Thursday, November 5, 2009

Phase 11: Hoko's

So my sister lives above Hoko's in scenic East Vancouver. Hoko's is a great place where a very nice Korean man runs a small, struggling sushi/karaoke establishment. For a while, he started having shows. He genuinely loved the music, as one could tell from the fact that he would break out his camcorder and record the shows in between sushi orders. Unfortunately, this city has stupid priorities, and felt the need to shut down shows at a sushi restaurant on a completely deserted street where the majority of people out after 8 p.m. are on crack or heroin.

Anyhow, my sister lives on top of Hoko's. Hoko is her landlord. I've always wanted to live on top of a store and in an open space. I got to try it out.

Conclusion: Super nice but very very cold.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sihking nourishment.

To commemorate my last day at the Cuisse de Nymph house, Besh and I went down the road to the Sihk temple to eat. It was an interesting cultural experience. Everyone there was a white-skinned mooch just like us. It sort of feels like standing in line at the soup kitchen when you're not actually homeless.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Damn the Torpedos

So I just found out that Aaron has been referring to the room I share with Besh as "The Refugee Room". I like it. I will say I've never shared a room with someone who had such a high tolerance for my love of the snooze button.

Besh has made my new keys into her office:

So I'm moving out now into my sister's place for free. Here is my October budget:

Rent: $241.50
Storage: $75
Car Insurance: $133
Extra Gas: $100
Total (rounded): $550

My savings this month will add up to about $140. Not bad.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Easter Van: The big, crowded house.

Okay, so this house is Aaron, Ben, and Dan.

First, Ben went on tour and I moved into his room.

Then, Dan went to Indonesia and Besh showed up and started subletting his room. Dan's room is awesome because it's huge and it has two beds and a giant movie projector that shows DVDs on the wall. At this point, the house was me, Aaron, and Besh. Besh's friend Juls showed up from the East Coast and started staying in Dan's room too, since it has two beds. Aaron doesn't seem to mind when things like this happen. Eventually Juls left. Then, one day, I came home to discover Ben had come back from tour. Since I had nowhere to go, I simply dragged my possessions into Dan's room, where I'm now sleeping. Besh has a bed, I have a bed, and we're both chilling until Dan gets back. Dan is back on the 22nd, and my sister leaves on the 21st, so I have a place to stay continuously. Sweet.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Phase 10: Cuisse de Sublet!

So why haven't I been updating? This weblog is supposed to be about living rent free, and I sort of haven't been living rent free. I had originally planned to leave on my trip in September/October, but then I found out my friend Ben from work was leaving at the same time on tour. We can't both leave at once, and since his was a booked tour and mine was an unbooked vacation, I postponed. Here is Ben:

When all my friends started ditching the suburbs and moving to Vancouver, the first house that got going was the A.A.A.K. house, featuring Aaron, Aaron, Amy, and Kris. This was almost the prototype for my first two houses, and a lot of the same people lived in 2 or 3 of those houses. The A.A.A.K. house continued for years with high turnover, including a point at which no original resident lived there. Aaron was a founder, and ended up living there at the end as well. Ben and Dan are two people who both lived in the A.A.A.K. house over the years. Aaron, Ben, and Dan are the current residents of the Cuisse de Nymph house. Since Ben is away on tour during a time I expected to be away, I'm subletting his room. It's cheap, but when one adds storage and vehicle costs, it's probably about the same:

Rent: $483
Utilities: $40
Storage: $75
Car insurance: $133
Extra gas: $80
Money saved by having my own kitchen and cooking less often: -$50 (estimate)

Total: $71 extra was spent this month as compared to the Backside House.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Keys are the Bane of my Existence

Keys are everywhere. I think right now I have about 25-30 keys, and at points since I've been doing this, it's been worse than that. Lately I've been strategically splitting up my keys. For example, when I was with Nevada and Tara and I had a broken foot, I kept my apartment keys on my van keys, then left all my other keys like for work and stuff in my van. My latest key-splitting endeavour had me separating the house keys at Shannon & Jordi's from everything else. The main reason for this was sheer bulk.

