Friday, June 20, 2008

I'm getting old.

It's official: I am no longer as young as I once was. I think, at least in the context of this story, that's probably a good thing:

A couple of nights ago, Alla and I went over to the Legion, a veteran's club that has karaeoke and VERY cheap drinks on Wednesday nights (3.25 for beer and highballs! Unheard of in Vancouver). The last time we went, we had a hilarious time meeting all the regulars who came up to say hi to us. One such regular, who claimed his name was "Roo", made an epic entrance on his motorized wheelchair, crashing so hard into the place that he burst a broom closet door open. The woman checking id's claimed that, like most Asians, he was a terrible driver. So you get a sense of the kind of place we were at.

A bit later on in the night, Roo appeared to be trying to get by our seats. We shuffled our chairs in to make room for him, but he just wheeled right up to our faces. "Hello."

"Hello!" we said, already giggling. "Are you single?" he asked. I told him no, that I was a big lesbian with a blonde girlfriend named Sarah.
He said, "I'm a drag queen you know."
"Cool!" I said. "That's nice."
"I won first place in the beauty contest."
We chatted about this for a bit, and he kept pushing me on the single/lesbian issue. He finally figured out that his penis was not something I was interested in. Having established this, he turned to Alla and poked her on the arm. "Are you single?" It was almost impossible to stop laughing. He went on to ask for our email addresses because he likes "to keep track of the women I hit on."

We finally got rid of him, and later in the night saw him hitting on one such woman, and standing up in his wheelchair! He didn't even need it, he was just using it to hit on women! Hilarious.

Anyway, that was last time. This time was similarly hilarious, but in a very different way. Alla, a few of her friends and I were sitting around, having a civilized drink, watching the ridiculous renditions of classic karaoke hits being butchered. Then we noticed two girls on the dance floor, both wearing denim short shorts and shirts that exposed their midriffs. One, actually, was wearing three shirts of different lengths, not one of which was long enough to cover her dangly belly button ring. We immediately determined them to be underagers, drinking at the Legion because who would check? THey proceeded to dance around awkwardly, sure they were the hottest little things in that place with their bellies and bums out. FInally, the moment came: the teen twins stepped up to the stage to sing their song. "Thish shong is dedicated to Shtuart," the twins slurred. "He's my best friend. He hash long hair, but he's not a girl, he just looksh like one." They then began to sing in a manner that was so drunken it was totally incomprehensible. We were laughing hysterically already, but it only got better: after humping each other for a bit trying to sing, they finally ended, and one of the two fell off the stage. The poor muffin face planted and then pranced away, not to be seen again.

The ridiculousness was certainly entertaining, but I came to a conclusion with was half relieving and half depressing: for the first time in my life, I was a spectator to that kind of antic, not a participant. I'm not sure I've ever faceplanted off a kareoke stage, but i've certainly made an ass of myself dancing with adandon in inappropriate outfits in my younger days. Suddenly I'm on the other side of it. At the very least, I do not envy Stuart, the best friend with the long hair who is certainly not getting laid, and will certainly have puke on his carpet in the morning.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Trouble in the urban zoo

Lately, I've been having some issues with the critters in these parts. Maybe they are trying to drive me out of the city, maybe they liked my shiny scarf, or maybe (according to one source) they are secretly my spirit guides trying to give me a message. Right.

First issue: crows. They have been SWOOPING at my head over the past couple of weeks. Apparently they are nervous because their little crow babies are vulnerable in their nests, so obviously a tall brunette with a houndstooth jacket would be a threat to said babies. THe first time, I was walking alone my street over to Commercial, and they starting cawing and coming at me. Twice they hit my head, lifting my hair in their claws, and I started jogging, then running, while they chased me down the street! I passed by a group of neighbors hanging out on their lawn looking at me like I was crazy, and all I could think to do was yell, "Crows attack!!!" Humiliating. Crows 1, Julie 0.

