Wednesday, 7 July 2004

Last entry of 2004...and yet it's only July

Well, well…it’s been a long time. Sorry about that folks. But I’ve been rather busy with school, work, moving and all that jazz.

Yep, I’ve now moved into the city, and am happily co-existing with my roommates, Les and Nick. Anya and Gillian to follow in the fall! The house we live in is GORGEOUS!! I loves it! It’s very close to the downtown area, only a 2 min. walk to the bus and grocery stores, and it’s just a lovely house. I’ve got my room all done up pretty, and it really feels like home. We still need a wee bit of work done, that it appears our lazy landlord is going to drag his heels about, but other than that we seem to be moving into a well-oiled machine. We have a dishwasher, washer and dryer, built in microwave, and lots of space. Yah!

Our only complaint as a household so far…WORMS!!

We are infested, as is much of downtown St.John’s, with the nastiest creatures alive—inchworms. These disgusting things start out as small, green inchy things. However, as they multiply, they eat the trees to literally nothing. Many trees look like its winter as they have only skeletal leaves. Then the worms grow…they get a bit bigger and turn brownish-black. Icky! They hang out of the trees on long, spider-like strands and wave around in the breeze. I think this is how they move from place to place. It’s the most hideous thing in the world to be walking along, minding your own business, and then suddenly have a worm—appearing to hover in midair—right in the middle of your face!! Shocking!! Now that the tree outside our house is eaten, they have descended on the house. They crawl and inch their way up, looking for food. I say they’re looking for a good ass kicking!! You can get them sprayed, but it costs a goodly penny, and there’s no way we can afford it, or our landlord will do it, so we just deal with them. Gross.

School is going really well, and I seem to be putting in one of my best semesters. I’ve been trying to not miss classes, and actually studying seems to reap some form of benefits. Who knew??

In other school news, my wunderbar of a little bro did a cool trick by getting onto the Dean’s List at UCC! He then followed up this little feat by running around during a major hail and rainstorm. I guess his mind was on loftier things than the weather! Ha!! This is a super thing though, and I have to admit that I’ve been bursting with sisterly pride and bragging about him here. He will have a mighty name on the Eastern Seaboard!

Went out with my lovely friends Ginny and Blair this weekend. They took me to a lovely spot called Fort Amherst. It overlooked the Atlantic, and we were trying (and failing) to spot whales. No whales, but I was thoroughly impressed with the water and view. It’s actually the first time I’ve ventured to any place near the water, or any touristy spot since I’ve been in house arrest in Kilbride for so long. Now I actually have more access to lots of interesting places. The Atlantic is a very different animal from the Pacific. It’s much bluer, colder, doesn’t have that same ocean-y smell. But gads, it’s beautiful!

We then went up to Signal Hill. There is a tower on the top: Cabot Tower, and the view from there is also magnificent, although it was hampered by fog. I plan to go again when it’s clear. Later on we are going to go to Cape Spear, the most easterly spot in North America (or at least Canada…), and take a few more little trips around and about. Very cool, and pictures will follow.

Right, I’m off to get more homework done. Only 3 more weeks to the semester, and then I only have 2 more semesters to go to complete my B.A. Then it’s off to Grad school to get my M.A., and I’m hoping to do a double concentration in English and Folklore to keep myself a marketable wench!

So, make sure you have my new

This will be in effect until I get a home email, which probably won’t be until the fall sometime. Until then, I’m stuck using the on-campus computers.

Will try to get another entry out in a week or so…V.F.—the ocean-watching beeeee—atch!

Sunday, 20 June 2004


Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's been a while, I know. But I am still here and alive. Just been incredibly busy: school, work and MOVING!! Woo ha. Don't you just love moving…it's so thrilling and fun…

However, it should be a good move. I still don't even know how the hell I'm going to get my crap from one place to the other, but I'll figure it out. Once it's there, everything will be copasetic. A small dispute over rooms seems to be sorted out, and all seems well. I say seems because 5 people in one house is bound to have some interesting results.

School is going well; I'm maintaining a really high GPA and feel that I'm putting more of an effort into everything. I'm actually trying to be more academic, and really get something out of my readings and classes. That's not to say I didn't before—I've always loved the whole school, academia thang. I just feel that I'm not pissing around as much, and that it's more important for some weird reason.

