news [archive 35]

08.04.2008: it's a miserable day in copenhagen. just shit. i want to go into the courtyard and saw wood, but it's damp and grey and no one will bother to complain at us for making too much noise.

we're still busy settling in, causing troubles around the flat. we threw out the old dryer and we're about to throw out the washing machine. they're both broken and wont be replaced. in their place we're building shelves. we have wood and screws and everything. even wheels and angle brackets. we spent too many hours yesterday trecking out to a bunch of hardware stores and went a little crazy. we bought a 360cm by 60cm by 3cm plank for 20kr ($4), intercepted just before they threw it out. if you can call that a plank or not i don't know. we had to saw it up in the shop ourselves before trying to fit it on the bus. luckily it only took us one bus to get back to our apartment, when we had needlessly taken four to get there. all in the name of fun, nothing matters.

then alex cooked us amazing pancakes and has totally stolen my role in the kitchen. i must concede to her superior cooking skills. and i just spilt hot coffee all over my hand, faen. i guess it's not as bad as the shit i dug out from underneath the shower earlier. i nearly gagged into my cycling mask.

another day, something else.

the other night we had the pleasure of seeing two of emil's bands play. the first everyone refers to as 'born to suck', but i thought they were actually well good. except they smile too much between the angry shouting. and i'm not sure i'd enjoy the puke bucket they apparently normally have onstage. his other band was pure fucking mayhem. whether it was intentional or not, it was total trash noise core. and luckily the only lyrics you could actually hear were "it ain't okkk to be gay gay gay in the kkk". at least, that's what i heard.

another night, we've started dumpster diving again. properly.

05.04.2008: i look at my music and it's 'come on die young' that's been playing. and i am infected. it's these little things that make the whole so much greater than the sum of its parts. like two halves of a ribosome. and i wish i could photograph my picasso reflection in the mirrorball. but again, these things just aren't possible and you'd be an idiot to try.

i'm eating slowly this morning.

we've been chased here by a copy of proccessen, all the way from bethnal green, and i almost have photographic evidence.

but after five days in copenhagen, the municipality of amager, and not going ten minutes from the apartment i thought we might never make it into the city proper. finally last night we broke out, baptised the city in cambrini, wine, coffee, whiskey and beer. unfortunately in that order, with the coffee and whiskey somewhat mixed (temporally not irishly). we ate at a less obscure relatives house and were treated to rather exceptional food and drink. we then bussed across the city to meet people at studenterhuset, which hasn't really changed at all. after a beer we decided to head up to norrebro to a few punk bars. although that's just what someone said, i'm not so sure how punk they really were. they weren't so debased. only one table was upturned (drunken accident by a guy claiming his great great whatever grandfather was in cahoots with guy fawkes and may have been shipped to australia) and only one guy passed out on the floor. we spent most of the night (and money) on the quiz machine. bickering.

and no one was much bothered by the gaping hole that should have been ungdomshuset. i guess in a year people have gotten used to it, once you've seen it you've seen it. but it was my first time. and not even a carpark, just flattened rubble.

then this afternoon i burnt myself out drinking kaffe and drawing overtly metal logos for grilly. i fell asleep listening to envy and dreamt we were so many people underwater, dumbfounded at our escape from the prison of oxygen requirement. we all checked and none of us had a pulse. then some guy swims over shouting "hey, this guy has a pulse" and pulls from out behind him a bulbous android, big round blue terrified eyes, gasping for oxygen.

03.04.2008: i dreamt of aubergines. or in aubergine, perhaps. and i'm having trouble getting the word 'washroom' out of my head. other tasks include resocializing, learning again how to live with other people. this is a fun game however.

last night we heard bangs from out over the way. the part of me that is still alive begged me to put on clothes and go outside investigating. but oh it was probably nothing. except some cops shot a dog in christiania and it caused a minor riot. only fifty people or something. so i guess it must have been seven tear gas grenades that i counted.

one of my favourite soups is definately roast parsnip and pine nuts.

we've been reorganising the kitchen and a lot of my old spices are still here. a half full tub of marmite. the last year and a half just melt away. and nearly all the spices go into the bin. of course. and anyway, my brand new tub of vegemite made it all the way here intact. such acts need to be celebrated.

where's my yellow card?

and we need a bookcase. or two. and i need a new bass. i need a band and a life.

elsewhere this beer is making me sad. cheap beer will do that.

01.04.2008: waking up in copenhagen. brilliant sun pouring in through the window. the inevitable spring. the best time for anything and everything.

i was worried that coming back here would feel like i'd never left, that the last year and a half would suddenly disappear into nothing. but no. everything here is tinged with a slight alien feeling. i can't remember where anything is supposed to be kept, or what keys are for what lock, etc. it's not so familiar as i'd feared. it's strange.

and this morning i heard we have a new ungdomshus. although, this morning is also april fools.

yesterday we had to go and buy stuff. the usual junk, like towels and bedding, but also a new wardrobe again. we went to the same place we bought all this from before, fields shopping centre, and made exactly the same mistake of buying everything from bilka when the proper shop upstairs is much better and not much more expensive. except this time we returned the pillows instead of bed sheets, i think. although our old bed sheets weren't that nice anyway.

and we had a late late night. i went to bed when the birds started singing their morning warning. it was a something of a getting to know the new flat mates session kind of thing. we went out to a few bars and then continued drinking back in our kitchen once they'd all thrown us out. i guess not much has changed really. there's a lot more emil-ness abound, but that's to be expected. the political balance (calming effect) has been removed from the apartment. and it's ironic you know, all those hitler references.

anyway, this is boring. and the weather is making me want to run.

30.03.2008: we're on the bus again, this time heading for copenhagen. it's an eight hour test of your patience, and it reinforces the fact that i'm destined to only see sweden from a bus window. right now it's not exactly the fjords that norway is famous for, but the view is stunning enough - a big grey mess of water in all of its various forms. the sea and the sky are the same dull shades and meet at an indescriminate point somewhere where the horizon is supposed to be.

and it's pissing it down.

the remainder of our time in oslo was filled mostly with walking and cooking. on friday we went into the city to have a look around, checking out the new opera theatre and the more interesting area of the city where the immigrants have all been shoved. i also finally made it to blitzhuset:

unsurprisingly it comes across like a smaller version of ungdomshuset. we sat in a busy smokey room, dark from no windows and walls painted black and covered in graffiti, declarations and announcements (i.e. to phone and bother a local fur shop on a certain day). we had a huge plate of fried rice and salad that filled us both up for 30kr, clearly the cheapest place to eat in oslo. i also had the worst coffee i've drank in years. it was brilliant. and although i'm very much an outsider (technicalities of which make no sense i'm fully aware) it's a scene i've greatly missed. and for a brief moment i became excited at the thought of going back to ungdomhuset. oh well, nevermind.

i've set my camera to black and white. be warned.

we've also been walking around eiksmarka, across the snow covered fields (golf course) and around and about. the late evening light drips in gorgeous hues from the sky, a beautiful disaster of clouds and colour, and the hill to the east (that looks like a mountain) twinkles from the street lights and housing. the west dips down to the sea with a purple misty collection of distant houses.

i cooked another roast and nailed the yorkshire pudding. and we won an apple cake from some girls. that was awesome. played some trivial pursuit. read a book on 9.11 that i may or not discuss at a later date.

and some photos from earlier, us waiting for the bus in aurdal:

and then the journey back to oslo:

well, that killed three hours of the journey. now what? watch sweden go by i guess. and try not to get annoyed at all the people talking on theit mobile phones.

