Monday, March 27, 2006 ______________________________________________________________________________

Procrastination and Coincidences 

You'll have to forgive me. I dislike rambling posts with no point as much as the next person, but there are times when I can't resist. Like right now, for example. I'd much rather put my thoughts on the page than write that max 5 page report on the effect of viewing distance on Panum's fusional area.

You know, I don't care what happens to Panum's fucking area if I decide to sit too close to the computer screen wearing red-green 3D glasses. Just thought I'd share that sentiment. Who knows? Maybe I'll find someone else out there who feels the same way. Then maybe I wouldn't feel quite so bad about it.

You know, I've been in Vancouver a good long time now. Haven't really been able to stay in touch with that many people. A while ago, not too long after I started this blog, I started blog hopping and got in touch with a bunch of my ex-classmates, just because they linked to each other. Then there were the people who always stayed on MSN. I lost all touch with the people on my ICQ list, just because ICQ was starting to grate on my nerves. I stopped using it without having the foresight to check if the people on my list also used MSN, whether they too were making the migration. Apart from that handful of people, I haven't really been able to say that I have too much of a connection to my past in Singapore. That's regrettable to say the least.

I could go on about the whys and wherefores, assign blame and tell you my reasons for still being a little bitter about the move, but you've all heard it before and I'm dead sure that no one's clamouring to hear about it again. The only reason I brought it up is that I wanted to point out how strange it is that it never rains, but pours. After going all that time, being stranded out here in the backwaters of the Pacific I've heard from people who knew me when I was in Singapore.

I guess two people don't count as a torrential downpour, but two people in as many days still counts for something, I guess. Not to mention that since even a trickle here counts as rain (as I have lamented countless times before, we in the Pacific Northwest don't even get storms, let alone proper monsoons) I'll say that it's pouring.

The first is obvious to the immediately observant. Amy, a senior from the RGS choir has blog-hopped her way here. I read her blog and remembered who she was from a photograph of her handwriting on her blog, of all possible things. Can't believe she remembered who I was (I was sec 1 when she was sec 4). Kinda flattered that she did. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

The second came from the most unexpected of places. A subject came in today (and due to the ethics that I signed and the confidentiality agreements and all that blah blah blah I really shouldn't - and won't - post her name) who comes from Singapore. (We have all subjects fill out a questionnaire, which includes "hometown".) One year below me, she was in RGS until 2000 (when she transferred to an international school and I graduated). Crazy. We didn't know each other in school, but we were both stunned at how people turn up in the most unexpected of places.

Maybe it's one of those situational vortex things, where as I'm getting closer and closer to the vacation this summer (the analog to the black hole), situations involving the life I had in Singapore will turn up in ever more densely packed pockets. I know, I've been watching too much Red Dwarf. God help me I can't stop.

posted by Joie! at 11:57 p.m.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006 ______________________________________________________________________________


I can't believe I'm using the word "ennui". Worse, I can't believe that I'm actually identifying with it to a larger extent that I care to admit in public. I used to think that the word ennui was yuppie and pretentious. The kind of sentiment that is kicked around by people with trust funds in posh private schools, who wear nautical blazers and take drags on cigarettes that dangle from their limply held lips while discussing how everything is so passé, or worse, bourgeoisie. People who like to make an exhibit of their apathy. "Oh everyone, look at me! I don't care in the least! I am so disinterested! Isn't it something that I can be so unattached and uninterested in life, the universe and everything? Oh please say yes..."

Actually, up until Lisa was tramping around with ennui (or was it purple_ennui? or was it purple_afterglow?) as her screen name a while back, I didn't even know what the definition of ennui was. I had to ask her. Her response is what gave rise to my initial impressions of the word, not that she sits around darkened cafes that pretend to be dank and dirty and orders short long blacks while carrying around battered looking books of poetry she in truth has never read nor cares to appreciate, it's more that I never was able to fully understand how anyone could possibly have "A feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction arising from lack of interest; boredom."

My thoughts were that if one were bored, they were free (and this is especially true of places privileged enough for people to develop ennui in the first place) to find something that would engage them. Free to find a new hobby, develop a new passion. Free, in short, to shake the "lack of interest; boredom" that brings about the "feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction". If you are too disinterested to do even that, well then, there's nothing anyone in the world can do for you, nor is there anyone in the world willing to care about you either. Well, that's how I feel about the situation, anyway.

Until recently. I've discovered that ennui is possible even in a self-motivated individual with healthy and engaging hobbies and addictions. Oh geez, it's not like that. I'm not saying that now I've turned into a bored, self-pitying prick but that the transformation is entirely not my fault but rather that of life, the universe and everything. I'm saying that, yeah, I'm pretty beleaguered by ennui right now and there's nothing I can do about it. Well, there is, but it would involve making several very stupid and impulsive choices - choices, frankly, that I don't have the balls to make. You could also say that despite the raging ennui (I like that, raging_ennui - it's alot edgier than peachsorbet, that's for damn sure) I'm still a sensible enough person to not completely quit school, although I am quite appalled at how much I am happy? complacent? content? to let my academics slip (this close to the finish line at that!).

