Monday, April 24, 2006

Update on us

Today, I eat my words. Vancouver is not a lukewarm city - I am just an impatient and skeptical ex-Saskatchy turned pseudo-Ontarian, unable to the embrace this new and wonderful metropolitan area for what it is. And it is a wonderful place. I suppose I didn't give it enough of a chance to show me what it is made of. But I am now proud to acclaim that Vancouver is made of summer: glorious sunshine, afternoon naps, fresh cut grass, a view to children in the park, and a late setting sun on a bbq-sizzling balcony. Yesterday I wore a skirt and today we left the windows open and took refuge inside from the cooking sun. And so, I admit, I may have been completely wrong about this city. I will wait until August before casting harsh criticism.

In other news, this week marks a shift in the winds for Jonathan and I (by the way Neil - I have Jonathan's written and notarized consent to collectively speak for us. Not only does Jonathan condone my use of witty adjectives, he comes up with half of them himself. He also loves cooking five nights a week, doing all the laundry and massaging my feet while playing Eric Clapton). Spring semester is officially over and changes have already begun. We have a new house in a new city; Jonathan is done all his coursework; and I've sat my last class as a student. Over the summer Jon will be biking, writing his thesis, and (hopefully) snagging a part-time research position. Unfortunately, his summer employment with the government fell through last week because Mr.Harper announced last Tuesday a freeze on all non-committed public service funding. Jonathan wants to sue the PM's arse, so he will also be writing the LSAT in June so he can do so. Of course, that isn't the only reason: it is also so the two of us can continue to be poor (but highly educated) individuals for the next four years because it is that much fun. And finally, it is also because Jonathan aspires to one day stand off in court opposite his mother-in-law. He envisions making a grandiose closing statement about the children of our country, a speech that will undoubtedly serve as a precedent for cases to come.

As for me, I will be painting, researching, and writing. On the first note, our walls are awfully bare and with other peoples' art being too expensive, we decided I would make our own. If "orange stripe and red stripe on canvas" can sell for thousands and garner public awe in the most prestigious national art gallery, I'm sure a couple splashes of paint hung on our living room wall should suffice. On the other two notes, I am doing a reading course on Cnd Gov't to finish my last course requirement. And when I'm not learning about government, I am being a consultant to government on government. I know, sounds weird but true. I am also taking the test of all tests at the end of the semester: my Ph.D. comprehensive, exam #1. With 200 books and articles to read in preparation for it, I am sure I will have achieved a decent butt-grove in our arm chair by the end of the summer.

Other than that, we hope to be visited by friends and family over the next few months and have two more Joshis habituating the coast for school and work in September.

And finally, there may also be a lull in posting over the next two weeks. Jonathan is in Calgary for a five-day workshop and will be too busy playing with numbers with a bunch of like-minded nerds. I on the other hand will be in Nanaimo for the B.C. Political Science AGM with people mostly too busy being allergic to numbers.

How scholarly of us, I know.

So sorry if this post was boring for you but it had to be done: our lives are far too important to keep to ourselves. If you were seeking entertainment, you can always try your luck with a blogger on the right menu ...

Friday, April 21, 2006

Some Summer

This week, Jonathan and I realized something. We realized that this week signals something called "the rest of Canada pushes back". And are we feeling it, quite literally.

You see, when we moved out here to the winter tropics, nobody told me that Manitoba and Ontario eventually catch up, that while I'm still adorned in my raincoat and scarf, Winnipegers and Torontonians are frolicking around in the latest summer fashions.

Now don't get me wrong. There were people in Vancouver wearing tank tops today. But those people are crazy. Or painfully optimistic. Painfully optimistic and stubborn. They are thinking, if the rest of Canada is done with hibernation then so are we. Two things wrong there. First off, Vancouverites don't hibernate. They soak. It's different. Second, I see the goosebumps on your arms and I know you are looking at me in my big winter coat thinking "Dammit, I wish I was wearing one of those instead of my favorite rock band t-shirt". You're not fooling yourself or anyone else. It's cold here. It hasn't hit 17 degrees yet, much less the temperatures I know have been gracing the rest of the country. Take this exact moment. Winnipeg: 17. Toronto: 19. Ottawa: 14 Vancouver: 11. Shall I add my friends that the sun is still shining in Vancouver right now, that it's only 6:45pm and that nearing-10-o-clock-in-the-evening Toronto and Ottawa are STILL boasting higher temperature? No I didn't. But I didn't need to. Even without that piece of information - that the time difference is actually working IN Vancouver's favour - it still sucks.

So yes, this week, Jonathan and I discovered that this is the time of year where everything else gets better everywhere else except here. This is the time of the year where Vancouver puts together everything it can muster and still fails to spit out a mere 20 degree day of sun shine. This is the beginning of when the city I live in fails to hit 30 degrees at any point during the next four months. And this is the when the rest of Canada pushes back. When the rest of Canada says darn you Vancouver and your hilly hills and your mountainous mountains (I am clever, aren't I?). Darn you and your "best city in the world" rating, your "work-play" condos, and your soya-bread crazy, yoga-at-lunch-enthused residents. Darn you and your miniature dogs, your ski-in-your-bathing-suit-in-April slopes, your above Celsius winters, your rivers, your coast, your Canucks and your Hollywood star sightings. We're taking summer for ourselves. Some of us have bugs, and those who don't have humidity, but at least the end of our winters aren't anti-climatic, the rest of Canada is saying. At least, when spring arrives we feel something different, something glorious, something warm. At least our seasons don't spill into each other like turkey dinner. At least we are not lukewarm all the time.