29.03.2008: most of the day has been spent in an obscure relative's attic helping pack for their house move. yes, a packing party. the story involves downsizing, a nasty cancer and a rich embassador ex-boyfriend, but i knew none of this at the time, never joining the dots between the sudden change in hairstyle and the mysterious boxes of strange mexican clothes. i was too polite to enquire as to why there were so many pairs of unworn expensive men's shoes, or why everyone wrote their name on their cup (apparently this was solely for practical reasons). i wasn't too polite to not steal a biscuit when no one was looking.

i only found out all these interesting details afterwards, which is a shame because i would have felt less awkward when standing infront of that large set of shelves, stacked high and deep with five bottles of every type of liquor you can imagine, being asked what kind of alcohol i like and what i wanted to take. of course, it had all come from the embassy and was (i'm guessing, for dramatic effect) left behind when the ex-boyfriend had fled the country. there was so much of it that they had no hope of drinking it all themselves. i was given a rather posh bottle of tequila and a bottle of cambrini as a thank you for my help, which mostly just involved carrying things down the two flights of stairs and into various cars.

actually, maybe i should look into becoming a moving/removal specialist. being nosey and having voyeuristic tendencies it'd probably be my perfect job. although there's probably laws to stop people like me working in the moving industry. it's a shame there aren't rules to stop all the other scum as well.

on top of the alcohol, we also left with some square picture frames (ones i've been looking for all year), a rice cooker, a large stack of donald duck books (also mikke krim) and a huge bag of the ex-boyfriend's ex-wife's clothes. there's an interesting story in there, but i didn't have the heart to ask. jens also made off with those shoes. it was all stuff that was being sent to the loppe market anyway, so please don't think it was us taking advantage or anything.

and let me just take back that comment about becoming a moving specialist. i acutally hate it. i'd forgotten what a horrible experience it is having so much junk to worry about. and my parents are facing exactly the same thing and the thought of it makes me want to run away and join the circus. all those bloody CDs and old toys. crap.

27.03.2008: the seemingly endless nightmare that's been our shipping endeavor has finally come to its conclusion, our personal effects have arrived (i'd say safetly, but we're yet to inspect them) at our apartment in copenhagen, but unfortunately the story hasn't quite had its happy ending.

from: laurence [******],
to: Carlos Daniec [],
date: Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 5:05 PM
subject: Re: Euro Transport credit card authorization Job No ******

Hi Carlos,

We were originally quoted $475 to ship one cubic meter from Toronto to Copenhagen, shipped with Ocean Freight Transportation, and we were invoiced for a total of $581.60 (based on 1.26 cubic meters), which we've paid in full.

Can you please tell me why we received a further bill for 2585DKK (about $547 Candian) from Team Freight? I explicitly asked if the original quote included all costs and I was told it did. More recently, when I asked about extra costs at the destination (at the time referring to storage costs) I was not told about any. I would have understood if we had to pay import duty or such, but the bill details services charges, handling and security fees, all of which should have been covered by our original agreement - shipping from Toronto to Copenhagen.

Have we received this invoice in error and should we forward it on to you?

Thanks for your help,

from: Romina []
to: laurence [******],
date: Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 9:41 PM
subject: Re: [Fwd: Re: Euro Transport credit card authorization Job No ******]

Hello Laurence,

The invoice you had received from Teamfreight are the destination charges that depends on each country, as all cargos arriving to any port or terminal are subject to some taxes or fee that varies regarding the destinations. You don t have the destination charges included in your contract with our company. You have to settle that directly with the destination agent, in this case Teamfreight.

from: laurence [******],
to: Romina [],
cc: Carlos Daniec [],
date: Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 7:00 PM
subject: Re: [Fwd: Re: Euro Transport credit card authorization Job No ******]

I would have thought these costs might have been mentioned before, especially since they have _doubled_ the cost of our shipping. "Some" taxes or fees may have been reasonable, but not $550. Are you also saying that I was lied to by a broker at EuroTransport when I previously asked if all costs were included in our quote? Also, in our contract it clearly lists "Full destination services" and "Port charges". How can you say they were not included?

There is no reason and no excuse why these fees should not have been included in your quote and invoice. It is completely reasonable to expect you to have contacted the freight company at the destination to negotiate, or at least enquire, as to their fees. Surely the destination is an important part of shipping and it's extremely deceptive of your company for hiding this.

I suppose I should be grateful that we have not come out as badly as some of the people who have dealt with your company and slated you on The following report sounds especially familiar:

what to do, ey? i phoned the nice woman at team freight just now and told her all of the above, that we'd paid for their services already and they were included in our contract (although i suspect under some kind of legal scrutiny that claim would fall to pieces). she told me she gets this all the time with euro transport and was even talking to gillship, their canadian broker, about it yesterday. she told me she'd bring it up with them again, but there was nothing that we could do and we'd have to talk to euro transport. actually, she said we could refuse to pay it and not receive our cargo, but i made the 'mistake' of telling her we'd already received it.

it's just ridiculous. and a sad way to run a business. but nevermind. another lesson learnt. although not really. i mean, we would have researched these companies better had we the time, but we didn't. plus we had very few choices and i'm sure they're all the fucking same anyway.

if i get another email from them i'll be sure to add to the above. but it's more likely they've just blocked my address, like our old landlord did. indecent bastards, all of the above.

26.03.2008: i'm late to the project chanology 'anonymous vs scientology' phenomena, but at least i have a decent excuse (being in the middle of nowhere with very limited internet access and all). i turn my back for one minute and all hell breaks loose (video communique). can i just say fuck yeah. this is what the internet is all about. let's take these mother fuckers down.

and to think i had a dream the other night where i was shouting "sp in your face" at tom cruise. "ksw up your ass". this is all too perfect.

here's the video that started it, and here's an account of the febuary 10th protest in london (thanks grilly). also xenu tv has very comprehensive coverage of the protests and events, for the real hardcore enthusiasts. and how can you not be enthusiastic?

this is the internet's psychosis collectivised and made flesh, all very puppetmaster-esque. we are incarnate and coming for you. the internet has reached its pinnacle. and i shall see you in the streets.