So last night I was leaving their place, but I left my stuff there. I had planned on coming back today to get it. I left on my scooter, which also has a separate key, and I made a point of bringing their spare house keys with me.

Today, I worked late and everyone else was gone. When I went to leave, it made me realise that although I had keys to a scooter and two apartments, I didn't have keys to work. To make matters worse, my work has the kind of locks that you even need to use a key on from the inside. I was trapped because I simply can't be bothered to carry all those keys at once.

David rescued me. My keys apparently are still at Shannon and Jordi's, and I can get them because I have keys to their house still. Still. Ridiculous.

Friday, August 28, 2009

You've got me Winnipeged

I was at least a little sheepish about staying at my girlfriend's place because her landlord lives right upstairs, and all the laundry I was doing and vehicles I was parking had to go at least a little noticed. I needn't have worried. Winnipeg hippies are now living in a van in the back yard!

My favourite part is how they set up a tarp over the van and tied it to the fence. The boys who live in the middle (between Lindsay and the landlord) seem to be their hosts. They've been camping out for like a week now. This is actually how I expected at least part of my summer to go.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Phase 9: Vicarious Dog-Sitting

So Jordi and Shannon are in Burnaby dog-sitting for their friends. I've gotten three different gigs from pet-sitting so far, but this one is even better because I don't even have to do anything! I'm only a short walk from work, and I get a whole place to myself!

This is my August summary of expenses:

Insurance: $213 for both vehicles once you pro-rate the van.

Extra gas: $80

Net Vehicle: $293

Electrical Bill paid in the West End: $22

Storage: $75

Cutting extra keys: $2

Beer left various places $13 or so.

Total saved: $285

Monday, August 24, 2009

Phase 8-A: Camping

It's ironic when sleeping outside costs way more than one's current housing situation.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Phase 8: Mooching Off Your Girlfriend

So my dearest lady friend is no longer homeless. Normally I would never impose on her roommates by living in her place, but currently, both roommates are out of town at the same time. Score.

Friday, August 14, 2009

When Kitties Go Wild

Cats are really my meal ticket when it comes to staying in someone's place. I mean, people who leave town are very generous when it comes to lending their places. When they don't have cats, I feel like they're doing me a favour. When they do have cats, I feel like I have something to offer in return.

Amanda, in whose place I currently reside, was adamant that I am a cat lover and a cat person. She re-iterated time and time again the importance of this. She said they go a bit crazy. Well, she was right!

Firstly, there is the issue of the grate. This grate is for keeping them off the very high deck. They really can't be trusted with these kinds of heights. Fair enough, but during the record-setting heat wave, I had the patio door open with the grate in whenever I was home because it was a sauna in there. The problem came when one of them sprinted across the room and jumped clean over the grate in pursuit of a fly. He was even looking like he wanted to scale the railing of the deck when I grabbed him. No more grate.

This is what happens when I leave a small bag of mixed nuts out. They break in and they spread them everywhere! What cats like nuts? I know two cats who are nuts!

This is what happens when I leave a glass on the table with water in it before bed. They break the glass to get the water! Why? Their water bowl was fresh, clean, and full! They're crazy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Mistress of Satan: 1993 - 2009

From Dylan's Facebook, the final days of the van:

It looks like they broke the front axle! Not what I expected:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The East Van is no longer.

A few weeks ago, ex-Spinoffs members Sideshow Luke and Mark Metallic jammed with me, Scott, and newest member Skytrain Shane just for fun in our space. This happened after the band pretty much fizzled out into nothingness for a variety of reasons including lack of time to practice hard enough to be any good, my inability to write songs, and general disinterest in the genre. Will the band ever do anything again? Probably. I'd really like to write the perfect retardo album (for the record, the perfect retardo album is currently "The Backchannel Broadcast" by The Lillingtons, followed closely by "Invasion USA" by The Riverdales), but until it's at least half-written, there is no point in playing live to promote
nothing new. The Spinoffs are suffering from the law of diminishing returns; the more we play shows, the less people come.

