bottom in weird pyramid shapes. like so:

and here is the obligatory shot of the US. that's it, all blurry and mountainous in the distance. if you click on the photo and make it big you can see the wading bird in the front left as well.

on the ferry back to vancouver we saw orcas. it was cool.

the end.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

what i was reading last friday, before i became a student again

from the bottom:

the twelve month gardener
was a present from winifred. it is west coast specific and encouraging in a jolly kind of way. i like it.

jokes and the unconscious is a confronting graphic novel about the author's father dying. it is written by Daphne Gottlieb, and illustrated by Diane Dimassa, of hothead fame.

buffy the vampire slayer season eight, part two, is not as good as part one, and not as good as the telly series. hmm.

continuing my peter carey phase is oscar and lucinda, which i'm actually not enjoying very much.

i got the bill bryson on special and i'm not enjoying that much either. i think i'm over his sense of humour.

tove janson's fair play, on the other hand, is thoughtful and quiet and thought-provoking and so carefully written, lovingly translated and beautifully presented. she is the author of moomintroll fame, and this is one of her few adult novels translated into english. i got it in paris.

code of the woosters is comfort reading. i'm told my grandpa liked p.g.wodehouse, which is kind of cool. the cow creamer, jeeves, the cow creamer!

i went walking is one of my favourite board books, with lovely illustrations by julia vivas. perfect for the little person in your life.

to the right is (sing-a-long now!) baaaaaaby beluuuuuuuga!

then the lonely planet guide to canada, well thumbed, and my new guide to cycling in british columbia, both for planning my weekend away.