"we shall expel you from the internet and systematically dismantle the church of scientology in its present form"

25.03.2008: sitting in the kiwi (a norwegian supermarket) at aurdal drinking abysmal coffee with a two hour wait for the bus. nowhere else is open and looking outside we may as well still be in canada for all you can see through the snow. it's not so bad, the alternative was we'd still be walking down the mountain, covered in snow and cursing the guy who didn't pick us up and give us a lift down to the main road.

i just bought a postcard of the lady riding the pig. apparently this is a famous norwegian thing, i don't know. it's a better investment than the coffee anyway. and stupid me didn't hold a book back for the journey back to oslo. idiot. after all the norwegian krim (english crime series, this year it was foyle) and jasper fforde i'm craving more good detective stories. also a piss.

yesterday was a good lazy day. the most energetic it got was pulling the sled back up the hill, although that's no easy task when sink so far into the snow (i do at least, right up to my ass sometimes). sleds are genius. but so is getting back to the cabin and it smelling of freshly baked bread, then starting up an open roaring fire and having a few beers. reading on the veranda in the last of the sun, trying not to get snow caught between the pages. our curry was the perfect garlic disaster. and it turns out that brennivin, an icelandic spirit that tastes of caraway, is actually really good. ikke sant?

anyway, i feel a bit weird using my laptop in a supermarket, and it just got a bit busy, so i'm going to stop.

23.03.2008: fresh out of the shower and full of win. i ache in numerous places and there's a bruise already showing on my knee, i'll probably seize up any minute, but we just got back from an awesome ski. it was probably nothing for most people, but we did 15km in about four hours and i conquered the stupid route where i broke my arm two years ago (when we'd decided to turn back because i couldn't complete the round trip). well this time i made it, so i got to see the amazing views i never did last time, it's incredible up on those mountains. rolling snow, and what would be a vast eternal emptiness if it wasn't for the other skiers, who are numerous due to the whole, y'know, easter thing.

it's for the best i didn't take my camera, not because i fall over all the time (although i only fell twice on "three fall hill") but because i'd waste so much time taking pictures. i took a few quick photos with julie's camera, which will appear below, but as i write this i haven't yet seen them, so they might not be very good:

actually they're ok.

julie's parents have left and we're staying an extra few days, until tuesday. we're deserted somewhat in the meters of snow, so here's hoping for more good weather.

22.03.2008: this is what easter is all about. i haven't brushed my hair for three days and we have over a metre of snow. like these are the important things in life. it really is beautiful up here. yesterday we had grey skies and cold wind, lots of snow. today we have blue skies and a blinding sun that pushes warmth through the -6c air. beer at lunch time.

out the window i can see julie felling a huge tree, and it missed the cabin. i've been helping saw them too, into pieces small enough for the fire place. chainsaws aren't as scary when they're electric.

and i've been up on the roof washing the cushions and blankets in the snow. getting wet and happy. and cooking everyone dinner, like the posh people up here who bring their own chefs.

playing in the snow

and digging a hole

the light's been brilliant. these photos are all straight from my camera.

and we've been watching krim. and getting back from skiing all exhausted but no bones broken (not mine anyway). sitting around reading jasper fforde. soon we'll light a fire and i'll start working on the roast dinner. cabincore.

listening to sleater kinney and iggy pop and incubus. i really do love my laptop.

my trip from england took the whole day (13 hours door to door) but was pleasantly incident free. we had a clear run to heathrow and all i forgot was my sandwiches. the man at airport check-in was very nice to me, ignoring my significantly overweight baggage and calling me by my first name. entering the security area i wrapped my extra bag in my coat and dumped the whole mass in the black plastic tray, so there were no complaints about me having too many items of hand luggage. you don't even have to remove your laptops anymore, which is lucky because i would never have got it back into my bag, since it was bursting full of random electronics and spices. i'm very thankful no one asked to check it. i didn't even have to remove my boots, i thought, but they have a whole seperate section for that now (a minor hassle i was more than happy to endure given my good luck). once in the clear i bought a couple of books (fforde and orwell) to celebrate and used the large bag i'd requested to redistribute my weight somewhat. peachey keen. in oslo i freaked a little when the police dog started sniffing around my legs, especially since i was carrying 3kg of various spices, but it wasn't a problem. after a quick train journey into the city it was easy to find the bus station and i only had an hour to wait before my three hour bus journey into these here mountains. norway is my favourite country to bus through. the landscapes are sublime (for want of a non wanky word), and perfect for rediscovering mogwai's first two albums too. the roads are like rollercoasters, with the edges elevated as they twist up and down through the hills. arriving in aurdal julie flagged the bus down a few hundred meters before the stop, seemingly always intent on embarrasing me infront of the norwegian bus people. during the trip i managed to read the whole of the princess and the goblin (shouldn't it be goblins plural?) and get stuck into 'the fourth bear'.

julie might not call them mountains, but it's my website and i can and will call them what i like. they looks like mountains to me anyway:

and one last psuedo-random photo

is all.

19.03.2008: so if you wanted to see some of my photos of the wolves, now is your chance. there's a lot there though, so here are my favourites:

i've had a time going through the several hundreds of photos i took of them over the two months i was there. problem was, when the sun came out and the light was good they'd just sit around basking in it, doing nothing. and often too far away from my rather inadequate lens. then feeding time comes around and they jump around crazy like. and then there's always paying customers in the way. so, a mixture of fun and frustration. this is why it took me so long to get them out.

anyway, i'm supposed to be busy packing and preparing. you wont hear from me for a while. i'm going to be up in the mountains somewhere three hours north of oslo for the long easter weekend, then hanging out in the party town of eiksmarka for a week or so, where i guess i will have internet, but nevermind. then we're back to copenhagen for the foreseeable future, whatever that means. fun times. come and visit.

18.03.2008: it's looking like i wont be able to bring my bass to denmark. there's just no feasible way to do it. it's not fair (strop sulk etc). my guitar came all the way back from canada with no problem, and one of the reasons i booked with SAS is that they're a proper airline, right? not one of those nasty budget airlines that restricts you and charges extra for everything. one of the three people i spoke to (spread over various days) told me i couldn't even check a guitar in, nevermind take it into the cabin. another person said i could, but she wouldn't recommend it, instead i should use cargo service. brilliant, i thought. but after finally getting through to them and totalling up their costs for handling, security, labelling (one pound) and two other fees that i didn't even write down what they were for, it came to about 75 quid. the guitar i bought in canada didn't cost much more.


so two things, does anyone in copenhagen know anyone who wants to sell a bass? and more importantly, does anyone know a band that needs a reasonably skilled bassist or shit metal guitarist? and i know i'm asking in the wrong place, it's just that when i ask questions like this it makes it look like more people read my website than actually do. it's a ruse.

anyway, i've spent too much time on the computer recently. sorting out my data, illegally downloading music, editing porn, decrypting and propagating sensitive documents, plotting and conspiring. all kinds of shit. but mostly just playing quake2 and trying to sort out my photos. stupid wolves.

and the bonsai has new leaves. hurray for plants.

