Wednesday, October 31, 2007

feels like home to me

so as of this thursday, i will have my own studio apartment for one year's time in the neighbourhood of lower kitsilano, vancouver.

i've finally landed. and for better or worse, i'm here until november 2008.

i'll be back posting soon, i promise.

[ music | echo & the bunnymen, "lips like sugar" ]

Thursday, October 25, 2007

detonation boulevard

things i did during my five-day trip to los angeles, california:

- slept an uncomfortable hour on the floor of the seattle-tacoma airport;
- vowed to never ever ever fly united airlines or any of its subsidiary airlines because they have now granted me two shaky and terrifying flight experiences (although granted, i was running on about twenty-eight hours without sleep at that point, so my mind was in a less than competant state);
- was entirely disappointed by in-n-out burger's sorry attempt at a "veggie burger" (which, to them, consituted some lettuce and tomato on a bun with sauce);
- watched a shitload of bad horror movies with bre;
- finally realized my dream of experiencing the american mall-goth phenomenon that is hot topic, and spent over $100 there to boot;
- found the tome-like depeche mode biography (stripped: the true story of depeche mode) that i'd been impossibly searching for in canada, and have since read all 600 pages;
- absorbed as much vitamin d as possible to make up for what i'd be missing back in the rainy grayness of vancouver (even though i ended up with a slight sunburn on my shoulders for my efforts);
- walked the sunset strip and ate dinner at the rainbow room;
- conquered the greater los angeles transit system (albeit with some help from kindly bus drivers who took pity on two obviously lost young ladies);
- avoided brushfires, crazies, and the general foreboding scariness that is downtown los angeles after dark;
- made friends with a number of the montebello neighbourhood cats;
- walked all over the stars on hollywood boulevard;
- shopped at hollywood & highland (site of yet another hot topic);
- was introduced to a number of american foodstuff delicacies, such as snapea crisps, mini-cups of ben & jerry's, multi-v vitamin water, tecate beer, cold stone creamery, and way better rice cakes than we have in canada (i also got to indulge in my favourite america-only candy, starburst jellybeans, which i usually have to beg chicagoan adam to mail to me);
- seriously considered getting tattooed at 1 a.m. - i've wanted to get the words never let me down again inked on my inner left forearm for a couple months now - at one of the many parlours in west hollywood still open at that hour;
- had my canadian accent made fun of quite often, but all in good humour;
- found what may quite possibly be shanghai cowgirl's american equal in toi (awesome late-night rock n' roll thai food joint where i swigged jagermeister in the washroom while snapping photos of pro-britrock graffiti);
- made eyes at the boys on hollywood & vine;
- laughed at the drunken girls attempting to perform sexy pole dances at spider club;
- came up with a number of retarded and oft-repeated in-jokes with bre over the course of the weekend (including, but not limited to, exploding toilets, getting shanked, biblical salvation, the fetus-free zone, and "cesar. e. chavez.")
- tried not to cry and/or exchange my plane ticket home for a bus ticket when it was delayed due to not one but two "service maintenance errors";
- and so on, and so forth.

here are a small amount of accompanying visuals:

wings over california

modelling my new wedge cap, probably around forty-five hours without sleep

montebello mall gets into the halloween spirit

corner of hollywood & vine

capital records hq

grauman's chinese theatre at hollywood & highland

sneaky little minx

fun graffiti in toi's washroom

this is a city i can appreciate

bre's and my favourite kitty friend, mya of lincoln & 2nd avenue

yeah it's 4 a.m. in a speeding car...

americans really get into halloween

we found these on the curb by bre's house (and, of course, claimed them for ourselves). only in los angeles...

in sum total, there was no point to this trip, really; it was more to get away for a few days, see some of the american west coast now that i'm a denizen of the canadian west, and of course to see my american little sister, bre, whom i've been friends with for four years and hadn't seen for over a year (far too long in our books). we partied, we drank, we bonded and we had a hell of a time.

as for the city of los angeles itself, it doesn't quite top the glory of new york city or my beloved chicago, but it was a pretty damn good time. might be more fun in the future if there were actually a set reason for me to head down there - like, say, a choice concert or two - but otherwise, it was a cool american metropolis. and i have a definite weakness for those.

tellingly, though, bre asked me a very wise question on my last morning in l.a.: "does it even feel like you're going home?"

and then, followed by my mother on the phone this evening: "are you really enjoying it there?"