One noteworthy thing is we all were once again with the van we purchased together in September of 2002. Here's what it looked like then:

Here is what it looks like now:

In seven years, the van has been a weird sort of constant for me. I used to drive it to work when I lived in the suburbs. We did two full tours with it. I've used it to move repeatedly, and to help others move countless times. This summer, as documented here, I've started renting it to bands. I had at one point five appointments figured out. Alas, Dylan Thomas Rysstad drove the last inch in Saskatoon yesterday. Four days from the end of tour, the axle snapped in half and the Mistress of Satan, as Mark named it the day we got it, was no more.

I'm really glad I bought that car.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hot in the city. Hot in the city tonight.

Well, this has been I think the hottest week in July here in recorded history. I'm here in a sauna on the 11th floor in the West End. I've half a mind to shave these cats. They're basically always in the window.

This apartment building has a pool, but I checked it out, and it's not nearly as nice as the Pacific Ocean, which is exactly two blocks away. I once dated a girl who lived in this neighbourhood (right across the street, actually), and I always said that as long as it wasn't winter, it was a great place to live. It's true, too. Fireworks wrap up on Saturday, and it's also gay pride this weekend too. It's going to be a zoo. As long as I can walk downhill in my trunks and jump in, it can stay 30 degrees all it wants.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Phase 7: The Westender

I've moved now to the West End of Vancouver, a very populated place with lots of yuppies and homosexuals. I'm on the 11th floor, which would be great for fireworks night tonight, except it faces North, not South. I'm going to try to figure out how to get on the roof.

Other perks include being two blocks from Sunset Beach, and a sauna and pool being right in the building. I have two cats here to take care of for the next three weeks or so.

Estimated budget for July:

Insurance: $238 for both vehicles.

Extra gas: $200

Less money recovered renting my van out to Dylan: -$300.

Net vehicle: $138.

Kitty litter: $12.

Storage: $75

Total: $225.

Total savings: $465.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Now you say you wanna live with me. 1, 2, 3, you wanna do my laundry.

How can you leave a place where people actually enjoy folding your laundry? Seriously!

I'm walking a bit now. I guess I insured the car for nothing. Oh well.

Monday, July 20, 2009

East Hatchback Diaries

So I loves me a bargain, I do. I lives me a bargain so much, in fact, that I bought a Volkswagen Golf a couple months ago. A friend was selling it cheap and I simply couldn't resist. Up until a little over a week ago, my plan was simple enough; I would use the van to move all the time, the scooter or bike to get to work, sell the van, go to Europe, return and drive the car (as it would be Winter by then). Simple, right? No. The thing is, I got greedy and started renting my van to bands between the moves I was doing from place to place. Now I have a van in another province, and I've had to insure the car to get around with my broken foot. Jeez. That's another $133/month cutting into my savings. But isn't it great?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Phase 6: Split Level/Split Bone

So things have been pretty sweet here thus far. Tara and Nevada live with two kitties named Ginger and Cilantro. Here is Ginger testing the new scratching post:

Here she is being a suck:

Morgan and Codi were kind enough to move my stuff. Living with a broken foot makes you appreciate people who carry things. Although this is the first place where I don't get a bed, I'm pretty glad because having some hands around here makes it a lot easier.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I Knew This Would Get Boring

Okay, so I ain't a fool. As exciting as pseudo-homelessness seems, it's not always fun to write about. Last week (Phase 4) was spent at Katie and Shane's, and ended without incident. I moved to Phase 5 (Morgan's house) before lending my van to Ian. It came back with a flat tire. Ian somehow managed to watch me floor pump the tire from in the rim to 35 P.S.I. before suddenly remembering pulling a jagged shard of metal out if the sidewall of the very same tire the night before. Classic Ian.