17.03.2008: i'm all up for beautiful destruction. all kinds of meaningful vandalism, progressive carnage and graceful degradation. but, and despite me maybe laughing a little, i really can't see any point or reason in what the kids here do to the cars. my mum has given up replacing her wing mirror, it's just been left broken. a few months ago we caught them on camera running down the street smashing all the car windscreens. last night they wrote "im gay" in yellow permanent marker on a car down the road and put a rather crap blue line all along the side of my mum's car. it's just a bit too mindless.

but then maybe they're just, er, like a mirror. for our own, y'know, destructive and careless nature. or something. maybe they're trying to show us that we over value these terrible machines and we've become too helplessly reliant on them, and like, that it's ok to be a homosexual. bash the rich. and glue sniffing is cool too. probably.

anyway, i got annoyed today. i've been looking for a nice shirt for a long time and i finally found one, in tk max of all the awful but fantastically cheap places. it looked great, i would have totally fucked me in it, only it was a small and didn't fit the lower half of my upper half. damn these discount places with their random shirts in random sizes. anyway, it had a bunch of crap on the back, so i only would have grown to hate it.

and this is what happens when you have too much useless old camera equipment:

they were shot through two cameras. i wasn't trying to be arty or clever, i was just bored and playing around.

16.03.2008: so my time in england is almost up. i'm leaving for norway on thursday and will be arriving in denmark sometime before april. or whenever, there's no rush. being here has been nice as pie, and it's been great to see the people i've seen and shitty that i've missed the people i missed, but all i can think about now is getting back with my woman. we do this all the time, so i should be used to it by now, but i can't help getting all girly excited like about seeing her again. which is what i guess it's all about.

if you'll excuse me rambling on about it.

anyway, do you like my flags? they make me wonder what happened to the burmese people when the press stopped reporting on their dissent. and they make me wonder whether the tibetans will be equally let down by a lack of international solidarity in their time of crunch. i guess it's hard to ride that wave when you're faced off by tanks. the olympics, it all feels a bit make or break. so you'll also have to excuse me for getting a little gung-ho (there's a clever pun in there somewhere, but i don't have the skill to work it).

and i've been listening to a lot of early punk, which you can blame on "please kill me - the uncensored oral history of punk". i finished reading it just now (spoiler warning: everyone dies at the end) and can highly recommend it. it's the best oral history i've read since 'rant', which doesn't actually count because it's fictional. so lots of mc5, stooges and the ramones. patti smith, johnny thunders and richard hell. and then what else? i would love it if you could recommend me some good punk. i dare you.

last night we played too much buzz. i was in the zone though. i think it's all that ridiculous metal guitar playing that's responsible for my lightning fast reaction time. and tonight we went to a real quiz. another one, and this time at a pub i've always hated. it was brilliant. i only really contributed to one question, but that's ok. we won a bottle of wine. blah blah blah. i drew some good dinosaurs.

as for the disappointment, i was told my blood test results were just normal. that's good, obviously. but i was hoping they'd be more specific. i wanted full gory details. i wanted counts and numbers. but no, just "normal". i guess i shouldn't complain. and i guess being a vegetarian is just fine. so fuck you meat eater, ha.

13.03.2008: what i should be doing whilst at home is chipping away at the mound of difficulties that'll quickly erupt when my parents finally sell their house and abandon this sinking ship (fuck it, let the BNP have it, see how i care). the biggest and most obvious problem is all my stuff. all that junk. all those CDs and books. but i can't face sorting and packing. the best i can do is cull my cd collection, seperating it into piles i do want and piles i don't want.

but then there's a hundred other less obvious problems. like what happens when i can't use my parents house as my english permanent address. and what about my doctor? where am i even registered anyway? and if you move abroad you can't take your medical records with you, you can only take a copy (but they can be huge right? how does that even work?). that's what i'm working on right now, trying to get my medical records together in one place. over the years they've been sent around i don't even know where. and no one else seems to know either.

i'm a little worried too, because whenever i go to the doctors it always ends up with them having to touch my balls or dick or anus. nothing is ever wrong with me. i'm worried what that might look like when compiled on a single sheet of paper. no one will ever want to touch me again.

12.03.2008: instead of getting aggresively obliterated, which sounds a hell of a lot more tempting, running around setting fire to things and drinking whatever whiskey's left, here's my montreal writeup. it's taken so long because i'm just not happy with it. it's been a drag. somehow. and some of my favourite photos:

and a big fucking spider insect fight thing:

because, fuck. yeah.

there's just no life in his poor compound eyes.

we had an ok quiz last night. i only knew the answers to two questions though, how many rows there are in connect4 (how could you even doubt me?) and ed209 robocop something. we won 60quid at random, by guessing ikea name their garden furniture after swedish islands. that was 30, but we gambled it by guessing crufts was older than asprin. dogs? fuck dogs.

i've been thinking about buying a new lens. and occasionaly a new camera too, because the deals are shocking. anyone got any thoughts on that? i'd go straight out and buy that 5d if only it wasn't so damn heavy. and if everyone didn't keep telling me it was aimed at wedding photographers. honestly, just shut up. after playing with it for a few minutes the 40d then felt cheap and its decent lens shoddy. and i'm worried that 105mm just isn't enough.

i'll probably just wait. i'm too punk to spend money on better equipment. who needs it anyway?

but then, if i wait and buy a nasty lens later, i've wasted all the time in between.

10.03.2008: it's not going so well is it? i haven't been writing at all. there's just too much noise. and no inspiration, passion or honesty. no point. blah.

rugby is ok. i've been going to bed late and i'm being woken up early. i guess half eleven isn't that early, but that's my business. being woken up late is worse. it was almost 2pm today. just horrible. i need a clock in my room.

i have been doing things though. hanging out in town. helping down the allotment. we've had various guests over who have all been interesting. i've cooked for some of them. martin has been here too. we played some guitar and drank lots of beer. played lots of games (chess, backgammon, cathedral, etc). all very lovely.

and i've been trying to write up montreal and sort out my photos, but there's little incentive. here, everything seems to take so long and nothing ever gets done. don't ask me why.

i love my black hoodie. i hate crufts.

i can't believe it's nearly 5pm. and the weather's shit. i only just had breakfast.

i miss your world.

06.03.2008: through a magical series of events i managed to be registered to vote in the local election today. i'm not sure how that happened, but it's nice to be able to vote again, especially when it's against the fucking BNP.

the BNP? damn, they make it so hard not to spoil your ballot, scrawling "bunch of fucks" all over it (spoiling is all well and good, but not when it comes to keeping the facists at bay. "bullets not ballots" if need be). and they also make it hard when deciding how to vote. we've got a green party candidate running, but voting green isn't exactly a vote against the BNP. and this is important because they've never run in our ward before. i just hope that rugby hasn't gone so far along the road to shit that the BNP have a chance and i need to worry about such things (edit: they came in third with 313 votes. labour won with 724, then conservatives with 723, libdems had 235 and greens came last with 148. there were 3 spoilt ballots. but what the fuck is wrong with you people?).

anyway, a few comments. firstly, the voting instructions tell you to be careful not to make other marks on your ballot, as this may result in your vote not counting. it may, which makes me wonder if the decision to count a spoilt ballot is left up to the counter's discretion? i'd always thought there was zero tolerance policy, which would make sense, but then shouldn't it say so?

and then, instead of 'wasting' your vote, is it not possible to write your spoilage on a seperate piece of paper that's hidden inside your ballot and also slipped inside the ballot box? i presume it counts as tampering with votes, but how illegal would it actually be?

the other thing i didn't like is that you're recorded as you come in (obviously this is necessary to stop double voting), then handed your ballot which is ripped straight out of a book. the ballots are numbered, so what's to stop someone reordering them out of the box and matching everyone up with their vote?

anyway, now i've got quake2 running on vista without requiring the cd. so i'm happy. anyone got a mouse i can borrow? until then, more iggy pop videos.

