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.