Friday, April 27, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Edit: Looks like my neighbours were indeed red-neck enough to follow the incumbent in my riding over to the dark(er) side. The official final count now shows that I live in a Wildrose riding. Uck.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Other (less damp) activities thus far include:
- thrift storing
- sushi lunch with Mel and Wandering Coyote
- parking garages and being grateful to have rented a compact vehicle
- drive by of the OFKAR's new digs
- family pizza party and sleepover
- stealing coffee from the Spousal Unit's meeting
- figuring out what makes North Van so odd
- the aforementioned sea bussing, complete with eavesdropping on an awesome hairdressing trio
- veggie goodness dinner at Naam
- running into the awesome sea bus hairdressing trio at Naam
- as always, hours and hours of walking
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Instead I will give you a much more palatable photo taken by the OFKAR, a much better photographer than I.
I had a lovely start to this trip, meeting two old friends for dim sum, neither of whom knew one another. We were all at the University of Manitoba at the same time, however. One of my friends had a flight to catch, but my other friend and I spent the remainder of the unexpectedly warm and sunny afternoon walking, buying art supplies, shaking our heads at ostentatious yachts, and finally lingering over beers on an oceanside patio. Talking, talking, talking, and solving the world's problems.
Back at the hotel last evening, in our room on the 29th floor, I realized I had a great view into the apartment building next door. Naturally I indulged in some snooping, particularly of the penthouse suite. Three levels of floor to ceiling windows, and a spiral staircase leading to a rooftop patio. Probably safely out of my price range.
This afternoon, I am meeting with more of my Vancouver ladies, for sushi and a wander, and then later picking up the OKFAR on the heels of her final exam. A trip to the Vancouver Art Gallery (locally known as the VAG, pronounced vaj, of course) may also be in the works.
But first I have to tear apart the rental car, in order to figure out how to turn off the back windshield wiper that I inadvertently activated while reversing into my parking spot. Either that, or it better rain.
Monday, April 16, 2012
So, thanks early flight!
Saturday, April 14, 2012
There are only about a dozen tables downstairs at the Palomino, varying vintages of mismatched kitchen tables with chairs rescued from family cottages. None of the tables really have a sight-line to the stage. But it wouldn't really matter if they did because once the open area in front of the stage fills up with 8 foot guys, as it will inevitably do at any concert worth its salt, you aren't going to see anything on the stage anyway. So relax.
The Palomino is a very laid-back place. Nobody gets too bent out of shape about things like the doors opening at the specified time. With an original door time of 8, then 8:30 and finally 9, we would normally have been seething, but it was easy enough to just head back up to the restaurant, have another drink and listen to the band.
So after filling our bellies with pulled pork and garlic fries (and trying not to breathe on anyone) in the smokehouse restaurant on the ground floor of the Palomino, we headed downstairs and pulled some chairs up to a wobbly 1970's kitchen table tucked in beside a bank of speakers. The split-log walls, plastered with posters, the dated furnishings, exposed ceiling ducts, and big round bar opposite the stage give the place a comfortably retro rec room vibe. A rec room with a really great sound system.
Because, as concert-goers of a certain age, we were more concerned with a comfortable seat than a good view of the stage, we didn't really see much of the action on stage. During the entire opening set, I was able to see Shotgun Jimmie's elbow. He was wearing a red shirt, that's all I can tell you. He does have a unique and really great guitar style that the Spousal Unit was particularly taken by.
Apparently so was the fan girl who parked herself directly in front of the stage. She proceeded to make herself at home, using the corner of the stage as a repository for her purse, coat and two drinks, so that she could boogey unencumbered. I was mesmerized by her because she looked exactly like our financial advisor.
John K Samson, backed by the Provincial Band, did what he always does so well, mixed sweetly reflective and literarily-charged songs with some insanely catchy fist-pumping anthems. Gestetner, cartography, and ampersand are not words you normally hear a Friday night bar crowd singing lustily, but you do when John K Samson is the one rocking the house.
We toasted Gump Worsley. We sang the entire first verse of Left and Leaving without any vocal assistance from JKS. One couple, both still in puffy winter jackets, slow-danced to Night Windows. It was a quintessential Canadian moment.
For the final song of the encore, Samson made his way across the packed floor, stood on the bar with his guitar and led us in a rendition of Virtute the Cat Explains Her Disappearance. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
I first discovered Alice Munro when I was in my twenties. Despite being a Winnipeger, I found immediate resonance in her tales of life in small town Ontario, lives primarily of girls and women. The fact that she wrote about female coming of age with a searingly unsentimental yet deeply profound voice, felt at times as though she was writing my life. I quickly devoured everything she had ever written, and then moved on.