05.03.2008: i don't understand how london manages to survive. or the people in it. the city eats money, it's disgusting. you sweat money just being there. i must have visited a cash machine twice a day. and for what? being crammed in with so many miserable people. even when when it's quiet it's too busy. there isn't an inch of your own space. the whole thing is diseased and vile. and it's a shame, because london could be brilliant. you just need to kill remove all the people. and get a bike. and cook your own food and own your own pub.

anyway, we got down there on friday evening, after a short but annoying train journey where we'd been thrown out of first class and made to stand between carriages. it's not like we touched anything. but we couldn't even fit into the next carriage and the scum ticket man was insisting that we could if we'd only make an effort. then i watched him struggle to get through himself, jumping over the luggage assault course. we weren't even allowed to keep our mass of bags in the empty first class luggage compartent, because that would be a "security hazard" (i was about to mention how terrorists stopped leaving bombs in bags when they started using their children, but i'd pissed him off enough already). we could stay in the carriage, we just had to remain on the other side of the glass door (the non-frosted one so the rich business people can see you sneering at them). that's fucking ridiculous too, how half the train is always empty.

so we met grilly at bank, in a perfect london drizzle amongst all those huge stone buildings, and took the bus over to bethnal green. we hung around and chatted for a while, meeting rachel for the first time and all that, before heading out to the ICA to see a bunch of welsh bands and not much contempory art. also ben and mim. after the gigs we ran away from the overly trendy crowd to find a quiet drinking spot, but failed. despite being in soho (weren't we?). isn't the 24 hour alcohol law supposed to make this easy? we hit up an indian restaurant instead for a tasty selection of starters and beers all round (totalling an obscene 75quid). when we parted ways it was somewhere near tottenham court road, watching a sweaty topless guy through the window of a kebab shop ordering something nasty with his jeans halfway down his arse. it all brings new meaning to "i hate it here".

saturday started late. i don't think we escaped bed until gone twelve, which is ok because early afternoon is the perfect time for an all-day vege breakfast. especially from an organic or fairtrade cafe that's just around the corner (we never did work out if it was supposed to be fairtrade or organic, but it was clearly neither properly). it was our first full-on breakfast since getting back in the country, and so was a little bit special. so many beans and hash brown and mushrooms. proper vege sausages. it's the most important meal of the day. also the best. by the time we'd finished eating it was almost 3pm, so we crawled our way across london to disturb nicola's and aimee's shopping adventure in camden. we let them shop in peace, settling down in a nearby pub for a drink before giving in to the market ourselves. all those people and all that unnecessary junk, sure it's an ugly place, but it does have a real charm. i love it's labyrinthineness and its otherworldiness. it reminds of the mish mash souks of marrakech. or rather it reminds me of my memory of them, near enough.

we met up with nicola and aimee again and caught a weird train to hackney or bethnal green or somewhere and found a nice pub for some nice drinks, the dove, only it was so busy the only way we could get a table was by eating there. which was ok, i think we ordered four vege burgers and two pints of chips. it was hearty. drinking posh belgium beer and all that. then back to grilly's to play epic backgammon, watch the brazil documentary and get a reasonably early night.

sunday was the only feasible day for a trip down to brighton, and we actually managed to get up and out before 10am with no fuss. we even had time to make sausage and egg pittas for the journey, which we ate crossing the thames. but brighton, ey? takes you back. after battling with london, brighton is a breath of fresh air (literally). and it still feels a little like coming home. like it was a stupid city to leave. it's comfy and cool and manageable, despite the councils attempts at ruining it. i could even still move back there. maybe. i don't know. first we met up with chris and rifa, which was lovely, and then later with jess, also lovely. it didn't feel like it'd been over two years since i'd last seen her. we even met in the park crescent, our old local that we hardly ever went to. contrasted with myself, fairly little has changed in brighton. the grubbs (malasian with cheese, whilst grilly had the mexican with peanut butter - inside joke) was incredible. and i accidentally bought pebbles from the beach back to london in my turn-ups. all the above means that unfortunately we missed a lot of people. organising trips to brighton are just too difficult. so sorry about that.

monday we spent at kew gardens. trees and henry moore and all that. it was a quiet day for me, i don't know why. all those thoughts about london and brighton getting confused in my brain. probably nothing. shame about the aeroplanes though. by the time the sound of one has finally disappeared, the next plane is approaching in the distance. it's a nauseating and constant ebb and flow of jet engine noise. actually, a lot of the day was spent on public transport going back and forth. what this means is i read a lot of papers, and they're all shit. depressingly so. i worry that people really are this fucking stupid. i really hope they're not.

the plan for the evening had been ill concieved. it went all wrong when our mobile battery ran out and i broke the internet (classic error - typing over the login username). without always-online technology we really can't organise anything anymore. it's a shame. so instead of having a curry out we had a curry in and aimed for an early night again.

at half four the alarm went off and we jumped out of bed. me quite slowly. london at 5am is a dream. it's quiet and cold and confusing. waiting at the bus stop a few hours before sunrise, fiteen minutes early, the world felt about five meters wide. and who thought a bus at this time would be so full? we had to stand all the way to liverpool street station. it's a city of horror. we faffed around at the station and in the end julie got off in good time. then i waited for a bus back the way i came only to find my oyster cards were dry and i was cashless. i took one back and put the deposit on the other, and by then tesco was open so i could buy rachel some toilet rolls. apparently this made up for me kicking her ass at backgammon the night before (i was being noble, playing to erase grilly's 64 days of slavery he'd managed to accrue a few nights previously), but really i think it made up for me not being able to unlock the front door and waking up grilly to let me in. it wasn't quite enough to make up for leaving the front door open when i left later that day (all arguements about me making sure the door was shut when i left are immaterial, if it wasn't my fault it was still because of me).

so from half six to twelve i slept. just to really fuck up my bodyclock, because it wasn't destroyed enough already. and then what? i guess i walked to bethnal green, avoiding all the tempting breakfast cafes, and caught the tube to blackfriars. i ate a massive baked potato, then, full of beans and cheese, went to tate modern for the duchamp, man ray and picabia exhibition. it was good, but it was shadowed by the other exhibition, a retrospective on juan munoz. his sculptures blow my mind. the men with slashed eyes, who look like they're streched out of bean bags, i wanted to squeeze them. they look so pliable. and then one of their mouths start moving. the woman next to me squealed, it was that unexpected. he disturbs me, like a cross between gilliam's brazil and chris cunningham's 'come to daddy'. he was that good. all those uncomfortably sized people. genius. and don't forget doris salcedo cracking the turbine hall in two. a photo or three:

actually i got really annoyed because they don't let you take any photos in the galleries (that munoz piece is on the wall above the cafe seating area). i kept asking attendants but none of them would give. they told me there were postcards available, and i told them i'd already checked and they were all rubbish, which they were. if you're going to pay 13 quid and they wont let you take pictures, they could at least provide decent ones of their own.

that sunset photo is straight from the camera. just incase you thought i was going sick on the shopping.

all that remained was to meet grilly at bond street, play portal back at his rather nice apartment (with corridors long enough to run down), head back out to london full of irnbru and vodka, grab a tub of vegan thai buffet, see a bunch of bands that included 'girls girls girls', drink snakebite, walk around angel trying to find a sensible way home, purchase a small bottle of cheap whiskey, then finish playing portal, which i never did finish. i slept in the huge empty room at the end of the corridor with no bedding. it made my trash lifestyle feel complete and glorious. i used a seat cushion as a pillow. totally ineffectual.

but it was ok, i only slept from 4am to 8am anyway, when grilly had to leave for work. i got my cheese and onion pasty for breakfast and began the journey home, thoroughly done with london and wishing alec empire wasn't playing that night. maximum terror.

so how much did that all cost? i don't want to know. all those travel expenses, all that beer and bottles of wine, eating out, entrance fees. nevermind, it's in the past.

