Archive for November, 2009

You know you live in a shithole when…

It’s not when the roof starts leaking for the second time in six months, in the same spot.

It’s not when the roofers say “we tried, but its such a mess up there its hard to know if you’ve fixed anything”

It’s when the neighbor says in stilted English “who need fix roof, free shower” and laughs leaving you in misery in the elevator.

Is it possible to have another thought about Facebook

Like most of my age group, I’ve been on Facebook (the social network they are talking about when they talk about social networks) for the past 5 years or so. While its still a media phenomenon and despite the fact that a teenager I know recently told me that what I thought was the next big thing, twitter, was only for old people and that Facebook was still where its at, I thought Facebook had more or less run its course for me as many of my friends have completely lost interest and don’t even bother to update the city they are in.

Turns out I can still be surprised. While it didn’t surprise me at all when my mom, my aunts and even my professors joined my social network, I was a little surprised to get friended but Laura, the other “new girl, outsider” in my class in Sicily while I was a high school exchange student. I had been facebook friends with my host sisters from Sicily for several years, but they are all super international so it was no surprise that they were connected. It has been my experience that Facebook has moved a little slower around the world in all groups expect that extremely international, English speaking group my host sisters belonged to.

Nonetheless, I friended Laura, no second thoughts. When I started thinking twice was when someone in Laura’s network, Paulo, friended me. It’s embarassing to say that it took me nearly a day to remember a person I spent a year sitting in class with, but it did and I only remebered after I started digging into their friends and realized that by friending Laura I had connected to a whole year of my high school life, almost everyone I had socialized with in Sicily was part of this friend network.

I recently heard a professor who had interviewed his graduate students about facebook (most of whom are probably my age) say that what was most amazing to them about was that they could connect to almost anyone they had ever met. This is an odd realization to the next generation (more on that later) who takes this for granted, but its astounding for my generation, being on the edge of the precipice as we are.

While my Sicilian friends and I exchanged addresses and e-mails when I left Sicily I don’t think we ever really planned on staying in touch. I don’t think I sent more than one letter nor did I receive more than one. With my regular high school classmates I suppose I expected to see them again either visiting my family or going to a reunion in some distant future. The Sicilians I didn’t think I would. Here in lies the extreme power of the distant closeness in Facebook.

 

bike fix’n

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

I am a theoretical believer in do it yourself. Colin, is a hard and fast do it yourselfer. He rarely buys anything and half the time he buys stuff who’s sole puropse is to take care of what he already owns. Today I took a step closer to realty from my theoretical hold.

Now I can change the oil in my car (thanks Robert) and I can change my own tires, but I haven’t been driving much, I’ve been biking. And though I was under the impression that, because bikes didn’t need gas, they didn’t need any maintenance at all, it turns out that they need quite a bit when you ride them everyday in the winter. So today I changed my own brakes for the first time as well as tightening all the other little things about my bike.

Really, if you bike because it makes you feel self sufficient, providing your own power and all, you should really know how to fix and maintain all the simple parts on your bike. After all it’s a purely mechanical machine. Now, I’m not really all the way there, but man, are the resources in place. Check out the website filled with bike fixing tutorials like the one featured above.

Rear derailer here I come.

Please don’t ruin this book

I finally decided to take a look at the trailer for The Road, the new film based on the book by Cormac McCarthy. I have long been a fan of McCarthy’s dark dark worlds but this book sunk me into utter depression for the two days it took me to read. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest waiting until a beautiful sunny day when your favorite flowers are blooming and you have lemonade and Pimm’s in ready supply.

So if you cant tell, that’s a rave review for the book and the trailer makes me a little worried about the movie. The trailer is bright and dramatic, filled with stunning desolation and destruction. This is bad. Its not that I don’t like stunning destruction- I, like everyone, do enjoy seeing CGI of chaos carnate. I just don’t think that is what the book was about. To me what was so disturbing about the book is that the surroundings weren’t’t awful/ awe-full, but that is was just nothing, just without life and meaning, but not destroyed… because in the book the death of the world is kinda a mystery. Colin pointed out that the book doesn’t really point out what the scenery is like and whether things are really destroyed or just bleakly dying. I would argue however that McCarthy’s style of writing implies the second.

Also the cinematography is so rich and the dialogue in the clips so dramatically delivered. I would rather the film be in the vein of the recently released Gomorrah. That is the first film I’ve seen where the mafia isn’t portrayed with even a bit of glamor and daring and you don’t feel even a tinge of a desire to be a gangster even for a second. What you learn in Gomorrah is that Italy has white trash (I knew this, but it does go against commonly held belief about Italians) and that the mafia sucks, plain out right sucks for pretty much everyone involved. That’s what The Road needs to portray…the apocalypse sucks- straight up.

There is hope, trailers often mislead people and Viggo Mortensen, who scared the crap out of me in A History of Violence. So I still might see it.

 

chickens?

cat

potential chicken killer

I finally put my garden to rest for the winter. The balcony is sadly barren with nothing but strawberries and marigolds left out there. The balcony desolation does bring a beautiful stream of light onto my desk as the tilt of the earth moves away from the sun and as long as it stays away from my computer screen things are good. I threw a cover crop mix into my boxes, newly and more safely reattached to to the balcony. I’m not sure if I’ll be here for the summer, but I want my garden ready if I am. Plus the rye and legumes might add some nice green before things freeze up. I know, it’s mid- November, but they are sprouting to my surprise.

I despretely want to fill out our from-scratch living (growing veggies, making beer (with our own hops), baking bread, biking everywhere) with some chickens. I know they can’t live on the 12 x 4 balcony but I’m thinking the roof is a good place for a chicken coop. I might run it past the landlord and hopefully he doesn’t know its illegal to have chickens on less then an acre in Vancouver. Only other problem might be our cat, who has managed to kill two birds this season even though her only access to the outdoors is the balcony and roof.

The other option towards becoming a 19th century peasant would be to learn to make my own clothes… that might happen, someday, but I doubt I can make anything cheaper or better than I can buy it from China.

Solid second

November2009 046

Its difficult to get back into things that you have put aside for a while… perhaps even more difficult than starting anew, so I’m going to, after this sentence, pretend that I haven’t not been blogging for the past 3+ months.

It seems as though things are finally coming to a settling point after a busy summer that just bled into fall. A model for the social housing competition kept that to-do on my list long after the official win. Apparently when you win things it means you have to do more work. I will be reconsidering the goal of winning things.

Second place seems to be a nice comfy spot for me though. In addition to the design competition, my rowing crew won second in our last two races of the season. Even though the days are too short now to row during the week, we put together an 8 about 7 weeks ago and we’ve been training pretty intensively since then. This past weekend we raced in Seattle¬† and a few weeks ago we had 2 races in Victoria. All three got us 2nd place.¬† Getting back into rowing has given me another look at the city, both from the water and through people who aren’t students trapped in the architecture building at UBC. I’m really liking the women I row with and comradery of the club. It can get pretty sentimental and sappy (refer to previous sentence) when you have all that adrenaline running through your body, but none the less.

I’m thinking of taking up fly fishing though I’m not sure where my startup funds will come from. There’s a sport that has no winning, except belly filling winning and its just one more thing to do in the beautiful outdoors that doesn’t involve too much potential for me getting hurt.