May be home sooner rather than later, but nothing is decided yet. I have one more year, the fall and winter semesters, and then I should be finished my bachelor's in English and Folklore. I really want to attend an exchange-type program in summer 2005 to Harlow, England, but money may be a tad tight. Now, after my lovely bachelor's I need to decide a few things. I love folklore, I love the program and my classes, and I actually really love MUN. However, I'm having that wonderful Arts panic attack that says: what the hell are you going to do with a degree in Folklore, dummy?? And why the hell didn't you learn to weld?? So, I may decide to get my M.A. in English, as opposed to the Folklore M.A. This way, I may have a bit more recourse to get work teaching, etc. And if I decide on English, I may come home to do the M.A. if I can actually get in to a program there. It's just rather confusing as I think I may have found a calling of sorts with Folklore. Then again, I've taken a couple Classic's courses and love those. And I love my English Lit., too! Gosh darn it!! I just love Arts in general! I should win the lottery and become a professional student. I could roam the world attending different universities. By the time I hit 60 I'd have a dozen different degrees! Heh heh.

I'm getting my wonderful bouts of homesickness again, and that doesn't help the decision making progress. Plus, due to my seeming inability to find decent work here, I'm broke as two broke things and that also sucks. So, this all boils down to me running home, tail tucked. That's not that palatable, so I really have to do some soul-and financial/career-searching.

Trying to do a bit of writing in between a million things, and I have a story I received some good feedback on in creative writing almost edited. I think I might actually send it out and see what happens. Then I can start my scrapbook of rejection letters. The more stuff I send out, the more scrapbook volumes I will amass, and then I will just start teaching courses on “Rejection Letter Etiquette” and “How Not to Paper Cut Yourself to Death on a Particularly Harsh Rejection Letter.”

Just thinking that I will be close to lots of coffee shops and restaurants to write in, ala J.K.Rowling. Cool. More action and people in the house that are forced to read my shit! Also cheaper rent so I can actually afford to replace my printer cartridge. No more red essays.

I'm also waiting for icebergs to creep closer to the coast. (Nice alliteration!) The come in and create fog and cool weather, and you can go to places like Cape Spear to see them quite close. They get huge, and I hope to get some pics. I also want to go on a boat tour and see some puffins. I've been obsessed with puffins since I got here and realized that they weren't just the logo on a book company…they really exist!!

Anyway, that's my update for now. It's probably a bit grim sounding, but I'm tired and have so much to do.

Hope a few of you out there are still reading this…even with my sporadic updates!

Peace out homies!!


Saturday, 22 May 2004

S'not exactly like home...

Wow, just getting over a major flu. And I mean major! Snot flying, phlegm gurgling, head aching, muscles screaming, fever at…well…fever pitch. I think the weather here is just something that I will never get used to. Bleh.

Well, now that I've cleared the many piles of tissue and tea mugs out of my way, I can concentrate on school. The summer semester has started very well indeed. I have 4 courses, and all seem to be interesting. The only course I have that looks like major trouble is an English grammar course that involves a lot of linguistic garbage that just trips me up and makes me cry. It's like the bully course on the playground. Maybe if I give it my lunch money I'll get an ok grade.

Besides the above necessity course, my other English this term is Shakespeare Romance and Tragedy. Egads and little fishes I love English! I miss it, and the crazy prof's that seem to be part and parcel of the whole department. My prof. for the Shakespeare course fits the profile. He says interesting things like “the sound of a toilet flushing is one of the best sounds in the world” or “Hamlet's suicide soliloquy is interesting as he's worried about the afterlife. I mean maybe he'll follow in the family business and become a tortured ghost like his dad.” Too brilliant. But then he also says things like “ignorance does not bother me, but choosing to stay in ignorance sickens me.”

My 2 folklore courses are very interesting and great as always, and I've been talking to some of the sessional instructors about grad school, and courses, etc. and receiving some fantastic advice. Such good advise that I may even be able to finish grad school a tad sooner than planned if I can follow through on a few grand schemes. We'll see what happens. But I do so love scheming. And plotting. And capers. Not the little peppery things, but actual escapades.

Currently looking for a house for July 1 st . I'll give notice in a week, and so will Leslie and Nick, and the three of us will find a place and set up house. Then, in August/September, Gillian and Anya, our fourth and fifth, will come back and we will be a happy (though probably dysfunctional) little family. I think it will be good times, and I know it will save money.

Alright, that is all. I know this is a little lame, but that's what happens when you're not used to freezing temperatures one day, and muggy tropics the next, with the wind as the only constant. Illness has sapped much of the life out of me. Bleh.

Now, hopefully by the end of the month I will get pictures posted. They should have been posted a while ago, but I'm lazy and my brother is a busy man.

Viva la Vancouver!! How I miss thee, Lotus Land!

Your still sniffling, yet ever battling, Venus. VF

Sunday, 9 May 2004


“When certain kinds of winds begin to blow throughout the world, hospital admissions, suicides, and crime rates skyrocket. One country-Switzerland- even accepts the blowing of the ‘Foehn' during the commission of a crime as mitigating evidence in court. And the Mistral in the area of Provence is said to cause madness at certain times of year.