29.02.2008: i had wanted to get the montreal write up out before heading down to london, but time is too tight. and it'll be nicer with pictures anyway. so everything is going to become a little untethered.

tonight we're seeing ben, mim, grilly and rachel at some gig that i can't remember. then hopefully nicola and aimee the next day. sunday we're thinking of doing brighton, all welcome. after that it's a bit sketchy yet. i don't know.

but this means that canada is behind me, and all that entails. come april i'll be settling in copenhagen for a while. and let's plan a holiday together.

just a quick note on the music. i was introduced to raised fist at an anti-war protest in copenhagen by a guy wearing a carpet. he was playing music out of his backpack so loud it was just a jumble of distorted noise, but it was cool. they're an angry band, and i like that. their sound is nasty. it makes me want to set fire to things. i haven't really gotten around to judging their song writing ability yet, it seems kind of unimportant when faced with so much aggressive noise. they're also a nice addition to the small but growing group of swedish bands in the list.

anyway, if you see me on the road, don't shoot.

23.02.2008: notes from the road, typing up on the bus to montreal:

(two mornings ago)
we're on the road again. finally, so soon. we haven't been five minutes on the bus and already my toes are numb. i'm beaten and tired but happy, not yet content. there's still so much stress ahead. but for now we've got our favourite back seat triple (necessary for so much luggage) and i'm going to sleep and pretend the cloud rising steeply behind the small town we're passing through is a mountain.

we stayed the night at tyler's and hilary's house. dinner again, and taking full advantage of their hospitalitly. hey, it was their suggested solution to our problem of an 8am bus departure. and in return we left them beer and spices, which i'd rather go to the vegetarians than anyone else. plus i'm sure they miss our flavour of conversation, what with living up here in redneck country. really i'm sure it's the other way around (this is also the less arrogant way round). for instance, how long has it been since i've talked about zapatistas, and with someone who was in chiapas in 1996 when they were suffering one of the more brutal government crackdowns? you'd be surprised at how many people up here have never even left ontario.

we also caught the eclipse last night. we drove from the forest into town at around 6pm and the moon was a large brown disc floating above the trees and lakes. we had the perfect clear sky. four hours later it was mid-eclipse and i couldn't help think this was an auspicious sign. it was probably the best eclipse i've seen yet.

(the night before that)
"i wish i could record this moment". the moon rips apart everything i said about the nights being pitch black. the moon is a floodlight. a beacon. everything is bathed in its unsettling light and i've never seen the night so bright. such distinct shadows. earlier, when the sky was a fading late-evening blue, the last remnents of the sun leaving a dark red scab on the western horizon, i'd keep turning around expecting to see a snowmobile bearing down on us, but it was just the moon. its light almost pink against the blue tinted snow.

a few steps further and the wolves begin to howl. we stop only meters away from the inner fence of their compound, where the distance between fences is shortest, and i slip through the layers of snow up to my knees. the howling stops as suddenly as it started and i hear the crack of a tree giving way. a branch behind me breaks, and i'm rushing to catch up with julie.

we were coming back from dinner, where our hosts had sprung a guest book on us i'd struggled with what to write, how honest to be. i think i struck a reasonable balance between appreciative and humourous. i drew out my plans for the wolf centre mouse catapult, an idea i give to them for free, even though nothing comes for free here. but it wasn't as painful as all that. we were two of ten sitting around the dinner table, including their daughters and other interns. and this time i stayed off the whiskey. there were no hard feelings and i'm certain i will genuinely miss this place. the forest and wolves and horses.

on our walk back we'd also stopped to see dan and betty, my two favourite horses, those not embittered by being forced to work. they're two huge elegant beasts. belgians. and as we climbed into their paddock they stood up and began to slowly walk over to us, crunching through the ice. in the moon light they run in slow motion. and the pair of them like that, all i can think of is dinosaurs (the girls in the kitchen know my appreciation of dinosaurs, but now how it feels when you discover your favourite dinosaur isn't actually a dinosaur, but a lizard). it was a nice way to say goodbye to them, cuddling and them trying to eat my jacket. and whether they end up working or not, dan will always have the coolest hair of any horse, sun bleached curls parted and hanging over each eye.

(the next day)
walking along a secret path that we only just found, that runs between the dogsled trail and the snowmobile track, i felt the necessity to sit down. to try and soak up as much of this as possible. all this snow and pine. i will miss it ever so much. it's not often you get to just be in somewhere so special. but we have to leave, else i'd go mental. right now it makes no sense, but i need to be on the move. time is never time at all, we all know that. i just regret not being able to see more of this enourmous forest. i've spent the last few days colouring lake borders in blue on the ordinance map i stuck up in the basement office, the one that covers an entire wall. after such an exercise i feel i know the forest intimately, but i've not had the chance to see its features in person. but i'm sure i've seen enough.

(i absolutely adore this keyboard, but more on that another time - thank you johanna)

(two nights ago)
shipping is a fuck. or rather, owning so many possessions is. but i've had no sleep and i'm ready to hate and loathe. i arranged all of the packed boxes around me, and then unpacked them all. something had to be done. a disaster had to be recreated. it all fell to pieces, chunks of possessions. about the whole shipping experience, "this is the most painful thing i've ever put myself though by choice". choice is complicated, but i'm complicit in my coming demise.

the plan was to send three boxes to england, of things i didn't want in denmark (books that i've read) and things i didn't want now (so many clothes). but fedex just quoted me $750 for them, and they're only 35kg. the cost is double what my airline charges for overweight baggage. so i've done myself a favour and everything is going to copenhagen. by boat they charge in dimensions, so my largest box will only cost an extra $20, if it even takes us over the cubic meter we've already paid for. and besides, what goes to england is only needing to go to france soon anyway.

this morning i felt like my chest was going to crack apart. i'm riding three nights of terrible interupted stressful sleep. julie is suffering with her hands at night, and it tears me between painful hopeless sympathy and guilt ridden frustration. i need this sleep to cope. so all morning i've been eating fruit. fresh ginger, carrot and apple saved my life. and julie got her passport. jason cooked us food and drove us to missassuaga. and finally our fucking baggage is out of our fucking hands. give me a fucking beer. and a bed. and a bath.