I recently stumbled upon Runaway - Munro's 2004 collection of short stories - at the library, realized it had been years since I had read any Alice Munro, and took it home.
Some of the stories in Runaway follow the same characters over time, geography, and circumstance. I love the continuity in that approach, mainly because my main objection with Alice Munro's short stories is that, although they are as fully realized and as deep as any novel, I miss the characters when the story is done. It's comforting to see them return to the pages, older, and though not necessarily wiser, certainly with a different understanding of life.
The final story in Runaway, although a single story, is divided into chapters and spans 50 years. Perhaps another reason that Alice Munro's writing keeps resonating with me is that just as I read her coming of age stories as a young woman, I now find something of myself echoed in her current stories about women of a certain age.
Munro is at her very finest when she writes of the small tragedies of life, those often unexamined minor twists of fate that subtly but irrevocably tinge the future. Those missed encounters, those lies we tell ourselves, those misunderstandings that are never resolved - these are the currency of Munro's stories.
The collection of stories in Runaway enthralled me, moved me, and left me slightly wistful but much richer for having read them. You really should read them too.
Monday, April 09, 2012
In university I always seemed to write an exam on Easter Monday, so spending the day shuffling papers and cyphering business expenses is pleasant by contrast. Besides, it's Get Your Own Damn Supper Day, compliments of the noble bird who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to grace our table last night. Even if turkey weren't so incredibly delicious, it would still be my favourite meat, just for the leftover possibilities it offers. If I play my cards right, I can get away with only having to prepare supper three times this week. Don't tell the Spousal Unit.
He's got meetings on the wet coast next week, so I am tagging along on an air miles flight and crashing for free in his hotel room. I won't get to see much of the OFKAR, as she will be writing exams, but I will help her move a few boxes into temporary storage at a friend's place. There is a week's lag between when she has to move out of the Non-Judgment Zone and when she takes over the lease on the new digs.
I can't wait to do a walk-by of NJZ 2.0. It looks to be perfectly situated, close to the university, bus, shops and Pacific Spirit Regional Park. It will be hard, not having the OFKAR come home for the summer, but knowing she is set up with housing for the year, with good roommates, will make the silence of home a little less jarring.
Thursday, April 05, 2012
- my Calgary 2012 Cultural Ambassador bling. It was a real down-home shit-kicker of a media launch yesterday, complete with poet laureate Kris Demeanor leading us in a battle for chorus supremacy singalong of Sweet City Woman. (The filmer was right in front of me, you may just hear me singing)
- dark purple toe nails, almost black. I feel so secretly goth.
- heart palpitations over the breaking news that Jeff Mangum is playing the Calgary Folk Festival this year. In the same media release, came the news that Iron & Wine and Randy Newman are also coming to the festival. I always get Iron & Wine mixed up with that other heavily-bearded dude Bon Iver, so while I know I saw one of them at the folk festival a couple of years ago, I couldn't really tell you which one. Also I can't hear the name Randy Newman without thinking of that Family Guy episode where Randy Newman sings about everything that he sees.
- finished reading Ruth Rendell's The Vault, but am feeling a tad too lazy to give it a proper review. I really should, because I enjoyed it thoroughly and found it to be a completely satisfying Inspector Wexford mystery. How about a Twitteresque review, instead? Read it.
Monday, April 02, 2012
We had decided upon a Korean menu, but, besides picking up a tub of kimchee from the nearest Korean restaurant, the only Korean dish I had previously prepared was beef bulgogi. A stroll through the internet netted me instructions to prepare:
- kongnamool (soybean sprouts), which I initially thought I turned into something capable of causing nuclear meltdown when I substituted hot chili oil for Korean chili powder, but after it denatured in the fridge for a couple of hours, it was actually super good.
- pa jun (scallion pancakes) which at the last minute I struck from the menu, when it became evident that we already had far too much food.
- jap chae glass noodles, which, interestingly, our guests brought as well. Exact same recipe too. There was definitely no shortage of noodles, although our friends made theirs with sweet potato noodles from a Korean grocery store, while I made mine with bean noodles from Co-op. They won the authenticity contest, hands down.
I feel sorry for you that you couldn't join us, because it really was a fine evening. To soften the blow somewhat, how about if I share my top secret bulgogi recipe with you?
Feel better now?