These ‘notorious' desert and sea winds are also linked to minor illnesses and malaise epidemics. Victims' claims range from sleeplessness, irritability, tension, migraines, nausea, palpitations and hot flashes with sweating to chills to tremor, vertigo, swelling, breathing difficulty, and frequent intestinal movement. In addition, elderly persons are affected with depression, apathy, and fatigue…”

A quote from a source on ions in the air. Why would this possibly be included in an entry here? Why, Newfoundland apparently should include “wind” as admissible in court as well.


The wind has been howling around like a bat out of hell, and there were snow flurries last night. Everyone says that on the Victoria Day weekend (here called May two four weekend) that there is traditionally a snowstorm. August is literally the only month you can count on for no snow, and yet it's still windy as a politician at election time! I actually plugged my ears with toilet paper to no avail. I could still hear the wind! The wind! ( I suppose it could have been the dull roaring of my ever dying brain cells…) I could buy proper earplugs, but then I'd never hear my alarm or get up for school and work. As Spooky ghost used to say: Coises!

I really feel quite mad. It's 6:30 in the am, and I have been up for, oh, let's say…FOREVER! I'm sure I must have slept a bit last night, but the wind actually keeps a lot of people up. There's also a lot of freaks here who actually like the wind. And who like snow, and who like to snowmobile, and who like barren wastelands. Although, the wind does freak some people out as there are a lot of wooden structures that for some ungodly reason are connected to each other. So, in case of fire…might as well sweep an entire city block instead of one building at a time. Newfoundlanders are efficient that way.

Went for blood tests on Friday--the vampire/nurse took 5 vials!! What the hell do they need 5 vials of blood for…a snack?? Am now thinking that I'm dying of some horrible blood cancer and no one is telling me… Anyways, one of the ladies in my building, Diane, went with me (Yes, I'm a huge wimp and she had to hold my hand and I had a tear or two…so what!) and we walked through Bowring Park to get to the lab. On the way back home, the wind was really whipping around, and I was looking at the trees and general area. A lot of places here are really nice and full of trees, etc. But the wind takes its toll in a lot of areas. There is no topsoil to speak of, so growing things is difficult here, and many of the trees are stunted and twisted. Plus, no trees grow very tall or thick, as there is an extremely shortened growing season. So, I walked home in silence and suddenly understood, with perfect, absolute clarity, why Heathcliff was so bloody crazy! I felt like yelling “Catherine!!” and then charging off a cliff. I could actually see hauling off and punching someone out when the wind gets howling. I wonder if any non-Newfoundlanders have blamed the wind for violence? Let me set the bar.

In other, non-wind related news (as if there is any other kind at the moment…) I start my summer semester on Monday! Woo hoo, back to school. I'm actually really looking forward to it. I have 2 Folklore and 2 English courses, both my majors, so it should be a fairly stimulating semester. Plus, Nick and Leslie and I are going to give our notice at the end of this month, and look for our house for July 1 st . Should be nice, and will definitely save cash.

Have actually cleaned about 50-60% of my apartment. Considering that I have so little stuff here, it seems astounding that my place could get so pig-sty-ified, and yet it does. I should just open the windows and let the wind blow all my shit out the doorway. Had a wonderful time on my hands and knees scrubbing the tub with bleach…hmmm, the taste of bleach! If only Crystle were here, she would scrub my tub and probably (though weirdly) enjoy it. Although, I did get to sort papers, and I love that. So I guess I'm just as weird. Today, when it's a little more day-ish, I'm going to finish my dishes and tidying, change my sheets and flip my mattress, and vacuum and scrub floors. Yep, you're tuning in to read my cleaning list. That's what the Newfoundland Mistral does to you.

Ok, and I watched some of ‘Hannibal' last night and it kind of freaked me out. But I also watched ‘Shakespeare in Love' which made me cry. And some SNL which made me laugh. I think I need mood-stabilizers…or less TV.

I also need to say:


Yep, it's that time of year again. Ah, that wonderful time of year where, due to my procrastination and thinned down wallet, I show my mum how ungrateful I am by sending her nothing! I will call her however, and probably talk about the wind…

Actually, I tried to float the idea that my mum should really be getting something for my bro and I—as without her children, she wouldn't even be a mother. I mean, it makes sense to me, but I don't think that brainstorm will take off at the Hallmark company. So, to all the mom's out there…uh…well...high five!