every step of the way has been a convoluted nightmare. and this is not a test. we've been passed between so many people at so many brokers. been given incorrect information. been told we need to fax documents (whilst in the middle of a forest). been told all other shades of shit. and so pulling into the warehouse, after literally months of stressing, i was hoping to feel better and put my mind to rest. but what were we even doing? we drove straight past the security checkpoint, couldn't find the dock office, got told off, went through the "employees only" door, and were met with blank stares and foreign languages. puddles on the floor and an unstocked drinks machine. a grubby office, with the oldest computer i've seen being used in years, sat in the corner of a huge warehouse full of cardboard boxes on palettes, or "skids" as they call them. i could sense that any minute now someone was going to tell us we'd made a horrible mistake. that they'd laugh at our mixed jumble of suitcases and boxes. that i would cry. but no. we were placed in the hands of two guys, and right now, i don't care what they look like, i could kiss them. they were the friendliest pair, they understood we understood nothing, and gave us beautiful help and advice. for $15 they provided us with a skid and wrapping service, and at that moment i would have paid almost anything. their assistance turned a tap inside me and i've started to deflate. to evaporate and relax. i am relief incarnate.

now, to dinner and games. and to montreal.

but first, one last tour of the city. to drive through queen and bathurst and see the destruction left by the fire. to take the streetcar along college. past augusta, the street that leads down into kensington and the hostel we stayed at so many months ago when we first arrived. those timeshifted early morning walks to buy bread and towels. cappucino and croissants at louie's. that first black squirrel. passing spadina, college in full sunset retina burn glory. the sky the nastiest martini.

(the present)
on the bus to montreal, destination unimportant. this is exactly where i always want to be.

20.02.2008: as promised, since you never see photos of me, this is what i look like when removed from civil society:

of course, all photos taken by julie.

i guess this means we're out of here and i might not be writing for a while. maybe i will. it depends how much time i get. and what my computer situation is. i'm leaving my old laptop here, giving it to a couple whose house burnt down a few weeks ago and they lost everything. no insurance. i heard they were big on the internet and that's about all my old computer can handle. just about. aslong as they don't need to type numbers or the letter 'p'.

and so how about some reflection on my time here? what have i learnt from this experienced? etc..

pish. no, but seriously. one important thing i've learnt, and it sounds ridiculous considering my complaints, but i much prefer working for no money. by removing money from the equation everything has been glorious. i haven't carried cash on me for nearly two months, i've not needed to. we've shopped for food less than once a week, and that's the limit of it. without an economic pressure, or any responsibility demanded of me in exchange for a wage, i've been extremely happy. even when doing extremely mindless monkey work, because i know i can just stand up and walk away. and no one would blame me. and it's not about a lack of responsibility, it's about removing the coercion (in this case it's economic). and about having that relationship as long as it's mutually beneficial for all involved.

and that's why we're gone. because the benefit is no longer mutual. because i can do my work from anywhere in the world, and now they'll be paying me for it.

working in the kitchen has been a lot of fun, and although it hasn't improved my cooking it's been a good and hopefully helpful experience. at worst i've enjoyed the company and eaten lots of free food. my belly is happy. and living beside a wolf pack has also been fantastic. i'm sure that for years to come i'll still be waking up thinking i'm hearing the wolves cry. as for the mice, we haven't seen a trace of them for a couple of weeks. in the end we came out ok. they destroyed a pair of my underwear, nibbled a hole in one of my jumpers, and took a bite out of a sex toy. but nothing too drastic. no data loss. no chipped lens. i did find an old food stash hidden under a cushion of a seat we'd never sat on, a huge glob of food (mostly rice), but i just ignored it and hoped it'd go away. but they never will install a mouse catapault here, my best idea yet - fire a mouse into the wolf compound for a few bucks. that'd keep the wolves interesting when all they want to do is curl up in the snow and sleep.

speaking of which..

19.02.2008: when you live on your own (albeit as a couple) in the middle of nowhere, and you only interact with anyone whilst working, you really miss intelligent conversations with other people (yeah, me and julie primarily communicate in shabbas and heys). and also eating out. so being invited over for dinner is one of the greatest things ever.

a few nights ago we had dinner over at tyler's house, for want of a better term. he's the forester here who organised our internships and who you can picture as a middleman, if you like. either way, him and his (now) wife are very cool. for instance, the magazine rack besides their toilet contains various forestry chronicles and copies of bitch magazine (they're his). he also has a house, that he built himself, down in guatemala. and he comes to work everyday with interesting food. like lentils and spinach in a slightly tomatoey and coconut sauce. and homemade pizza slices. like a good sandwich isn't enough. but always vegetarian. so dinner was brilliant. talking about riots and danish films and all kinds of interesting stuff. and getting less official opinions of this place. and the internet too, and being asked how to rank for you name, and julie mentioning i rank for my name.

we almost didn't make it though. and this is what happens when you're at the mercy of other people's incompetence. someone had left the intern van lights on. and worse, parked the van so that the engine was inaccesible - we needed either really long jumper cables or to push the van back into the road, through the snow. in the end we managed, thanks to phil's help, and we were only an hour late.

then last night we took our dinner down to one of the lakes, sat there eating hot curry and drinking beer as the night fell over the forest. fucking magical, lying in the snow and staring out across the frozen lake. trying not to lose bottles or bottle tops in the deep snow. or forks. dealing remarkably well with whatever it was below zero. julie didn't like me walking out onto the lake, as it had been raining the day before and the ice was topped with slush. but it had been staked, and that's at least a foot of ice. at one point a couple of snowmobilers followed the path down, destroying the beautiful silence but illuminating all the trees to make up for it, but they were too chicken (sensible) to head out over the lake. they didn't see us. to those monsters all nature is invisible.

tonight we've been invited over to the bosses' house again, and this time with the other interns (luckily, as i was a bit nervous since we're leaving prematurely on thursday). she phoned me up last night, after julie had gone to bed and whilst i was brushing my teeth. "hevvo? mumph ok, um russian teef". she told me to take the brush out my mouth and try not to blow bubbles.

and then what else? my kitchen boss bought me another crate of beers (twenty four). which is very nice but highly inappropriate, since there is no time to drink it and we'll have to carry it to toronto and montreal. and hence why i haven't been writing, i've been drunk constantly for the last three days. (no that's not even slightly true). and watching more crap movies. i've had enough of crap movies. no more. for this year i'm done. and i've fed the horses for the last time. i'll surely miss them, despite them all being totally batshit crazy. i had something important to say about them, which was running through my head last night whilst i was trying to sleep, but now i forget. nevermind.

up next, silly photos of me..

