Entries from July 2004

Blood, sweat, and tears

Thank god I hired a company to move all of our stuff. For the past week I’ve been packing boxes, cleaning shelves, throwing away crap, and inhaling dust that has been lying dormant for three years. Is there such a thing as Moving Lung, where the lining of one’s air sacs become clogged with dust bunnies?

This is the first time that I’m moving and not getting rid of everything in the process, which is what I used to do when I moved in the past. Relocating? Time to buy new stuff! Who needs to move couches, chairs, tables, and various potpourri when you can just give it away (or even better, sell it to some sucker) and buy new stuff when you arrive at your new home?

Packing this stuff is bad enough. When we moved into this apartment, carrying 40+ boxes up three flights of stairs nearly killed me - I swear I nearly had a heart attack. Yes, I would like to have some cheese with this whine, thank you very much.

From living with many different roommates, I’ve found there tends to be two kinds of people: those who have absolutely everything necessary for comfortable apartment living, and those who do not. Both RenĂ©e and I were the latter. Up until we moved in together, we’ve always managed to live with people that fit in the former category. You could say we were furniture leeches.

When we moved in together, though, we were suddenly faced with the reality that we were both living with someone else who also had nothing. Luckily, I knew a couple who had just moved in together, and both of them were people who had everything, so they had doubles. Don’t you love the yin and yang nature of life?

Unfortunately, they kept all of the nice stuff and gave us whatever was left over.

So yes. Now we have joined the rest of the world and actually have nice stuff worth keeping. Still, it’s amazing how much crap you accumulate when you stay put for three years. We’ve got tons. It makes me want to buy a house.

That would mean moving again, though. Sigh.

All Music Guide redesign disaster

All Music GuideFrom the “redesigns that made things worse” file comes the brand-spanking new All Music Guide redesign which just launched today. There were a lot of problems with the previous site, and I had much hope that this redesign would improve what I think is one of the most useful sites online.

There are so many problems with this redesign I literally don’t know where to start.

» All Music Guide redesign disaster continues...

Toranna 2004

Well, here I am, in the Big Smoke. I'm currently surrounded by dozens of smiling, very enthusiastic Asians, all babbling loudly in various levels of broken English, as the sky thunders overhead, and the occasional flash of lightning illuminates our faces.

I don't have web access at home yet, but am currently leeching off of the open wireless access point located in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. For those interested, there's open APs available in the library on the main floor, as well as on the fifth floor cafeteria. The SSID for the cafeteria is "CTS wLAN", in case you were wondering. Thanks, Wireless Bandit!

Seemingly endless ethnicity. The reintroduction of large, roaming packs of 20-34 year-olds to the landscape. Rain, thunder, and rampant humidity. Free wireless. Big city attitude. Thanks for the welcome back, Toronto.

I'm just finally starting to get my mental and physical energy back after what ended up being an incredibly draining four days. Air Canada managed to transport my cats and I safely here, but in the process lost two very large boxes I brought with me as luggage... boxes that contained lots of very expensive computer equipment. Sigh. I'm still waiting for them to track the errant boxes down, though I don't have a lot of hope.

It's simultaneously great and very discombobulating to be back here. I still don't really feel like I've moved, though the aches and pains of the last two weeks in Winnipeg are still freshly throbbing. I'm sure it'll start to sink in after a few weeks...

But, it's great to have Renée and the cats and I all together again, and there is already a veritable smorgasbord of things to do and see. I think this is going to be a fun summer.

I guess I should get myself listed here at some point.

Miscellany in the East

My brain feels like wet Kleenex, so I’ll keep it short and point-form-like:

Where the hell is our stuff, AMJ Campbell? Everything was due to arrive by today, and apparently it’s all still sitting in a warehouse in Winnipeg. Now they’re saying at least seven days late. So we sit here, the only furniture in our apartment being a yoga mat, and an air mattress… (grr)

(I was going to post a picture of our woefully empty apartment, but the USB cable for my camera is, natch, packed in one of the boxes. So here’s a picture of Charleton Heston instead.)

HestonAir Canada finally found my missing boxes. They reeked of diesel fuel, and were dropped off by a very monosyllabic delivery man. Who knows where they ended up before they were found - a Siberian refinery? An adobe hut in Istanbul? Donald Rumsfeld’s private oil reserve? At least nothing was broken.

It feels like the entire web is moving. Maybe it’s just my bookmarks.

It seems like a vast majority of the women here wear tight blue jeans. Not that I spend a lot of time staring at women’s jeans, but… It really does feel like the 80’s are back in full force: I’ve seen more pastel colours and neon than I care to admit. Ow, my eyes.

It’s humid like a motherfucker.

Never, ever, deal with a company that outsources their customer support to another country. That said, never deal with a company that has a completely crappy, broken web site.

On a more positive note, Echo Online is fast, friendly, and competent. They quoted me “five business days” for my DSL connection to be working, and assuming that they had to rely on Bell to hook things up, I expected as much. To my surprise, my connection was up and running in two days. Impressive - and you actually speak to someone who works for the company when you phone.

It’s hard to relax and calm down after being very, very stressed out when you don’t have: Couch. TV. Stereo.

There is literally an endless amount of things to do and see. Lana refers to Toronto as “a candystore”, and she’s right. So far: Prince, Madonna Ester (giggle), Camera Obscura, Emily Haines / Amy Millan, a Turner / Whistler / Monet exhibition at the AGO, a plethora of festivals… and Wilco, Bebel Gilberto, Gomez, the Curiosa Festival, the Toronto Film Festival, and so much more on its way.

It’s good to be back. That said, this will not become a site consisting of posts about Toronto, I promise. Humour me for a few weeks until I become jaded, blasé and start to take everything for granted.

The (relatively) Simple Life

eggsOne thing about moving and the extended delay for receiving our worldly goods is the fact the we have been forced to live with just the bare essentials. No TV, no microwave, no electronic gadgets to make life easier…

(Yes, I see the irony in writing a post about simplicity on a Internet connected laptop. Bear with me, I’m a spoiled Western used to the modern life.)

The actual list of stuff that we have right now is:

  • air mattress
  • clock radio
  • small saucepan, frying pan, and enough cutlery / plates / etc. for two
  • the aforementioned laptop

All of this said, we do have access to the other modern conveniences of a fridge, stove, telephone, running water, electricity, etc. But compared to the vast number of devices, gadgets, and other chunks of modernity we had access to before we moved, we’re living pretty slim. And I kind of like it.

I guess my whole point here is that it’s kind of refreshing in a way to be reminded of just how little we actually need to sustain ourselves… and how much it is other forces (society, marketing, The Joneses, our overwhelming urge to be consumers, laziness) that make us believe that we absolutely cannot live with something.

Even last week, before we had Internet access at home and I was going out to find wireless access, I came to realize just how much my sense of reliance on the web was self-manufactured. Being online and connected at all times was something I had come to believe was critical to me… but in the end life without constant access wasn’t just livable - it was relieving.

Don’t mind me. I’m just finally recognizing that sometimes it’s the simple things that matter the most. It’s a good feeling.

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