Anyhow, the wind sounds like it's died down for 45 seconds (almost precisely) so I'm going to try and get a wee bit more sleep, and then get up and clean. Boo yeah! My life is so thrilling here; it almost makes me wonder why I don't think of relocating here permanently. Oh yeah, BECAUSE IT'S FREAKING NEWFOUNDLAND!!

*sob, whimper, sniffle* If any of you were here right now, you'd hear the creak and crack of my poor, tired, stiff body as it slowly and painfully curls up into the foetal position, and the sounds of my whimpering as I hold my ears and stare-wide eyed-at the wall rocking back and forth…back and forth.

Alright…the wind is back, but I'm still going to bed for a while. I'll think of the sweet thoughts of Vancouver rain, and the smell of the Pacific, and the hope that a small outbreak of Scarlet Fever that causes sporadic loss of hearing. Of course it would never crap out during class, or vampire movie marathons, so it would be aaaaall good!

The wind…the wind. (spoken like Marlon Brando in ‘Apocalypse Now')


Sunday, 25 April 2004

Da Rock...

So, my second semester is over, and I'm heading into my third. Haven't received my marks yet, but they should be out next week. I'm sure I did alright, although I can see why so many people have problems with the Germans—Curse them and their grammar-ridden language!

So, I'm now double majoring in both Folklore and English. This is a wonderful revelation as I loves me English! Plus, I only needed 2 more courses, and they fit in nicely in my already ongoing program anyway. Wunderbar! Only one more year and I have my degree. That is, if I can survive it here.

You all notice the date? Yes, that's right April 25 th . Only a week away from May. Yep, it's snowing. Started sometime last night, and now there's snow all over the ground. I just can't take it. What the hell is wrong with this province?? And what the hell is wrong with BC that they can't offer a Folklore Studies program anyway? Sheesh.

Summer semester should be ok. I have 2 Folklore and 2 English courses, so I'm taking all the things that I love. Woo hoo. I think I'll be moving this summer as well. Some peeps from the Folklore Department and I are planning on getting a house together in the fall. Gillian, Anya, Leslie and Leslie's boyfriend Nick and I will all kip together for the sake of saving money and good times. (Nick is not in the department, but he's welcome as hell!) Gillian and Anya have gone home for the summer, but Les, Nick and I think we'll find the house this summer. Then things will be nice and neat for the fall. Plus, then the three of us will rule the house, and the girls can be our slaves!!! Bwah ha ha!

I'm watching “Escape from Alcatraz” and it suddenly seems to mean so much more to me. Escaping from the cold and inclement rock…hmmm. Maybe I should make a dummy of myself, leave it in the Folklore Department and come home on a raft made of rubber boots and beer bottles. Anyone interested in putting up a fugitive from the rock?

Well, still trying to get some stuff ready for sending out to the publishers. My Procrastination and Laziness keep getting in the way. I tried to lock them in a closet, but they jumped me, and not only messed me up enough to not write, but they stole my watch and laundry change too.


Anyhow, I need caffeine and a shower. Or a shower of caffeine?

Folk U!


Saturday, 27 March 2004

20 days after...

So so so much to tell, so so so little time.

Alright…let's do this thing!

Our Folklore Department t-shirts have finally come out. Hooray. I have a couple, and some people out there might start finding strange, squishy packages coming in the mail. These won't be the t-shirts, and I suggest you toss those packages out without opening them. I will pack the t-shirts in tiny, hard boxes. Those you can open.

The t's say “FOLK U.” in that university block lettering. Under that it says “Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore Department.” Now, I think this is very cute and cool, but some of you may not feel comfortable wearing such a shirt to, oh say, work? Or your grand******'s house? Or babysitting the local pastor's children? Whatever--your hang-ups are your own.

I'm just happy we even have departmental shirts now, ‘cause those snooty engineering, nursing and education departmentee's were starting to tick me off…lording their fancy shirts, jackets, hoodies, sweatpants, belts, keychains, mugs, pens, book bags, backpacks over us. Now we have…t'shirts…and maybe magnets. Whatever.

Also in Folklore Department news, I should now be addressed as Madame President. Or, El Presidente. Yep, I was voted in as President of the Folklore Society at our last meeting. How did this occur, you wonder. Well, due to my tireless efforts in the department, my selfless acts of charity, my amazing folkloric brain….oh, and the fact that the president has to be an undergrad and there are only two undergrads staying for the summer, one of them being me….sealed the deal. Yep, it was quite funny. We were an unratified society due to not having any executives in place. So, at this meeting we set about rectifying the situation. When it became apparent that by campus rules the president should be an undergrad, we had to see how many undergrads were actually going to be here for the summer semester. Two of us raised our hands, me and a fellow I shall name Otis. His name is not Otis, but I like the name Otis, so there you have it. In fact, I may start calling him Otis at school. Anyhow, at this point my friend Gillian (her real name) nominates me for the spot. Though I was honestly shocked, I have to admit that I was kinda pleased. My name gets placed on the whiteboard. Then, Otis indicates that he would also like to try for the spot, so his name gets put up as well. I attempted to nominate Otis for the role of Vice-President, in order to protect my already tentative rule, but (after a good chuckle at my audacity) we decided that whoever didn't get the top spot would default to the second spot anyways.