....i got scared today. like, really scared. but i'm hanging on - reminding myself that being out of my comfort zone is exactly what i wanted, it's what i asked for, so it's time to take it like an adult - and so the apartment hunt starts tomorrow.

i'm staying, because this is something i have to do.

[ music | the cure, "alt.end" ]

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

some kind of stranger

had one of those weird reflective moments today.

i was heading back downtown from metrotown on the skytrain this morning - new-job shuffle between locations - and it just kind of hit me how similar everything was, no matter how different my world is now. but for today, it was the colours of the autumn leaves, the chill in the air, the tang of strong coffee, dave gahan's voice intoning the lyrics of "never let me down again" into my ears, the world rushing by, that all made me remember those days. it feels like a lifetime ago, but i do remember.

...i wish you could tell me why i'm here. but i don't think you know the answer to that any more than i do. so i'm not going to go find you again, and i'm not going to ask.

i leave for los angeles in two days.

[ music | interpol, "untitled" ]

Sunday, October 14, 2007

lipstick and cigarettes

news first, because like i said before, old habit:

idolator sums up the best parts of johnny rotten's recent gobfest. i saw him do a keynote speech at nxne a few years back and it was hysterical. i can respect.

my new neighbour (haha not quite), matthew good, has got a hit cd on his hands. this makes me happy, because no matter how much of a purported asshole he is, i will openly admit that his singing has made me cry more often than any other vocalist. i used to be a complete fucking mess when i listened to "avalanche".

paul mccartney hits out at bass players. fat guy at the back? isn't that usually the drummer? (don't mind me, i can get so eye-rollingly anti-drummer that i swear my next band will have a drum machine -- "sure, they don't have souls, but neither do actual human drummers")

i'm kind of sort of in love with the taste police right now. what can i say, i'm rereading a lot of chuck klosterman right now, and that's the closest canadian equivalent as far as i can see. hopefully i'll be able to put books back in the monthly entertainment budget, because:

i got the barista job. i start training tomorrow; they need me in there so badly that i'm only getting a couple days of training, but both they and i think that'll do fine, since i've already got experience and all. (granted, it's starbucks experience, but it's better than nothing) plus it's full-time hours, it's right in downtown vancouver, it pays decently well along with tips, and i get medical coverage and holiday pay after my three-month probation is over. sounds like a good deal. now, to prevent myself from falling into any of my usual work-life pitfalls (and to not let my consuming new-job jitters freak me out too much, as they always tend to)...i have the dangerous tendency to let my work and my hours control my life, and i really don't want to get back into that old trap of having my entire life structured around when i work. that sucked in toronto and i'm pretty sure it would suck here.

anyway, this means i have something like an action plan: train at new job this week, go to los angeles from friday until next tuesday (i had to tell the new bosses that i had a "wedding and family get-together" in l.a., because i don't know if they'd condone "i'm going drinking and partying on the strip with friends" as a feasible excuse for skipping town for five days), and when i get back, do up a budget to assess how much income i'm going to be pulling in monthly. then, the apartment hunt begins. ooooh.

meanwhile, in the hours that i haven't been wiling away at my temporary home watching depeche mode dvds (although i haven't watched too much of devotional yet; i can't really take too much of dave's chris cornell phase. no scruff!), i've been doing as much walking as my legs will allow. this is a city that's very much suited to walkers, despise the ridiculous amounts of steep hills in north van. (as i said to jenna, "i'd better have a fantastic ass after a few months of this.") but the sights you get are definitely worth it -- the mountains here are so gorgeous, they make me want to fucking cry. i'm gonna take photos soon, i swear.

on the opposite end, i did the metropolis yesterday -- walked around downtown aimlessly at midnight last night, clad in a lip service punk jacket and a nautical wedge cap i bought at an army surplus store, listening to joy division and interpol and matt good, trying to make sense of all of this. it was an experience i definitely needed - wandering amongst the faceless saturday-night crowds, surrounded by the lights and noise of central vancouver, the city that's now my home - but i don't think i came to any conclusions. not yet, anyway. or at least not any that i want to admit to.

