Friday, January 23, 2004

Of Montreal

I recently got back from a 2 1/2 day trip to Montreal to visit Liz (and, to a lesser extent, Melissa and Alex). It was a much-needed break from work and life and grad school applications. If I wanted to go to Concordia before, my desire has quadrupled after my visit to the possible-city-of-my-future. Here's why Montreal is cool:

-beautiful old architecture
-more delis and cafes per block than would ever be neccessary
-beer bongs
-freakishly attractive, well-dressed people everywhere
-French signs, French menus, French bookstores - years spent in French immersion started to come back to me (but only a little)
-I know at least FOUR people who live there. That's DOUBLE the amount of people I know in Toronto!
-just a cool vibe, all-around

In other news, I'm a legitimate music critic all of a sudden.

How in the hell did I wind up in the company of Nicholas Jennings, Howie Druckman, Ben Rayner and Bill Welychka, you may ask? I believe it is a combination of sheer dumb luck and my rare gift for making people believe that I know far more about music than I actually do.

(Now Playing: "Wellington's Wednesdays", The Weakerthans)

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Five Easy Steps to Illicitly Acquiring an ISIC Card for Fun and Profit

Step One:

Leave your moral scruples at the door. Justify your actions by telling yourself that train tickets are incredibly inflated. Anyway, you are just as poor as most students and VIA is a huge, faceless corporation that won't miss a few dollars here or there. This is a victimless crime. Proceed with confidence to step two.

Step Two:

Approach the VIA counter at Union Station (not during peak times), avoiding elderly and female attendants. Select a slightly balding man in his thirties or forties who gives off an air of disappointment with life and love. This man should be old enough to feel some paternal sensations when conversing with you, but he should still be young enough that the thought of having sex with you crosses his mind. Be sure to come in straight from the cold so your cheeks are gently flushed. Think - J. Crew Catalogue! Wear a bohemian-looking knitted hat and a toss a scarf jauntily about your neck. Apply lip gloss at this crucial stage.

Step Three:

Sweetly (but not TOO sweetly. We don't want to sound suspicious or attract any attention, do we?) ask, "Hi, can I get an ISIC card?" He will say "Yes".

Step Four:

Hand over $16 and an ever-so-slightly weathered Queen's Student Card (weathered enough that the dates on the validation sticker have completely rubbed off, but not so weathered that the card appears old). Fill out the application form with a friend's address (thanks, Carolyn!), your old phone number, and your qlink email address, whether or not it is still active. Proceed to final step.

Step Five:

On the line where it says, "I validate that all of the information above is true and accurate" grit your teeth slightly. Revisit Step One, if need be. Sign your name. Exhale.

Step Six (optional):


(Now playing: "Debaser", The Pixies)

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Death At One's Elbow

A man at work died a couple of days ago. His desk was sort of diagonal to mine, and although we'd only ever exchanged 20 words to each other (it's hard to talk to co-workers when we're all constantly on the phones), I found him to be very nice. He wasn't that old, either - maybe 50 or 55? He wore a baseball cap and worked full-time and his name was John. Maybe he had a wife. Maybe kids. I'm not sure. But that's essentially everything I knew about him.

The manager sent an email, informing us that he had passed away. What's saddest about this whole situation is how normal everything was after that. No one seemed visibly upset, the admin lady chipperly ordered flowers to send to the funeral, and somebody sat in his desk. I thought there'd be a grace period of a week at least before someone moved in, but it was pretty much instantaneous.

I've never experienced death in a work environment. When someone died in public school or at university, it was a huge production. Flags were lowered, flowers and cards were laid, speeches were given at memorial services, balloons were released, poems were written. If you didn't know the person personally (and I did on more than a couple of occasions), you knew someone who did know them, and it would always be a really sombering experience. It reminded us that we are all going to die someday, and just because we're not 86 and bed-ridden, we could still go at any time.

Maybe - like me - people at work were sad on the inside and being normal office-zombies on the outside. I'd like to believe that.

All I know is that I don't want my death to be announced via an inter-office email memo.

I'm so sorry, John.

(Now playing: "Picture Me Big Time", Guided By Voices)

Friday, January 09, 2004

...And Get a Real Job

I got a haircut today. My first in three months. I usually get it cut more often than that, but in October I somehow wound up paying $70 (!!!) for one without my knowledge or permission. I am the type of person who will not spend $70 on anything - shoes, jeans, a sweater, rent - so you can imagine how appalled I was. Therefore, I decided to wait as long as possible before getting another one. That haircut still works out to costing me just under $25 per month, though.

Today's haircut was much cheaper, and it's pretty cute, I think. It's shorter than it's been in a long long time and I look a bit like a lesbian, but that is essentially the story of my life so I'll deal with it. Hairdressers have a tendency towards blowdrying, round-brushing and hairspraying my hair until I resemble a Power Puff girl. Today was no exception, but all was well and good after I went home and washed out the suck.

This afternoon I went to Chart and interviewed Jose Contreras from By Divine Right, a band that I have loved for many years in its many incarnations. Super nice guy, that Jose Contreras. BDR just got back from a tour of China, and he had some fun anecdotes to share. I may post an excerpt of the interview when I get around to transcribing it. Also, I may not. On an unrelated note, I suspect he was maybe a little bit high.

Finally couriered my application to Concordia's Graduate Journalism program, after a couple of snags and a small-scale nervous breakdown. (I pity/applaud anyone stupid/brave enough to apply to grad school while still in school.) One down...

(Now playing: "French Diplomacy", Boy)

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Here I Go Again

I don't know why I've attempted another blog. The last one got eaten because I refused to pay for it (if you're at all curious, you can find remnants of it here) and the one before that I just kind of forgot about after a little while. Yet there's something inside of me that is urging me to document my mundane existence, so hell, let's just run with it.

Had a lovely, low-key little New Year's Eve in Kingston with Rob, Lindsay, Jenny, Kem, Robin, Mitch, Jo, etc. Spent the better part of the evening drinking cheap wine, eating chocolate fondue, and making sardonic remarks about the retro videos being showcased on Muchmusic. Which was a relief, because I almost always find NYE to be as stressful as Christmas (and this year was no exception. Something about the anniverary of the birth of Jesus causes my extended family to loudly squabble about politics. It's really fun.)

I didn't plan on making any new year's resolutions, but Daphna has resolved to be a hotter Daphna in 2004 - I may join her and strive to be The Hottest Sofi I Can Be. Oh. And maybe I'll, like, recycle more and help orphans and stuff.

(Now playing: "Rebel Radios", The Wooden Stars)

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Congratulations! It's a blog!

(Now playing: "Fighting in a Sack", The Shins)