At this point, they ask Otis and I to leave the room to vote. Someone suggested we make speeches, but after Otis' grand yelp of “Folklore Presidency 2004!!” I decided to pass. As we stood outside, Otis fills time and space by telling me that his desire for the presidency was not a slap in the face to my nomination, but that competition is a good thing, and that he's a rebel who likes to mix things up. I nod and smile and gaze at Professor Hot Prof. (who shall remain nameless) who's walking up the corridor. When the door to the meeting opens again, we are greeted with “Madame President, Mister Vice-President” and I must admit I felt a strange wave of vindication. Why or at whom remains a mystery. I also feel a strange wave of panic as I realize that I have now got more work to do this summer. Ah well. Once my Presidential Billy Club comes in the mail, I'll feel a lot better. Besides, this will really pad up my résumé.

And it looked like I was going to move this summer. However, due to a whole lot'a hassle goin' on, I've decided to stay put till the fall. In September there is a Folklore house in the works. Three fine women from my department, and one woman's fine man, and me, are all going to get a house together. I think it's going to be a really good thing, and I must say I'm mightily looking forward to it. For now, I'm just going to accept the fact that I'm really not going to save any money this summer (unless I finish my book or get a kick ass job) and just work hard in class, etc.

Ok, well, there's some update for y'all. I have to go and get showered and head out to the library. I'm sick, so it should be a fun, fuzzy-headed adventure.

Peace out, and you can send your presidential gifts along anytime now.

The Venus who wears the Fangs with pride!

Sunday, 7 March 2004

Small Business

So, this is just going to be a rather brief and newsy kind of entry. I have much homework, and not much time, so…

Lots of folklore stuff coming up. First there’s just all the regular schoolwork junk. I’m, of course, realizing that I should have started on a lot of assignments a long time ago. I’ve joked before about my steady diet of “procrastination and panic,” and there are times where that really works. But, I think it might be okay to actually add some variety to the menu. I wonder what “early finishing and free time” might taste like? Or how about that tasty treat, the “well thought out, thoroughly researched and well-crafted” assignment. I’ve heard that some students actually load their plates with “more than one draft,” but that might be pushing my tolerance for new things.

Other than the work stuff, we have a Folklore Society (we’ve started to refer to it as “FS” but this sounds too much like “SS” to me, especially when you say it fast…) meeting coming up, and our big social event of the year, the Mary Griffiths Night is on the 25th of the month. I’m working the door, and it’s a night full of music and stuff, so it should be cool. We’re planning a Koffee Klatch kind of thing, and also an undergrad collection assignment. The collection assignment is not attached to any classes, and is really cool. It’s like we’re actual attempting some real folklore collection in our own time, which is very cool. I believe we are going to collect tattoo’s-pictures of people’s tats, stories about getting them, question sheets, etc. I think we could get quite a large collection, and it’s something that seems quite culturally relevant, especially now. Looking forward to it.

We’re also looking to plan some stuff for those of us in the department staying for summer semester.

I’m half planning to move in May. I’m broke as two broke things, and really can’t live in this expensive apartment by myself. Plus, I really need to get my ass into a more populated area of town. I’m really not experiencing the place because of location. And if have learned anything from living in a Hollywood-North kind of town, I’ve learned that it’s all about location! There are some really good people I’ve met at school, and they are planning a big move in the fall, with a large house to be procured for all of us. I think that may be a good situation, so I’m exploring that option as well. Regardless, I needs to move b’y!

Last night I had my first dream in Newfy. I actually had a dream that I was talking to someone in a lot of the vernacular, so I suppose it’s only a matter of time before I actually acquire an accent of sorts.

Anyway, I know this was kind of a boring and rambling entry, but then again they all are so you poor saps must be used to it by now! It’s over now, so you can all go about your business, and I can get back to work.

Meh. V.F.

Monday, 23 February 2004

Mixin' It

Oops, getting a little behind again. It’s reading week now, so even though I still have to go to work at my meagre library job, I get a few days with no class. (Although, I’m always lacking a little “class”-heh heh.) (Sorry.) I suppose I should actually get some homework and writing done?? Well…after all the sleeping and pissing around.