The next week, I was walking down busy Commercial drive, with plenty of other people around, and they start swooping at my head again. This time I can feel claws in my scalp. I turn to the guy beside me, walking calmly along, and say, "Did you see that? Why are they attacking me? Why don't they attack you?" He didn't know. I've been avoiding tall trees and metallic things since, and the cawing sound they make startles me every time. I think the babies are bigger now, though, so THEY can attack me this time next year.

Second critter conundrum: mice. We have a shitload of mice in our house. There was mouse poo carpeting the bottom cupboards, and there is a huge amount of it in the front room carpet. It grossed me right out when I realized what that was. I have not been able to spend 5 quiet minutes alone in my house without seeing a mouse darting underfoot, along the wall, or popping out from inside the . The drapes. THat's a lot of poo I have to clean up.

The other day, I was trying to relax and read in the house, and the mice just would not give me a break. Thoroughly unnerved, I went out to get some poison or something before my roommate Elliott's contemporary classical music show (he plays the viola). The combination of the mice with the crows left me jumpy and shit and on the verge of a panic attack, so I thought some classical music would be the ideal place to forget it. Not to be. Elliott had composed a piece called Creep/Melt, which was actually pretty cool, but incorporated the sounds of things scratching and creeping like, you guessed it, MICE IN THE DRAPES. This did nothing to assuage my slow burning panic attack. I wonder where he got the idea. Next up: an improvisational piece that involved a strobe light, screeching music, and disturbing images. The world was certainly against me that day.

I got these ultrasonic high frequency sound emitters that make the little bastards uncomfortable but don't hurt or kill them. I hope it works, because the last thing I want to deal with is dead mouse bodies all over the house. Wish me luck, or if you can see a psychic message in there, let me know and maybe this urban zoo will give me a break.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Buttery spread?

So I come home from a night at the bar--an amazing night at the Legion, actually, a cub for veterans that holds karaeoke on Wednesday nights, and more on that later--and I get home, just after midnight, worrying that it's so late my roomates will be mad if my stumbling in the kitchen wakes them up. To temper the $3.25 vodka cokes I've been drinking all night, I put some of my rice flour bread in the toaster and search for some butter. Butter. Anyone? Butter? You know, that delicious, slightly salty dairy product that is sometimes spread on toast? After searching t no avail and being thisclose to resorting to all-natural peanut butter, I finally find it: all-natural, vegan,buttery spread. Truly, I am in Vancouver.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Vancouver's weird.

Alright. I've been in Vancouver for about 2 weeks now, and I've come to a conclusion: Vancouver is weird.

People have this strange tendency to rave about it when they are not there and complain about it while they are. Everyone I spoke to who was from the West in Montreal or Toronto would get this misty look in their eyes when I told them I was moving out here, and they'd muse wistfully, "Oh, i miss the beach/tree/sea/climate/people/good restaurants etc." Talk to them here, and they say that it's hard to make friends here, that the nightlife is bad, the transit is terrible, etc. etc. My suspicion is that there are good things here and bad things. So far I like it.

One thing about Van that I've found particularly bizarre is the way the place seems to be separated out into these very different little pockets. Supposedly this is a small city, but I just took the bus from my new neighborhood to my parents' place, and it took me 1 1/4 hours. Nowhere in Montreal or Toronto would take that long by transit if they are still in the city. People don't really walk around here, and it's true the transit's not great. Hence all the BIKES.

On my trip over here to Kitsilano, aka dog- and baby-town from East Van, aka druggie- and hipster-town, I took the Hastings bus through the infamous intersection, Main and Hastings, which has the highest concentration of intravenous drug users in North America (take that, USA!). Many parts of Vancouver are full of beautiful gardens, high schools, organic food shops, and celebrity-chef owned restaurants. This strip looked a lot more like Mexico. Boarded up buildings, pubs, secondhand stores, women's drop in centres, urban native youth centres, unemployments centres and a whole lot of sad looking people. There's something wrong with the infrastructure here that this whole area is just around the corner from everything else, including, for example, that place I went to recently that was frequented by "shrivelled yacht jockeys and cougar-mistresses-in-waiting." Like I said. Weird.