Anyhow, I never like driving the van in the sun because I have my scooter. My intention was to fix it within a week so I could get my stuff out of Morgan's place before he gets back. The trouble with the scooter is that the centre stand is severely bent such that the bike sits so low, one can't start it because the kick starter just slams into the ground. Ideally, the front wheel should be up about six inches so the starter can crank right around. In order to get around this, I've been putting the bike on the very edge of the sidewalk and kicking at it from the street below. That way, the starter hangs out over the street and has room to crank all the way over.

Yesterday, I left work halfway through the day to run errands. One errand was fixing the tire of the van. I did my usual sidewalk routine, and once I got her started, I went to take her off the stand, misjudged, and the whole shit came down, throwing me on the street. I took all the weight of the scooter on my right foot. It fucking hurt!

I spent the next few hours, pride in check, running errands. I hobbled around for blocks. I bought some beer and went back to Morgan's. Upon pulling off my shoe, I saw this:

Uh oh. I told Shannon what happened, and she made me go to the hospital. Fortunately, Morgan lives only two blocks from one, so I kicked off my other shoe and walked.

As it turns out, it's broken. I need crutches to walk, a tensor bandage to hold it together, and my van to get around. I also have to move tomorrow again, and suddenly have to rely on others just to move my clothes. To make matters worse, I've rented my van to Dylan for a solo tour starting next week, so I won't even have that. That's right, the cocky bastard with three vehicles and a bicycle is going to be rocking public transit. I'm sure I somehow deserve this.

Oh, and I had to steal Morgan's shoes. The guy is a snappy dresser:

He also has slightly bigger feet than I do, so his shoes fit over the tensor bandage:

Nice kicks, hey? At least I made my blog interesting.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Phase 4: Papa Two Guineas

I had planned in spending five days at Mark Wilson's house, but then I found out that Katie was going to visit her sister in St. Louis, and needed a sitter for her two Guinea Pigs. They're so cute!

Anyhow so not much to report. Free rent, cute pets, and central location. Also, I've been doing a lot of laundry. I did a bunch of laundry and Tara and Nevada's house when I was staying at Emily's, but there was so much left because I avoid paying for laundry. Now I'm totally caught up.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Phase 3: A Tale of Two Kitties

Okay, so I'm now residing at Emily's house. This is Emily:

Sure, that picture is years old, but I mean, B.J. Morecock? Shit's rich. I digress.

The thing here at Emily's house is the kitties. They're my ticket in because cat-sitting is what people need. Nobody needs to generously give up their place to a weary traveller (thanks, by the way), but cats do need to eat.

Percival is most definitely the apple of my eye. He is the cutest little bastard in the world. He enjoys many adorable hobbies such as balancing on the bathtub, playing with my iPod charger, playing with rosary beads, playing with the strap to my helmet, playing with...well, basically anything strandy in nature. Check out this fine specimen of a cat:

I would kit-nap him so fast if not for the fact that I'm very allergic to male cats. I don't know why, but the little bastards cause my eyes to turn every shade of red and my very bones to itch to the core. It's really a shame.

Martin, however, is the devil of the cat world. He tries to scratch and bite me at all times, and he also rather enjoys menacingly blocking doors to rooms I wish to enter. These cats could not be more opposite. Look at this thing!:

So I ended up living at the Pasadena and here at the same time for a week because I was too lazy to move all my stuff. Lindsay and I ended up getting it done on Sunday, but during the time in between, I used my van a bunch more. The good news is, I rented out my van to the band No Gold for a whole week, so that will cancel out some of my gas and all of my insurance for the month. Here is my new cost/benefit for June:

$175: Rent (paid for by trading in an old airline credit)

$90: Extra gas as compared to living at the Backside House.