Well, Friday the 13th I attended my first Folklore Department Mixer. It was actually ok. I played bartender for a while, which was fun. Serving drinks also allowed me to size everyone up and wait for them to have a few belts before I actually had to mingle. Soften them up, so to speak. We had an anti-Valentines day theme, which I whole-heartedly approved of, and I made cookies. I took several pictures, and will post them as soon as I get them developed. So…say…Christmas 2007??

There were quite a few interesting people and undergrads, grads and prof’s mingled freely. The only thing that made me a bit sad was that several graduates thought that I was also a grad student, due to my advanced age. It was nice that my conversation didn’t give me away at the onset, but it was crappy to think that I really should be further along in the old education department. As the evening wore on there did tend to be more separation in the ranks: the prof’s took off, the grad students huddled discussing the upcoming comprehensive exams, and the undergrads just huddled. But all in all, I had a good time and made a few contacts.

The Folklore Department also has a logo and T-shirts coming out. Yes, in just a month or so I will be proudly sporting a T-shirt with the words: FOLK-U on it. Ah, it’s nice to know our department has dignity, class and true collegiate grit. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I’m thankful that I’m part of a department that has a sense of humour and remains grounded within itself. Folklore is such a useless degree. That’s why I love it so much! And yet, it deals with subjects and study that are so completely universal and important. It’s about finding the extraordinary in the mundane. Brilliant.

I’ve managed to keep from falling, and I’ve received good grades on an assortment of assignments and tests, so I suppose all is going well. I swear to all that is holy and sacred-if, by the time I’m done here, I never see another snowflake as long as I live I will be happy. While there are still times when the snow falling actually looks kind of pretty, I really have had enough. I miss rain, grey skies, warmer temperatures. Ah, by the summer I’m sure it will be fine again, but winter here really does suck a very large, phallic looking object!

Alright kiddies, I’m off to go and study! (Or, as it’s also know, watch TV, mess around on my computer, and read books that have nothing at all to do with school!)


Thursday, 5 February 2004

Good God Y'All!!

Okay, this day warrants an entry. And plus it gets me writing something sooner than next month! And I haven’t heard too much about my last entry, so I’ll assume everyone was ok with it…

Well, the day started off with me hitting the snooze button a few too many times, and thus forced me into a blind panic/non-showering/eating breakfast cereal out of the box with a milk-out-of-the-carton chaser/almost forgot to wear a bra/running kind of day. Last night we had that wonderful stuff—Freezing Rain!! Weeeha! Can you see where this is going?

So, I leap out the door, take the stairs two-at-a-time, and begin to rush across the parking lot as I see my bus waaaay up the road. And then, “who-ha, stop me now, woo yah,” James Brown takes me over. I go into one of those weird split moves where my front leg is sticking straight out, and my back leg is bent at an unnatural angle. And, furthering the James Brown channelling experience, I pop up almost as fast as I went down and continued running for the bus. I was scraped and battered, and my thigh muscles were pulled to hell, but I realized that to anyone watching from the windows of my building, it really could have looked like I busted a soul move on the way to the bus. I’m just sooo happy to be going to school at 7am, that I felt the need to take my joy “Downtown.”

As I sat on the bus, my heart started to pound from the shear “falling” exhilaration. And let me tell everyone, it’s been a while since I’ve done the splits!

At school, I work from 8am to 1:30pm at my eye-drying, mind-numbing data entry job in the library. A huge part of my job is to search for books in the library computer system. You have to implement all kinds of tips and tricks to find what you’re looking for, and it’s actually helped me to understand the library system. But lo and behold! What did we get to do in my Folk Research course today? Why, we took a field trip to the library to learn how to search for books!

Wunderbar! By this point I was so exhausted from lack of sleep and my early morning adrenalin rush, and I began to nod off. At which point my friend Steve thinks it’s amusing to write “Wake Up” on the back of my hand in blue pen. Very funny, Steve.

After class, I half walk, half limp (as my leg is now starting to stiffen considerably) to the cafeteria to meet a fellow Deutsch Student. Half way through our study session/bitch fest, I had to pee like a race horse (Why the hell do race horses have to pee so much I wonder?). In the stall next to me, I can hear some poor soul getting sick as a dog! (Yep, I also wonder why dogs are so sick all the time.) After some puking and moaning, we both end up coming out of our stalls (ah, a race horse metaphor??) and the sickie next to me was my Folklore prof. Hmmm, Hello sick prof. Don’t worry, this is embarrassing for both of us.