...i ran into an old friend the other night. well...if "friend" is an accurate description for him. i suppose it'll do, barring me having to go into any long stories that i have no interest in sharing. suffice to say, it made me want a dozen cigarettes, or to cling to him, or maybe just to simultaneously laugh and hide in a very large hole from mortification. the drama never trails far behind me, you know.

i left that photograph in kingston, buried deep in one of my storage bins. thank god.

p.s. listening to the sisters' song "some kind of stranger" breaks my heart into a thousand fucking pieces. just thought i'd share. (actually, pretty much everything on first and last and always destroys me inside. i don't care that the production isn't the best, the music and vocals are just soul-wrenching and absolutely perfect listening for late autumn)

[ music | big wreck, "blown wide open" ]

Thursday, October 11, 2007

life on the other side

oh yeah, and basically all the music i've been listening to since i got here has been either depeche mode or the sisters of mercy. i really don't know what to make of that (vancouver to me is synth-rock and foxy goths?), but there you go.

so now i'm left with the dilemma of what to do with this blog. i've closed and now there is this distance, if you're one of those readers who've been checking on both, but now i'm at a crossroads as to what to do with my new endeavour. when i started this distance back in december 2004, i was more or less determined to make it a pop-culture and music news blog, because i was coming off of four years of keeping a personal online diary (diaryland holla) and i wasn't sure if i wanted to put that much of my life online. not only did i worry about voyeurs and stalkers (i'd had - and have had - a few of those), but to me, it just seemed vaguely...egotistical, i guess, to assume that people would want to read about me and my life. pop culture linkage would be safer, plus people like music (and i like attracting readers who like music), and probably more entertaining, and i could just toss in bits of my personal workings here and there.

however, what i didn't count on with my last blog was how many people actually found my life interesting.

and it is an untypical sort of life, i guess. i've done a lot of crazy shit in my twenty-four years, and by the looks of things (ie. my propensity to never want to live a normal life), it's not going to slow down. i mean, come on -- i just essentially tossed everything away and moved to the other side of the country with a backpack. what can i say, i was bored.

but, old habits die hard. so...

in case you hadn't heard, a little album from some unknown band named "radiohead" was released yesterday. digitally, of course, without a label and without a set price, hence all the hype and confetti. i'm still not one to comment on radiohead - i maintain that i'm probably the last music critic on the planet to get into radiohead; my liking of them remains lukewarm at best - so let the stereogum readership take it away! they stayed up all night waiting for it, you know. damn time zone differences. (no, really -- damn time zone differences. i'm three hours behind the rest of the developed world and it's bizarre.)

via idolator: naked headbanger fined by police. i'm more curious as to what he was listening to in order to provoke such bacchanalia. quiet riot? tesla?

news on the new nine inch nails remix lp. seriously, trent seems like one totally cool motherfucker. would like to interview asap thnx.

speaking of interviews, mashup of the year: pete doherty interviews sir paul mccartney. jenna and i just simultaneously went "whaaaaaaat" while looking at the photo right now.

now, a brief word on the environment here: it's intense. like, total forest-hippie, mountain ranges, west-coast ocean shit. i'm currently crashing in north vancouver, which means that i've got pretty much all of the view, and on the days when it's not raining (actually, even on the days when it is raining), it's as stunning as everybody says it is. on my birthday, i went for a three-hour walk to the nearest supermarket (well, okay, there were closer ones, but i have gift cards for that one, and free groceries are a hell yes in my book), and all i could see ahead of me were big mountains and trees, backed by gradient skies like i'd only even seen in graphics programs. i swear, this whole place is like living in the final fantasy universe or something -- it's all winding paths and rivers flowing under bridges and weird plant life. it's like nowhere i've ever seen, which is unsurprising since i've only lived in one mideastern province my entire life, but still.

i don't know why i came here, exactly.