I think the rest of Canada is right. Vancouver weather kind of sucks. I mean, who likes lukewarm? It's so... boring. Lukewarm milk? Gross. Lukewarm shower? Disappointing. Lukewarm response? Discouraging. Weather is supposed to shake you up, make you feel alive, give you something to talk about. At the very least, it is supposed to change, and when it does for everyone else but not for you, it is hard not to feel a bit gipped, and jealous. Like when you were still in elementary school and your big sister was off to grade nine. "Why does SHE get a new backpack?". Or when you were still wearing diapers and it wasn't your birthday. "Why does HE get to blow out all the candles?". In this case, I ask, why does Winnipeg get to have all the hot weather?

Sigh. I am going to miss my swelteringly hot Ottawa summers and my Saskatoon bugs.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Some of the "forces that be" have suggested that the editors of this blog modify the spelling of its title so as to conform to the conventional spelling as promoted by the Queen, therefore avoiding affiliation with the neo-liberal empire south of the 49th parallel. Although the editors of this blog are all about sticking it to "the man" and cutting ties with George and his cabal in the south, the thought of affiliating themselves with the Queen and her imperialist ambitions is equally worrisome. As such, a decision has been made to explore an alternative third way free of the baggage of empire. This blog will therefore be known as Shades of Greigh: A Colourful Commentary.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Good times

As you have probably already noticed, things have changed a little around here. But do rest assured that they are entirely cosmetic. They are like mere footnotes to our grand story, a tale of which the literary devices, the obtuse ramblings, and the occasional post from the male variety of Jima, have endured untouched and unharmed. Think Goldfish Crackers post-trans fats. Same great taste, but without those bad-for-you lipids.

So by now, you have also likely gathered the reason for our little face lift. We moved from our now dearly departed rental 1-bedroom at Oak and 12th in Vancouver, to our spacious little (who says I can't juxtapose in a blog?) abode by the Fraser River in New Westminster. That's right. Two weeks ago, we rented out our Vancouver apartment, then had Isaac visit, who popped back in a week later to witness the chaos of our packing frenzy, before moving the afternoon and evening of March 31st. April 1st, we awoke sore and tired and painted the whole living room and dining room, and by this weekend, we were pretty much totally pooped and totally moved in.

So thanks to all of you who put your best blog title suggestions forward. However, it was an exceptionally tight competition this year, with more applications than usual. And so, for some of you (especially those whose lifelong dream was to win this contest), we regret to inform that Neil's took the cake. Note to Neil: if you can find the time between sobs over your 9th-place-Canucks, please send us your address as we've managed to get the shot you wanted. It was tough, but we've pulled through on your request.

But back to us.
Intersting stories to tell about our place.

1) There are two bedrooms, but they have an open doorway between.
2) The living room is [no longer] forest green and the bathroom has red walls with orange and green tiles.
3) All the doors are glass. Yes, even the bathroom. No, the doors are not opaque. Not frosted either.
4) We have no heat. That is correct - our suite has neither floor vents nor electric baseboards. No, it does not have radiant heating either. The previous owner thought the electric baseboards were ugly so she had them sent out with the trash and the three associated heat control panels boarded up.
5) When you enter our building, you have to go down one floor to get to our suite. We live on the fourth floor, with just one suite below us and one suite above us. There are 7 floors to our complex. Try figuring that one out.
6) It has a cool-ass courtyard, a wicked-ass view, and it's on a big-ass hill.

Okay, so I'm running out. I need to save some brain power for my two papers due next week. Plus, I was at a rock concert last night so you can imagine I lost a few brain cells there.

Speaking of the rock concert, Jonathan and I are totally not hip anymore. You see, the Weakerthans (our favorite band) played on the UBC campus football field yesterday afternoon. Tickets and beer were cheap, so 10,000 kids showed up. Some were half-drunk from the get-go, and I'd say a quarter had fake I.Ds. I think the only sobers were the die-hard Weakerthans/New Pornographers fans, who sang along to the lyrics with a bit of rhythm in their knees while the other 9,982 attendees did other stuff. Other stuff included vomiting, sloshing beer on friends too drunk to notice, making out, dancing/convulsing/stumbling to the beer tent in a ungracefully inebriated manner, being drunk, playing drunk, drinking drunk, and lastly (but perhaps most popularly) attempting to snag a lady/man-friend through any tactic deemed acceptable by the drunken mind (yes, very loose list of things).

Both Jon and I had our own moments of "why-am-I-here? Oh-right-I-love-the-Weakerthans
-THIS-much". My moment was when I had beer spilled on me.

Think that's nothing? Alright, let me elaborate. The beer was post-consumption.

That's right, I had beer vomit sprayed on my wool coat. Which I will now dryclean. Serves me right for not wearing a tube top like all the others.

Jon's moment? Or shall I say moments, seeing as he was offered cocaine twice. Once while scouting out a relatively clean outhouse, and again while conversing with one of his students.

All in all, we saw two guys get arrested, a bunch of men piss over a fence, a lot of beer, a few paramedics, 9,982 drunk people aaaaand, and a couple hours of the New Pornographers and the Weakerthans.

But it was a fun night. Certainly not a bad one for a young married couple who would have otherwise spent it watching last week's episode of The West Wing, eating a home-made casserole and strolling the local hardware store for home improvement ideas.

A few of our friends have asked about our new place, so we'll post a couple pictures here. We really need to put something up on those walls and do something about those glass doors and that empty, empty office. But all in good time I suppose. We do plan to enjoy this view for at least a few years.