$75: Storage space.

$105: Van insurance

-$140: Money made off No Gold renting the van out.

$50: Parking ticket.

$60: Alcohol bought for hosts of various kinds.

Total: $415

Money saved in June: $275! Hooray! I'm actually ahead of the game.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Spent: $15 or so on beer to compensate Scott for all the laundry I did. My plan was to wash everything at the Enchanted House since the facilities are $2/wash at Becky's place, but I couldn't do that once they got in trouble for having me live there. I actually went almost two weeks without driving my van, leaving laundry both dirty and clean at the Enchanted House. When I went to get it, there was a $50 ticket for parking facing the wrong way on a side street. Bullshit. Also, my laundry was all drying nicely on the deck, where apparently Keri had put it on the first of June. Good thing the weather has been perfect. There is no need to ride anything except the scooter, and my undies just toast in the wind and sun. So here's where this first two weeks of June has me:

$175: Rent (paid by trading an old airplane credit.)

$40: Extra gas paid as compared to the Backside House.

$75: Storage space.

$105: Van insurance.

$50: Parking ticket.

$15: Laundry compensation beer.

Total $460 for half a month. That's a rate of $920/month, but the insurance and storage are for the whole month, so I'm on pace for $830. I'm not yet saving anything.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

When like likes like.

Homelessness has many advantages. Generally speaking, when I explain what I'm doing, people are pretty excited. One question that often comes up is, "But Justin, how do you bring girls home?" When beds are borrowed, and couches or vans prove to be excellent substitutions, is one's style in any way cramped?

The obvious solution would be to get a girlfriend with her own place and mooch off her. Since I'm not Evan, I'm not doing that. Instead, I've found the only type of person who will date a homeless dude. I'm dating a girl who is also homeless!

This is Lindsay. She really wanted to live in Vancouver. She wanted to live in Vancouver badly enough to move into a closet while she looked for somewhere else to live:

The current state of the rental market in this city is such that more and more people I know are surfing couch, renting dens and closets, or otherwise making temporary arrangements. In fact, in the 12th and Granville neighbourhood, a $350/month closet is actually proportionately appropriate! When I moved to Vancouver in 2004, paying $825 for half a 2 bedroom in a divided character home seemed so expensive. I'm sure that same place fetches at least $1,100 these days. My how times have changed.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sofa, not so good. (When storrowing backfires.)

Okay, so yeah, I cleverly storrowed a bunch of stuff with Amy, Scott, Rachel, and the Enchanted House girls. The problem with doing that is you have to count on the stability of living arrangements of your friends. When I lent my red couch to Scott, I mentioned the fact to Tara and Nevada. They said they would have taken it too because they hated their own couch. So Scott has moved in with his girlfriend, and doesn't want my couch because he'd rather, like, have couches owned by him and his girlfriend than watch mine and wait for me to take it away and leave a giant hole in his living room. Fair enough.

We had to remove my couch from Scott's, and bring it to Tara's:

We had to remove Tara's couch from Tara's and leave it in an alley:

We had to move Scott's girlfriend's couch into Scott's, which involved tying it with rope and throwing it off a balcony:

I ended up just giving Tara my couch. I didn't want to own a couch I never liked that much anyway if it means stuff like worrying about where it is. I originally got the couch by trading a free couch I really like but that my sister had ruined when she bleached her hair to my girlfriend at the time for this couch and $50. Best $50 I ever made.

Someone please give me a free couch in like December, okay?

Oh, and now that the girls are moving, who wants to storrow my patio set?

Incidentally, the worst part of all of this is that for a week in July, my old red couch will be where I sleep, but Tara is moving. After somehow jamming that thing in her basement suite, I'm now going to be responsible for getting it out of there too.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ikea: Swedish for easy to break.