(oh sweetheart, you liar, just today you thought you saw-)

but i figure it's as good a place as any.

job interview at 4:30 today. full-time barista position at a downtown cafe, unsurprisingly. i know i ought to be taking at least a little break from the crazy workaholicism, but i don't like not having income coming in regularly -- makes me uneasy. oh well, wish me luck.

[ music | depeche mode, "enjoy the silence 04" (reinterpreted by mike shinoda) ]

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

just breathe

(i find it kind of fitting that i'm christening this new blog on my twenty-fourth birthday. which means i'm in my twenty-fifth year now, and that makes me feel all kinds of old.)

ten things i am going to do now that i live in vancouver, british columbia:

1. learn how to fucking drive already;
2. get a decent-paying day job that a) i don't hate and b) won't take up my entire life and/or suck my soul out;
3. go down the coast to los angeles as much as humanely possible;
4. write. a lot. all the time. in as many different genres and formats as i can. try to get some of it published in any print institution that'll have me;
5. eat a shitload of quality japanese food;
6. try some occupation completely out of the ordinary for me (possibilities: cooking, modelling, djing);
7. buy a used bass guitar, learn how to play, join/start a band;
8. go out more often;
9. stay on something like a budget until i'm making enough income to be reasonably comfortable (i.e. not broke);
10. figure out what it takes for me to be happy.

so, if that list is any indication, yes, i made it to vancouver, and i'm currently typing this from jenna's apartment in north van. after a five-hour plane ride on saturday night that reminded me how entirely unpreferable it is for me to set foot on an airplane (sample of my inner monologue from yesterday: "oh god, i hate life. i hate myself. why do i do these things? why can't i just fucking teleport there or something? i hate life. get me out of here oh my god i think i'm going to die"), not to mention i've been laid out since saturday by one of the worst sinus colds i've ever had (seriously, i haven't been this fucking sick in ages), i'm still amazed that i finally made it. (and also, uh, kind of regretting the fact that i even went to montreal last week, because now i have my heart set on living there. goddammit, idiot, make up your mind)

i'm also trying really hard not to let the panic set in. i've really never been without a safety net of sorts, you know? i've never lived this far from home, i've never had a place of my own, i haven't been unemployed since i was seventeen. the magnitude of the things i have to do now is a little intimidating: get a decent job, earn enough money to move off of jenna's couch hopefully by november, and be able to stand on my own two feet by then (ie. furnish a new place, pay my bills, get everything off the ground without stumbling). i won't lie, it's pretty daunting, and i'm one of those people who needs stability and comfort in some parts of her life. comes from being a control freak.

but i guess that's my point, and that's why i chose to do this: to unlearn all that. to learn how to be more adaptable, and to learn what i really need and what i don't need to survive. i think we tend to get a skewed vision of "necessity" as we get accustomed to certain things in our lifestyles, and i suppose it's all a part of being human to get scared when you're taken out of your comfort zone -- which i what i've done to myself. but see, i've long since realized that that's what you need to do if you want to grow and develop at all. staying in the comfort zone is nice for a while, but it ultimately gets you nowhere. so now i'm forced to learn how to budget my time and money and how to live under circumstances i've never been in before.

(granted, i'm not exactly sure how conducive it was to my savings account to buy not one but two depeche mode concert dvds - devotional and touring the angel, if you must know - but hey, i'm on a kick lately. now, to try and keep my cravings for a new tattoo at bay at least until i get a job...)

oh yeah, and another slight plus is the fact that i've already got a job interview next week -- at a downtown chapters store. i always get hypnotized by the amount of books and magazines when i'm in there, so i think i could enjoy working there. (well, if they pay me enough and give me full-time hours, that is. no, i'm not demanding.)

so, all is not hopeless. a new place and a new life are supposed to be hopeful, i know, but i've always been the poster child for the line from "tonight romanticize the automobile" by hawksley workman: "i'll believe you then / but you know me and i / i always think the worst." and that's just another thing i need to unlearn, i suppose -- i've got to teach myself how to have more faith in myself, and things working out the way they're supposed to. they always have so far, after all.

okay, that's enough from me for now. give me a yell in the comment box and let me know you're still with me.

[ music | the sisters of mercy, "vision thing" ]