After studying, I scamper (as much as one can scamper with a limp and full school bag) to the bus loop to catch my beloved #25. What’s so beloved about this particular lorry?? Well, only once in the afternoon, this bus drives me all the way home and deposits me directly opposite my front door! So, as I’m about to clamber on, I notice that my usual driver isn’t there. No worries…that is until the new dude tells me that he won’t let me on the bus till I sing something. He says all the other people did it, all three of them. I look, stricken to the quick, at the girl in the seat at the front, and she nods and laughs. What the hell is going on here?? Haven’t I suffered enough??

Will this day never end??

So instead of laughing it off and just grabbing a seat, (I mean, what’s he going to do-actually kick me off? Highly unlikely) I bust out with a cracked:“Hey there Little Red Riding Hood, You sure are looking good. You're everything a big bad wolf could want.” Yep. My face now hotter than the veriest fires of hell, I sure didn’t remember that my leg was hurting. Everyone cracked up, and the bus driver said “not bad” and off we went.

What can I say, I’ve got music, and I’ve got rhythm. I mean, who could ask for anything more.


Sunday, 1 February 2004

Cab-In Fever

And now a word about cab drivers.

I’ve spoken ad nauseum about bus drivers and the wonderful world of the Metrobus system here, but what about the wily and elusive Taxi Driver?

Well, right of the bat, I can tell you that they are neither wily, nor elusive, as there are more cab companies servicing the St.John’s area than I have ever seen in all my life! Let’s see, we have Avalon Taxi, Bugden’s Taxi, Co-Op Taxi, Cy’s Taxi, Goulds Taxi, Gullivers City Wide Taxi, Jiffy Cabs, King’s Bridge Cabs, Molloy Clarence Taxi, Newfoundcabs, North West Taxi (the one I usually use), Thoms Taxi, Tickle Taxi, Town Cabs, Valley Cabs, and then there are a plethora of other cab and transportation companies that will drive you “around the bay” to smaller communities. Now, this is not to say that in the Lower Mainland, a major urban sprawl, we do not have our share of cab companies. But there in comparison, there seems to be only a couple of companies per service area, and that’s that. Then again, the Lower Mainland, as said major urban sprawl, boasts a more elaborate bus and transit system, making it easier for those without cars, or those who chose to not use their cars, to get around. In St.John’s, the Metrobus definitely gets me where I need to go, but is not as convenient for out of way places. The hours are also much shortened for bus riders here, and cabs are an essential part of a “night on the town.” And though, like all of St.John’s driving experiences, the ride is one of knuckle-whitening intensity, I feel generally safe and comfortable putting my life into the back of a pine-scented taxi-cab.

And a second word about cab drivers. Now, I know many (though not all) will expect me to mention the general Race/Ethnicity of cab drivers at large. Okay, this is a rather harsh stereotype, and a part of me cringes as I write this, but it is somewhat essential in offering a glimpse into the multicultural aspects of St.John’s. I have yet to have a non-white cab driver personnel take me, and my once-a-month bundle of grocery bags, home. In New Westminster, I had a grand total of two white cab drivers. Now is this interesting or relevant? Well, one of my cabbies here told me that he had moved to St.John’s from Toronto because Toronto was “too ethnic” for him. While he enjoyed the variety of food and culture on one level in the big city, he did not feel comfortable as the minority in “his own country” on another. Now, I can hear the moans and squeaks and squawks as the Venus depicts St.John’s as a racist, bigoted, one-dimensional place. THIS IS NOT SO! St.John’s is, of course, the ultimate port city (being nothin’ but island!) and many people here pride themselves on their multicultural heritage. But it is still a predominately white Irish/English/French based community. There are many people here from the Caribbean, Portugal, many African countries, China, Japan, India and Islam, as well as people from Inuit, Native and Métis communities. However, you can add up all of these groups, and not touch the number of whiteys in the province, including my own Germanic/Ukrainian untanned hide. There are even a large number of people in my building who did not even know that St.John’s has the only Mosque and Hindu temple in Newfoundland, and were unaware of two (tasty looking!) Indian restaurants in the downtown area.

So, what does this say about the original question of cab drivers…well, admittedly, not a hell of a lot. I was always impressed with my taxi riding experiences at home, and I am equally impressed with my taxi riding experiences in St.John’s. I have been lucky enough to only have one or two “bad” taxi experiences in my life. This may have something to do with the fact that I turn a blind eye to running yellow lights, don’t sweat any cabbie cursing fellow drivers, and regardless of the International Guide to Tipping always tip my driver. I have had wonderful conversations with many drivers, and have learned a great deal about the place I was in because of their experiences. I have had almost every cab driver give me his personal card. All cab drivers here carry your groceries to the door, and most of my cab drivers back home did the same thing for me (though not all, as it is not typically the norm there). And let me tell you-when it is below zero, the wind is whipping frozen pieces of ice (tiny knives?) into your face, and your hands are slightly frost-bitten from holding onto grocery bags, the devil himself could come smoking up in a red, flame-painted Cab/Hearse and I’d get in and snuggle into the warm ashes on the back seat!