So last night, we tried to watch a video. The television and the digital video disc player weren't plugged in. Not only that, but there was no outlet within reach of them. I pulled on the table a little bit to slide it across the room. Suddenly, I heard a sound, and I was holding the giant television over the hardwood floor. It slipped and I dropped it.

Apparently, the leg had broken right off.

Anyhow, it turns out the table was broken all along, but I just didn't know it. I don't think we should put the television back there.

Other misadventures in the house last night involved the next door neighbours. There is an apartment so close to ours that you could almost reach over and touch it. The first time I took a shower and opened the window my head was visible and someone was just standing 10 feet away in her kitchen. Last night, someone in that building had a noisy party, and a lot of people were standing in the back yard. As you can see, that's pretty much right outside our windows.

Anyhow, so I was in the shower last night, and I kept seeing camera flashes through the window and hearing funny sounds. Eventually there was a knock on the window and I opened it. The whole party was cheering and raising their drinks and taking pictures. I wish I could get one of those pictures, because I was the perfect portrait of a guy in the shower. I was definitely mid-hair wash with the big ball of shampoo suds on my head. This is the angle I could see:

I had a drink with them out the window later, but didn't go outside.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Phase II: For real this time.

I've moved to the 12th and Granville area. This girl Becky from CiTR radio offered me the keys to her place the first time we met. We have a lot of mutual friends, but we had somehow never crossed paths. I mentioned this in my post about a month ago. Anyhow, she has a roommate, but her roommate sublet the other bedroom here to this Italian guy named Manu. Manu is only in Canada for four months studying architecture, so he's super into having a good time here in Vancouver. Part of my deal is that it's probably boring to live alone, so Becky wanted someone here. She looked for a sublet and couldn't find one, so I'm here now. I did trade her a $175 airline credit though, so my rent here for the half month works out to about $350/month, which is still a great deal for such a nice neighbourhood.

Here's Manu cooking eggs for dinner:

Here's what I did to the chandelier because we're not short girls like Becky and her roommate, so we kept hitting our heads on the thing:

That's an Ikea butter knife, but it does the trick. I think it's well in line with Manu's style of problem solving. He put a Life Saver outside to tempt the ants from the kitchen to the windowsill. It's attracting the little fuckers, but it's hard to say if it's helping us or hurting us. Are they coming for the Life Saver, staying for the kitchen? Perhaps.

The only thing that is a pain in the ass about this neighbourhood is parking. I can barely find spots for my Vespa, and I know every spot within blocks of here. I can't imagine what it's going to be like when I bring my van down here. Aside from moving, I haven't touched the thing. It's still at the Enchanted House along with a clean load of laundry (thanks, Keri) because the weather has been so hot, and the parking situation is so crazy. Some places have limits so you need a permit (which I don't have because I don't live here). Some places have restrictions for time of day (which is no good because if I don't take my van to work, it gets towed during normal business hours). The meters are right out, for obvious reasons. Egad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Phase II: South Granville

With a degree of sadness which one might not expect a temporary resident to exhibit, I have now left the Enchanted House. The agreed upon month is up. Not a moment too soon, actually, as the girls got busted having an extra person living there and were facing the possibility of seeing their portion of the utility bills going up. The utility bills are split between the basement suite and the upstairs, but of course, the presence of one extra showerer and launderer was enough to make the landlord give a hard time to the girls. I suspect that the basement suite tenants were the ones who tipped them off, but I mean, fair enough on the complaint. I paid a whole month of bills for the girls under the old breakdown, so don't think I'm a jerk for making their bill go up!

Unfortunately, the girls decided to move out of the house. Well, I guess it was what they wanted to do, but it breaks my heart a little because I really love that house. Geez, no wonder I have never travelled. I seem to find something special about most places I live. Part of this weblog seems to be an examination of my constant need for a home. I feel like that German Shepherd in The Littlest Hobo. Maybe tomorrow. I digress.

Amanda took a picture of me leaving:

I managed to get all my stuff I had there into one vanload:

Actually, phase II will have to wait. I have a lot to say at moving time.