15.02.2008: yesterday should have ended in disaster. maybe it still will. i started drinking at 3pm and managed to get through four beers before leaving work at around six. i'd refused to restock the drinks cabinet without at least receiving a couple of beers for myself, and it went rather well. of course, on the way home i got myself absolutely covered in snow and had to instantly remove all my clothes once finally back in the warm. now, with the hot showering already running and a glass of whiskey ready and waiting, wouldn't that be the perfect time for my first snow bath? the things we do for fun. and it was all fun, until i got snow in my crack and had to hurry back inside. testicles the size of, i don't know, something really small.

another two beers with and after dinner managed to get me through the three hour crap-fest that is the king kong remake. when you have access to your own theatre and countless shit summer hit DVDs, this is what happens. but at least it's free. kind of free.

and i got working through my backlog of photos. here's some whilst they're still relevant:

snow storms, blue skies, etc. but i missed some fantastic photos today. the light is brilliant. people just standing around all photogenic, steam coming off them and their eyes all lit up. chainsaws. axes. all that good stuff, knee deep in glittering snow. but i can't carry my camera with me all the time. too bad.

anyway, i have other things to be doing.

14.02.2008: all day i've been finding potatoes that look like hearts. but then, i've found way more that look like cocks. so it goes, right?

and despite the rough weather, crazy like i can't wait to get out in it, through my window i can see the bright dot of a snowmobiler crossing the frozen lake. people round here are mental. one of them just told me that last night she dreamt we were having sex. it was good too apparently. and then her daughter walks in (just now, not in her dream) and asks what she's talking about. "who with?", and a pause as i laugh inside the longest laugh i've ever internally laughed, and her mum points at me. your mum.

a while ago i mentioned a secret project i was working on, but never got around to actually mentioning what it was. this was partly because it was intended as a surprise for the recipients, but mainly because it wasn't really that interesting. really. anyway, i'd put together five almost identical books containing numerous photographs that i'd taken during my time in toronto. they were cute, and everyone who received one seemed very satisfied that that was all they were getting. this year, there was no christmas.

they looked a little like like this:

i bring it up now because i lied when i said there were only five books (if you're curious as to who received them, and why you didn't, email me and i'll tell you nicely why you're not my best friend and didn't deserve one). there were actually six books. i made a 'test' book first which, although it went well enough for me to continue, turned out a little shoddier than the others. i have no idea where this book is right now, but i'm sure it'll turn up sooner or later, and when it does i'm not going to know what to do with it. so i was wondering if anyone wanted it? email me and i'll pick a favourite. just to be really fair.

13.02.2008: we got snow so good you can only see out of a fifth of our bedroom window. it's true see, you can even measure it:

i still fall in love again every morning.

and the horse head 'debate' continues, with such fantastic comments as "and how old r u? 87? every1 on the internet spells hate with an 8!!! grow up and FUCK YOU!!!!!". you can't make that shit up. well, someone did. and they're a very magical and special person. the photo has had almost 12,000 views now, which is weird because apparently the total views for all my photos is only 8,332. makes me wish i had a pro account again? no, not really.

our passport situation is finally under control. finally, which is one massive stress out of the way. hopefully now we can book that all important flight ticket. i'm still not in possession of my new debit card though, so i still have no access to cash. hopefully this will be remedied shortly. and getting back to toronto is easy, as is getting to montreal. that leaves the horrible task of shipping - that black cloud that's been hovering over us for the last two months. we've found someone who can take our suitcases, someone who charges in cubic meters, and they're located near enough to toronto. we just have to get our luggage there. then i have to deal with a few smaller but still heavy boxes that are going to england. it's going to hurt like crazy prices. can anyone recommend ups over fedex over anyone else? and then i also have to revisit the sony store. and all this in one day. can anyone lend me a moped? or a limo?

shipping, sigh. i was going to tell you a story ages ago, around the time i lost our passports and my priorities were somewhat different. but now i can't figure how to frame it and the context is totally lost. but you can imagine what a nightmare we had. a whole apartment of stuff - what to ship, what to take, what to sell, what to give away, what to throw away. it was almost too much. and one of the last things i had to decide upon was my nicely framed jennie one original artwork (thanks becky). was i to take the frame? and if not, how would it travel? i spent ages deliberating over this, and in the end i decided to postpone the big decision (the glass) and take it all up north, cafefully wrapped and lodged in the middle of my suitcase. i was carefully arranging this one night, the worst night, stressed and exhausted and surviving only off the occasional ten minute high from eating coffee chocolate, and for some reason that escapes me now i'd removed the glass. maybe it was so i could secure another print, or determine its weight, or something stupid. so of course, ten seconds later, after having stood up and turned around, i stuck my foot straight through it. it solved the problem at least.

and now i don't know why i even bothered mentioning that. i figure it nicely illustrates the entire packing fiasco. and now we need never mention it ever ever again. or at least until i have to do it all again in a week.

12.02.2008: i'd love to tell you nice things about my new laptop, but i'm getting way too pissed off with vista. i fucking hate it. seriously. it makes me feel awkward and disabled. i'm already having complicated feelings about the computer, and stupid microsoft really isn't helping. i can't wait to get rid of this stupid operating system. every bad thing you've heard about it is true. but anyway, this was never supposed to be about vista.

it went like this. after spending hours too many in various stores (corporate or otherwise) i'd decided on buying another vaio, and this based mostly on guidance from a friend, as all the laptops out there look equally unappealing and all salesmen being equally unhelpful. i was close to buying a toshiba that fit my requirements, but decided against it last minute. so, standing in the sony store i was torn between two models - the one that had been recommended to me and the one that, after a little haggling with the only nice sales person i encountered, was 70% of the price of the other. the price gap pretty much sealed the deal. i mean, who ever tries to sell you on the cheaper option?

looking back, it makes me suspicious. but maybe that's just the paranoi sneaking back in.

see, the problem is that i don't want a new computer. and so it was inevitable that whatever machine i bought it wouldn't get me excited or make me happy. this lack of excitement then turned into to worry. and then stress. what if i'd bought the wrong one? what if i'm never going to get on with this computer? what if i was just being cheap, overcompensating for my usual (old?) tendency to want the best and hence most expensive, and i totally messed up?

the computer i bought is a little larger than my old one. so why did i buy it when i wanted a smaller one? the keyboard doesn't suit me, it still feels wrong after extended use, so what was i thinking? the mouse buttons click funny. it also doesn't help that vista is a piece of shit, dealing with all that obscene pre-installed software is a nightmare, and i can't get the drivers for xp.

it all added up to me freaking out on a minor scale. nothing has bothered me like this for ages. i couldn't even sleep last night. i've totally surprised myself. and all over a stupid and perfectly decent laptop. it's retarded, but i'm just not satisfied.

so, i made a few phone calls. rachelle hadn't thrown out the cardboard so i can return it how i bought it (minus the cable bags and cable ties). i found this out first. then the store told me i had fifteen days in which to return it, which is lucky because we're in toronto for one more day yet, and exactly two weeks after my purchase. then i found out about the infamous 'restocking fee', but if i'm increasing my spend by another fifty-odd percent, they can forget about that surely. and yes, the man on the phone told me not to worry, it would not be problem. unfortunately it means they have me, and i wont be getting any money knocked off this time (i'll still try complaining about the battery wiggle, probably with zero success), but that's the price you pay.

for what? i guess for wanting something, and hence being satisfied.

like i said, something about being fucking bourgeoise. i'm sick i tell you.

were not wasting paper [or grammar]
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