As an end note, one of the funniest things I’ve heard since I’ve been here was an elderly women calling out to a man walking towards the Sobey’s grocery store as she was boarding a Metrobus at the bus loop:“Don’t forgets to buy milk, and don’t you go spending money on a cab home, you lazy bastard!”


Friday, 16 January 2004

New Year, New Year, New Yar...oops, Year

Well, Happy New Year one and all! Yes, as per usual, I am very late and remiss in my keeping up of this thang. You're all going to get bored and tired of me, and just stop looking after a while. But maybe I'm just testing out who's truly interested in my little life, and who's not! So there.

New Years was as boring as ever, as I didn't do much. In Newfoundland, if you don't have a car, and if you can't winter drive, then you might as well declare that you're a shut-in and maybe get some government money! Everything closed at about 6pm on New Years Eve, and that included the buses. So, no going downtown or anything here unless you drive or taxi around. Don't have a car, don't have money, don't have a life!

Then again, when I lived in Vancouver with it's plethora of transit, I still didn't have much of a life so-WHATEVER!!

Instead, I went to on of my neighbours and had a glass of champagne, and watched fireworks from the window, and watched the cat get high on catnip (the cat was busted later and the “herb” was removed from the room), and watched it snow. Thrill-o-rama.

But it was alright. I was so dog tired from the semester that I really only wanted to sleep and read fun books anyway.

I did go and see the final Lord of the Rings movie! Whoopee!! Never as good as the book, and they did some weird things with a few things, but wonderfully satisfying after all was said and done. Mmmmm Aragorn.

My second semester at MUN has begun, and it seems like it will be alright. I only have 3 courses, so that kind of sucks, but I picked up more hours of work in the school library. Vive la livre! (Not one person better question my French…)

And now the weather:


Yep, it has decided to be Newfoundland and not Newfoundvancouver after all. My wonderful green Christmas and warmth and lovely rain are gone. It has been replaced with extreme snow, freezing rain, ice, WIND like you've never felt before. It normally takes me about an hour to get home from school, and for two days it took me about 4 hours. The bus drivers have finally been quelled, and they actually droves-l-o-w-l-y. Miraculous. School was closed today, although I didn't find this out until I was playing on my computer after I had already slept through my classes. What, me skip? Of course not. I just telepathically knew (after hearing the wind whipping ice and snow onto my window in a roar and reburying my head under my covers) that the school would be closed. And you see…I was right! Aaaahh, the sweet taste of being right. So good.

And of course I used my time productively. I played on my computer, I ate a few cookies, I drank a little tea, I watched a movie, I took a shower (eventually), and I tested some new sleeping positions that I've been meaning to try out. It's wonderful to finally have time to do those big projects that always seem to get put off.

Oh, and be sure to check out the images section…I finally got some pics developed. Not very stellar thus far, but they might be a tad interesting to a couple of you. I promise to take some more interesting pictures as time, and film, allow.

And I've heard my first two Folklorist jokes. They seem to relate to the fact that folktales, ballads, fairytales, jokes, folk remedies, and other bits of folklore are heavily categorized. I'm not sure if it's funny, but here they are:

Q: How many folklorists does it take to change a lightbulb ? A: Ten. One to change it and nine to document it.

A Folklorist takes his friend to a big Folklore Conference, and on their first day they attend a number of speeches and lectures. One of the guest speakers gets up and says, “419A,” and everyone in the room starts laughing. Later during his speech, the speaker says, “256,” and the whole room is reverberating with laughter. The friend looks around and is amazed. Finally, he pokes the Folklorist and asks him what gives. The Folklorist replies, “Since all the jokes are categorized and numbered, and since we all know the numbers, it isn't necessary to actually tell the jokes anymore.” A while later, the speaker finishes off and another lecturer is introduced. At the beginning of his speech, the new speaker says, “394,” and the except for a few faint chuckles, the room is silent. The friend leans over to the Folklorist and says, “What happened?” “Well,” replies the Folklorist, “You know how it is, some people can tell ‘em, and some can't.”

Hmmmmm. Maybe I should have decided to be a lawyer.

Alright, I'm off to actually do some reading and German homework. Keep watching the weather channel, and then everyone can have a good laugh at my expense! Bastards!

Happy New Year! I hope it's going to be filled with lots of good crap for everyone!

Venus Fangs.