The Enchanted House was awesome. I loved it as a place where people cook together and hang out at home a lot, but not too much. It was pretty far out of the way, so we'd be out a lot, but people still made the journey when we were there. The girls are awesome, and I'm stoked to have spent the time there I did. Here's a picture of the cookoff they were having when I went to pick up my scooter:

Cooking as a competitive event! More people should do that!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Where have I been?

Okay, so as faithful readers have read, moving was a gong show. I literally didn't even pack. School hasn't been going much better. I took a few days off living here in the Enchanted House to lay low and study at work/sleep at riki-lea's house, but about halfway through my term project, I realised that I couldn't balance studying, working my new job, and being pseudo-homeless, so I dropped my class. That's a project for another year.

Life at the house has been really good. I get along with all the girls, although I got in trouble for my love of dairy once. Important tip for the homeless: If you're staying and you ain't paying, you have to get in line with the politics of your hosts. Just as I wouldn't have wild gay threesomes while staying on the couch of some square Christians, I shouldn't light cheese on fire and churn my own ice cream all night in a home of mostly vegans, although I hasten to point out that they probably would be okay if I decided to have wild gay threesomes.

Cost/benefit analysis of the month of May:

-Extra gas (compared to if I had stayed in my previous living situation): $160 (estimated).

-Extra alcohol and drugs bought and shared with the roomies: $100 (estimated).

-Van insurance: $105.

-Storage locker: $75.

-Bills: $250 (because I covered a month's worth of bills rather than paying rent).

I guess I spent about $690 not paying rent. If I refer to my first post on this blog, I think I might have saved a bit.

Okay, scratch that. I just checked. My costs at my old place were $690. Living here was very comfortable and a lot of fun, but was revenue neutral.

Let's see how June goes. I have two more adventures lined up.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On possession(s)

I got into this a little bit with the "storrowing" post from before, but really, at the time I was moving and settling in, I seriously did not have time to even get into the details. I have quite a bit of stuff. Some of it is amazing, like my homemade 10-foot oak dining-room table which my boss made and which I love. Some of it is simply neat. Some of it I've just had forever. In the absence of places I can always go, setting up the same things in every place that I go has been a comfort, although perhaps one I didn't recognise.

After all this business politicising the housing market here in Vancouver in an earlier post on this here weblog, and after pulling the typical left-wing crap blaming the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games for at least a huge chunk of the problem, who rents both our house and the other side of the duplex? American consultants who are working for VANOC, and who only need a place to stay through until the Olympics are over, that's who! The blessing there is that they didn't have any stuff, and they were more than happy to take a couple pieces of furniture off my hands when my storage locker became much more full than I had planned for it to be.

I had this wardrobe. It's been around over 20 years. My grandmother bought it for me for my birthday. It's from Ikea, which is pretty amazing if you consider for how long I've had it. I liked it purely for sentimental reasons. I had to ditch it. I looked long and hard at it, and I asked myself if I would buy that thing if I didn't already own it. The answer was no, so I gave it to the Americans.

My sister, as it turned out, could not accommodate the nine foot bench I have, which was ripped out of the Triggiano's coffeeshop when it became a JJ Bean. This is the sort of thing I have that's awesome when it's set up, and the worst thing ever when I'm moving. When people comment on it, I use it as an example of how I've never paid for furniture in my life. That's right. My dressers were all free, as were my bookshelves, my bed, my table, my bench, my couch, and my giant stereo. Part of being homeless is finding crazy places to put all this shit. Storrowing the stereo, a dresser-set, my patio set, and my couch were no problem, but the benches ended up sliding around in the back of my van for over a week prior to my finding a solution. After already having jettisoned a lot of stuff, I wasn't really into getting rid of the benches, especially in light of the fact that I have no chairs.