I am bored, disinterested, I want out. I am tired, I am malcontent. I want to be able to complete crochet projects in one sitting (something that requires long stretches of uninterrupted time) because picking up a piece to work on mid-way is unsettling and disorienting. I want to be able to drink my way through the top 100 wines for under $20 (an invaluable book that Jim and I received from Brian for Christmas), repeating the ones we liked as many times as we would like with no thought to progressing on to other labels because we know we can have another wine, another night; being able to cook up the occassionally elaborate dishes that the book recommends to have with the wine. To be able to do this without thought to the hours "wasted" while intoxicated or the resultant loss of function the next day. I want to be able to keep the house as I want it, not to allow it to languish during the week and to hasten it into a half-assed clean up on the weekend. I don't want to have to clean on the weekend. No, that's not right - I don't want to have to make a distinction between weekend and weekday. I want to be able to smoke cigars while walking along the waterfront in the middle of a Wednesday, after waking up to the mid-morning sunlight battling its way through our thick drapes with Jim still comatose beside me. I want to be able to give Fort all the attention he wants, when he wants it.

See, I already know damn well how to break my ennui. Am I able to do it? Maybe in a couple of months, which I realise is alot more than most people with my "stick in the mud" variety ennui can say. How about now though? How about my crochet projects? How about the large, elaborate meals I would like to prepare? How about the lazy mornings and long walks that are dictated not by the careful calculation of available time, balanced against the pressing obligations, but by the weather? How about it? Fuck ennui.

posted by Joie! at 10:48 a.m.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006 ______________________________________________________________________________

For Just another 50 cents 

I resent the insiduous tactics various vendors employ to have you part with more of your money. If I only want to buy one unit of a single item, that is my perogative and I should not have to be assaulted by bulk discounts or strongarmed by offers such as "buy one get one free" - not to be confused with it's more agreeable counterpart the "50% off merchandise".

It's obvious what they are doing. They are overpricing single units to force you to get the most for your money. But why shouldn't I get the most for my money upfront? I mean seriously, take the shipping rates for example. For $1.50 more than I would pay for ground shipping (which would take 4-6 weeks, by then no one would be interested in whatever there was to be shipped. Think about it, postcards sent while on vacation accompanied by some tacky, cheap souvenir would arrive after everyone's tired of looking at photos of said vacation.) I can have my package shipped by air: 7-10 business days, if you please. That's just for international shipping, which, oddly enough is cheaper that shipping within Canada. For shipping within this great nation, which surely is less serviced than the many international locations to which the great $7.30 air shipping rate applies (the remote Nicaraguan mountain ranges, the foothills of the Andes, that bit of Russia that bends around and touches about every other known country) an extra $1 gets your package there in 2 days rather than a rather excruciating 2 weeks. I mean why would you not shell out the extra dollars? Heck in mailing two packages out today (one to a remote international location - a longkang somewhere in the East Coast of Singapore *heh* - and another to a fellow Canadian albeit out East) I've spent less than I would on a latte (which seems to be the standard currency for monetary comparison nowadays) to get my packages to their wards while they were still salient - something rather important in this era od instant communication. Heck, if I were made to wait 4-6 wees for anything, I wouldn't. I'm already annoyed that Survivor has decided to make me wait 2 weeks for a fresh installment, 3 weeks if you count that the last episode was a clip show with new material that was better left on the cutting room floor, which I gather it was in the first place. Lousy revival of sub-par material. I think they should've kept the discovery of the hidden immunity idol from us and trotted it out in the fake episode. That would have made it worthwhile. But who am I to say anything - I watched the whole episode, just the same.

I digress.

I really resent how people selling truly worthless trinkets tell you that it's 1 for $3, 2 for $5 and 3 for $6. I mean really, by the last count, you're on a buy 2 get 1 free deal, which is a huge rip. You end up buying things you'll never going to use because hey, for that much more you might as well get it. I'm wearing this ridiculous puffy hair tie right now because I didn't have the foresight to carry one with me today. I will admit that I was drawn to it because it has a puff ball on it that feels good when you touch it. Alright fine. I'm touching it now. But my point is that this thing could not have cost the vendor anymore than 25 cents at the most. All her stuff is so night market that you know she's just hoarding all these bits and bobbles from her frequent trips home to see her parents in some Asian nation with cheap bits and bobbles threatening to flood the streets and make the traffic worse than it already is. But here she is, selling a hair elastic with a puff ball attached for 1 for $3, 2 for $5...I looked her in the eye and said that I would relieve her of her wares for $2 - and that I would only take ONE, that's right ONE hair tie.

She giggled and gave me a look that clearly said "hey, you must be from one of those Asian nations where cheap bits and bobbles threaten to flood the streets and make the traffic worse than it already is." She tried even to imply a conspiratorial "don't let the white folk in on this scam" but I would have none of that. I paid without returning her gaze and left. The shame, the nerve of some people. I shouldn't complain though, she could have refused my offer and I would have been saddled with a second hair tie whose colour would prevent me from ever using it in order to keep my hair out of my face. Then again, I could've tried to pawn it off in one of the Craftster unconditional swaps. Lots of people ask for "a surprise"... but I'm pretty sure that that's not what they typically have in mind, neccessarily.

It's even worse when you're shopping for a household of two. Just what the hell did you think I was going to do with 7kg of breakfast cereal? Feed the fucking homeless? Sorry, they make me feel bad enough the way the congregate outside the liquor store and look at you as if to say that if you can afford the luxury of alcohol surely you can afford them a meal. Besides, with all the foot traffic they've planted themselves beside (and if there's anything Donald Trump has taught me is that foot traffic is key to success) I'm going home to enjoy my wine without handing off my change, which I use to tip my favourite fishmonger with because he proudly gives that to the United Way...which is an organization which helps the homeless. *sigh* there are some days you just can't win.

posted by Joie! at 1:32 p.m.


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