I went to the Gary Hustwit film Objectified recently with my sister. Part of what I liked about was the part in which many designers interviewed explore the reality that all which they design ends up in the garbage. The introductory shots to this section include footage of an Ikea store. I've lived with people who have a lot of newer, cheaper furniture. I've seen as chunks come out of it and I've been party to abandonment of a lot of it in alleys. Numerous times, I've rescued it from alleys myself. Aside from my couch, which I don't really love, I dig all of my furniture at this time. I've paid for none of it. The only new thing I've ever owned was that wardrobe, which I gave to the Americans. If fashion and wear and tear are going to make everything we use on a daily basis ultimately disposable, there will ultimately be more and more free things to nab. Considering the number of tables and sundry other things I've abandoned in alleys or handed off to a friend, there is no shortage of stuff to be had. People give it away. I've resolved to not spend money unless something is really nice, and meant to be kept forever.

With that in mind, I recently invested in an oak rolltop desk. At a time when I've stored all my furniture, and when I've had to give up some furniture, and when I'm not even enjoying my own furniture, I'm finally spending money on furniture. It's contradictory to my whole project, but I think it makes sense. It took second-guessing the value of everything I own for me to put enough thought into objects to spend money on something that takes up valuable real-estate. Plus it was a really good deal.

As for the nine foot bench, I cut a deal with riki-lea to put it in her cellar. The deal was I had to take a half a dumpster's worth of garbage and/or thrift store stuff out of the spot where my benches were going to go. When she went camping for a few days with her entire house, I slept in her place for a few days so I could concentrate on school with nobody home. Ian and I got rid of all the stuff and replaced it with the benches.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Enchanted House: Eating well and drinking constantly.

I'm so full of wonderful food. All weekend was just cooking, eating, cooking, eating, beer, beer, beer.

We had a flambé party, but Laryssa made her own ice cream first to put the flambéed fruit on.

The girls are constantly cooking, doing art, organising, and doing productive things, and then going out. It's really hard to procrastinate around them because they're so active you feel guilty.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The word of the week is "storrow."

Oh man. I don't even know where to start.

I'm usually the master of moving. I have a van, and I have a lot of friends and relatives who seem to tear up root every six months or so. The thing is, this time, I blew it. It's not that moving is a problem. I'll move any time. Lift, insert, drive, watch the corner there, no that's on my foot, over here, there we go. Easy as pie. The real issue at hand is packing.

Oh, packing, how I hate you so. I hate packing so much that I haven't unpacked some of the things that I packed away when I left the Neaves Road house in the year 2000. Even when I spent over three years at the Colourful House, I did not unpack fully because of my extreme, crushing dread of packing.

Over the past week, Scott storrowed my giant stereo, which goes really nicely with the red couch he storrowed the day I made the last couch run with the girls.

Ian and Rachel agreed to storrow my records and my nine foot restaurant booth. I went downtown and got a half-price storage space for my stuff (it's nice to know someone whose dad owns a storage space), and last weekend Ian and I moved all my remaining furniture into there.

Piece of cake, right? Nothing left after that but...

Oh yes, packing.

Packing is the bane of my very existence. I had a mental block about it. In fact, I ended up not even obtaining boxes, even the night before I had to be out. Our agreement said we had to be out at noon on the last. At the stroke of midnight, I found myself frantically emailing work people to tell them there was no way I was coming in. I wound up just scooping everything up and putting it into my van. I called Evan and he came down to help me bomb it all into the space. 14 agonizing hours of moving later (from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m., so yeah, I wasn't out on time), the deed was done, and we had to go play on the radio at U.B.C. as members of the Isotopes. The radio was fun enough but I was totally bagged. Fortunately, at the station, I met a reader of this here weblog who offered me a place to stay for free for two weeks in June. It pays to put your entire life on the internet.

The solarium is very comfortable though, and the vibe in this here house is amazing. The futon mattresses I borrowed don't fit though. We call it the taco.